Saturday, May 27, 2017

fo: Welcome Home Tapestry

This project has been done for a while now, and the pictures taken nearly a month ago.  It's about time I finally shared!

A while back, I mentioned that I'd learned to weave on a frame loom.  I took a class a friend of mine taught at the store, and I'm so glad that I did it!  We built our own looms, and learned a few different stitch techniques.  Or I would've if I hadn't plowed on through and finished my tapestry ahead of everyone else.

First Tapestry

This is the one I wove in that class.  I gifted it to a friend that let me stay at her place for 3 weeks while she was out of town and I was homeless after the breakup.  She's a wonderful friend, and volcanologist to boot (that will make more sense when you read the description below).

It's mostly Icelandic wool, either commercially spun (top white and bottom black) or handspun (dark grey and bobbly cream), but the medium grey was Briggs & Little Heritage yarn.  The item attached to the medium grey is actually a piece of vesicular basalt (volcanic rock with gas bubbles) wrapped with silver and sewn onto the tapestry.  I was really inspired by the gorgeous shades of the Icelandic and of the layering that can occur with extrusive volcanism (lava flows).  The whole thing was an ode to Iceland's geology, really.

I really love how this turned out, but the bobbly handspun second from the top intrigued me!  See the little hill in the contact with the white?  That formed naturally from larger bobbles stacking up as I wove.  I really wanted to play with the nature of this yarn, and so the inspiration for my next design was born.

Tapestry details
For this one, I just wanted to play with the thick-thin texture of the cream handspun, so I paired it with an evenly spun black commercial Icelandic wool and alternated rows of each yarn.  I messed up the first part of the tapestry since I initially tried weaving the handspun over and under every two strands (called the warp threads), but this really affected the texture and smoothed out the effect that I wanted.  I'd also planned to use some white commercially spun Icelandic wool to try to show off the distortions, but I didn't like the effect (and only realized well after it was too late to pull it out).  Ah well.

Tapestry details
It was fun to see how the handspun would stack up.  There was actually a lot more extreme waves in the fat white section above, but the thick sections started to line up to fill in the thin sections, and I wound up with less extreme waves.

Tapestry details
On the other hand, there was less chance for the handspun to "fix" itself in the narrower bands, and they formed some cool waves.  I love the texture of this tapestry.

Tapestry details
And since it's one of my favourite features of my previous tapestry, I made sure to include a thick rhya at the bottom.

Tapestry details
I was a bit lazier with this tapestry though.  On the previous one, I weaved in all of the warp threads at both the top and the bottom.  This time, I just wove in the ones at the end so they wouldn't protrude and hid the rest behind the rhya.  Haha GO LAZINESS!

This tapestry was started before I moved into my new apartment in March, and was made as a "welcome to your new home" for myself.  It was an essential thing to focus on when I was feeling so lost, since I find weaving really captures my focus and attention.  Especially one like this, where I was really experimenting with the material and engrossed in the results.

Expect to see more tapestries from me in the future!  They're so fun to do.  I do need to make some for the store, since my friend has really hooked people into this art form.


As an aside, this is the first time I really felt artistic in a long time.  Unlike with the majority of my knitting and sewing, I felt like I wasn't just following instructions but actually using my artistic spirit to create something unique.  Not that knitting or sewing can't be artistic, nor that others haven't created works of art in those mediums, but I never felt that way in regards to my own work; I don't consider myself an artist when it comes to sewing or knitting, but I definitely felt like one with these tapestries.  What do you think?  Do you feel like an artist, or at least, artistic when sewing or knitting?  I always feel like I'm making pretty but practical items.  I guess practical can be artistic as well, but I guess it comes from a prairie farming background, where you make what you need because it's necessary - hard to look at those skills as artistic as well.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Briggs and Little kal

This post is probably a little incoherent.  It's late, I'm tired, and I just want to blog, dammit!  Also I swear I wrote a blog post about this, but obviously I just daydreamed that one. 

Back in March, Briggs and Little, one of my favourite yarn companies ever, announced a KAL/CAL for any of their sport-weight yarn.  I've been itching to knit a sweater with their B&L Sport, so obviously I needed to join.  Plus I can't resist KALs.

Making progress on my Briggs and Little sweatwr. Doing rhe neckband before continuing on with the sweater was a smart move.
I'm knitting Rolling Rock by Thea Colman, and I'm loving this pattern.  It has an interesting contiguous shoulder line, which is a combination of a set in and a raglan sleeve on a top-down sweater.  I found it mostly flew off the needles, except just before and the first 6 inches after the sleeve separation, which is always ALWAYS a slog for me.  It has a gorgeous lace detail all over the back of the sweater (which I apparently don't have a picture of just yet), and it's both easy to knit and makes the sweater fun to knit.

Body of my Rolling Rock is done!
Haha you can see exactly which section I steam blocked to see how the yarn relaxed.
Now granted, the KAL ends on in a few days on May 15th, and I'm NEARLY THERE.  I have 1.6 sleeves to knit, and I'll probably be pulling a few late nights to finish it.  Like um, tonight.  I hope I can finish, anyways.  Because I literally have 6 other sweaters on the needles and I should probably finish one or two of them before I start the sweater I plan to start this month.  On top of all of the shop knitting I need to do.  AHA yeah, I might have a problem...

Wish me luck folks!