Saturday, January 12, 2008

Back to Work




It's been a long Christmas and New Year's season. We turned out reams of gloves, socks and hats in a short amount of time and I've taken a couple of weeks to let my eye sight return to normal. In that short break, my thoughts have turned to weaving.

My mother left a four-harness loom when she passed on. It actually belongs to my sister in Peru, but it's much too bulky to pack off to South America, so here it remains. I'm not a good weaver in any sense, as I think that looms are too complicated, not portable enough and just too time intensive. So why would I think about weaving now? I'm not sure, but it's consuming my thoughts, even in my sleep. I have a rigid heddle loom that I work on sometimes, and I like that for making purses, ponchos and wraps, but invariably, I end up with an odd project that ends up sitting unfinished on the loom for what seems like ages (while I pursue knitting and felting ventures) and I don't really have the heart to cut it off and start something else after all the time it took to warp the silly thing to begin with. It's not just a matter of unraveling and salvaging the yarn for another project, as with knitting. I will lose loads of yarn if I don't finish, so there it sits and what to do?

I'm in the process of making weaving cards. Card weaving is used to weave bands and belts, mostly. That will fit in fine with the knitting and felting that we already do, used as hat bands, purse straps, edgings, embellishments and belts. It's portable, cheap, and suited to small projects if I read the information correctly. I'm making my cards out of an old deck of playing cards that has lost some of its members. I have 44 cards in all and I think that should be enough for my purposes and for the rest of my life. I can make bands on my rigid heddle as well, so I'm hoping my youngest daughter will be interested in the card weaving. She can make friendship bracelets with them and she's very "into" that right now. She received one as a Christmas gift that had flower beads sewn on after the weaving and it's just gorgeous--and possibly inspiring?

The knitting goes on at an even pace. I'm in the process of finding out more about online outlets for our woolens. Places like Etsy, Fiber Finds, and eBay are on the list. I'm not sure why eBay scares me, but it does. I avoid going to that site rather than doing the proper research and getting my pictures and descriptions ready. I'm still looking for more options, and even though eBay seems like a "no brainer" I just don't want to go there. Perhaps it's laziness or just fear of the unknown. I don't know.

In the meantime, I have a rose gray hooded jacket in the works and I'm charting out the designs for an Aran sweater. Along with that, I'm spinning a white lot of alpaca/mohair blend. There's really a lot of it and it looks like it's going to be a long project. I'm spinning the singles at approximately 28-30 wraps per inch with no particular project in mind.

I do have a son who would like to marry his girlfriend and I would just love to make a white handspun lace shawl in the Shetland tradition for her when they finally decide to marry and this yarn would do quite nicely for that. I've read about shawls that were made for the bride and given to her at or just before the wedding. The couple would sleep under it their first night together, the wife would wrap it around her shoulders during pregnancy, she would wrap her babies in it and use it as a cover while nursing them, it would lie as a coverlet on their bed in the warm months, she would wear it on her shoulders in the cold months, and she would be buried in it at her passing. How I would love to provide something so dear, so intimate and so lasting to my children and their spouses. Goodness, I have four children. I have a lot of work ahead of me!






















11 comments:

Kathleen said...

I had no idea that a shawl was used in so many ways. I thought it was a shoulder wrap and that was it. I love the idea of the shawl becoming so mucha part of the family life. What a gift that would be!

Sunny looks so much like the love he is in that picture! I'm glad happy and still dancing and wiggling with you.

Casdok said...

I to love the idea of the handspun lace shawl.
Love all your photos.

toady said...

You are so enterprising, I'd love to come and help [ hinder?]

Crystal Jigsaw said...

The card weaving sounds really lovely. The harness loom cries out to be used and I am sure will bring back many wonderful memories when you get started.

Crystal xx

Elizabethd said...

I WANT the jacket!!

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Ooooo I love the idea of knitting and spinning and making things with your hands - I'm just not good at it - although used to do a lot of crosse stitch.

I love the long cardigan/coat - THAT is gorgeous . . . .

Exmoorjane said...

EVERYTHING is gorgeous, Wooly....I so admire your creativity and diligence. I used to knit many moons ago and do the odd bit of needlepoint but it's more like colouring by numbers....
Agree that the long jacket is fabulous and the concept of the shawl for a lifetime is deeply appealing.. Love the pictures of the animals too.
Janexxx

Cait O'Connor said...

I love the Shetland shawl idea, it really appeals to me. Practical yet romantic at the same time. I think that would take off as a business venture for sure.
All your stuff is gorgeous.

Kathleen said...

Omar looked at the pictures of the snow and the frosted trees and said, "Ooooey...maybe we can play in the snow for a half hour, but...oooey."

Kathleen said...

I keep coming back to look at Sunny's big eyes and read about the shawl. Feels like home.

Debra in France said...

What a wonderful heirloom that shawl would be. Imagining owning something like that, and every time you looked at it you would have all those lovely memories. Imagine handing it on to you daughter with all that history in it. It makes me go all goosepimply to think of it.

I love your alpacas, they are so gorgeous. Having never felt alpaca wool, is it soft like cashmere? Is it easy to knit with?