19 October 2011

Weaving with Wollmeise

Hi readers! Sorry I missed my video update yesterday; late nights at the office don't do well for blogging on time! Since I can't get you a video right now, how about a review of a project that has pretty decent photos, anyway? How about something that uses yarn really quickly? How about something that isn't knitting?
How about this scarf that I made? I'm new to weaving-- this summer was my first attempt at weaving. I wasn't particularly interested in learning how to weave until I saw some really cool pooled Wollmeise scarves in the Wollmeiseaholics group on Ravelry. Some of the colors, like the pitahaya I used for the above scarf, look a little crazy when knitted into a fabric. I find the irregular striping to be super loud and distracting on me, so this is a great way to use supermultis in a more controlled way. You can actually pool with knitting, too, but I haven't tried it yet. 

So the thing about pitahaya is that it's lovely: pink, green, and white. The skeins are SO pretty.
So I had to show off the color. I bought a Schacht Cricket loom from Lion Brand's website, and after a little assembly, had it up and running. I did a few practice items (ahem, 2), before I dove into warping for the scarf. Things I learned on my first two objects: make the selvedge edges as loose as the middle threads, don't yank on your weft thread when you pull it through, and you have to plan out your project before you get started, which is something I fail at. ("Stripes? Sure, how about....here. And there.")

Warping for pooling colors is an easy process that looks complex. Basically, your scarf length is guided by the dye repeats in the skein. Think of your skein untwisted and sitting on a swift. One 360 degree rotation around your skein will usually equate to one dye repeat. I used two rotations on my swift, so I got about 6' of length. As I warped, the colors pooled:
From there, I wound the warp threads around the apron bar, got everything ready, and started weaving in my weft yarn. For this scarf, my weft yarn was the same color pink as the pitahaya, but just solid. If I had a white, I would've used it. 
Weaving goes REALLY quickly, but you have to pay attention to your fabric to make sure things don't get uneven or wobbly. See my fabric above? Wobbly, due to the warp threads having uneven tension. I'm still working on how to do a better job. I wove the weft thread through the warp about, oh, fifty million times, and then BLAMMO, scarf:
You can see all the color repeats here, really well. I ended up doing a triple knotted fringe on the ends, which gave it a decent finish for this newb. 

For simple weaving projects, I really like my little Cricket. It's portable, easy to store, and makes good presents that don't require the commitment of knitting. On the other hand, your finished product is basically 10" to 12" wide, with an infinite length. More complex weaving, or wider objects, have to be done on another type of loom. While I DO enjoy weaving, knitting's still number one for me. 

See ya on Thursday!