WIPWed #53: Now We’re Zooming!

I started going to physical therapy for my wrist last week and already I feel a vast improvement. I tell you, those PT people know what they are doing. I’m still not overdoing it knitting-wise, but at least I feel like I’ve made a bit of progress this week!

Stitch Block Blues:

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Quince & Co. Osprey, colorways Glacier and Peacock. Click for project page.

As you can see, my Stitch Block Cowl has been growing. This was languishing a little because all of the fancy ‘knit one into the row below’ stitches that make such a delightful, cushy fabric were killing my wrist. However, right where you see that little purple stitchmarker I changed needles from the KnitPicks Harmony I always use to a new set of Knitter’s Pride Karbonz needles that I’m trying out, and it made a world of difference. (You’ll hear more about those needles in a full review soon!) I don’t know if the carbon material gave me a better grip or if the metal tips helped manipulate the thicker stitches more smoothly but the project has been much easier to knit since I switched and there were no glaring changes in gauge, either (hence the stitch marker and lifeline, in case I needed to rip back). So yay!

Something Blue:

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Blue Moon Fiber Arts Marine Silk Sport, colorway Ramalaba. Click for project page.

A while back, I saw a cute little linen stitch coin purse knit with silk yarn and thought it would look lovely upsized to a clutch for my wedding day. (When else would it be appropriate to carry a silk clutch, right?) However, the thought of knitting a bunch of linen stitch isn’t super appealing at the moment so I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to give my Zoom Loom skills a workout. I’m picturing weaving 6 of these little squares and sewing them in a 2×3 grid to make a bag that is approximately 8″ across the top and 6″ deep when all sewn up. Woven fabric is great for a bag since it doesn’t stretch like knitted fabric would, but I will probably still line the bag. Since I haven’t sewn anything since home ec class in middle school, this should get interesting. Luckily, I have my quilting Fiasco around if help is needed.

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The helpful man in question.

I have to say, I adore the varied and surprising skills my Fiasco possesses. This weekend we discovered that he is a genius at arranging lotion bars for product photos. Here was my attempt at making the mango-scented lotion bars look appealing:

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Hi. I’m a mango and this is my friend, lotion bar. We are appealing. You are impressed, RIGHT?! (Awkward.)

And here’s the same concept executed with infinitely more skill and patience, set up by the Fiasco:

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Ooooh yeah. It’s a mango-scented lotion bar party. Don’t you want to join in?

So yeah. He has now signed himself up to be my official product arranger and marketing consultant because the man has a gift that manifests beautifully through appealing mango placement. I was impressed (and ever so grateful). If you haven’t been following along at home, all of this is in preparation for the opening of my soon-to-be Etsy shop which will feature handmade lotion bars and lip balms containing lanolin (and yummy scents). You can read more info on the blog here or even ‘like’ the Facebook page if you’re so inclined, here. I’m hoping to open up shop by the end of this weekend with the bars I have already made, and will be adding lip balms and other scents as I obtain more supplies and create more stock. I’m getting super excited! The photoshoot made it all feel real.

Oh! If you haven’t entered already, I have a Eucalan wool wash giveaway going on that ends this week. You can enter until 11:59 Eastern time on Thursday 4/10 and I will choose and announce a winner on Friday. Good luck!

Check out more WIPs at Tamis Amis.

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IS #59: Weaving Explorations

A new toy came in the mail and completely derailed my morning’s plans.

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Schact Zoom Loom

Weaving is one of those arts that I’m not sure I could really get into since so much of it seems like set up to me (wrapping the warp) and so little of it seems like actual weaving. However, I’ve been wanting to give this little Zoom Loom a try for a while, and I’m glad I did. It was easy to learn, you essentially just wrap yarn around the pins along the edges in different ways for three layers, then you take a long pin and weave the remaining yarn over and under the established strands. I found the instructions to be really clear up until the point where you actually start weaving. Before that, the booklet was very specific about which pins you go between, but then it wasn’t.

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Illustration of where exactly to weave.

In case anyone else was confused by this, here’s a little diagram. Notice that the pins are arranged in sets of 3 up and down the left and right sides of the loom. This photo was taken in the middle of a weaving action. The yarn came out on the right hand side below the pin marked with a pink circle. It was then threaded between the two pins marked with green circles and woven over, under, over, under, etc. the strands of yarn until it reached the left side. This is the important bit: the tip of the needle should be placed to the outside of the pink pin (below it). You can think of it as going around the outer edge of the group of three pins. The next step will be to pull the yarn through, then thread the needle from left to right between the two green pins, once again going over, under, over, under, etc. all the way across. If you look at the finished section below the needle, you’ll notice that the yarn wrapping around the sets of 3 needles should look kind of like an ‘m’. Hope that helps someone!

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Left: Socks that Rock Lightweight, Right: SG Traveller

I did two squares. The left square was with a fingering weight yarn, BMFA Socks that Rock Lightweight. I kind of messed this one up a bit and I think it’s curling because STR is a very high twist yarn, but hey, it was my first. The right square was done with a DK weight yarn, Sanguine Gryphon Traveller. Both are 100% Merino wool but the Traveller is thicker and less tightly twisted, which made a nicer and more cohesive square overall. I timed myself, the second one took me 25 minutes to weave. They both measure about 3.75″ square. The real test will be whether I like sewing these little squares together into a larger project!

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BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight, colorway Comfort & Joy

In other news, I finally perfected my sock toe! It took ripping back 3 times, but I’m happy with it now. At first I tried regular linen stitch to match the heel, but it was far too tight and pulled the fabric in too much. I frogged back further to begin the toe earlier and at Audry’s suggestion, I tried a plain knit row in between the linen stitch rows, which I think makes this technically a half linen stitch.

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Regular linen stitch on the heel.

It’s bothering my OCD tendencies just a tad that the heel and the toe do not exactly match, but the different fabrics are both pleasing in their own right, and quite frankly I’m just not going to knit that toe again (well, until I reach the second toe). The fit is right, the proportions are right, so I’m just going to let it be.

Have you given weaving, or knitting ‘woven-like’ stitches, a try? What’s been inspiring you lately? Leave a comment below to share!