Sunday, November 27, 2016

Started Nick and Bev's Afghan

I started Nick and Bev's afghan a couple of days ago and sort of chose the patterns as I went along.  I love to mix and match and alter to suit my purpose so I'm not sure if I'm finished adding a pattern yet.  What you see so far will be repeated until the afghan is finished.

I chose a white monks cloth with teal, dark charcoal, and medium grey yarn because the colors in their home are fairly muted.  The one major difference is a huge picture of a teal flower which sits above the sofa in the family room.  That is where the afghan will live.

I was a little concerned that the teal color might not show up enough against the greys but it seems to fit in just fine.

I enjoy making an afghan with the recipient in mind because I weave a lot of love into it.  I hope they feel that love as they cuddle in it this winter.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Making a Border Design

I made this little placemat for my make-up table, using ecru monks cloth and a burgundy yarn.  You can make perfect corners if you count the floats carefully but I chose to make do with a piece of cloth I already had prepared so my corners are not perfect.  This was a larger piece of fabric that I cut in half and that's why the fringe on one side has been laundered and the other side won't be as soft until it's washed again.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

More Table Runners

Here are two more table runners.  Each takes about 2 days to make and that's all I want to commit to for the present time.  

Both are on ecru monks cloth and the pattern of the first one was done with a turquoise green yarn.  The second one was done with a deep dark green yarn that looks almost black.

I've mentioned that I very often change established patterns just a bit so that my work is unique but, with the second runner, the pattern is all mine (I think).  One of my interests is in one day creating a booklet of all new patterns but, for the time, this is my only true (I hope) original.  I say "I hope" because there are similar ones out there.

I was at a craft show yesterday and a few ladies came up to me who had some experience with Swedish weaving.  It is very rare for Canadians to know about this craft because the fabric and the yarns are at least double the cost in Canada compared to the States.  One lady needed help with an afghan she'd started many years ago and had run into difficulties with (it was her first project...I always instruct first time Swedish weavers to start with a table runner because the time needed to finish an afghan can be intimidating).  This got me thinking I should maybe teach a class at the senior center next summer.  There wouldn't be many students so it would be an easy class to lead.

If any of the people who read this blog are from the Hamilton, Ontario area and are interested in such a class, let me know, okay?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Swedish Weaving Table Runners

These are two Swedish weaving table runners I just finished for the upcoming craft sale.  Both are on ecru monks cloth and the first pattern is simply interlocking diamonds done with 2 shades of salmon colored yarn.  I really like this one especially and will make another later but using different colors.

The second one was done with alternating rows of solid lavender and a variegated lavender/pink/green/tan yarns.  I often use a solid yarn with the variegated, especially to outline the pattern.  It's not necessary but just one of my habits. 

Each of these runners measures 9" wide x 56" long.  I mainly use remnants for runners so the sizes will vary.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Table Runner On Blue

This piece turned out so nice even though the yarn color I selected was unusual.  The fabric is a light blue monks cloth and the yarn was mainly variegated greens with some blues and greys.  The end result is lovely.

This is not something I would ordinarily have chosen but the yarn was sitting close to the fabric and it suddenly appealed to me.  This isn't the first time that an unusual grouping of colors seemed to blend perfectly so we should always keep our minds open to different choices.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Christmas Table Runners

I had a terrible problem trying to photograph the true color of these two table runners so I'll describe them the best I can.  I had to fold each of them in quarters, also.

The first one is a sage green monks cloth with red and gold yarns and is approximately 56" long x 12" wide.  The second one is ecru monks cloth with red yarn and is approximately 56" long x 11" wide.  My runners usually vary in width because I often use remnants of different widths.

These will be taken to a craft sale at the end of the month.  I don't especially like doing Christmas table runners because I prefer weaving with prettier shades of yarn so I've only made the two.

I don't know if I mentioned that I've hurt my right arm and now find it a bit painful to do Swedish weaving for long periods of time.  Because of this, my plans are to make one more afghan this winter for my grandson and his girlfriend but, from then on, settle for making runners and place mats at least until this arm mends.  I've torn a bicep muscle slightly and have had one steroid shot to help heal it.  I'll have another shot next month and one more in the spring.  Whether or not this heals the damaged muscle or not will determine if I can carry on making the afghans.  The weight of 2 1/2 yds. of fabric is a little much for me right now but we have large tables at the Florida clubhouse to lay the fabric on while I'm weaving so that should make it easier for me.  Life goes on and we do the best we can, right?

Monday, September 12, 2016

New Table Runner

This is the new table runner I made to replace the turquoise cloth one with variegated turquoise yarns.  Since I'm having a wall in the room painted turquoise, I decided to cut down on the amount of that color used there.  The sofa is light cream with solid turquoise cushions so I thought the table runners would look better in white with turquoise yarn.  

I used the same variegated turquoise yarn that has yards of one shade before changing.  I felt I achieved the variegated look by making sure each row of the pattern held a slightly different shade.  I won't ever again make the mistake of not checking a skein of variegated yarn to make sure each shade is no longer than 6".  

It's very easy to put too much of one color in a room but I think mine is okay now.  The wall gets painted on Thursday and I'm hoping I'll like it.  I've never had an accent wall before so this will be a new experience for me.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Not The Best Pattern

My plan was to weave a lovely turquoise variegated yarn on white monks's done but I'm not thrilled with the pattern.  The third photo shows how the yarn can get lost in part of the pattern and that's why I'm disappointed.

Also, I always tell my students to be careful when using variegated yarn because too long a strand of one color shows up too distinctly on your project.  I didn't follow my own advice and bought this gorgeous variegated yarn that had maybe a yard of one color.  I ended up cutting the worst string of it off but that is a terrible waste of yarn.

I have another runner to make but I'll use a different pattern.  The two pieces are far enough away from each other that no-one but me (and you) will ever know.

By the way, the pattern is Avery Hill's "Blue Ridge Mountains".

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Lesson Learned

This is the first of two table runners I'm making.  My plan was to use white monks cloth and a variegated turquoise yarn...looks like what you see, right?  Well, not all is well!

One of the things I tell my students is to be very careful when buying variegated yarn.  Always check how long each color is on the strand and try to keep it around 4-6" so that you won't have long stretches of one color in your pattern.  Apparently I didn't follow my own advice when I purchased the above yarn.

I've actually never seen a variegated yarn like this one.  There is approximately a stretch of one color that measures 3-4 FEET before changing to different shades each measuring 6-8" (too long but I'm stuck with it).  The variegated section also measures about 3-4 feet before once again returning to a solid color measuring 3-4'.

Because I don't need a lot of yarn to complete my project, I'm disposing of the solid sections and using only the variegated sections.  The waste is immense and bugs the life out of me.

I can only blame myself for not checking properly but, if what could be checked was the variegated, no-one would be able to tell that further along was that awful 3-4 feet of solid color.

Live and learn, I guess.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Pastel Afghan Done

I'm done...and now it's a lap afghan.  I never intended for it to look like a baby afghan but that's what happened because of the pastel yarns I used.  It's pretty but not my favorite!

The ends I cut off are more than wide enough for table runners so there is no waste here.  It was a difficult decision to make because I'd been working on it for so long but I'd long ago stopped enjoying it.  That's unusual with Swedish weaving because it's usually a joy to watch it grow.

My friend, Donna, is experiencing the same lack of interest in the afghan she's been working on forever so it's a good thing we can at least make lap afghans out of our project.

There is only one other project that I stopped enjoying and that was the green tablecloth I made for my friend, Mary.  It was for Christmas and I only wanted to weave a border around it but I decided to use green yarn on the green cloth.  I don't think I'll ever do that again but it did turn out beautifully.

Anyway, now I'm on to my next project and you can bet it will be with vividly colored yarns.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Faye's Afghan

Yup!  Faye is still working on this one and the colors are much richer than this photo shows.  She's also tired of working on it, just like Donna and me, but she's pretty close to finishing so I've warned her not to stop until it's done.  I really wish the colors show better but I'll take it outside to photograph when it's done.

I guess the only drawback to Swedish weaving is the time it takes to complete an afghan.  Most of us have lots going on in our lives and don't have the time or inclination to work on them every day.  That's why I say it doesn't matter how long it takes you to complete a project.

Anyway, this is going to be a beauty when it's done and I'll do my best to get an accurate photo of the colors.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Unappealing Afghan

I never really noticed before that the Swedish weaving I much prefer to do is full of deeper colors of yarn.  I've been working on an afghan for the last year that is pretty but the pattern has pastel colors and I've realized it's become rather boring for me to work on....if it's taken a year, I guess that explains it.

My sister-in-law, Faye, and cousin-in-law, Donna, come to my home on Tuesday afternoons and Donna seems to have reached the same conclusion I have.  We don't really want to keep working on our present what do we do?  Both of them are about half done which means we've put a lot of work, not to mention expense, into these projects so we can't just toss them aside.  Yesterday I reached the decision that I would cut off both unfinished ends of the afghan, making it a lap afghan.  The cut-off pieces would make 2 nice table runners later on.  I know this is drastic but a lap afghan is still a nice present for someone and I can begin another project that will make me a lot happier.

I've never heard of a Swedish weaver doing this before but I'll bet I'm not the first.  I've never seen an ugly Swedish weaving project and the one I'm tired of is very pretty but I'm getting bored with it.  

I'll post a photo of my new "lap afghan" when it's complete...and then I know exactly what my next project will be.  I bought 2 skeins of the prettiest variegated turquoise yarn and I want to make a couple of table runners with them.

Sometimes we have to call it a day for whatever reason.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Loom Spun Newborn Hats

In our Swedish weaving group at the Florida park, some of the ladies prefer to do other crafts and this one caught my interest.  It requires a small plastic loom (available at Joann's Fabrics) and takes very little time or yarn to complete a tiny newborn hat for donating to your local hospitals.  I used some of my leftover yarns so the cost is minimal, too.

The loom is similar to what we used to do as children using the wooden spindle from thread and putting nails in the top to wind our yarn around.  Out the bottom came a knitted coil that we could use for whatever...I'm not sure I ever used the ones I made for anything, though.  With the new plastic loom (different sizes available), it's really easy to make these little would use a larger one for larger hats.

I just like to have a simple craft on the go that I can turn to instead of always doing the Swedish weaving.  

Joann's Fabrics also has a little doodad that is supposed to make perfect pom poms but I found it cumbersome so I used my own method of winding yarn around my fingers, tying it in the center, and clipping the ends to make a very good pom pom.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Just A Note

One of the ladies in our Swedish weaving group came to me with a problem.  She couldn't center one of her patterns and couldn't understand why.  I looked it over and also couldn't find the cause...this irritated me no end because I knew it must be staring me in the face but I couldn't see it.

We tried for a while until I got fed up with it and suggested she bring it to our next get-together so we could have some of the other weavers look at it.  She did and, sure enough, one of the ladies solved the problem.

This is the value of joining a Swedish weaving club.  What one person can't solve, another one can.  We also learn new techniques from each other to further our craft.

I've been kind of lazy this winter and haven't put in much time on my own project.  I took time out to learn how to make infant toques on a little plastic loom I found at Joann's Fabrics.  It's nice to have these little projects to occasionally turn to because making a Swedish weaving afghan is a lengthy process.

Swedish weaving is still my craft of choice and I do enjoy it more than any other but my Florida winters don't leave me a lot of time to spend on it.  I do more Swedish weaving when I'm back home in Canada for the summer.

I'm sure the afghan I'm presently working on will be finished quickly once I get back home but, for now, the Florida sunshine and warmth offers more interesting choices for me to do.