Santa Fe, New Mexico

Over the weekend, we went to Santa Fe, New Mexico for the Santa Fe Indian Market. The 95 year old market features over 1,100 Native artists from the US and Canada. It was really great to see all of the handmade items from such talented artists. The weaving and beadwork were indescribable. I was impressed at how friendly and willing to discuss their work the artists were. It was a great opportunity! 

Santa Fe, New Mexico / warporweft.com

We flew to Albuquerque on Thursday afternoon and spent Friday driving to Taos and checking out the sites along the way. We stopped at the Santuario de Chimayo and then took the High Road to Taos. The landscape was incredible and the skies are unbelievable. I forgot to look up the elevation before we went, but immediately knew we were at altitude - 7,100+ feet. If you go, make sure to drink plenty of water between the altitude and the dry climate, it's easy to become dehydrated.    

New Mexico Landscape / warporweft.com
New Mexico / warporweft.com
New Mexico / warporweft.com
New Mexico Landscape / warporweft.com
New Mexico Landscape / warporweft.com
Rio Grande River in New Mexico / warporweft.com

This was our first visit to New Mexico, first time driving on Route 66 and first time seeing the Rio Grande. In Santa Fe, we went to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, which had a variety of work that I'd never seen before and some history about her life. It was a great vacation!

Seattle Fashion Exhibit Round Up

The fashion exhibits at Seattle museums are unbelievable right now! From traditional to unconventional, there's a bit of awe and inspiration for everyone. Here's my roundup:

Fashion Books of Seattle / warporweft.com

Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair at the Bellevue Arts Museum     

Everything about this exhibit is phenomenal - the history, design, construction, embroidery, beadwork. I couldn't get enough. The exhibit features about 40 designs from the 50 year history of the Ebony Fashion Fair and also profiles Eunice W. Johnson, co-founder of Johnson Publishing Company and publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines who was the visionary director and producer of the Fair. At the Bellevue Arts Museum, but closes this weekend - August 14, 2016 is the last day before it moves to Washington, DC.

World of WearableArt at the EMP   

This exhibition was so good that I bought TWO books. The World of Wearable Art is New Zealand's largest art show and asks designers from all over the world to take “art off the wall and adorn [it] onto the human form.” I went in with no expectations and was pleasantly surprised at how obsessed I am with some of the pieces. The exhibit can get a bit crowded, but make sure you take time to look at each of the pieces thoroughly AND to watch the full video. It's worth it.

Check out the main website from the headquarters in Wellington, NZ if you can't make it to the EMP - World of WearableArt

Mood Indigo: Textiles from Around the World at the Asian Art Museum

This isn't a traditional fashion exhibit as it focuses on the use of indigo dye in fabric and the creation of fabric. The featured textiles are a sampling of how indigo is used around the world and includes many household textiles in addition to wearable pieces. I was pleasantly surprised to identify a Lee's Surrender handwoven piece in the collection. I am planning to go back to this exhibit soon. I need to see it again! At the SAM Asian Art Museum through October 9, 2016.

 

Head to any or all of these (I recommend all) as they are great for fiber and non-fiber people alike.

Have a great weekend!

Handwoven Cashmere Scarf

Here's a look at my first completed handwoven cowl scarf! I am honestly in disbelief at how well it turned out. I am often really hard on myself when it comes to the things I make...especially when it comes to weaving, but I am going to wear this scarf with pride. And it is SO soft. This was also the first time I wove with 100% cashmere and it was a treat. I am going to try a few variations on this scarf in the coming weeks and, if they turn out well, I will list them for sale on this website.

Handwoven Cashmere Scarf / warporweft.com

If you are interested in making this yourself, the pattern is Monk's Belt with a black 10/2 perle cotton warp and a purple 100% cashmere weft. The perle cotton is a little bit stiff, but maintains the structure of the scarf. If you are looking for a better drape to the scarf, you may want to try a different warp. The sett is 24 ends per inch. I wet finished it using Soak Wash in Celebration, which is really nice because you don't have to rinse the fabric, and let it dry flat. 

French Seam on Cashmere Handwoven Scarf / warporweft.com

Then I sewed it together with a French seam.  Instructions on how to make a French seam HERE. It's never too early to start preparing for winter with great handwoven accessories (especially because summer barely came to Seattle this year!) and this is a favorite.

Invisible Reweaving Book

It's been such a busy month! We had a bunch of visitors in town and are finally getting back to our real life. We also went to the US Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon over the Fourth of July weekend. It was a really great experience and inspiring to see so many people living their dreams. If you ever have a chance to go to an Olympic trials, do it! If you go to Eugene, bring plenty of sunscreen and a poncho.

Reweaving book / warporweft.com

We stopped in Portland on the way to Eugene and I raided the weaving section of Powell's Books. You can't beat old weaving books for instruction and examples. The reweaving books from Fabricon Co. are really impressive. If you are wondering what reweaving is, the one sentence explanation is a method of repairing woven fabric using threads from another part of the fabric. The booklet comes with a set of old tools (good thing I recently had a tetanus shot), sample fabrics to practice on and tips for finding jobs in reweaving. The letter from the company promises "profit and success" along with an ad for Magni-Focuser New 3-D Binocular Magnifier. It also has the name and address of the original owner of the books, which is pretty cool. I love old books and I can't wait to try out this technique.

Whale Watching

I'm in the middle of a bunch of projects that I can't wait to share soon. In the mean time, we went whale watching off of San Juan Island in Washington last week! It was a really great experience (even thought 12+ hours on a boat was a lot). We saw about a dozen Southern Resident Killer Whales from J Pod. 

orcas san juan island, washington / warporweft.com
killer wales / warporweft.com
orca whales / warporweft.com

There are only about 80 Southern Resident Killer Whales in the world and they survive mostly on a diet of salmon. One of the whales in J pod, Granny, is estimated to be over 105 years old and is the oldest killer whale in the world. The baby Orcas were adorable and it was so much fun to watch them play.

whale tale / warporweft.com
orca tale / warporweft.com
another orca whale tale / warporweft.com
whale waving hello / warporweft.com
orca off of San Juan Island, Washington / warporweft.com

We left from Seattle on the Victoria Clipper Ferry early in the morning on our way to Friday Harbor. The boat travels on the east side of Whidbey Island on the way there and on the west side on the way back. The whales were close to San Juan Island, so we got to spend a little over an hour watching them. We had an hour and a half in Friday Harbor for lunch and to tour the Whale Museum.

Seals / warporweft.com

There were also plenty of birds and seals near San Juan Island and also in Deception Pass. It is amazing how well the seals blend into the rocks.

 

Baby Bear Sweater

I've been eyeing the Lamb's Ear Cardigan kit by Appalachian Baby Design for at least two years, but the kit is a bit pricey and my friends have been having babies in groups (we welcomed six newborns in the first two weeks of March!), so how could I make one baby this adorable sweaters and not the others? Finally, a close family member is pregnant AND there are no other babies on the immediate horizon, so I knew right away that this would be perfect. I modified the sweater to knit the body bottom up in one piece so I didn't have to join it later. I also made a series of other modifications like rounding the ears, which is noted below along with notes about things I found a bit unclear in the pattern.

Read More

North Broad Cowl Scarf Pattern

In the mid 2000s, I started making a cowl scarf that I really liked. My friends soon wanted them, too, and encouraged me to sell them on etsy. I did that for several years before taking a break from etsy. As I packed one of the scarves for our recent vacation to Banff in the Canadian Rockies, I realized that I really like this scarf, so I should turn it into a pattern to share with you.

North Broad Cowl Scarf Pattern / warporweft.com

At the time, drop stitch scarves were really popular, but I didn't know the technique, so I created the pattern without an actual drop stitch. It is a nice faux drop stitch and is easy even for beginning knitters. More advanced knitters can knit this in an hour or two, which makes it great for a quick gift or a last minute fashion accessory.

I've knit the North Broad Cowl Scarf with Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande, which has a nice feel to it and is pictured above. I've also made this with Lion Brand Homespun in tons of colors. Corinthian is my favorite colorway, but I've also knit it with Candy Apple, Harvest, Grape, Cream, Golden, Lagoon, Parfait, Apple Green and Black. The nice thing about Homespun is that you can easily wash and dry the scarf in your washing machine and dryer if you put it in a garment bag.

Find the pattern:

North Broad Cowl Scarf in my shop

North Broad Cowl Scarf on Ravelry

Knit Collage Ribbed Hat Reprised

The original hat may have had an accident with the washing machine, which led me to remake it. Don't judge...it was in the middle of a moth infestation and I was on the third straight day of doing laundry. Anyway, I really love this hat. The yarn is a great mix of wool and sparkle. It's fashionable and fairly warm.

knit collage yarn ribbed hat / warporweft.com

I love the thick and thin yarn. The colorway is Day Dreamer by Knit Collage. The original blog post about the hat is through this link.

UPDATE: Here's the pattern:

Using a US size 13 circular needle that is 16 inches long, cast on 40 stitches and knit one, purl one until the length measures approximately 9 inches. Please note that It is important to make sure that you have an even number of stitches if you are knitting in the round because you want your rows to line up. Then knit two together for the next row. Break the yarn and pull it through the remaining stitches.  

I went with a pompom and it really added that special something to this hat. I used the rest of the skein from the same Knit Collage yarn as the hat. I used a large card from a mailing (5 inches / 12.7 cm) to wrap the yarn around when making the pompom because my hand wasn't big enough. If you need guidance, watch the video through this link, but note that the Knit Collage yarn is much much thicker, so you do NOT  have to wrap it the 100 times that she suggests.

Hat with pompom / warporweft.com

When you attach the pompom to the hat, you may need to attach it in more than in the pure middle of the hat for stability. Adding a tie down piece of yarn about a half inch to an inch out from the center on two sides helped me anchor the pompom, so it doesn't move all over.

I can't wait to wear it. Have a great weekend!

My Top 3 Must Have Weaving Books

I am working on a longer post about how to get started in weaving because many people have been asking. I thought I'd start by sharing the weaving books that I rely on the most. Learning to weave is a bit like teaching yourself to play the violin. You can do it and it will eventually turn out great, but there will definitely be struggles along the way...and the lack of readily available, helpful information will make you want to pull your hair out. 

3 must have weaving books / warporweft.com

Keep in mind that because the popularity of weaving fizzled a bit in the 1980s to the 2000s, second hand bookstores, estate sales and amazon may be your best bet for finding helpful weaving books. (this is also why my books look so beat up!).  Most weaver's guilds also keep a library of books that members can borrow. You can find your local weaver's guild through this link - local weaver's guilds.

Here are my top weaving books in no particular order:

The Key to Weaving by Mary Black

This book provides information on a range of weaving topics that are great for beginning weavers. The subjects include warping the loom (in case you are brand new to weaving, warping is how to set up the loom), how to correctly wind a bobbin, how to read a weaving pattern, different weaving structures, how to finish a piece and much more. I refer to this book a lot because it has great instructions. The descriptions are helpful and there are often actual photos of pieces in addition to drawings. The forward indicates that the book is designed as a textbook and the lessons should be woven in order, but I don't use it that way. It would be interesting to weave straight through the book. If you do it, let me know.

The Key to Weaving / warporweft.com
 

A Handweaver's Pattern Book by Marguerite Porter Davison  

This book includes a very short description or history of each type of weaving pattern - i.e., twill, Swedish lace, overshot, etc. - and then gets down to the meat of the weaving structures. It offers patterns without any instruction, so you will need to know how to warp the loom, use tabby, add a selvedge, etc. But if you follow Warp or Weft, you'll know that I weave from patterns in this book A LOT. I could probably weave forever on patterns and variations of the patterns in the Davison book alone. Some examples of patterns from the Davison book: Overshot Snail's Trail and Cat's PawGertrude's Fancy, Swedish Lace, Monk's Belt. My advice about this book is to make sure that you do a draw down and a sample because the patterns don't always line up exactly with the photos in the book. I learned it the hard way, so you don't have to!

Note: The green Davison is the original book. They are now selling an orange book. I've heard it is not the same, but have not seen it yet. Be aware of this when you are buying the Davison book.

Must have weaving books / warporweft.com
 

The Techniques of Rug Weaving by Peter Collingwood

Even if you aren't specifically interested in weaving rugs, the Collingwood book offers excellent tips about weaving and finishing techniques. I find this book incredibly useful even though I have never woven a rug. It has great descriptions and drawings. I am especially drawn to the section on using multiple weft colors and the many different ways to interchange the strands of yarn. When I flip through it and see the drawings, it makes me want to try new things on the loom. 

Best weaving books / warporweft.com
 

I hope you find these books as helpful as I do! Weaving is a bit different for everyone, so go ahead and share the top weaving books that you love in the comments below.

Happy weaving!

Crackle Twill

When I started planning a new weaving project last week, I noticed that there was enough warp left on my table loom from the crackle sampler I made in the fall to complete another project. I couldn't find the exact threading for the original project, so I went with a 2/2 twill when weaving the weft (if you don't know what that is, it means that you lift two shafts at a time while two shafts stay down - i.e., 1/2; 1/4; 3/4; 2/3). The pattern that emerged was pleasantly surprising.

Crackle Twill Weaving / warporweft.com

The warp is 10/2 perle cotton and the weft is Harrisville Shetland. I tried the orange weft, but didn't love it and switched back to the darker blue. I think the blue looks much nicer. I was a little nervous about how it was going to turn out because I couldn't get the tabby to beat in hard enough. However, after soaking it for an hour, the beat looks great.  

Current Work in Progress

Today I'm working on this piece. It's a pretty simple knit and the yarn feels really nice. I am making notes along the way and will put the pattern in my shop when I finalize it. I am making a spring resolution (that's a thing, right?) to finish all of my projects and to share them here on Warp or Weft.

Knitting / warporweft.com

On another note, I can't get enough of the scenery here in Washington.  I was pleasantly surprised that March is the La Conner Daffodil Festival (the link is to the bloom map. When the flowers are lit up, the field is in bloom). With hundreds of acres of daffodils, I couldn't resist, so we went over the weekend. La Conner is about an hour and a half drive North from downtown Seattle. We went to the Tulip Festival last April and, I have to say, the Daffodil Festival was equally as beautiful, but with a small fraction of the crowd so it was much more pleasant.  

Mt. Baker made an appearance and we also saw a lot of hawks. There were thousands of geese and a few dozen swans. It was incredible. We ate at Anelia's Kitchen and Stage where the pierogis are homemade and worth every calorie.

 

Finished Yellow Brick Road Cardi

You may recall that quite some time ago, my friend, Sarah, sent me yarn from Hickory Hills Farm in Nelson, WI to knit something for her. The yarn was obviously wool, but came unlabeled and without any information, so I used the wraps per inch to figure out it was worsted weight yarn and weighed each skein to figure out the approximate yardage. Luckily, it was enough to make the Yellow Brick Road Cardi.

Yellow Brick Road Cardigan / warporweft.com

This pattern is written well in step-by-step instructions. I found the pattern to be well written and easy to follow. The author recently updated the pattern to include links to the necessary techniques. I don't know that it is great for a first knitting project, but if you feel up to mastering short rows, picking up sleeves, etc., go for it!

yellow brick road cardi knit / warporweft.com

Sarah lives in Wisconsin where the winters are very cold, so I modified the pattern to extend the sleeves from 3/4 length to full length. I continued with the decreases in the same manner as the pattern for the top of the sleeve until there were 40 stitches on the needles, then I added the ribbing. I omitted the pleat in the sleeves because it wasn't needed with the full length sleeves. I like how it turned out and, because the wool in this yarn is heavy, it makes more sense to have full length sleeves. 

On another note, Ihave a very difficult time finding buttons for my projects. Do you have a favorite supplier?