Feeling Loopy

Here in North Carolina, the high daily temperature has been pretty steady around 95 for weeks now. Just the thought of wool makes me sweat. Last time on our weaving feature, I showed how successful even a novice like me can be weaving little hand towels with our Garden 10 cotton yarn. Today, I’m continuing the cotton trend with a different yarn, Cotton Supreme. Cotton Supreme is  a worsted weight, super-soft cotton, awesome for knitting, crochet, and weaving alike.

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I’ve been itching to try out some other techniques from the Weaver’s Idea Book, and decided on “loops”. Jane has a great little tutorial on making loops, or pile in your weaving.  But first I had to decide how these loops might be functional in a piece of weaving. I decided that in Cotton Supreme, an all-over loops pattern would feel really great on the face as a washcloth, or could also work well as a dusting cloth.

To start, I made a few calcuations. The suggested sett for a worsted weight yarn is 8 epi. I decided to warp on a 10 dent reed instead, ensuring an extra sturdy piece of fabric. If I’m going to be using this for face scrubbing or dusting, I want to be sure it’s plenty solid.

I decided to aim for a finished size of 9″ square, not including fringe, so I warped 91/2″ wide, assuming a 1/2″ shrinkage. At 10 epi x 95 ends, that’s a requirement of just 53 yards of Cotton Supreme. It occurred to me that I could make at least 2 washcloths at this size from just 2 skeins!

I also planned to have fringe not only at either end, but also at the sides. For this, I needed a couple of floating warps, something for the weft yarn to pass around creating extra length for the side fringe. I could have gone about this a couple of different ways. Because I did not plan on tying my fringe, I wanted to keep the side loops intact throughout the woven piece. For each floating warp, I tied a piece of strong cotton (leftover Garden 10 from our last project!) around the back beam, and then passed it through the outermost slot on each side of the heddle. When I tied the warp onto the front beam, I also tied on the floating warps.

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After a few picks with scrap yarn, I was all set to weave loops. Every time I made a pass with my shuttle, I was sure to go around those floating warp threads to catch extra yarn for my side fringe.

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As you can see for the first washcloth, I used color 611 Turquoise for the warp, and then coordinating 617 Seafoam for warp. For the second, I reversed the colors. Because of the loops, more yarn is required for weft than warp, but 2 skeins of yarn was plenty for these 2 washcloths. My pattern was 2 picks of plain weave, 1 row of loops. Although a little tedious, the loops came easier every time I worked a row of them. For the second washcloth, I decided to do 3 picks of plain weave between rows of loops so I could be doing the loops coming from the right hand side of the work every time, rather than having to get up every few rows to work a down-heddle row of loops.

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At the beginning, end and sides of the piece, I added hemstitching to keep the fringe in place.

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This project went so quickly! After completing each piece, I simply cut it from the loom. The hemstitching held things in place until I made it over to my sewing machine. For extra insurance that all those edges stayed in place, I did a simple zig-zag stitch around the perimeter.

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A rotary cutter and cutting mat made for easy and even trimming of fringe:

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I really like the texture on the backside of the weaving too!

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After sewing and trimming fringe, the washcloths took a trip through the washing machine and dryer. As with most weaving projects, these really came to life after washing! They didn’t shrink in width, but shrank in height by about 1/2″. The loops kind of settled into place and the pieces softened up even more.

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At this sett, 10 epi, a bigger version of these would make an excellent bathroom rug. Or made to the right size, this same fabric could work really well as a cover for one of those hardwood floor brooms.

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What else could loops work well for? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Join me next time for a lightweight summer scarf project!

 

Sunday Swatch – Cirrus Cotton

Today’s Sunday Swatch is in Cirrus Cotton.

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I know, we just did Free Pattern Friday in Cirrus Cotton (50g/109yds), but I found it inspirational!  The multis and the solids in this light and fuzzy yarn coordinate so well that it got me thinking about color work.  A baby blanket in a bulky and soft yarn seems like a good combo.

Based on this color selection, I’m thinking about a landscape – a variegated green grass with a blue sky and creamy clouds.  Maybe add a yellow sun with an embroidered face for extra charm.  Something bright and sunny for the nursery!

Happy crafting!

Free Pattern Friday – Ladder Scarf in Cirrus Cotton

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

Ladder Scarf Cirrus Cotton wrapped blog

When is it okay to drop a stitch?  When you’re making today’s free pattern, the one ball Ladder Scarf in Cirrus Cotton!

Ladder Scarf Cirrus Cotton blogCirrus Cotton (50g/109yds) is a soft, fuzzy cotton with a unique construction that makes it downy soft.  Its extreme “touchability” makes it a favorite for baby projects, but we love it for grownup crochet and knit garments, too.

In this pattern, working some stitches through the back loop locks them into place, so that when the stitches are dropped to create the horizontal ladders, the scarf keeps its structure.  Drop those stitches without fear!

Happy knitting!

Throwback Thursday – Spring Snowflake Cardi

It’s Throwback Thursday!

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This little cutie is wearing the Spring Snowflake Cardi.

Originally, this took about 300 yards of Morning Glory Cotton (a cotton/acrylic blend) on a size 6 needle.  We’re recommending several other machine washable options for this charming baby and toddler cardi.

DM_Morning_Glory Sparkling Snowflake Sweater_cu300Lightweight Little Bird, Bamboo Pop, and Uptown Baby Sport would all be good matches.  These yarns also have greater yardage per ball than the original yarn, making this sweater potentially a great one ball project!

Uptown Baby Sport has some really great pastels and kid-friendly color options.  You might even try doubling up Little Bird or Bamboo Pop solid and multi for an interesting color color combo.  Hmm… I feel a Sunday Swatch idea coming on.

Happy knitting!

Afghan Knitalong – Block Nine

Block Nine is live! 9-Best-Buds-block_blog_100

How are we doing, gang?  I loved cables, but I’m rarin’ to go on a new technique!

This time, Amy introduces knitting in the round!  Today’s counterpane block “Best Buds” goes from the center out, using the lace techniques and M1 increases we’ve already learned from previous blocks.

Amy shares this helpful video on starting your square on DPNs (double-pointed needles) and increasing as you work out.  It’s not something we’ve done before in this afghan, but it’s a very useful trick! We’ll also be sharing videos this month on weaving in ends, and on other ways to work center-out. I’m grabbing my DPNs and casting on.  It’s so exciting to move in a new direction – literally! See you next time!

Sunday Swatch – Llamalini

Today’s Sunday Swatch is in Llamalini color 106 Lotus.

SS Llamalini blogYes, it looked like a smiley face, so I had to take a picture of it like that because I am a big old dork.  But I can’t help it, I’m smiling too.  I got to knit with Llamalini!   This particular swatch is the stitch pattern from this week’s Throwback Thursday, the Zig Zag Lace Scarf.  It worked up nicely on US Size 7 (4.5mm) needles and was quite an easy pattern to keep track of.

Llamalini (50g/109yds) is a blend of linen, royal llama, and silk bourette that’s just as decadent as it sounds.  The linen gives it a little drape, and the silk bourette provides a tweedy texture for added visual interest.  The royal llama is there for extra fabulousness.

Crooked Dolphin Tee by NytateLlamalini is featured prominently in our Contrarian Shawls e-book, but I also want to show off a free pattern designed for it.  The Diagonals Tee is a popular design with an interesting yoke.  The only sewing is stitching up the underarms, which you can see are quite short.  Raveler Nytate (real name, Latisha) did a great version of this top (pictured right), and in fact is doing a KAL/class on it at her local shop, Sheep’s Clothing in Kennewick, WA.  Nice work!

Have a great weekend, and happy knitting!

 

Free Pattern Friday – Inspired Dolman

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

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For the 4th of July, how about something with a little sparkle?  Today, we feature the Inspired Dolman in Cotton Gold and Garden 5.

Cotton Gold (25g/200yds) is a lace weight yarn with plenty of pizzazz.  Strung with a generous number of sequins, it’s great for dramatic projects that really catch the eye.  Here it’s paired with Garden 5 (50g/175yds) cotton thread in a similar color so that it knits up easily into a more substantial garment.  Several rows in the pattern repeat are knitted just with Cotton Gold, though, for an almost lacy texture.

Inspired Dolman 10_blogThis top is meant to fit with a few inches of positive ease and is sized from a 34″ to a 54″ bust.  The stitch pattern is a snap.  All in all, it’s a great piece to add some sparkle and punch to your wardrobe.

Happy Independence Day to all our American friends – and happy knitting every day to everyone!