Woodsman’s Seed Stitch Scarf

Oh the weather outside is frightful
But this yarn is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Another row
Another row
Another row!

~Borrowed from Pinterest~

It seems that winter is already upon us. A few days ago, it snowed and the white stuff was everywhere! We went from warm summer to icy winter without much autumn.

Instead of knitting a hat, I have found myself knitting, guess what, yet another seed stitch scarf! I am knitting this scarf out of the handspun Bonkers Fibers 100% Merino Superwash colorway Sea Jewels.

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It spun up pretty quickly and easily. I think its supposed to look like different colors of seaweed with rich light and dark greens and a sort of rusty reddish brown. I like the way the colors are moving through this scarf too. It looks very attractive, maybe like something a man might wear.

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I used size US 10 single point metal needles. I like wooden knitting needles better cuz these metal ones feel too slick; wooden needles are more grippy.

I am a bit proud of the fact that I managed to knit this scarf without either of the metal single point needles sliding out of my knitting loops. I would have had to rip out and start all over again since I can never manage to get the stinkin’ stitches back on the needles without them getting all twisted up, no matter how hard I try.

But even so, I still managed to finish the scarf. I started in early October and finished in early November. As long as it took, I thank God I am not attempting to earn a living knitting scarves, handspun or not. I would probably starve to death!

At least it looks nice.

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I Finished the Handspun Scarf!

A ferocious concentration and a fanatical execution is what you need to finish strong.

~Gary Ryan Blair~

Yesterday, I bound off my Waves of Deep Sea handspun scarf. Yay!

LOL, it only took me almost an entire month to knit up a simple scarf. I am not a great knitter. But at least I got it done. It helped a lot that it was from my favorite yarn line; my own handspun!

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I think it looks fairly nice!

I am cautiously considering making a matching hat in the same colorway. I think I have some more of Traci Bunkers’ Deep Sea colorway that I can spin up. I love a good slouch hat, but that takes up at least two skeins.

Things that make ya go hmmmmm!

In the meantime, I have to finish up that handspun Romney Shrug. It’s still on the loom since I find it is difficult to weave the center section since holding my arms in a raised static position to fiddle with the weft hurts my shoulders and back a lot.

If I can just do a little of it each day, I should be able to get it done and off the loom eventually. But I find myself dreading it. I need to focus on looking forward to the end result, and just slog through it. That center diamond part is the really hard part.

LOL, Whatever gets ya through it, right?!!

Having a Bad Head Cold is Not Stopping Me from Making Peace

Sleep is the Swiss army knife of health. When sleep is deficient, there is sickness and disease. When deep sleep is abundant, there is vitality and health.

~Matthew Walker~

I have been sick with a nasty head cold for about a week now. Sleep is a fleeting thing when you are coughing a lot through the night. Of course that makes any type of respiratory problem worse.

So far I have been somewhat successful in keeping this stuff from getting into my lungs and turning into either bronchitis or pneumonia. I may check in with my doctor soon if this doesn’t clear up.

My forays out into the world have been few since I’d rather not give people a gift that keeps on giving.

I started on a little project today that I refer to in my mind as “Make Peace Yarn.”

Its for a moody person that I know doesn’t like me well, but as I cannot conceive of what I may have done that may have caused offense, I decided to respond in love and kindness rather than allowing poor behavior to dictate how I will react.

Responding in kind would only make for more anger and hate between us. That is not the type of person I want to be, nor is it the type of person God calls me to be.

This person has many qualities that I admire, including cardweaving on an unusual loom that they built themselves. I wish I was more like this person with their great problem solving skills, fearlessness, ability to adapt, and amazing tendency to do almost anything incredibly well.

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I can only hope that this person will enjoy working with the yarn I craft for them. Even if they choose to destroy it, my conscience will have more serenity knowing that I made the effort to try to create peace. I am eager to see how any weaving this person does with my handspun gift yarn turns out.

I started on combing and blending to make a tightly spun and 2 ply worsted yarn. So far its looking pretty good. I am hoping it will continue to go well. I want to create at least 4 colors total.

We will see if peace breaks out and wins the day.

Surprise, Its a Scarf!

“The whole designing process, as far as I am concerned, must start with the finished garment and has to work its way backwards.”

~Bernat Klein~

I had this picture in my head of some colorful woven scarves.

I wanted to weave a few scarves out of my handspun yarns on my Rapid Warp Rigid Heddle loom. But the yarn I chose is too stretchy and got all messed up when advancing the warp. So I gave up on trying to weave it.

Instead, since I wanted to work with my own handspun so bad, I find myself knitting it. The picture in my head changed since I could not weave this yarn. God help me, I am knitting again!

It only took me about 15 attempts and about 3 days before I gave up on knitting a simple ladder lace scarf. I couldn’t manage to stick to such a basic pattern without making mistakes over and over! I did that a lot!

The only way I can fix my mistakes correctly is to rip it all out and cast on again. Otherwise my fixes need fixing.

And people wonder why I would ever dislike knitting.

So the lace idea had to go. The picture of what this scarf looked like had to change again.

My new pattern idea was to do a simple seed stitch scarf with a little bit of garter stitch at the beginning, the end and on each side for every row.

At 1 point after doing it enough, something clicked in my head after only 1 time of having to completely rip it all out and start over. Then my brain quit getting confused and seemed to understand what to do.

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On http://www.Ravelry.com, I am known as herbalsheila. On my project page on Ravelry this project is called Waves of Deep Sea scarf.

So knitting this scarf is not as bad as it could be. But I still like weaving better than knitting. Knitting is so slow! Weaving is way faster!

I am making progress. I am resigned to knitting it now.

Se la vi! That’s just the way it goes!

Blended Colors for Tapestry Yarns

The soul needs friendship; the heart needs love.

~Ed Habib~

After Jim died, I know I lost a dear close friend as well as my sweetheart. I no longer have even a few close friends as they have passed away as well, and I feel somewhat bereft of love as well as friendship of people that I feel I can trust. I have had dear friends that I trusted also pass away so they are gone too.

Even though my mind knows Jim is in heaven, my heart just wants him back. My need for him is twofold, but I am forced to struggle to learn to build my life anew.

I am still learning.

To that end, I am beginning to have courage to attempt some new things, stuff that my creative spirit has always longed to do.

I have been playing around with creating single yarns for tapestry weaving. I have been fascinated by this style of weaving for a long time, both the classical style of mille fleur of the Middle Ages, some of the modern styles of tapestry weaving, Navajo rug weaving and Middle Eastern styles of tapestry rug weaving.

Not all that long ago, before Jim passed away, I had purchased some dyed Lincoln locks of wool. A few were hand painted, some outright dipped in a dye bath and other locks looked spattered with different colors.

In blending up some of these locks on my combs to create a true worsted, I found to my surprise that as long as the locks were all thoroughly blended, one homogenous color would be the result, even if there were 3 colors down the length of the lock or if the center of the lock of wool remained white and undyed.

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I have been attempting some blends of colored fibers of Romney that I have dyed. Some are based on my ideas, and others are based on ideas for color blending from my students.

Another WordPress friend, Jen of JenJoyce Designs is posting her tweedy blends on blog Yarnings. I thought to support her adventures by posting what I have so far.

I Love Weaving, But I Dislike Knitting

We all live under the same sky.
But we do not all share the same horizons. Always remember to use what talents you possess…

For the woods would be very silent if only the birds that sang there were those that sang best.

Author unknown

Its nice to know that I don’t have to be the best to make something beautiful or at least presentable. I just need to move forward and get to the making!

Every time I warp up this Rapid Warp Rigid Heddle loom, I end up learning something, even if its how the yarn and fiber I chose to spin doesn’t work well on this particular loom.

Early in the wee hours of the night on Monday morning, I woke up at 2am. My brain was working again, coming up with ideas about how to weave and what yarns to use to do it, and itching to do more weaving.

I wanted to make a series of woven scarves out of a lot of handspun 100% Merino superwash randomly hand dyed by Traci Bunkers of Bonkers Fibers. I love her colorways and its always an adventure in seeing how and where the colors might pool!

However, the warp was so stretchy that no matter how hard I tried, I could not get a consistent plain weave or consistent tension on the warp. When advancing the warp, even just a little, my tension would be horridly messed up and my fell line would be waving up and down. After fighting with it throughout the day and only weaving about 4 inches, I gave up and unwove what little I had done and carefully unwound my handspun off of the loom.

Icame to the conclusion that attempting to weave this fiber and yarn was not meant to be on this weaving loom, though it does make an incredible knitting yarn. I do not knit very well.

I can knit up simplistic things like a knitted scarf all right as a stockinette or garter stitch pieces, or a simple type of ladder lace. But shaping as some sort of sweater is very confusing and difficult. I find it infuriating and frustrating since my stitch count is inevitably off by one or two stitches, either more or less and in spite of my efforts, I can’t figure out why.

The only way to fix it that I have found that works for me is to rip the entire thing out and start all over again.

Then I am faced with the struggle to cast on the correct number of stitches according to a pattern, even a simple one, where the tension on the cast on stitches is not too tight but very slightly loose yet consistent.

After struggling to cast on the quota minimum number of times, which is probably somewhere between 12 to 15 attempts, I want to set both the yarn and needles on fire and roast me up some marshmallows! Arrgh!

I think I will make another rug, only not one that is so long. I have some more of the 4 ply iron gray weft, but not as much as before. I can also try to use some of this 3 ply yarn spun from the same fleece, perhaps as another doubled up weft?! Or could this one work well without doubling it up for weft?

Things that make ya go “Hmmmmmmm!”

I also want to work up an alpaca scarf. Not sure how that will work. But at least the alpaca isn’t stretchy. Its pretty nice stuff, but it should stay put pretty well and behave itself, like the Romney warp and cotton warps both did.

Here’s hoping it will all work out.

Being Creative and Producing a Rug

No one can arrive from being talented alone. God gives talent; work transforms talent into genius.

~Anna Pavlova~

I don’t know that I am a genius or all that talented. But somebody, Ray Edwards I think, told me how to bring out my own creativity.

He defined creativity by looking at the Great Creator. He quoted Genesis. “The Creator of all things created us in His image.” We are the products of God’s awesome creativity. So we can own our own creativity, given to us by God.

Ray Edwards says that there are 5 steps to unleashing your own creativity. He calls them the 5 Rs.

1. Recreate/Recreation

Go back to your child’s state of mind with its pretend time, curiosity, and adventurous spirit. Have fun and just play.

2. Rest

Don’t work hard at playing, but take time to be still. Do some napping, and make sure to get some deep slow wave sleep and REM sleep.

Deep slow wave sleep is when our brains catalogue everything that happens to us and puts those events from short term memory into long term memory.

REM sleep is the dreaming state that takes these new memories that have been catalogued and adds meaning and memory pathways that allows us to access those memories for the rest of our lives.

3. Receive

We must allow ourselves to receive the wave of creativity that comes out from these new memories and pathways. New ideas may come popping out in your head. But this cannot happen without the first 2 steps.

4. Record

It helps tremendously to write diwn these new ideas, even if you must think about it more or if you do not act on them right away. Don’t let them be forgotten in the flotsam of living your daily life.

5. Respond

Try doing these new ideas! Just do it! Dive in and flesh out the details of how and use different techniques to make things work out successfully. Try out different things as you go to see what may work better.

According to Mr. Edwards, if you follow these 5 Rs of Recreation, Resting, Receiving, Recording, and Responding, you will find yourself percolating with new ideas, and your creativity will be bursting out of you.

I found I was already doing these things after my husband passed away. Without all of the heavy stress of taking care of someone else on a daily basis and not sleeping well, this process was already happening to me. But Mr. Edwards helped define the process in more concrete terms that made sense.

I came up with this idea of having a rug that I have spun up from raw sheep fleece that I have processed dyed and woven. I wanted to have a sturdy rug that could last for years to be used under my equipment when I do public demos to help protect it from the damp ground. This rug idea was yet another burst of creativity.

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I really like it! I can’t help but feel a bit smug about having made it from scratch.

After cutting it off the loom yesterday, I took it out for a test run at an impromptu public demo I did last night at Celtic Music Night downtown.

Everybody who saw my new rug wants to take it home!

So maybe there is hope for me being creative in my own way yet.