Knit Flix

Friday, July 18, 2014


It's Hand Knit Friday! What hand knits do you have on today?

HKF looked sketchy with the hot & muggy weather earlier this week, but fortunately it's cooler so I can wear these cotton/wool blend socks.

Primavera socks
Project details on Ravelry

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Friday, July 11, 2014


It's Hand Knit Friday! What hand knits do you have on today?

I'm wearing Zingibers.

Zingiber socks
Free knitting pattern

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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Gamp warp

The next chapter in the story about the G-A-M-P, Gamp is about warping the loom.

The warp was 5 yards long with 34 ends of each of the 27 colors plus 2 ends at each outer edge for floating selvedges. Let's see... ((27 colors * 34 ends) + 4 floating selvedge ends) * 5 yards = 2.6 miles. Well, that's a good amount of yarn, isn't it? But someone once explained to me that the warp is 1/2 of the project, so once you get the loom dressed, you're 50% finished. That always makes the task sound better to me.

If only it was this easy

I warped the loom from Front to Back using Madelyn van der Hoogt’s instructional video, Warping Your Loom. I find this technique works well for me and it will continue to be my primary method, at least until I get or make a raddle. So I started out with sleying the reed. Looking at the time stamps of these photos, this took me 2 days. Granted this was over Memorial Day weekend so I had another day off to do the mundane household chores, otherwise the elapsed time would have been at least a week.

1/3 sleyed

2/3 sleyed

922 ends sleyed

After 2 days of getting all those pesky ends through the reed (12dpi, 2 ends per dent for the weavers in the crowd), it was time to figure out how many heddles I had and make sure I had enough on each frame. I probably should have done that earlier because in the event that I didn't have enough, I would have had to order more. Well, it turned out that I had enough heddles with a few to spare. I redistributed the heddles on the loom so I wouldn't run out on any of the frames and threaded the heddles. I divided each color into 4 groups with 8, 9, 8, and 9 ends each. Each group was double checked for threading errors and then it was knotted.

Again, checking the time stamp of the photo I see that the time elapsed from when I sleyed the reed to when the heddles were threaded was just 1 week. That surprises me, I thought it took longer.

Color gamp warp

The next step was to tie the ends to the back apron rod and do what's called crank & yank. Funny, huh? You basically turn a crank which pulls the warp threads through the heddles and the reed and winds it onto the back warp beam. It's a slow process because you crank a little bit, then come back to the front and pull on groups of warp threads to even out the tension (yank). After most of the 5 yards is wound onto the back of the loom, the free ends are tied onto the front apron rod.

Color gamp warp

Now the loom is dressed and weaving can begin! Actually I consider all of the above weaving, but you know what I'm saying. Once you start weaving cloth, the pattern is visible and you can see if there are mistakes in the warp that need to be fixed. But that's why I checked every group of 8 or 9 warp threads to make absolutely positively sure that there wouldn't be any issues and I could start weaving right away. Well, it didn't turn out that way.

I started with some tabby weave or in other words, just some plain over-under weaving. In the picture below, you can see where there is a threading mistake. There's a group of 3 magenta warp threads that are moving together. What should be happening is the thread in the middle of the group of three should be moving up when the outer two move down, and down when the other 2 move up.


It wasn't a huge mistake and it was the only one I found in 922 threads, so that was actually pretty good. Basically, I mistakenly threaded the middle warp thread through a heddle on the wrong frame. To fix it, I had to untie that group of magenta threads from the front apron rod and rethread that one thread through a heddle on the correct frame. The only problem with that was I didn't have a heddle in that position on that frame. Madelyn van der Hoogt to the rescue! In her video, Weaving Well, Madelyn describes how to make a heddle out of string for just this purpose. Done and done.

Here's the fixed warp, the plain weave with hemstitching in blue, and the first color stripe woven in point twill in teal.

Color gamp

I'm finding that getting the right number of picks per inch (density of weft threads) is tricky. If I beat the weft too hard, the weft threads are too close together and the squares of color end up being short fat rectangles. If I don't beat hard enough, the squares end up as tall rectangles. So getting that just right AND having neat selvedges (edges) is my challenge now. I'll weave a color stripe find a number of things wrong with it, then I'll unweave and reweave it. Having a critical eye can be a pain, but some of the issues I've fixed are things I would notice forevermore, so for me it's better to take the time to rework them. With that, you don't need to leave any comments about galloping horses.

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Sunday, July 06, 2014

In the garden

I'm a little sad. Our fruit cocktail tree is nearly finished producing for the year. On the positive side, the fruit has been delicious and we're still enjoying it.

The first to ripen was the Blenheim apricots. What we didn't eat fresh, we dried and froze.

Blenheim apricots

The Independence nectarines were next and they ripened about a week earlier than expected. That's okay, we were ready for them. I turned a bunch of them into a cobbler.

Nectarine Cobbler

The Santa Rosa plums are the last to ripen and they're really delicious. They're so juicy, I have to eat them over the sink. Seriously.

Santa Rosa plums and one nectarine

I used the cobbler recipe above and made plum compote. We've been spooning it over pound cake and also mixing it with yogurt. This weekend I used it to make a Red, White, and Blueberries dessert.

Red, white, and blueberries

I picked most of the remaining plums tonight, saving them from the pesky birds and furry varmints.

Santa Rosa Plums

In other garden news, we picked the first tomato of the season today, an Amish Paste tomato. This plant was a surprise as it was self-seeded from last year's crop.

First tomato of 2014

The heirloom tomato plants are doing really well. It seems like they're growing 2 inches per day. We need to corral them into the cages about every other day. Each plant has flowers, so the heirlooms are weeks away.

Heirloom Tomato Plants

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Saturday, July 05, 2014

You're not the boss of me

I wasn't one to get on a boat if I could avoid it. I wouldn't get sick, but I'd feel nauseous and uncomfortable and basically make anyone around me feel uncomfortable (at least I thought I did). So when Randy invited Roger to go whale watching and Roger invited me to come along, my gut reaction was, "Are you kidding??"

But I gave it more thought and considered it to be an opportunity so I accepted the invite. I'm convinced that my aversion to boats is in my mind. If I could approach it more positively, maybe I could do well on a boat. I didn't know a hypnotist who could plant a positive suggestion in my mind, so I armed myself as best as I could.

Ready or not

Friends were very supportive and gave me tips like when to start taking the Dramamine, what types of food to avoid, where and how to stand, and what to look at while on the water. The advice was welcomed and the support was encouraging.

We went out today and I had a glimmer of anxiety wash over me as I stepped on the boat, but I let that go and thought about the adventure. We had to go out pretty far to see Humpback Whales--pretty far was ~15 miles. That took a while, but I stayed outside the cabin and enjoyed the fresh air as I let my legs absorb the motion of the boat while keeping my torso pretty quiet. I didn't sit down and I didn't hang onto a railing, I just kept looking to the horizon for whale spouts.

Well, guess what? I did okay! I didn't get dizzy or uncomfortable and I was able to enjoy the ride. Granted, the water was relatively calm, but the cruise was longer than normal and there was plenty of time for it to turn into a bad situation, but that didn't happen.

We saw a number whales and a few showed off their flukes.

Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale

Then suddenly there was a "whoosh" near me and 2 humpbacks were right next to our boat! Everyone gave a big cheer as they paralleled our course. They didn't give us the thrill of seeing their flukes, but it was pretty cool to have them come so close.

Humpback Whale

We also saw dolphins and plenty of birds like this pelican.

Brown Pelican

I had a great time and felt like I achieved a milestone today. What shall we do next? Book a cruise? lol

Big thanks to Randy, Roger, and Princess Monterey Whale Watching.

Randy & Roger

Also thanks to everyone who gave me advice and a "you can do it!" I did it!

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Friday, July 04, 2014


It's Hand Knit Friday! What hand knits are you wearing today? I'm going to wear these tonight when the fog rolls in at the beach. Happy 4th of July!

Quilted Lattice Mitts
Project details on Ravelry

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

She's just a G-A-M-P, GAMP!

Choosing colors for weaving is a challenge for me. Contrast, value, saturation, and hue are terms that I've learned about in various color classes, but there's a certain level of anxiety, fear, and uncertainty that grips me when I need to make my own choices. Perhaps that's why I appreciate kits for stranded and Fair Isle knitting, the work is already done for me.

When I started weaving, I ran across the term "gamp" over and over again. A gamp is a woven piece of fabric that illustrates what happens when different weave structures, yarns/fibers, colors, etc., intersect. So a color gamp is a reference piece that shows what different colors look like when they are woven in a fabric. Michele Belson and Katzy Luhring from Lunatic Fringe Yarns go into detail about color gamps in this Weavezine article.

Think of your color printer--you have only 4 ink cartridges: yellow, magenta, cyan, and black. But somehow the combination of those colors on the printed page can produce seemingly endless number of colors. What color we see depends on how much of each ink is used and how it is placed (in what pattern). It's pretty amazing when you think about how we perceive color.

Anyway, back to weaving. The color gamps I found online have warps of uniform stripes in different colors. Then the weft is woven in stripes of the same colors, in the same order. So every color in the warp will intersect with every color in the weft and the blocks along a diagonal will be solid blocks of color, where the warp and weft colors are the same. With this fabric, you'll be able to see what purple warp and yellow weft look like together. It may or may not sound like a good combination, but the color gamp will show you. Another consideration for a color gamp is the weave structure. That purple warp and yellow weft block will look different in a plain weave, a twill, or an overshot pattern. So weaving a color gamp in different weave structures would be a good idea.

It sounds like a lot of work for a color/weave structure reference, doesn't it? But I don't consider weaving with beautiful yarn to be work... but it is a lot of effort and time. That's okay, I'm learning and discovering as I go and besides that, the fabric is quite beautiful. All in all, weaving can be a very rewarding experience.

I went to the Conference of Northern California Handweavers in Oakland this year and headed straight to Lunatic Fringe Yarns booth. They have color gamp kits available on their web site and I wanted to see samples of the woven gamps in person before making the investment. Well, the gamps were really beautiful and I was able to see them in thicker and thinner cotton and also talk to them about the color gamp kit vs. the color gamp kit plus white, black, and shades of gray. All in all, I felt much better about seeing the product in person first and actually bought the Tubular Spectrum Plus Kit--spectrum colors plus white, black, and shades of gray.

The kit came with instructions for weaving on a 4-shaft or 8-shaft loom, including a suggested color order. Well, I decided to go off course immediately and put the colors in a different order. I asked for feedback from the 4-Shaft Weaving group on Facebook and with their excellent input, finalized on this:

Lunatic Fringe Color Gamp

The order starts in the lower left corner and goes up each column, ending with the upper right corner.

I decided to start with a point twill and entered the colors and design into Fiberworks to see how it would look.

Color Gamp in Fiberworks

You can't see all of the rows in this screenshot, but you get the idea. Pleased with how it looked on screen, I planned the rest of the project in a spreadsheet and the next step was to wind the warp.

It was at this point that I had to stop and find some courage. This project was going to require 922 warp threads and 27 colors in a relatively thin cotton. The width in the reed was going to be over 36". This was easily the largest project I had ever attempted. I took a deep breath (for a few days) and finally go started warping.

Warp chain 3 of 3

After I warped a couple of colors, I revisited my spreadsheet and realized that I didn't calculate enough warp length. So I had to take those colors off the warping board and add an extra yard. At least I found the problem early... it wasn't too painful to fix.

If only it was this easy

The warp chains were so pretty I couldn't wait to dress the loom, but 922 ends was going to take a while. As motivated as I was to get warp the loom, I had to be patient and work carefully so I didn't make any mistakes.

Next up: The Warp

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