I started the year feeling very scattered. (Maybe I should have written some resolutions!) But, it was unsettling to have nothing on either loom and be unable to decide on a project. I did, however, finish a pair of socks to add to my sock drawer (blah….I don't like the way a lot of those hand painted yarns pool, and they are kind of bulky). Not what I was going for, but they are wearable, especially in my winter boots. And they are finished!
Now, something happened last week that resolved at least one project: I found out that my neighbors are going to Germany for two months to be with their daughter before and after the birth of her baby and, later in the year, the daughter will be coming here for a couple of months in late spring. The lightbulb went on…a baby blanket! I have plenty of time, I just got the Knisely book on weaving baby blankets, and the width will necessitate that I pull up my big girl panties and tackle the big countermarch loom. The next dilemma was choosing a pattern from the book, but I've got it narrowed down to two. Or five. Sigh. Here are two of the top contenders, both using 8/4 carpet warp. Who knew? Knisely discovered accidentally that, once wet finished, this yarn makes a nice, soft blanket. Inexpensive, too.
This is a Rosepath pattern, but would be done in blues. Baby is a boy!
This one is a "goose eye" draft and is the top contender at the moment. Have ordered the blues and will decide when they get here.
There was another option, an overshot draft from WEBS, but I decided it was a bit more feminine and a bit too narrow. I want to push myself, weaving-wise, this year, so I will go with something that forces me to warp up the big Standard. Four shaft, though. There is a limit to my bravery!
Something also happened that ended up determining the next project on the smaller loom. At one of my Vavstuga classes last year, I came across a wonderful shawl pattern in an older issue of Vav magazine in the Vavstuga library. I was taking a break one day and came across one of the winners of a "plain weave" competition held by the magazine. It was a linen and wool scarf/shawl, very simple, but stunning. I copied down all I thought I'd need to make this (photos of magazines and books are not allowed, but we can copy drafts by hand), and bought the required yarn, but of course didn't get enough details once I started looking at the project in earnest! I did a little searching online and discovered the year and issue number, but until last week was unable to find a copy here in the US. Finally, because they are one of the few companies in the US offering back issues and subscriptions, I tried GlimakraUSA out in Seattle. New owners, VERY nice folks, bingo! They had one copy and were willing to part with it, so I ordered it, a subscription, and the new Vav calendar (which is now hanging out in the studio). Come to find out, the pattern in the magazine isn't that much more detailed than my notes, but the pictures will help immeasurably. So, that will definitely get wound and warped in the very near future…..maybe today for the winding!
I see lots of possibilities with this one: the article shows several other color options that I might try sometime if this one comes out well. Basically, one thread of wool (a fingering weight Swedish wool) and one of linen are held together for the warp. Plain weave, with a shot of linen alternating with a shot of wool. At least I now understand why I bought a skein of lighter brown wool!
The nice thing about both projects is that they are fairly short (compared to the last few projects) warps. If I do one blanket, it's only 2 1/2 yards, 4 yards if I decide to do two blankets. If there were another boy baby on the horizon, I'd go for the longer warp, but, not at the moment. Even the scarf/shawl is pretty short. I haven't figured the exact length yet, but even doing two will not compare to some of the recent towel warps I've done! Excited about both!
The other thing I have to be excited about? A new guitar! I was going to try, with the help of my teacher, to locate a really good, hand made but second hand, guitar in a slightly smaller scale than the one I have. Which was made in China, but that wasn't a concern when I started lessons. Don't get me wrong….I love my Cordoba classical guitar and still think it looks and sounds beautiful. But, the arthritis in my fingers on the left hand is making certain stretches almost impossible, not to mention a bit painful. My teacher got the idea that a slightly smaller scale guitar might help, as it has with one of her students in his 80's. As it turned out, Cordoba has one guitar that has a shorter scale (called "parlor") and is handmade in their California workshop. Not totally out of the budget, either. So, I pulled the trigger before Christmas and ordered one from Sweetwater, where my first guitar was purchased. They are so nice (I even have my own personal representative!) but they did not have a C-10 in stock. I've been waiting ever since, but they notified me that one was expected in last week, so soon! They don't open the shipping package from CA till the box has acclimated for 24 hours and then they do a complete check of the instrument. I'm HOPING that they will wait to ship it to me till next week….don't want My Precious sitting around on a truck or in a shipping depot somewhere! Hoping I can do justice to this beauty. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo in my files, so you'll have to stay tuned!