Learning truly is a process. There are steps forward, and steps back. And sometimes the mistakes and mishaps can be the biggest learning experiences of all. I am realizing that I need to give my weaving the same patience that I gave my knitting in the earliest days. I wasn’t afraid to mess up because I knew that eventually it could be fixed. I tried things, and if it didn’t work, no harm done. The only difference is that ripping back on knitting is a lot easier – and less wasteful – than ripping back on the weaving.
Remind me of this moment. When I think it is a good idea to use alpaca yarn for the warp threads of a project, please remind me. The funny thing is, I know the properties of alpaca – I read my Knitter’s Book of Yarn – and I know that alpaca drapes beautifully but doesn’t have the resiliency of cotton and wool. However, I seemed to have briefly forgotten those things in my haste. I cut up two balls of yarn and put them on the loom, only to have some major tension issues later. The fibers did not stay “put” in the weaving, and when it got snagged, it was a very ugly sight. So, because I had 8 inches woven, I did not rip back – I just got the scissors and did the deed.
Now, I have some very pretty and soft pillow stuffing.
If only I had just thought about it – the alpaca would have made a lovely weft yarn. Weft yarns don’t hold the same tension, and can really be any kind of fiber. Luckily, I still have 2 skeins left in the same colorway, and I am pretty sure that those should be reserved for knitting a nice hat or some mitts.
So, I took a break from the weaving and started to knit. I had been planning a birthday present for my sister, and was initially going to cast on for the Minimalist Cardigan (from the Fall 2007 Interweave Knits). It is a great versatile knit, and I could see her wearing it all of the time; however, with her spring birthday, and her temperate climate, I asked her about the possibility of a lighter weight cardigan. I showed her the previews of the new Spring 2008 IK. I had my eye on two garments that I knew she would love – and she called and told me that she loved the same ones! So, I researched my options and ordered some yarn. Once it arrived on Friday afternoon, I immediately cast on for the Printed Silk Cardigan. I did not want to waste any time – her birthday is one month from today!
The pattern calls for Fiesta Yarns La Luz, which is undoubtedly a gorgeous yarn. However, I have seen my share of store samples knit up in this yarn, and unfortunately it does not stay “gorgeous” for long. I talked to Connie, the designer (and a wonderfully sweet and resourceful person), about yarn substitutions. Then I found Frog Tree Pima Silk. The numbers were right, and I took a chance. Luckily, it worked out perfectly! I easily got gauge with the recommended needles sizes, and I started on the first sleeve that night. Now, I am working on the sleeve cap itself – it is a pretty quick knit.
I am very happy with my yarn choice. The yarn has a beautiful hand and feel. It is slightly splitty, but that is not uncommon of cotton/silk blends… so, as long as I pay attention, the fabric comes out looking pretty good. So far.
…and just because I wanted to dust off and get back on, I also wound a new warp last night. This time it is wool in a deep burgundy shade. I think it will look great, once I get around to putting on the loom…