I didn’t write a post about finishing this scarf, though it’s appeared in several WIP Wednesday posts (January 22, February 4, March 25). I had to finish it so that I could weave the Dr. Who scarf on my rigid heddle loom! Since this is the fourth Houndstooth Scarf I finished (see the posts on Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw Houndstooth scarves), I felt like I didn’t necessarily learn anything new on this project. I did apply the lessons learned on the prior Houndstooth scarves, so the Slytherin is the most consistent of the four.
This is another project that I’ve been working on for a while and which has appeared in a couple of WIP Wednesday posts (February 4, February 18). As of February 18, I’d finished plying and had wound most of the yarn onto a niddy noddy. It then sat around, still on the niddy noddy, awaiting washing.
I whipped out a new cat bed to line the bookshelf where Pepper likes to sleep. Although she wasn’t very co-operative re: posing for the picture, she loves the bed. It’s now her favorite sleeping spot.
These projects are “semi-finished” because I’m making multiple dishcloths from the same patterns, as part of my ongoing Dishcloth Advent Calendar (details in my 2015 Plans post) project. I’ve finished at least one individual item, but am still working on making more. I need to make 18 dishcloths in each pattern, and will write blog posts with all the project details when I finish all 18.
Heart Illusion Dishcloths
I finished 9 of these in May.
Bias Knit, Crochet Cotton Dishcloth
I only finished one of these. Even with two strands held together, it took about 3 hours to knit one of these, and I didn’t even make it as big as the pattern suggests. It’ll take me a while to make all 18 of these, but I do like them.
I also traveled to New England to attend my cousin’s college graduation. While there, I visited 12 yarn shops, including WEBS! I bought yarn in all the shops, and will be writing multiple blog posts about the experience. I needed to take pix of all the new stash for the posts and to update my Rav stash. I’ve been working on it and I’m just about finished. I will be posting about these shops throughout the month of June; I plan to get all the posts up no later than June 25 since several of the shops I visited are part of the 2015 I-91 Shop Hop which starts that day.
My cousin loves Doctor Who (and many other things geeky), so I decided to make him a Doctor Who scarf as a graduation present. If you aren’t familiar with this particular bit of geekery, Doctor Who is a science fiction television show produced by the BBC. It’s been around since 1963, though it was off the air between 1989 and 2005 (If you’d like an overview of the show, check out the Wikipedia entry). The title character is a time traveling alien who regenerates rather than dying. So far, 13 different actors have portrayed the Doctor (I’m counting John Hurt as the War Doctor, for those of you yelling that it’s only 12).
Each iteration of the Doctor has a different personality and costuming. The Fourth Doctor, portrayed by actor Tom Baker, wore a very long multi-colored scarf. According to legend, the scarf came about because a costume designer picked up some wool and handed it over to a knitter, asking her to knit a scarf. She used up all the wool she was given, creating a very long scarf. While this wasn’t the original intention of the costume designer, he liked it and the BBC went ahead with it. Over the various seasons that Tom Baker was on the show, different versions of the scarf were created, including a stunt scarf. Many people — including me — have knit replicas of that scarf, and there’s a website recounting the various iterations of the scarf and options for knitting it yourself.
When making a Doctor Who scarf, you can decide to be true to the literal representation of the scarf, the spirit of the scarf, or both. A literal representation of the scarf means picking a season, getting yarn that is as close as possible to the colors used in the scarf in that season, and knitting stripes that are exactly the width of the ones on the scarf. The spirit of the scarf is going with what you have on hand and making something unexpected.
I knew I wasn’t going for a straight literal representation of the scarf because that would mean knitting it. I also wanted to use as much stash yarn as possible, rather than buying yarn. I tried to get as close as possible to the colors in the scarf as my stash would allow, but I wasn’t going to stress about minor color variations (I ended up buying purple yarn because I had nothing in my stash that was close, but everything else came from stash). On the other hand, I did want to pick a season and replicate the color order and stripe lengths of that season’s scarf. The Doctor Who Scarf website has a side-by-side comparison of the scarves for seasons 12 to 14, with the total length, stripe length, and total width of the scarf marked. I decided to go with a season 12 scarf because it is the longest of all of them.
Unlike knitting, weaving shrinks when taking off the loom and wet finished. In order to adjust for this, I added 20% to the length of each stripe, hoping that by doing so, I would get close to the correct stripe size after finishing. The scarf only shrunk by a total of 11″, which is about 7% of the pre-finishing length, so I probably could have added only 10% to the length when weaving. Unfortunately, I forgot to measure the length of stripes after finishing, so I don’t have the data to do an actual comparison. Since I used 3 different brands of yarn in the weft, I assume the different yarns shrank at different rates, but don’t know for sure.
This is the first project in which I did calculations to determine the yardage I needed for weft. I used a spreadsheet formula to add the length of all stripes of each color. I then multiplied that length by 88 (8 picks per inch * 11 inches wide in the finished scarf) and divided by 36 to get an estimated yardage for each color. This calculation was not particularly accurate.
Total Weft Length
Estimated Weft Yardage
Actual Weft Yardage
There’s a number of possible reasons my initial calculations were inaccurate. One is that I did not accurately measure the length of each color as I wove. Or perhaps I missed weaving a stripe in one color. I don’t think this is the case — I had a 4×6 card with a list of stripes and I crossed them off as I wove — but it’s possible.
I wasn’t always getting 8 picks per inch as I wove, partly due to tension challenges (more on that in a minute) and partly because of the different types of yarn. Since I used stash yarns, and some of the yarns were partial balls, I may not have had an accurate weight for the partial skeins before I started the project. I didn’t weigh each one; I relied on the weight listed in Ravelry, assuming that I had accurately listed information on my earlier projects.
The Trouble with Tassels
In the television show, the tassels are made from one strand of each of the seven colors in the scarf. When weaving, the fringe is usually the warp, and the warp for this project is only one color. I considered a number of options for finishing the scarf. I could:
Dye individual strands of fringe to match the stripes
Cut off the fringe, sew a hem, make tassels, and sew them to the edge of the scarf
Needlefelt 1″ or so on each end, rather than hemming, then sew the tassels to the needlefelted edge
Leave the warp as the fringe, leaning towards the spirit of the scarf not an accurate representation
I planned to sew a hem, but I ended up leaving the warp as fringe because I ran out of time — the scarf took nearly 15 hours to dry and by the time it was dry I had to pack it. I don’t think needlefelting would have worked on this project, because I don’t think the llama yarn I used for warp would felt. I tried wet-felting a join between two skeins and it didn’t work.
As soon as I started tying on the warp, I knew that this warp was going to be problematic. This yarn was very stretchy. The long warp meant that the warp was sagging between the loom and the warping peg, resulting in different lengths for each strand of warp.
Then disaster struck — I had one more strand of yarn to bring through the heddle when the warping peg hopped onto the floor. My entire warp was on the floor, and the loop at the end was in disarray. Rather than rewarping the entire project, I gathered up the end, shook the warp to even it out as much as possible, then wound it onto the loom. I stopped regularly to yank the warp and shake out any tangles. When the warp was mostly wound on, I cut above the loop so that the warp would be even. Since I had to cut so much off to even up the end, my warp was a little too short for my planned project. I had to skip the last two stripes.
The llama yarn wasn’t the best warp. It was strong, but it was very stretchy and hairy. The stretchiness, combined with the long length of this warp, led to variations in tension as I wove. The hairiness of the warp meant that it shed as I moved the heddle back and forth, leaving debris all over my floor and table.
This was the first project I wove using a boat shuttle. I have the 9″ Mini Schacht Shuttle (The Woolery, affiliate link), which I received as a Christmas gift. I wanted that shuttle specifically for this project. Seven colors, and long stretches of a single color make it impossible to carry yarn up the selvedge. The price of the boat shuttle plus a couple dozen 4″ bobbins (The Woolery, affiliate link) is a bit more than buying extra stick shuttles, but the boat shuttle is more flexible.
It took me a little while to get used to the boat shuttle. I discovered that it worked better when the tension was higher. When the tension was too loose, the boat shuttle tended to slip between the warp strands and fall to the floor. I also learned that the boat shuttle worked better when I threw it right side up. The bobbin does not sit directly in the middle of the shuttle; it is a bit closer to the top than the bottom. If I put the shuttle through with the top side down, the wider parts of the bobbin tended to catch on the warp strands. The shuttle has “Schacht” printed on the side of it. It is right side up when that printing is right side up.
This is the first project I’ve done where I cut the yarn for color changes rather than carrying colors up the selvedge. Therefore, it is the first project where I had to manage ends. On other projects, I carried the ends along the bottom of the work. I started doing that with this project and ran into a problem. As I wound, the cloth beam caught the ends and pulled them vertically. If you look carefully at the purple stripe in the foreground of the picture on the deck, you can see some wonkiness to the selvedge. This is the result of the end getting caught in the cloth beam and pulling. After I figure out what was happening, I brought my ends to the top of the work and cut them short before winding them around the cloth beam.
This project was just about the maximum size the 15″ Cricket loom can handle. By the time I finished, the cloth beam was full. I might have been able to get one more turn of the cloth beam — just enough to finish those extra two stripes — but it would have been close. The yarns I used for this project were heavy worsted weight. Thinner yarns would make a thinner cloth, so theoretically the loom should be able to handle a longer warp if I used fingering- or lace-weight yarn.
Weaving a Doctor Who Scarf is a lot more fun than knitting one. I tied on the warp on Saturday and cut the finished project off the loom on Wednesday. The project took something like 16 hours of hands on time, including the extra time it took to fix the warp after the warping peg abandoned its duties. While I don’t want to knit a Doctor Who Scarf ever again, I wouldn’t hesitate to weave one!
Today’s prompt is to publish something different than you usually publish. The ways in which this particular post is different for me has more to do with process than content. I always write posts from my desktop at home. If I’m not home, I don’t write. I no longer carry a laptop with me and my iPad can be a bit annoying to use for blogging.
Despite this usual practice, I am writing this post on my iPad, while sitting in the West Hartford, CT library, 1500+ miles from my home in Florida. I wanted to share my past week with you! Last Friday, May 8, I left Florida and flew to Hartford, then drove up to Burlington, Vermont. I’ve wandered around New England, visiting family, friends, and yarn stores. I’ve limited myself to one picture for each day of the trip — also a departure from my usual wordy posts. Don’t worry, there will be more posts on the yarny portions of the trip!
Today, I’m flying home. I have so much yarny wonderfulness to share with you from this week. I can’t wait to get home and start writing!
Today’s prompt is to share the contents of our knitting bag, crafting caddy, or other tool organization system with you. I don’t usually use a knitting bag and I don’t have a bag dedicated to that purpose. I keep each WIP in its own gallon-sized Ziploc bag which contains the yarn, needles, pattern, embellishments (like beads) or unusual tools needed for the project. When I will be crafting out of the house, I might just grab one of the WIP Ziplocs and toss it in my purse. If I will be working on multiple projects or the project is large, I’ll put everything into an appropriately sized bag to make it easier to carry. While I have a pretty impressive stash of yarn and fiber, I don’t have an extensive tool collection. I like my tools streamlined and multifunctional. It’s fun to dig through my stash, looking for just the right fiber. Once I find it, I want to get to work with as little fuss as possible!
I’m writing this post a few days after the St. Johns River Festival of the Arts (see my blog post about that), when I spent two entire days in the Weavers of Orlando booth, doing demos. On Saturday, I mostly spun and on Sunday I mostly wove. I also brought a knitting project with me. This is the most stuff I ever carry at a time, so I figured I would take pictures of everything in the bag. It’ll give you a good sense of the scope of my tools.
My Knit Kit
I love my Knit Kit. It’s the one thing I carry with me wherever I’m crafting. It fits in my purse and it’s got all the everyday tools I might need in a pinch. I had a Knit Kit, but left it at my sister’s when I was helping her move, so I just bought a new one at Distaff Day in January.
It’s got a row counter, double-ended crochet hook, tape measure, and blade built into it. The cover on the bag is a needle / hook sizer. The interior compartment holds a pair of folding scissors, stitch markers, and tip protectors. I never use tip protectors and don’t like the rubber stitch markers, so I removed them and stocked the back with my own preferred tools:
I use the jump rings as stitch markers. I use the lobster claw clasps and the gourd safety pins (available on Amazon (affiliate link)) as row markers.
Of course, I had the Cormo that I’m currently spinning.
I had extra bobbins, just in case I filled the one on the wheel.
I had the two metal posts for my built-in lazy Kate, the ball of yarn I’m using for leaders, and spinning wheel oil. I take the metal posts of the lazy Kate out of the wheel when I’m transporting it so that they don’t damage my car.
I had a pile of warping sticks. I brought some with me to place around the knots as I wound the beginning part of the weaving on the cloth beam. The rest of these came out of the weaving. They’re dirty because they fell out of the weaving on to the pavement or floor as I wove and because the llama yarn that is my current warp is pretty hairy and shedding a lot. Fortunately, they are easy to clean since they are vinyl.
Bobbins with the yarns for the current project and empty ones that I already used.
The balls of yarns for the current project, for when I need to wind more yarn on the bobbins.
The card telling me how many inches of each color to weave, and a pen to cross off when I’ve finished that section. (If you want to weave a Dr. Who scarf, don’t bother trying to copy this down from here. Next week, I’ll have a blog post with a link to the Google spreadsheet that has all the information you need).
Miscellaneous Bag Contents
The Super Secret Shawl in its project bag, in case I wanted to knit rather than spin or weave. I ended up not knitting at all during the weekend.
A finished Summit shawl, knit by a friend. She asked me to block it for her and gave it to me while we were at the Festival.
The apron I was wearing while doing demos on Sunday.
Not in the Bag
I have a few tools that I really like, but didn’t need to carry over this weekend.
My fiber scale. I have a kitchen scale that I use only for cooking, and this scale which I use only for fiber-related purposes. I weigh dye on it. I weigh leftover skeins of yarn to calculate the yardage in a finished object. I weigh loom waste to calculate how much yardage I lost in the waste. I weigh bags of fiber to see how much I have left to spin. I love this scale. It weighs in either grams (down to 0.1 gram) or ounces. It has a tare function so I can put a bowl on top, reset the weight to zero and put larger items in the bowl for easier weighing. It weighs up to 2000 g (about 5 pounds), which is sufficient for my fibery purposes.
My mini scissors. When I travel, I take the foldable scissors out of the Knit Kit and put them in my checked luggage. Technically, I should be able to take them in carry on because they are less than 4″ long, but I hate to take the chance. If I don’t have checked luggage, I leave the foldable scissors at home and toss these mini ones into my carry on. Unfortunately, they are a little too fat to fit in the Knit Kit scissors section, but I love them anyway.
My needle notebook. My entire collection of knitting needles and crochet hooks lives in one zip up binder notebook. The entire collection. If I wanted to, I could carry all my needles with me all the time. I rarely take the notebook with me, though. I just don’t need to have all my needles with me. I probably will bring the binder with me to the TKGA Conference in July, and think it’s awesome that it is so easy for me to do so. I purchased this binder from KnitPicks, back when I first bought my interchangeable needle set in 2005 or 2006. A few of the interior zipper pockets came with the binder, and I bought more pages separately. Unfortunately, KnitPicks discontinued the binder several years ago. I think it’s the best item they’ve ever sold for needle storage and don’t know why they discontinued it!