Archive for September, 2007

fall comes early

It was strangely autumn-like last week despite still being September (in my world fall starts the last week in October and turns to winter around the second week in November). I woke up Saturday morning to the sound of actual proper rain. It was a strange feeling which triggered in me a desire to put on sweaters and wool socks and maybe even a Halloween costume. (the weather didnt last long, it was back up to the 70s again today) All the wintry feel got me in the mood for indoor activities, at least for a few days.

I finished machine quilting and sewing binding to the top of the wedding quilt a few weeks ago. Now we are almost done hand sewing the binding to the back. There has been a distinct lack of photos while Ive been working on it as the hours between 9 and midnight dont have very good lighting (funny how that works)

Ive been spinning again (a little). I picked up some wool after abandoning the silk hankie I had been working on and remembered why I thought spinning was fun.


The mead experiment is going well. My dad added a water trap to the bottle to prevent explosions and we tasted our concoction this weekend. I was very skeptical but it was really, truly, not bad. Im excited to see how it turns out in the end.

And speaking of bees, N and I joined my dad for a look inside the hive using his “bee suits” which are really painters coveralls with mosquito head nets and gloves.

The figs and pears at my parents house are out of control this year.

I recommend baking them and serving over ice cream. mmmm

The kittens are out of control too…

Streak has reached a whopping 4lbs and is twice the size of his sister who is just starting to recover from a really terrible cold. He hardly fits in the scale anymore!

The scenery is always nice up there, but notice the dark color in those clouds. Definitely not a summer look.

Its not a bad view from our apartment either, the cat always seems to find something to stare at

And sometimes I do too.

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Diagonal Weave on a Weave-it


I like tweed a lot. My whole motivation for getting a weave-it loom was so I could make tweed. The instructions for twill (diagonal weave) provided with the weave-it loom are a bit confusing and I imagine they deter many people from trying it out. That, and the regular woven squares are really cute too!

For more info on Weave-it looms and what you can do with them check out Eloomnation and the “week” of weaving over at Girlontherocks.

This is a my attempt at shedding some light on the process and hopefully clarifying the instructions for how to make your very own “diagonal weave” square. I made a full set of photo-instructions on flickr complete with notes. Below I have my general rules and tips. I should point out that my definitions of tweed, twill, diagonal-weave, stitch, and strand may not be strictly accurate but hopefully they are logical.


To make a diagonal weave square you will need:
weave-it loom (I think all the sizes will work but Ive only done 2″ and 4″)
weaving needle
two colors of yarn
instructions
tweed chicken for company (not strictly necessary)

You will wind the white yarn around the loom (diagrams 1 & 2) and then weave in the black yarn with the weaving needle (diagram 3). Full photoset with instructions on flickr.

Diagonal weave (as the Weave-It loom instructions call it), or twill, is made by going over and under two strands and offsetting the stitch by one strand each row. This is the basic pattern you will follow, and it helps me to keep that in mind when Im trying to remember what to do next.

The weave-it diagrams for diagonal weave (courtesy of Karrie). Also a very useful chart. Click through to flickr for a few clarifying notes.


Tricks and Tips for diagonal weave

  • The very first row is different than all the others in two ways.
    1. Row 1 is a 1-1 row, meaning that it is woven under one-over one all the way across (starts with under). All other rows are 2-2 rows (over two-under two) with some exceptions in the edge stitches.
    2. The yarn at the end of the first row should go to the outside of the corner pin (see this photo and diagram)
  • Rule 1: The black yarn should always overlap one stitch with the previous row and advance in the correct direction. This should help you decide whether to start the row with an over or under.
  • If you are weaving standard twill (not changing directions) the rows originating on the right-hand side will always begin 2-2 while rows originating on the left-hand side will begin 1-1. They both continue across with 2-2.
  • Rule 2: The black yarn should always go around the white yarn on the edge stitches. This means that if you end by going under the last strand you need to go over it at the beginning of the next row. This will also help you catch mistakes when you start the next row. If you make a mistake you will not be able to both begin the row correctly and follow rule 2. When doing herringbone tweed you will have to be extra diligent to make the edge stitches are “captured”.
  • Mistakes arent hard to fix, just weave backwards with your needle to the location of the mistake.
  • The last row can be very tight and difficult. Try doing it in sections so you can get more leverage on the needle.

Herringbone tweed is made with this same advancing stitch pattern but with directional changes. This poses a few additional complications. At the apex of the direction change there is a full two stitch offset (as opposed to the normal one stitch offset). I do one direction change in the example, but I like to do them every 5-6 rows for a more typical tweed look.

  • At the apex of the direction change offset weave the opposite pattern from the previous row. This will be a full two stitch offset.
  • Rows originating on the right-hand side will begin 1-2
  • Rows originating on the left take some more planning to satisfy both rules 1 and 2. I suggest ENDING the previous row with 1-1. This can be accomplished by backstitching one (see photo). If you do this left rows begins with 1-2. Otherwise you will have to begin 1-1-1 which I feel is invasive to the pattern.

The finished square on the loom:

and off:

Please let me know if you have any questions about my explanations, the photo-tutorial, or diagonal weave in general. Ill do my best to answer them!

Adventures in making Mead

My parents have bees. Its my dad’s army of 30,000 (or 50,000 depending on the season).

After extracting honey from the combs using a centrifuge (or gravity + time) there is still a lot of honey clinging onto the inside of the comb. Honey is so viscous its hard to remove it from the wax. My dad decided he was going to make mead from this honey which would probably get wasted otherwise.

We heated the comb in some water on the stove to melt it.

its kind of a disgusting mess of wax and bee parts.

After cooling in the bathtub we removed the now solid wax and bee parts from the liquid.

My dad tested the sugar content of the mixture with his hydrometer (left over from his beer making days) and determined that there was more than enough sugar for the yeast to eat.


yeast and yeast nutrition for mead


getting ready to shake


all situated for fermentation. My dad plans to add grain alcohol and maybe more honey later on. The mead looks relatively vile and is still going to need some filtering but we havent figured that part out yet. It is really just a test batch to see how the process works as there is SO much more honey where this came from…


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