Bright! Towels! finally finished. Really.

The Bright! Towel! project has come to a very final end, which is not meant to sound so serious and dire. Honest! I finished hemming on Sunday, and then laid them all out on the floor to admire. It’s kind of amazing and almost surreal – I mean, I can’t quite wrap my head around the idea that I started with string, and ended with super brightly colored pieces of cloth. I can hold a towel, or two, or the whole stack in my hands, and even though I know I spent hours and hours calculating, measuring, beaming, threading, sleying, treadling and throwing, it seems disconnected somehow from the cloth I can hold. I know I made it. I know that every inch of string passed through my fingers at least twice during the whole process. And yet.

And yet, I’m intensely proud of my accomplishment!

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Look at those colors!

Here they are according to warp:

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Warp #1 – yellow and orange

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Warp #2 – blue and green

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Warp #3 – pink and purple

I’m looking forward to recreating a few of these, but not just yet. I’ve taken pictures and made some notes (to be fleshed out with more detail soon so I don’t forget completely), and I have some of these colors left. The next weaving project will likely have a white warp, and there may or may not be overshot – so many choices! I’m toying with the idea of selling towels, but I’m not quite there yet (though, if you’re interested in this, let me know!).

In other news, yesterday we had Weather. It was about 2″ of sleet, which you’d think would be pretty innocuous, but I can tell you that 2″ of sleet is like wet sand: it’s difficult to walk in and nearly impossible to drive in. There was only about 1/2″ on the porch railing when I got up, so I thought, “It’ll be fiiiiiine.” I got ready for work, and tromped down the walk where I realized there were actually two whole inches of the stuff on the ground. “It’ll be fiiiiiiine, ” I thought. I cleaned off my car, then tromped down to the end of the 400′ driveway to make sure the road was cleaned off. There was quite a bit of sleet piled up at the end of the driveway, so I figured I’d have to shovel that out a bit. Still firmly believing it would be fiiiiiiine, I tromped back up to my car, got in, put it in reverse, backed up, put it in drive, drove for all of 25 feet, and got pretty firmly stuck.

Things began to be not so fiiiiine. I started to rethink whether I should attempt to get to work at all.

An hour of shovelling and scattering salty sand, I attempted to back up. The plow guy would come eventually, and I didn’t want my car in the way.

A bit more shovelling and more sand later, I managed a running start in reverse, skidding everywhere, missing trees and boulders, and getting mostly where I wanted to be.

More shovelling and a bit more sand, and I finally got my car back in its spot, out of the way of the plow.

(The plow guy came at 5:30pm. Sigh.)

So, the lesson is: if you have 2″ of sleet, wipe all thoughts of driving in it from your mind. Also, this week I will be making an appointment to get two new, better quality tires put on my car.

The result of all this was a Snow Day for me (I have a cool job with an awesome boss – also no internet at the house, which makes working from home very difficult). So some knitting happened. Because knitting just happens.

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My First Hat

The yarn is luxurious! It’s Berocco Ultra Alpaca Chunky. So, so soft. I love this stuff, having made a few pairs of fingerless mitts with the worsted weight stuff, I’m totally smitten with it. But I’m not sure it’s the right yarn for a hat because alpaca and stretching. Also, this hat (pattern completely made up by me, totally on the fly – okay, there was some ripping out and knitting back up, possibly several times) may not fit the intended recipient’s head. It’s a little loose on my head, and I currently have hair with a mind of its own (read: big), but I’ll send it anyway because my friend has a very cold head right now and probably this can serve as a layer. The next hat will be improved!

And then, with the hat nearly done (I have to weave in the ends still), I tackled a pillowcase.

When I lived in Germany, I bought a bed pillow, which was totally square. This seemed to be pretty common there, and since I didn’t have a real pillow for my bed for quite some time, actually having one was a welcome change. I got a cotton flannel pillowcase for it, which was gently used at the time, and that’s been on it since, um, 1996. Yes, it’s been washed a bunch of times, no worries there. But it was the only pillowcase I had for this pillow. When I returned home, my cat claimed the pillow. When she passed away (sniffsniff), I used it on my bed. Eventually, it ended up on my couch. The pillowcase developed a couple of rips last year(?) and since then has been slowly disintegrating. It’s embarrassing. The only thing I can say is that I’m sort of glad I don’t get many visitors at my house because that pillow is right there on my couch in the living room where people would sit if they ever came over.

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An artful display

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Hand bound is the way to go

I’m really super happy with this new pillowcase. It’s made of heavy linen I got a popular online site (a company I don’t actually recommend generally) that will likely last me the rest of my life. Or much, much longer. I may have to include it in a will eventually. Linen is that awesome.

And the buttonholes are bound by hand. I hear you asking, “but why??” Because I do not own a sewing machine that does any stitch other than straight. Why not? Because Singer Featherweight all the way, man. They just don’t break. Ever. And hand bound buttonholes are more durable and not that difficult to sew, honestly. Relatively quick, too – the five on this pillowcase took maybe a bit more than half an hour? Maybe longer – I was watching some pretty exciting Poirot. I still need practice to get the knots and stitches even, but everything requires some amount of practice, right? These are done with perle cotton, which I literally have miles of now that I’m weaving, with a light coating of beeswax. Actually, I usually do buttonholes with silk twist, but my stash of twist did not offer up any appealing colors, not even black. I find it absolutely delightful that the perle cotton is so versatile: weaving, buttonholes, and it can also be used to quilt quilts! (Hand-quilted quilts forthcoming. At some point.) Aaaand, there’s definitely something to be said for using cellulose fibers with cellulose fibers rather than mixing a protein fiber like silk in there, because then weird pH things happen in the wash and something doesn’t last as long as you wanted it to…and and and…a discussion for another day.

Out of a sense of completion, here’s an artful display of the old, 20+ year old pillowcase:

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Auf Wiedersehen, lieber Kopfkissenbezug! Du hast mir gut gedient.

 

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