Well, I’ve warped up the loom and corrected some threading errors, and got started weaving yesterday. I’ve made rapid progress – wove almost eighteen inches last night – and expect to finish the first scarf this weekend. (I’d probably finish both of them, except that I have to make two batches of chocolate-covered caramels and a couple batches of fudge, plus go out on a long bike ride.) So far I like it – it’s a nice pale beige mixed with white – and while I’m still making some errors in weaving, I’ve improved a lot in just one project.
This is sett a lot more loosely than the other project I did, so any differences in beating really show up – fortunately, I seem to be doing OK with it so far. It’s fascinating seeing the differences between plainweave and twill, and the difference between 100% silk and a 50-50 mix with wool. I can’t wait to wash it and see how it turns out. Right now it looks a little stiff, but silk is so supple that I doubt it’ll be like that once it comes off the loom.
In fact, I’m progressing so fast that I think I’d better dye the silk for the other scarf tonight. I’m still debating whether to dye with coffee or acid dyes, but am leaning towards the acid dyes at the moment, as I have them on hand (and don’t have the coffee).
Next on the agenda is a scarf for my sister-in-law. She gave me some gorgeous magenta-and-purple handspun silk yarn that she bought while traveling, and I didn’t know what to do with it because there were only about 400 yards of it – not enough for a shawl, and I wasn’t sure if there would be enough for a lace scarf, either. But now that I have a loom…I did some back of the envelope calculations, and I think I have enough for a narrow scarf, if I use another yarn for the warp. (I don’t want to use this handspun yarn for the warp – as suitable as it would be – because of the loom waste.) I can modify the pattern I’m using for the tea scarves.
I’m thoroughly enjoying the stage I’m in right now. It’s the joy of pure discovery – look! I can make cloth! – unencumbered by the desire to over-plan. (Not that I’ve ever done that, you understand. 😉 ) Right now I’m just enjoying the process, not feeling any urge to be systematic about it.
But I am starting to get the urge to experiment with samples…try weaving things at a tighter or looser sett to see what happens, weave silk warp with cashmere weft and see what happens when I wash it, and so on. I’ll probably get around to it in a couple of projects, when the sheer joy of making things starts to pall and I get the urge to investigate things in a more systematic manner. I get the impression that weaving is a hobby that (unlike knitting) can take a lifetime to learn.
Meanwhile, in the chocolate arena, I am making two batches of caramels tonight – my personal specialty, vanilla-orange-blossom-honey-jasmine tea caramels dipped in Extra Bitter Valrhona chocolate. Tomorrow I’ll dip them in chocolate, and also make a double batch of maple fudge, and a batch of white chocolate-lavender-Meyer lemon fudge. The last one is very tricky and I’ve often had to make multiple batches – the milk solids have a tendency to burn. But it tastes so yummy that I usually make it anyway.
I might also make a batch of chocolate fudge with walnuts, but I dunno – compared to the other chocolates in my annual box of goodies, chocolate fudge just can’t compare. Too much sugar, even though I “spike” my fudge with a bunch of cocoa powder to make it more intensely chocolatey.
Still no word back from the agent on this book…i’m going to wait until Thanksgiving and then prompt her, if I haven’t heard back. At some point soon I’ll need to get back to work on it, too.