Knitty Kitty

If you have poked around this blog, you’ll notice that I love to draw and invent characters – whether for comics, cartoons, doodles, portraits, etc. I realized that I could connect this aspect of drawing with my knitting by making toys! When I came across a simple but cute pattern for a “Sleepy Kitten” in DK’s Baby Knits Made Easy (2013) a while ago, I knew I had to give it a go.

The pattern calls for the kitten to be knit on Size 3 needles, its back and front worked flat and seamed together. Since this was not a garment, I took the gauge guidelines lightly and went ahead and used bigger needles which gave me a much larger kitten than I expected. You’ll see that my embroidering skills need some work – where the original pattern looks more ‘adorable calm,’ I seemed to have channeled ‘surly sleeper.’ Perhaps this is the character my hands had in mind. 🙂

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Doubled-up embroidery floss. I think I’ll use yarn next time.

Given the kitten’s surliness, I thought this kitty would benefit from something cozy. I decided to add my own flourish to the pattern: a hand woven red blanket-scarf, the second project ever made on my DIY frame loom.

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A first experiment in weaving using identical fibers for warp and weft.
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A variegated craft yarn, found in the beau’s bag-of-miscellaneous-craft-supplies. Surprisingly self-striping.

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I look forward to making more kittens for the big and little sleepers who may need some sleep inspiration.

Enjoy your Thursday, and sweet dreams to you.   Zzzzzzz…

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Knitting and weaving: a symbiotic relationship

I am just waking up to the mutually enabling relationship between knitting and weaving.

I have been generating lots of scrap yarn in the past month – odds and ends left over from various projects. I set aside the bigger scraps for future knitting, but have been scratching my head over what to do with the littler scraps.

It only recently occurred to me to take them to my frame lap loom. While my most recent woven mat was a patterned weave, I became curious about improvisational tapestry weaving. Looking at different works, I enjoyed how the fibres created paint-like dollops, dabs, and strokes.

I also find something musical about the motion of lap-loom weaving – watching colourful forms appear with each row is like strumming a strange, colour-capturing instrument whose notes are tenderly suspended in the warp. It’s that tender suspension that makes weaving magical to me. While I think of knitting as fabric made from rhythmic loops, I think of weaving as making cloth from melodies of colour – like ‘playing the loom.’ Both are delightful.

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In the spirit of curiosity, I warped my frame loom last Wednesday. It’s made from an old picture frame (note the chipping varnish).  The Weaving Loom offers a basic tutorial on how to warp a frame loom (and also how to make one with very basic materials). Warping is quite straightforward, even relaxing. The pieces of blue washi tape are surprisingly good at forming a thin ridge that keeps the warp threads in place. When tensioned, the threads do stay put.

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Left: Warping the night away.  Right: All warped up. I should have put down one more warp strand. They seem uneven. The strap on the left is my very first weave. I keep it on the loom as a reminder and dwelling place for the weaving muse.

I took to the loom the next day, Thursday, with my miscellaneous odds and ends. I decided just to start weaving, with no pattern in mind. I was feeling triangles that day, and started with a single form, in cotton yarn.

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I decided to add another one, in a wool-acrylic blend, taken from a knitting project I’m looking forward to completing soon. Working with this soft and fluffy pink yarn felt like weaving with cotton candy.

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Sending the needle through the shed, or the space created by separating alternating warp threads. I used a plastic ruler as a shed stick.
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Smoothing down the weft with a fork.

2 triangles led to a third, and more, incorporating the scrap yarn from my recent beanie project.

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By the dying light of dinner time, I decided to call it a day.

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Have I fallen down a fibre-craft rabbit hole, a reinforcing knitting-weaving cycle? It seems so. But, I’m happy to have found a home for all the wayward scraps. Plus, an extra dose of fibre is good for you.  🙂

I will revisit this project again soon; it will go and grow with the knitting. Happy weekend.

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Simple weaving on a DIY Loom

After a long period away from drawing, I’ve re-kindled, in the past few weeks, an old teenage love: yarn craft. I remember knitting feverishly in high school (scarves, hats, mittens, and eventually an ill-fitting sweater), then putting the needles down for over a decade in my 20s to pursue other interests.

My desire to come back to yarns, however, was recently sparked when I came across a DIY loom project on The Weaving Loom. I discovered that you could make a very nifty and portable loom for weaving cloth and other neat projects using an old picture frame and some washi tape. I was floored by the simplicity of the loom itself, and the complexity of weaving and making textiles.  After fiddling around with the loom for a couple of weeks, this striped mat appeared! The ‘warp’ (or vertical) threads are a 100% cotton yarn, knotted at the ends, and the ‘weft’ (horizontal) threads are just good old acrylic craft yarn. Weaving was done using a small tapestry needle.

The frame loom is an incredible piece of technology! A great user-friendly guide to making and warping your own DIY picture-frame loom can be found here.

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6″ woven mat. Fruit rug?