About Me, art

Crochet

Halloween went very well, and the majority of the 6-month-old’s trick-or-treat candy was generously donated to me, the hardworking mother who made it all happen (aww, so thoughtful!)

And I’ve been working on crocheting socks ever since. I came to the conclusion that if I want to be serious as a yarn arteest, I need to reorient my hand movements so that I wrap the yarn around the hook, instead of holding the yarn still and hooking it. Some guy on youtube did it that way, lmao.

I also learned how to make hush puppies. Yum!

Anyway, at some point in the past, I came to the conclusion that youtube crochet tutorials were a blight on the craft. I have a reputation as someone who crochets — it’s pretty obvious when everyone in my family is running around with handmade items — so I occasionally get people asking me for help.

Cue phrase, “I was following a tutorial on youtube, and I don’t know where I went wrong.”

Which is how I got to learn how to troubleshoot without a written pattern or any sort of clue about what the designer’s original intent was.

So.

The reason why I hate youtube tutorials so much is because the video creator is posturing as a teacher, but then they aren’t available to help their students with their problems. A huge part of properly teaching a skill is learning how to navigate beginner’s mistakes and misunderstandings, so you can explain everything more clearly and concisely in the future. These “teachers” however, care more about showing off their manicures than they do about actually helping someone learn a craft. They don’t reply to comments.

Unfortunately I’m a softie, and I have a hard time dismissing someone who invested time and money into a project — I know how emotionally involved people get with their crafting, and how frustrating it is when something goes wrong and you can’t figure it out. So, I help. I stare hard at what they’ve done thus far, figure out the basic stitch pattern, and ask some questions about what it’s supposed to be at the end. Then I make up something that will get them from here to there, and carefully explain the changes and why they fix the problem. I like to think that I’m helping them learn how to overcome problems in the future.

I mentioned that I’ve been crocheting socks (three pairs so far). I actually really like designing crocheted socks, especially with how pretty some of the stitches are, but there’s one thing stopping me from typing up a pattern: I’m still troubleshooting my own work on the fly.

Until I can properly explain every single last nitpicky detail, I’m going to refrain from writing any books on the topic.

What can I say, I have a conscience.

Now that my rant is out of the way, the one thing that limits the time I spend crocheting is fatigue in my hands. I’m curious if reorienting my movements so they are more evenly distributed will help. My feet get cold easily, and all the socks I made in the past are getting old and holey. It’s time to recharge my sock drawer.

Not to mention, I need something to do while that six-month-old is nursing.

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Petals

Petals from Paradise Fibers

I decided to practice “spinning from the fold” with this one. Here, give me a second, and I’ll find a video tutorial for those who want to know what that means.

And here you go.

So, it took me forever to get this one spun up. I’m pretty heavily into “Five minutes here, five minutes there” territory, so it took at least a month — I can’t remember exactly when I started. Maybe even two or three months. I don’t know. Forever.

Flash, yo.
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Weaving with handspun yarns

As I’ve been learning how to weave, I very quickly came across the axiom: “THEY say that you can’t weave with handspun yarn, but THEY are wrong.”

And instead of scoffing at THEM for being judgmental and stupid, I was immediately all, “Who are THEY and why do THEY say that?” For some reason, people don’t seem to like me much, lmao.

Through research, I learned the truth. Good for me.

In terms of personal weaving, you have basically three types of looms: Inkle, rigid heddle, and shaft, in order of complexity. All three of them work by putting vertical yarns (called the warp) under tension and weaving back and forth horizontally between them (the weft). With inkle and rigid heddle looms, you can definitely use handspun yarn for both the warp and the weft: if it can be tensioned, it can be used (side note for “sticky” sheds that I’m not getting into right now).

Now, I haven’t used a shaft loom — they are expensive, and I’m just a poor sod surviving in the midst of an economic crash/the end of the world. But, the word on the street is that they are quite harsh on the warp threads.

So, THEY were talking about shaft looms, where you are much more likely to break a warp yarn through friction. Heck, THEY even recommend using a humidifier when working with linen because it’s stronger when wet, and we’re not kidding around here.

And it’s rather disingenuous to act like the advice was intended for rigid heddle looms, purely for the sake of appearing smarter. Just sayin’.

Now we’re all enlightened.

byautumnrain.com

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Rigid Heddle loom project #2

I got some different yarns to experiment weaving with, which is turning into a huge amount of fun and I can totally quit whenever I want. #JustKiddingI’mAddicted

This one is mercerized cotton, which has been treated to have a shine.

Wait a second, and let’s backtrack.

I forgot to mention that I bought white yarn and dyed it a speckled peacock blue and hot pink. Basically, after soaking it in soda ash, I sprinkled the blue dye powder over one half of the skein, and the pink dye powder over the other, and let it set for a couple of days before washing.

On the loom, the mercerized cotton naturally wove with lots of spacious gaps between the yarn, so it almost looked like a type of netting. However, after I washed it, all of those gaps disappeared and I got a decently solid fabric:

Now I need to figure out what to do with it.

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Rigid Heddle

Back in January, I got an inkle loom for weaving straps, and fell madly in love with the whole process. A month ago, I got my hands on a rigid heddle loom.

I’ve been going through my stash of acrylic yarn on practicing, experimenting, and learning, and finally decided that I was up for using my handspun on the loom. The result is pictured above.

The kids have claimed all of my earlier pieces for themselves and their toys, so only heaven knows when I’ll see those again, ha ha. I guess they make some pretty good doll blankets and shawls.

Weaving actually has a therapeutic effect because of the repetitive motions of passing the shuttle from one hand to the other, combined with the feeling of accomplishment at making something. I like to joke that maybe it will help get me out of my massive feelings of disillusionment towards humanity, but really, it’s best to be honest with ourselves and accept the fact that the disillusionment is here to stay. The past couple of years have been playing out worse than I expected, and here I thought that I was a cynic before 2020 — now I realize that I had been an optimist.

I’m pretty heavy into the “just one more pass with the shuttle,” as an hour goes by. My husband once took the loom away from me so I would actually go eat. It draws me in, and I love it so much. Weaving makes me happy in a way that knitting and crochet never did — I’m even starting to make a sizeable dent in my yarn stash.

When I don’t have a bunch of small children running around, I’m probably going to end up with one of those big shaft looms.

Now I just need to figure out what to do with all the cloth I’m making.