I had made a successful blanket in Summer and Winter on the RH almost 5 years ago for a friend's new baby. Said baby is now in Kindergarten and her Mum tells me the blanket is very well used, as a car blanket, a picnic blanket, floor mat, toy box cover and more. I'm glad it isn't wrapped in tissue or hanging on a wall, such gifts are meant to be used. I thought that experience might get me started on the right track.
Summer and Winter on the RH as I do it is really a tapestry technique. Anything I can graph in 2 colours I can weave. For some reason I was hooked on the idea of an elephant blanket. I just needed a graph. Enter Stitch Sketch for iPad, an app that will import an image and convert it to a graph in as many or few colours as you want. Google images provided several likely candidates. I finally settled on one that, with a bit of editing and fiddling, produced this graph:
by a pick up stick. For each row of the graph you pick up a pair of pattern threads for each filled in pattern square from behind the heddles. For this blanket I used 4/8 cotton for the warp threaded at 10dpi in 2 10 dpi heddles on my 32" Ashford RH loom.
In weaving there are several sequences you can use for the weft which each give a more or less different effect. I chose x-y-y-x this time based on a sampler I made before I made the first baby blanket. This means that for each row of the graph after I made the pick up I wove the following shots:
1. Both heddles up for tabby using navy 2/8 cotton (traditionally the tabby weft is usually the same weight as the warp but I wanted this tabby to be less noticeable and Judith said it would work - she's the S&W expert).
2. Front heddle (x) up, back heddle down, stick forward to raise the pattern threads. Weave with 8/8 cotton pattern weft, in this case, elephant grey. The pattern weft is usually twice the diameter of the ground warp and weft.
3. Both heddles down for tabby with 2/8 navy
4. Back heddle (y) up, front heddle down, stick forward to raise the pattern threads with 8/8 grey
5. Both heddles up for tabby with 2/8 navy
6. Back heddle (y) up, front heddle down, stick forward to raise the pattern threads with 8/8 grey
7. Both heddles down for tabby with 2/8 navy
8. Front heddle (x) up, back heddle down, stick forward to raise the pattern threads with 8/8 grey
Check the graph, make a new pick up and repeat... 147 times. It isn't fast but it isn't really slow either once you catch the rhythm. I used Knit Companion (free version) on the iPad to keep my place on the graph. I used a safety pin with a cleverly designed stitch marker from Clover that holds a little piece of paper for keeping track of what block I was on. Every 10 rows I pinned the marker at the fell line and wrote the row number on the paper. Every 5th row I put a safety pin in without the note. I leapfrogged the two markers as I went so I could easily count and see where I was.
Since no post is complete without an appearance from the "helpers" here are Seven and Bandit, the newest members of the Helpy Helpers team:
Yes, I can weave with a cat on my lap (well, Seven the extra small one, anyway, not sure Hobbes the extra large would fit), and yes, Bandit is UNDER the loom. He was pretty good about not trying to catch the shuttle from there.
And here it is all washed and finished, except for trimming the fringe, which I think I like and isn't a problem if it's a wall hanging rather than a baby blanket. I will spare you the pictures and commentary of fixing a tabby error I found after I took it off the loom for now.
|Weaver's side up|
|Weaver's side down|
Still I am ridiculously pleased with it. This simply couldn't be done on a harness loom. There aren't enough harness nor treadles to control 80 independent blocks.
For my next trick, I'm going to work on a tutorial kit that will thoroughly teach Summer and Winter on the RH. I'm still trying to figure out a good project, but I am leaning toward a tea towel sampler in 2/8 ground warp and weft with 4/8 pattern weft. I want to have the kit with yarn, complete tutorial and sampler pattern put together in time for Twist, Fibrefest and the Guild Sale which means a lot of work between now and August...