Sunday, December 04, 2011

We Are!

If you know me live and in person, you probably know that I’ve been pretty serious about gym attendance for a little over two years (this time around). For a little less than two years, I’ve been working with a pretty darn awesome personal trainer at my gym.

He got married at the end of June, and I wanted to do something special for a gift.

Jeff and Kate are both Penn State grads. I didn’t know much about how their new house is decorated, but I figured navy and white was a safe bet for anybody who is serious about the Nittany Lions.

About a week before the wedding, I was at The Mannings for a class, and I learned how to weave a double-width blanket. It didn’t take long to decide that a similar blanket would be a great wedding gift for Jeff and Kate.

I know I owe you a finished renovation post. I’ll get to it. I promise!

I wound the warp while renovations were going on. My loom was under a dropcloth, buried in the corner of the living room, and measuring out a warp was about the best I could do to scratch the itch for weaving.


The endlessly talented Sara at The Mannings was invaluable in helping me project plan for this blanket. She suggested Fibonacci stripes. I thought that sounded like a great idea.


I threw in a 26-pick stripe at the beginning and end of the blanket (it’s pretty easy to see the “square” on that picture above. It was the widest block of white that wasn’t the center stripe). I kind of forgot to measure the amount of navy between the stripe and the fringe, but I knew it was three bobbins of weft. The starting and ending blocks of navy are pretty close, so I was happy.


My beginner status stood out the most on this center stripe. Even more than it did on my class project, which bums me out a little bit. It could have been a lot better. I think that two things contributed to this. First, I was rusty and it's still a new skill. Second, I used Cascade 220 instead of a thread whose primary purpose in life is weaving, like the Harrisville Highland I used in class.

Winding this warp and weaving this blanket reminded me once again that life can be made a lot easier when you use the proper materials. I think a weaving thread would have led to a cleaner fold. Although more experience could easily have compensated.

In case you were curious, the navy bits down the center are where I left too much weft on the fold line. The white bits are where I didn’t leave enough. There isn’t much of that fold where it isn’t white or navy. But I made an executive decision that “finished, gifted and in use” is far better than “perfect.” And I’m OK with that.

Aside from the stretchy-ness of using a knitting yarn for weaving (rather than a weaving thread that is less elastic), I really only had one beef with the Cascade 220 in this project.


The navy bled. A ton. Like it had never been rinsed or set. Within seconds of this blanket hitting the wash water, the entire (white) tub was BLACK. I drained and re-filled at least three times before the bleeding dissipated enough that I was comfortable letting the blanket soak.

The finished blanket is soft, drapes well, and I was happy with how it finished. But as you can see in that photo, the white finished a dingy blue-gray rather than the snow white way it started. If you look closely, you can see where I tied slipknots to minimize tangling on the fringe during the wash cycle. Those are the parts that stayed white. Very disappointing that the navy bled so much.

Oh well. It wasn’t perfect in any other form or fashion, but it is now in its new home, where it will hopefully be enjoyed for years to come.


Penn State Fibonacci Stripes

Thread: Cascade 220
Colors: Navy (11 skeins) and white (4? Skeins? I can’t remember. Oops.)
Width on loom: 30”
EPI: 8
Size Off Loom (Unfinished): 8’ long, 4’6” wide
Finished Size (after wet finishing): 7’10” long, 4’2” wide
Timeline: Warp wound in August.
Warping started in early October, finished November 30.
Wet-finished December 1, 2011.
Presented as a very belated wedding gift on 3 December 2011.


Sarah said...

That is one awesome blanket! As someone who doesn't weave, I don't really see the so-called imperfections. (Honestly, the part down the middle? It just looks like a crease from being folded to me.) I'd say this is going to be a well-appreciated and much-used wedding gift!

Donna Lee said...

I hate what happens when white and a dark color are dedigned to be together. I love the look but once it hits water,all bets are off. Your blanket is beautiful just as it is and i'd bet they love it.

sampling said...

It is a beautiful blanket and I actually like the effect in the centre of the panel!