Thursday, December 23, 2010

Blanket

This is, hands down, the most beautiful weaving there is: Swans Island Blankets.

It's like the Elizabeth Zimmerman of weaving. And even cute, sheepy pictures. And yarn, dyed with natural dyes.
Now, I'm trying to come up with my own version. I've done a sample with Harrisville Designs Highland (the worsted weight, which comes unwashed on the cone and feels pretty serious) sett at 8 ends per inch. Did a little plain weave. A little twill. Wefts in the same yarn, and Cascade Eco, and Cascade Pastaza. This is the Pastaza (silky but definitely shed-prone, and I already have a yellow Lab to take care of that department on the blue couch and my black sweaters):
Everything is warm and cozy. And soft. Even the Harrisville.

I finished the cloth by felting it. But in the dryer, not the washer. I learned this method the other day at the knitting store and it is so much easier than reaching your hand into a very hot bath of water in the washing machine, dragging the heavy fabric to the surface, and then lowering it back in to agitate some more.

For the dryer method, I soaked the cloth in Eucalan and hot water for 30 minutes. Drained the water from the sink and rolled the cloth into a towel. Went down to the basement, threw it in a medium hot dryer with a pair of blue jeans and some tennis balls. Waited a while. Checked. Let it rumble around some more. In all, I think that it took about 20 minutes, with about 15-18% shrinkage in width and length.

And the cloth? Hudson Bay blanket-like.

I'm now forcing myself to do a second sample with the Shetland from Harrisville. More of a fingering weight and maybe closer to the look of the Swans Island blankets.

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