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wonder woven LLC

P.O. Box 5873

Santa Monica, CA 90404

 


90405

Exquisitely crafted handwoven wraps for wearing your baby or toddler.

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Chasing Moon Shadows

Tracy Bromwich

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A new project is in the works on the Macomber loom! The warp is 60% cotton/40% linen - my favorite fluffy cottolin from Sweden. I designed this one at the beginning of August - immediately after returning from our week-long camping trip in Sequoia/King's Canyon National Park. I considered naming it "Serenity Now" as that was what I most desired as I emptied all my bins of cottolin yarn cones in search of a tranquil color combination to instill a sense of peace in my studio as we began our last month of summer vacation. But as we've now just returned from a spontaneous road trip up to Oregon to view the total solar eclipse, I thought the term Penumbra might capture quite nicely the spirit of these colors. It is a very lunar colorway - with silvery, muted tones. The design is symmetrical - with silver dominant in the center. It transitions on one side through a greenish-grey to light blue, followed by dark blue and on the other side through iris to a silver-blue and mauve-grey. It features random pinstriping throughout in colors that complement and contrast with the base colors.

The 7 seven main colors

The 7 seven main colors

Following are some photos of the warp. The first photos provide a comprehensive view of the colors and organization. The last offers an artistic view.

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The warp has been threaded in a straight sequence on shafts 1 through 8. This allows me to play with different weave structures, which may be varied by changing the tie-up and/or treadling. I discovered some fun new weaves this way as I made my way through Obsucra. Ultimately, my goal with this project is to settle on one weave structure and weft fiber that provides the tactile qualities that compliment the characteristics of the warp fibers. I have chosen to begin with a weave I know to have a lovely visual interest in the finished cloth and is not overly dense - it will be both pliable and breathable. Sampling with a variety of weft fibers and structures will allow me to discover the particular combination that yields the fabric characteristics I am after. This will be the weave structure that I will send for ASTM testing to comply with the new federal safety standards for infant sling carriers set to go into effect on January 30, 2018.

There are 40 yards on the loom to play with, along with a variety of weft fibers. I would love to dye up some yarn that compliments the warp colors, as this one does - a lace weight superwash wool/sllk yarn I dyed in a custom colorway.

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For a simpler look, there is also the possibility of choosing a solid-color yarn - which will allow the colors of the warp to read with clarity. The following shows the warp with a silver cotton weft.

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I am happy to work on any variation you can dream up! I have space on the warp to work with 4 people on a custom weft/custom length piece. The price will start at $105/meter and may increase depending on the specification of a premium or custom-dyed yarn. Exact pricing can be found on the following form. I will keep the form open until I have allocated all the warp I have available. A deposit in the amount of 10% of the cost of your piece is due to hold you place. The balance will be due upon completion, which is expected to be by the end of September. 

Name *
Name
Address
Address
Weft Fiber *
Choose your preferred weft fiber. * indicates a special order and payment for yarn will be required to proceed
Describe desired weft color. If hand-dyed, a charge of $75 will apply

On the Horizon

Tracy Bromwich

This week I have the immense pleasure of attending the ANWG 2017 NW Weavers' Conference in Victoria, BC! I am now 2 days into my 3-day pre-conference workshop on Fiberworks with Margaret Coe and Bob Keates. On Saturday, I will enjoy Stencil Dyeing with Brian Whitehead and round off the weekend learning Tunisian Crochet - something I've wanted to do for at least a year!

A very exciting part of the festivities will be the Wrap Weavers Collaboration at ANWG 2017 - which includes a Signature Style Exhibition and retreat. (Well, that is assuming the above activities allow me any time to retreat!) For this exhibition and superlative competition, we were challenged to define and represent our Signature Style. I posed a challenge to the lovely members of my Facebook Chatter Group, Wonder Woven Love, and asked them to submit an image they found to represent a style they could identify as my own.

I chose from those submitted three images to use as inspiration for a hand-dyed 100% silk warp.

In dyeing the silk, I used a technique that I have been developing to apply the dye in a way that produces subtle shifts in color and tone. Each skein is unique - a variegated yarn with smooth washes of various colors. They are shown below, lined up in the sequence in which they were beamed on the loom.

These photos, taken while measuring the warp, show the subtle blending of color.

green with hints of blue and plum

green with hints of blue and plum

plum with hints of blue and burgundy

plum with hints of blue and burgundy

coral with hints of peach and burgundy

coral with hints of peach and burgundy

The silk skeins were combined in warping in such a way so as to create a smooth gradation among the colors that harmonize. Where deep purple meets the contrasting color of orange, an abrupt line is created between the two. This organization is meant to evoke the horizon as seen during a sunset over the sea - one of the images that provided inspiration for the warp.

The weave I have chosen is a 16-shaft draft from Louis Serrure's Atlas de 4000 Armures (pattern #36232 on handweaving.net). The draft is visually quiet with a delicate diagonal pattern that can be discerned without distracting too much from the play of color of the warp - which I wished to be the dominant feature of the design. 

The warp is about 20 yards in total - likely enough for 4 wraps. Two have been promised to those who helped select the inspiration images. One is shown below. An additional wrap may be made in the future if the warp provides enough length.

The piece I am submitting for the Superlative Competition has an Eggplant Egyptian cotton weft. It measures 4.5 meters in length, 72 centimeters in width and weighs approximately 270 grams/m^2. It is incredibly soft and smooth. This wrap will be on display at our booth in the vendor hall and will be available for purchase by draw following the conference. See below for details on entering to purchase this wrap.

THE DETAILS

Warp: 20/2 mulberry silk - hand-dyed in shades of burgundy, plum, coral, orange, yellow, purple, teal and green

Weft: 8/2 Eggplant Egyptian cotton

Weave: 16-shaft twill variation

4.5 meters and approximately 270 grams/m^2. $562.50 + shipping

 

Obscura

Tracy Bromwich

Last April, I moved my Macomber loom to the Camera Obscura Art Lab in Santa Monica for a 3-month long Artist in Residence program. When I applied for the residency earlier this year, I had proposed to explore local color through watercolor studies of a nearby park and to translate these studies into a woven fabric while hosting 13 public workshops related to fiber arts. I have 4 weeks remaining - ample time (I hope!) to complete weaving my 40-yard warp and host 4 more workshops. Read on for the story of what I have been doing thus far. As the weaving will soon begin, it is now time to secure your place on the warp if you wish to purchase a piece. There is yardage available, which includes an opportunity to customize your weft and weave! 

The workspace is unparalleled. Ocean views, a lovely tree nearby that provides ample shade; a room bathed in natural light with ocean breezes. Weaving can sometimes feel like tedious work. But in such a space, it becomes a meditation. I have never enjoyed it more! 

It is an honor and a privilege to inhabit the space and a great joy to share it. Each week I welcome the opportunity to open it up to others. I have enjoyed discussing the progress of my work as it has taken shape and to engage in a fun side project that draws from some aspect of my work. The public workshops have been so much fun!

The cargo bike becomes a mobile art studio

The cargo bike becomes a mobile art studio

The Camera Obscura is about a mile from my house. When time allows, I love to ride my bike there. My route takes me through the gorgeous Tongva Park. When my residency began, this is where I would stop to complete watercolor studies to capture the colors of the landscape. A riot of greens - olive through sage to a bright green that sometimes transitions to yellow - burgundy and a subdued blue-green. Spring brought pops of orange and red with plants in bloom.

several of the watercolor studies

several of the watercolor studies

THE WARP

The watercolor studies provided inspiration for a hand-dyed cotton warp. I chose to work with a California-grown organic Pima cotton for this project. The yarn size is 10/2. I spent much of the first five weeks of my residency winding, dyeing, washing and winding again (and sometimes over-dyeing) this yarn. When it was complete, I wound it onto the loom at a density of 30 ends per inch. Across the 32" warp there are 960 ends. 60 ends were wound around the beam in each of 16 sections, having first been wound onto spools and mounted on a spool rack placed behind the loom. In the process of winding, the colors were grouped to create a gradation from the dark greens of the olive grove, though the brightest greens and Agave blues of the planting beds to the muted colors as painted under the dense marine layer of a spring morning. 

Below are photos of the process.

some of the dyed skeins of yarn - shown with watercolor studies

some of the dyed skeins of yarn - shown with watercolor studies

All the yarn wound into cakes - having the space to spread out really helped in this process!

All the yarn wound into cakes - having the space to spread out really helped in this process!

One section, as it is wound onto the loom.

One section, as it is wound onto the loom.

the spool rack with the yarns feeding into the section 

the spool rack with the yarns feeding into the section 

winding the yarn onto the loom

winding the yarn onto the loom

The warp - fully wound onto the beam

The warp - fully wound onto the beam

the warp - after threading each heddle

the warp - after threading each heddle

a view at the front of the loom after sleying the reed

a view at the front of the loom after sleying the reed

tying the warp on

tying the warp on

the warp - shown here under tension during weaving

the warp - shown here under tension during weaving

THE WEAVES

As the project will be presented at the end of my residency at the Camera Obscura, I chose to sample a number of weaves to demonstrate the effect that different tie-ups and treadling can produce with the same sequence of threading. The differences between drafts are subtle but the results are so unique! 

I threaded the loom in a straight sequence from shaft 8 to 1, repeating this over the entire width of the warp. I selected a number of drafts that would work with this threading, changing the tie-up after each 20" sample. The drafts were chosen for their dense interlacement from two trusted sources. I have yet to encounter a draft from either of these books that does not create a weave I love.

Each draft was new to me. Tie-ing up and weaving a new draft is a bit like finding an unfamiliar sheet of music and playing it to discover the song concealed within the notes. Adding to this process of exploration is the fact that the true nature of the fabric is not apparent until after it is off the loom and wet-finished. This should be clear from the photographs below, which may illustrate the importance of sampling.

The weight of the sample piece with each of the following weaves is approximately 270 grams/m^2.

Sample #1: woven with with Borgs 319 dark forest green cotton weft

Atlas de 4000 Armures, Louis Serrure handweaving.net pattern #35186

This is a dense, flat and moderately smooth weave with a subtle hatched pattern. Of all six samples, this weave is the most dense. It is not overly thick, however, and is nicely moldable. This weave will pair best with a cotton weft. It would make a wonderfully supportive 100% cotton wrap. 

Side A

Side A

Side B

Side B

Both sides with selvedge

Both sides with selvedge


Sample #2: woven with Bockens 2064 forest green cottolin

Atlas de 4000 Armures, Louis Serrure handweaving.net pattern #35167

This has a visually uniform pattern with a pleasing texture. It is a light, airy weave. Being more open than the previous weave, this one would benefit from the addition of linen to add support, though 100% cotton would work in longer lengths with multi-layered carries.

Side A

Side A

Side B

Side B

Both sides with selvedge

Both sides with selvedge


Sample #3: woven with Bockens 2040 bright green cottolin

Atlas de 4000 Armures, Louis Serrure handweaving.net pattern #35203

This is a weave with a distinct front and back and subtle zig-zag motif. It is smooth and relatively flat. It would offer lovely support in any of the weft fibers shown.

Side A

Side A

Side B

Side B

Both sides with selvedge

Both sides with selvedge


Sample #4: woven with Bockens 2043 bottle green cottolin weft

Atlas de 4000 Armures, Louis Serrure handweaving.net pattern #35221

This is a weave with a distinct front and back and subtle wave motif. It is airy and light and has the most visual interest of the six samples. Being a more open weave, this one would benefit from the addition of linen to add support, though 100% cotton would work in longer lengths with multi-layered carries. It is challenging to weave as it requires all 16 treadles.

Side A

Side A

Side B

Side B

Both sides with selvedge

Both sides with selvedge


Sample #5: woven with Bockens 2033 teal cottolin weft

Dictionary of Weaves, E.A. Posselt handweaving.net pattern #10156

This is a weave with a pronounced zig-zag motif on one side. I would recommend a weft with linen to add to the support, though 100% cotton would work in longer lengths and multi-layer carries. Featuring a broken sequence in treadling, it requires greater focus to weave this draft.

Side A

Side A

Side B

Side B

Both sides with selvedge

Both sides with selvedge


Sample #6: woven with Venne peacock organic cotton weft

Dictionary of Weaves, E.A. Posselt  handweaving.net pattern #10116

The most textured of the six samples, this weave has a delicately intricate interlacement. The weft samples further down the page were woven with this draft. This would be a lovely weave in any of the weft fibers.

Side A

Side A

Side B

Side B

Both sides with selvedge

Both sides with selvedge

THE WEFTS

In keeping with the concept of demonstrating possibilities with this project - I sampled 33 different weft yarns in a full range of greens and some greenish-blues. The majority of the yarns are cottolin and cotton - commercially dyed -  as I have these readily available. Additionally, there are four special fiber wefts I sampled. These are available in smaller quantities and will limit the length I can weave with these wefts.

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COLOR KEY FOR COTTOLIN WEFTS

BG 113  Borgs 113 dark forest green

BK 2064 Bockens 2064 forest green

BK 2043 Bockens 2043 bottle green

BK 2040 Bockens 2040 bright green

BK 2038 Bockens 2038 kelly green

BK 2063 Bockens 2063 dark green

BK 2059 Bockens 2059 dark teal

BK 2060 Bockens 2060 cadet blue

BK 2033 Bockens 2033 teal

BK 2032 Bockens 2032 mineral 

BK 2034 Bockens 2034 light aqua

BG 281 Borgs 281 greenish grey

BK 2061 Bockens 2061 barely green

BG 292 Borgs 292 pale green

COLOR KEY FOR COTTON WEFTS

VN PCK Venne peacock organic cotton

BG 319 Borgs 319 dark forest green cotton

BK 1460 Bockens 1460 forest green Egyptian cotton

BG 247 Borgs 247 kelly green cotton

BG 332 Borgs 332 bright green cotton

BK 1296 Bockens 1296 bright green Egyptian cotton

BK 145 Bockens 145 avocado Egyptian cotton

BK 146 Bockens 146 moss green Egyptian cotton

BK 492 Bockens 492 teal Egyptian cotton

VN GG Venne gift green organic cotton

BK 3060 Bockens 3060 dark blue green Egyptian cotton

BK 1312 Bockens 1312 sea foam Egyptian cotton

MB Teal Maurice Brassard teal cotton

BK 1440 Bockens 1440 willow Egyptian cotton

BG 292 Borgs 292 pale green cotton

KEY FOR SPECIAL FIBER WEFTS

ORGANIC WOOL - Australian Organic Merino in Shamrock

SW MERINO MTOSH SHIRE - hand-dyed by Madeleine Tosh: Prairie lace-weight superwash merino wool

SW MERINO MTOSH JADE - hand-dyed by Madeleine Tosh; Lace superwash merino wool

SILK/MERINO/SEACELL - hand-dyed by Blue Moon Fiber Arts

The weft sample piece - wet finished. Cottolin colors are shown on the left from light green to dark green; cotton colors are shown in the middle from light green to dark green; special fibers are the 4 wider stripes on the right.

The weft sample piece - wet finished. Cottolin colors are shown on the left from light green to dark green; cotton colors are shown in the middle from light green to dark green; special fibers are the 4 wider stripes on the right.

Weaving will commence immediately upon my return from the ANWG conference, which I will be attending later this week. I am opening the warp up for 5 semi-custom pieces, available by random draw. The price is $110/meter for any weave or weft shown. If you are interested in purchasing a piece, please complete the form below. I will keep the form available through the evening of Friday, June 30th to give you ample time to consider the options. If you have any questions about which might be most appropriate for you, please do not hesitate to ask me! 

Entries will initially be randomly selected, but as warp space is allocated, preference will be given to wefts I have in stock or can easily obtain. I have a limited amount of time in which to complete the weaving and I must be sure that I have all the materials needed to do so.

The drawing is limited to one entry per person and is non-transferrable. I will be in contact over the weekend with those selected. A non-refundable deposit of 10% of the cost of your wrap is required to hold your space on the warp. The balance will be due upon completion, which is expected to be by the end of July.

THIS DRAWING IS NOW CLOSED

Caprice

Tracy Bromwich

The newest warp on the countermarche loom is mostly Egyptian cotton - there are some cotton and organic cotton yarns in the mix to broaden the color palette. My spring colorway, it transitions smoothly from deep plum to coral, taking a brief detour through a silver-green that adds some brightness through the center. Complementary and contrasting colors are mixed into each section for a highly pinstriped, very colorful warp.

The sett is approximately 24 EPI. It has been threaded with the same 8-shaft crackle draft that was used for Escapade. I would consider this warp to be the cousin of Escapade. 

I am holding a drawing for semi-custom spots on the warp and will offer as many as the warp length permits. I have approximately 50 meters available - with 4 meters presently claimed. The maximum length per entry is 5.2 meters. Wefts may be selected from those shown below or we can discuss other options you may have in mind.

the warp

the warp

Wefts

For wefts, I have sampled lace-weight superwash wool and wool/silk blends, plus cottolin, cotton and hemp/cotton in a number of colors. I'm really liking the softer tones with this warp - the silver, greenish-grey and light purple complement the warp colors nicely.

Wool/Silk

I started off the weft testing with a custom-dyed yarn that I created in shades drawn directly from the warp. This yarn is a deliciously soft and lightweight 75% superwash merino/25% mulberry silk. The colorway would also be lovely in superwash wool, silk or silk/linen. I am attempting to reproduce it with fiber reactive dyes on pima cotton...we'll see how that turns out!

superwash wool/mulberry silk - dyed to match the warp

superwash wool/mulberry silk - dyed to match the warp

In addition to the yarn I dyed, I sampled some Phydeaux Designs 80% superfine merino wool/20% silk yarns that pair beautifully with the warp. I have very limited yardage in these colorways - think shorty or ring sling piece if you're interested in these wefts. But if there is something you love, we can work on dyeing something custom.

These wefts are expected to produce a wrap in the range of 285 grams/m^2.

Phydeaux Designs Nectar 80% Superfine merino wool/20% silk

Phydeaux Designs Nectar 80% Superfine merino wool/20% silk

Phydeaux Designs Peach Blossoms 80% Superfine merino wool/20% silk

Phydeaux Designs Peach Blossoms 80% Superfine merino wool/20% silk

Phydeaux Designs Calypso 80% Superfine merino/20% silk

Phydeaux Designs Calypso 80% Superfine merino/20% silk

Below are photos with these lovely variegated yarns shown together. From the top: Phydeaux Designs Calypso, followed by Phydeaux Designs Peach Blossoms,  Phydeaux Designs Nectar, and finally the superwash merino/silk that I hand-dyed.

 

Superwash Wool

Next up are the superwash wools. I sampled some that I had on hand that were more tonal variations in color as opposed to variegated - to show the difference in the appearance. The one that I think really captures the spirit of the warp is MadelineTosh's Silver Leaf. It really picks up the hint of green through the center of the colorway. I have many skeins of this one, but the quantities are very limited with the others.

These wefts are expected to produce a wrap in the range of 290 grams/m^2.

MadelineTosh Tosh Lace Silver Leaf

MadelineTosh Tosh Lace Silver Leaf

The photo below shows all the superwash wool wefts together. From the top: MadelineTosh Tosh Lace in Silver Leaf and Calligraphy, followed by a superwash wool that I dyed in a variegated colorway, then MadelineTosh Tosh Lace in Stovepipe, MadelineTosh Tosh Lace in Purple Basil, and Phydeaux Designs Pomegranate superwash wool.

 

Cotton and Linen

Next up are the cottolins. I chose these because I love a little bit of linen and they also offer some colors not seen in the cotton yarns. Many of these colors can be reproduced as a custom-dyed yarn in any fiber.

From the top and right pirn: greenish grey, silver, silver blue, plum, hibiscus, coral, light melon and light peach organic cottolin. 

The weights for these will likely be in the range of 330 grams/m^2. 

Below are two series of cotton samples. The first shows from the top and right pirn: Raspberry Egyptian cotton, red cotton, coral Egyptian cotton, bright coral Egyptian cotton, bright green cotton, light green cotton, teal cotton, greenish grey Egyptian cotton, silver mercerized cotton, silver cotton, natural Egyptian cotton.

The second group of cottons. From the bottom and the pirn on the right: deep plum Egyptian cotton, plum cotton, purple Egyptian cotton, periwinkle Egyptian cotton, Orchid egyptian cotton, lavender Egyptian cotton and Burgundy Egyptian cotton.

I found a bit of hemp/cotton I had dyed silver that I thought I would try while I was sampling. Here is the result. This will likely end up in the range of 325 grams/m^2.

 

Weft Fiber Choices and Prices

  • Cotton weft $105/meter 
  • 40% hemp/60% cotton in natural $105/meter
  • Egyptian cotton, mercerized cotton or cottolin $110/meter
  • 10/2 Organic Pima cotton in natural $120/meter
  • 65% linen/35% silk in natural $135/meter
  • 70% silk/30% sea cell or Mulberry silk in natural $140/meter
  • Australian organic merino wool in natural or Mulberry $140/meter
  • hand-dyed lace-weight superwash wool or wool/silk blend $140/meter

*Natural yarns may be hand-dyed for an additional fee of $75.

To enter the drawing, please complete the form below. Drawing is limited to one entry per person - please only enter for yourself. I will randomly select entries on Sunday, March 12 at 9 PM Pacific and will notify winners by email. Wefts that are available in limited quantities will be assigned in the order that entries are selected. I will contact everyone whose entry is selected and - in cases where the weft has already been assigned - give you an opportunity to select an alternate weft. A non-refundable deposit of 10% of the estimated cost of your wrap is due within 24 hours to secure your place on the warp. Special order yarns will require payment for the yarn up front. Full payment for the wrap will be due upon completion - which is estimated to be within 8-10 weeks. Please add more time for special order or hand-dyed yarn.

*This drawing is now closed*

Extreme knitting with 1st/2nd Graders!

Tracy Bromwich

This is pretty off-topic from my usual weaving posts. But I thought my fiber-loving friends - especially those with young, crafty kids - might enjoy this. If you're looking for an ambitious project for yourself - or one that you can do with your little one - read on!

My kids' elementary school holds a fundraising auction each Spring in which the students of each classroom collaborate to create an item to be sold. In the first few weeks in February, 6 hours of class time are devoted to the activity, which is organized and supported by parents and implemented by the students. This is the fourth year I've had the honor of coordinating the classroom project. For anyone interested, you can find some mention of the previous projects I've undertaken with classrooms here: LJ Indigo, AJD Orange and BS Yellow.

In previous years, I have worked with students on hand-dyeing techniques and used the material they created to sew or weave a blanket. This year, I wanted to develop a project that would allow them a greater role in crafting the item. Along with dyeing the material, I wanted to give them the opportunity to work with it, as well. The thick, massive yarn that is all the rage right now seemed perfect for a group knitting project. It works up quickly and - aside from it's weight - is fairly easy to manipulate. But how does one approach knitting something substantial with a group of children unfamiliar with knitting?

As often happens, I was inspired by one of my older daughter's interests. At 10 years old, Sophia is now becoming more comfortable knitting on needles. But a few years ago - when she had the interest in making knitted creations but found knitting needles to be frustrating - she discovered loom knitting to be a great alternative. Though specific methods vary, this technique basically involves wrapping a length of yarn around a series of pegs in one direction- from peg #1 to peg #8, for example - and repeating this action in the opposite direction - from peg #8 to peg #1. A knitted stitch is created by lifting the bottom loop up over the top loop and off the loom. Below is a rough sketch - I hope it helps to demonstrate the principle.

I thought of introducing this type of knitting to the class. Then I wondered: what would be the result of increasing the scale of both the yarn and the loom? Could I make a large loom that would enable them to knit a blanket with some massive yarn? With my daughter's teachers on board with the idea, it was time to start testing some natural dye colors and building a loom!

For the dye, the teachers' only criteria was that it be a natural dye. They didn't have any requirements for color or dye materials used and thought that it might be good to offer a number of alternatives to the kids and ask them to select their favorite. To simplify my job of creating samples - I really just wanted to get on with the business of knitting - I bought the Aquarelle Liquid Natural Dye Kit from Botanical Colors and dyed up a bunch of small skeins of wool. My younger daughter, Nora, and I collaborated on the winding, mordanting, dyeing and presentation board.

The top row shows the results of working with each dye alone; the bottom row shows the results of combining colors or adding soda ash.

The top row shows the results of working with each dye alone; the bottom row shows the results of combining colors or adding soda ash.

Before I began building the loom,  I experimented with some massive, bulky yarn. I started by knitting a throw blanket with a brand from my local yarn shop on US 50/25 mm needles. I needed to determine the correct gauge for the project, which would inform the size and spacing of the pegs on the loom.

The yarn I chose for the classroom project was the incomparable K1S1 extremely large yarn by Little Dandelion. I chose this yarn - which is specifically designed for high-end interior applications - for it's softness and resilience. It has just the right amount of felting to prevent the pilling I was already experiencing with the yarn I had experimented with. The 5 1.5 kg bumps arrived from New Zealand just in time to test out the concept!

As I was sketching ideas for how to attach 1" PVC pipe sections to a 2x4, my husband reminded me of the equipment I had in storage that already had pegs attached at the approximate spacing I needed. That saved me some time! I brought out the warping board that attaches to my Glimakra loom, secured the two pieces end to end - et viola! The pegs were a little too narrow for the gauge I needed so I did end up going to the hardware store for a 1" PVC pipe, which I had cut into 6" sections. A rubber gasket the diameter of the base of each peg was placed to keep the pipe section from popping off. I also added caps so the knitting would remain on the pegs while we worked.

Testing the prototype.

Testing the prototype.

We started with an e-wrap cast on and a simple knit stitch. Sophia, Nora and I worked together on the knitting. We were already had a good length after just 15 minutes!!!

With this proof of concept we presented our idea to the class. They chose the dye - Saxon Blue, a formulation of indigo dye - and we prepared the yarn for the classroom work. To get it ready for dyeing, I wound each 1.5 kg bump into a large skein - tying it in several places to keep the yarn in place - and simmered it in my huge pot with a mordant of 6 oz aluminum sulfate per the Aquarelle Liquid Natural Dye Kit instructions. 

The yarn - prepped for dyeing.

The yarn - prepped for dyeing.

Of all the steps involved in this project, dyeing was the single most time consuming. I worked with small groups of students and several helpful parent volunteers to measure the dye, monitor the temperature and duration of the dye bath and carefully manipulate the yarn to achieve an even color whilst preventing further felting of the yarn. The entire process took about 3 hours per skein of yarn. Once the dye had struck and the water was nearly clear, I allowed the yarn to cool inside the dye bath for several more hours before removing it from the bath. Once it reached room temperature, I proceeded with washing and rinsing. Fortunately, this dye takes wonderfully to wool. There was little to no dye that needed to be rinsed from the fibers. Once dry, we wound it back onto the cone and were ready for knitting.

This photo shows the yarn after being placed in the dye bath.

This photo shows the yarn after being placed in the dye bath.

This shows Nora stirring the pot during the initial heating of the dye bath.

This shows Nora stirring the pot during the initial heating of the dye bath.

Progress...

Progress...

Here is the yarn - dyed, dry, and wound back onto the cone and ready to knit with.

Here is the yarn - dyed, dry, and wound back onto the cone and ready to knit with.

The blanket was knit entirely by the 26 students and 2 teachers of HD Green on the loom - which we assembled in their classroom retreat space. Students first learned a simple knit stitch on a small hand-held loom with DK weight yarn. In turn, each student and both teachers knitted rows using the large scale yarn on the large loom. Knitting continued until the blanket reached it's final size: approximately 60" x 130". We reached this size with about 3-1/2 of the 5 1.5 kg bumps we started with. We plan to use the remaining yarn to knit a much smaller blanket for their classroom reading area.

The blanket is super soft with excellent thermal properties. It has a surprisingly consistent stitch given the number of different hands involved in it's creation. It is generously sized - perfect to be shared. Folded in half it fits nicely over the foot of a bed. Folded many times, it can serve as a floor cushion.

Some of the kids took to the process very quickly. Others less so. Everyone needed a little coaching on the proper tension for the yarn when wrapping the pegs. There were a few kids convinced they couldn't do it. It was very rewarding to talk them through each step and watch as it "clicked" and they began working with confidence and ease. Most spoke of how the work was so much more enjoyable with the thick, soft yarn on the large loom as compared with the hand-held loom. As the blanket grew in size, it was irresistible. Children would curl up in it, pile up on top of it, remark on it's weight and softness. I think they are all very proud of what they have created!