Thursday, February 22, 2024


At least that's what it feels like, an intermission from weaving. The ideas and motivation are strong, but circumstances dictate that other projects require their fair share of attention. 

The priority project has been the installation of a door to the greenhouse. 

This ultimately meant that I had to clear everything out of this corner of the room, including my table loom and its table.

As you can see, the room's walls still have to be finished, but I don't know when the plan is to do that, so I feel somewhat in limbo about setting up again. You can see more photos and read about the details at this post on my homestead blog. I did manage to weave my Su-chan cap, but my alternative set-up lacks good lighting, which I didn't enjoy.

My time has not been unproductive fiberwise, however. I'm still working on mending, and I've been able to work on one of my winter project goals of clearing out and cleaning our front bedroom. Not having a garage or basement, we've used that room for storage as we've remodeled and upgraded our old house. The motivator for this cleaning project is making room to set up my Glimakra.

I made a lot of progress on this room after Dan finished my studio, and I was able to move most of my equipment and supplies out. Then Dan moved all of his tools and building materials to the workshop, which gave me a glimpse of making the room usable again. As you can see, the walls need to be finished here as well (from replacing the large old windows with smaller energy efficient ones), but the loom will be more in the center of the room, so it shouldn't impede that project. If we ever get to it!

Intermission © February 2024

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Saori Su-chan Wool Cap

Done! The modifications I made from my sample cap were happily spot on.

Project Particulars

  • Warp: commercial 2/3 Shetland wool
  • Weft: 
    • handspun North Ronaldsay wool (natural colors)
    • handspun Border Leicester wool (dyed in shades of blue)
  • Sett: 12 e.p.i.
  • 156 warp ends
  • Structure: plain weave
  • Project length
    • on loom: 28 inches
    • after wet finishing: 24 inches
  • Project width
    • on loom: 13 inches
    • after wet finishing: 12 inches
The inconsistencies of the handspun gave the fabric a lovely texture. 

Construction Notes
  • During wet finishing, I worked the fabric to full it a bit.
  • Then, I followed the same construction steps as I did for the sample cap.
  • The problem was that fulling bonded the fibers so that I couldn't gather the fabric on three warp threads. It was stuck together. 
  • My solution was to use a running stitch with a length of the handspun and use this to gather the fabric. That solved the problem.
The Su-chan cap is technically supposed to be a no-sew design.
Not sure if that running stitch counts as sewing or not!

The cap fits well, is warm, and covers my ears. Perfect for our frosty winter mornings.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Su-chan Cap: Fabric Off the Loom

The cloth is off the loom and the next step will be to wash and full it a bit. I don't want to mess up the long fringes to be braided, so that will need a bit of care. Then I can construct the cap.

Weaving Notes & Observations
  • The finer wool yarn I used for warp wasn't the best choice for this purpose.
    • I knew that would be the case.
    • I knew I'd probably have to do a lot of warp repairs.
    • But I only ended up with five breakages, fewer than I anticipated.
  • The Saori philosophy of embracing mistakes served me well.
    • I threaded the loom for plain weave, and discovered a threading error.
    • I also had a few skipped warp threads due to the stickiness of the wool.
    • That gave me occasional 3-thread floats. 
    • In the spirit of Saori, I did not fret over these and left them.
    • Mistakes and errors are the badges of honor which cry out, "A human made me!"
  • Frequent weft changes created rustic selvedges, which I like.


When I started planning for this simple project, I thought I wasn't really going to do Saori weaving because I don't have a Saori loom. Nor did I start with a very good understanding of what Saori weaving is. While I was having fun with it, I found myself turning to the Saori precepts I had read. I think what I realized, is that it's not the weaving that makes it Saori, it's the philosophy. A philosophy that I see can serve me well.

I think perhaps this one-time experiment in the world of Saori weaving will not be my last. 

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Su-chan Cap in Wool: Weaving

Warp is commercial Shetland, weft is handspun North Ronaldsay.

After a bout of lovely weather (meaning more time outside and less time at the loom), rain has blown in and I'm able to make some progress on the fabric for my Saori Su-chan cap. Warping was slower than usual because the wool warp is a little sticky (fuzzy) to work with, so I had to take care in threading the loom and winding on. Being a short length, I didn't spray it with anything to make it behave. I just kept combing carefully with my fingers and it seems to be working out okay.

Saori weaving is often described as free-form weaving, which is a new concept for me. While I've chosen specific yarns for warp and weft, which color to use is just according to what I want to use next, rather than following a draft. It's really nice not to have to keep track of where I am in a pattern. I just choose by color and weave until I want to change color.

I like the plaid effect and it should weave up quickly (i.e. more rain today).

Friday, February 02, 2024

Su-chan Cap in Wool: Choosing Yarn

My husband is working on installing the interior door to our greenhouse, which meant I had to move my loom out of the way for him to have working room. So while I haven't been able to warp yet, I've used the time to look over my handspun to choose yarns for a second Su-chan cap in wool. 

Most of my handspun stash are either remnants from previous knitting and weaving projects, or single skeins from various fleece samples from different breeds. Few of them are enough for even a knit cap or scarf, but for this Saori style cap, that works in my favor. 

I thought briefly about using handspun for the warp, but there's always too much warp waste, even using it for the cap fringe. So, I decided on commercial wool weaving yarn. I recently dug it out from storage and found a place for it in my studio, so the totes were handy for making a selection. 

This variety of colors will make for more interesting braided fringe, don't you think? The yarns are finer than the cotton-bamboo I used for the sample cap's warp; 20 e.p.i. as opposed to 12. Using the same formula from Peggy Osterkamp, 65% of 20 is 13, so I can use my other new reed at 12 dents per inch. I'll swap the reeds but leave the heddles threaded and tie on the new warp to the old.

For my weft, I chose a number of small skeins in a variety of colors.

The natural colors are North Ronaldsay, a rare breed sheep from the Orkney Islands of Scotland. The blues on top are a mohair/wool blend that I dyed, and the blues on the bottom are Border Leicester, also dyed by me and used to learn color blending with wool combs.

I bought the North Ron fleece samples for a Rare Breed Fleece Challenge with the Online Guild. I used some of it for my Rare Breed Sweater, and some of it for the afghan you see pictured in my blog header. Looking back at the blog post, I see I used it for part of the warp! How brave of me, lol. 

In the spirit of Saori and it's freeform style of weaving, I'm planning a serendipitous approach to warping the loom. Rather than plan the color order of the stripes, I'm just going to tie on the new warp in whatever color strikes my fancy. 

My planned size is 24 inches by 12 inches before construction, with 10 inch fringe.