Category Archives: weaving

Overshot

I have recently discovered overshot weaving.  Overshot is a technique where you create images and designs on woven cloth by having some of the yarn go over the top of the fabric. Look down at the wall hanging below. See the cats at the top, the wave in the middle, and the chaostars on bottom? Those were done with overshot.

(The rest of the piece is various weaving techniques such as leno lace, Brooks bouquets, and Danish medallions.)

I’m doing this with a pick-up stick on a rigid heddle loom, and it’s quite easy as long as I design my pattern on a grid beforehand. I’m using StitchSketch on my iPad for that. There’s a lightweight free version, but I’m using it so much I bought the full version. It’s not as robust as a desktop app, but far more portable.

The above wall hanging was my first attempt at overshot and some of the other techniques. I’m getting much better. I’ve done a second wall hanging, which was a commission by a friend. (I can’t show it to you right now, as she hasn’t received it yet and wants it to be a surprise.). I’m working on a third one now, for my sweetheart. It’s more complicated, now that I have some idea what I’m doing. I charted some prehistoric border patterns and some images that mean things to her. I’m doing the entire piece in just overshot, no other techniques.

I enjoy tapestry, but it’s too freeform for my current skill set. Overshot images let me “draw”, but the restrictions of working on a grid somehow make it much easier for me. The piece I’m working on now only has two colors, red on a black background , but I intend to try adding a third color to my next piece.

Overshot is an ancient technique. There are existing fragments of cloth featuring it from many thousands of years ago, well before the advent of writing. Overshot designs were copied onto vases in Ancient Greece; we know this because there are stylistic elements that are part of this weaving technique that are put there to secure the yarn, and those elements show up on early pottery.

The way I’m weaving used a modern loom, but it’s the oldest way of doing overshot — pick up the warp threads by hand, then weave a plain row on top. Fancy looms let you do most of the work with multiple shafts. I like the connection to the ancient method, although I’m not willing to build a prehistoric loom to get really authentic. I do appreciate modern technology!

Anyway, I’ll post the other two pieces, once the commission reaches its owner and I finish the current project. I’m having a lot of fun, and if you own a rigid heddle loom I suggest trying overshot. There’s a three part series on YouTube that comes up if you search for “overshot rigid heddle.” The lady is making Christmas trees. I’ll try to remember to link it later, as I’m on my phone right now…

Random stuff

Good news, all!  For months I was dealing with vomiting (well, dry heaving) every time my blood sugar got low.  With the reduction of my Geodon, it’s stopped.  I’m only getting nauseous if I start chain-smoking, which I’m trying not to do.

Quitting smoking was working great until the hallucinations started.  My psychiatrist told me it was a dumb idea to quit while in the middle of a medication change.  (I’m paraphrasing.  She’s much more polite than that.)  So I’m smoking until the switch to Abilify is complete.

I’m down to one Geodon a day, at night.  The first few days after the dose reduction on Friday were awful.  Like, I couldn’t drive after 2pm (my normal afternoon dose time, which was when I started feeling awful), and I felt suicidal one afternoon.  (Note: I knew I was feeling that way and told my sweetheart I shouldn’t be alone, rather than going home and hurting myself.  I’m quite proud of myself for that.)  But every day it’s been better, and yesterday I barely had any withdrawal symptoms.  So next week I’m going to tell my doctor I’m ready to get rid of the last dose and get off the med completely.  It’ll be another few days of hell, I’m sure, but it’s worth it.

I’m in the process of selling off about two-thirds of my fountain pen collection.  I just don’t use them.  I’m keeping several, but selling 19 of them.  Like, I love the idea of Pilot Vanishing Points, which are retractable at the click of a button.  But in practice they dry out way too quickly.  I own three.  I’m keeping one that was a gift, but selling the other two.  And I used to collect all the colors of Lamy Al-Stars, and some I’d never even inked.  I’m keeping a couple of favorites, but most of them have been posted for sale.

If I sell all the pens I’ll have a few hundred dollars to put towards my bills.  Yay!

Because of my brain weirdness, I’m not done with my commissioned art yet.  I’m hoping to wrap it up today.  I’ve been working on it a little, here and there, but my concentration was shot for a few days.

I had an idea for a tapestry.  Sweetheart has these earrings that are teardrop-shaped and have a design laced into them with thread.  I want to try doing an itty bitty tapestry on a weird metal shape like that.  Just for the experience.  I can’t see myself wanting to work on something that tiny very often, but it would be a fun experiment.

Knitting-wise, I’m almost finished with the second of a pair of dish towels for my sweetheart’s mother.  After that I’m going to whip up a couple more washcloths for my sweetie, then get to work on a sweater for myself.  I bought enough yarn to make myself a sweater a couple of years ago, and never got comfortable with the idea of knitting a whole cardigan in sport weight yarn for myself.  That’s a lot of knitting, and I never found a pattern I liked.  I realized something a couple of nights ago: I can knit it in the round and just steek it.  (Steeking, for those of you who don’t knit, is cutting a pullover sweater up the front to make it a cardigan.  Yes, it’s scary.  Yes, I’ve done it before, but only once.)  I own a sewing machine now.  I can sew two parallel rows of overlock stitching and then just cut between them.  Last time I steeked a sweater, I did it by hand and it was terrible.  I mean, it came out well, but the process was terrible.

Okay, done for the moment.  Later, y’all!

Mid-month update

I seem to be stuck updating biweekly…

Therapy: not as intense as last time, but stressful nonetheless.  Talked about how I dissociate so much, both deliberately and involuntarily.  How it makes me feel safer.  How when I cried happy tears the other day, I had no idea why my eyes were watery and it confused me, and how once I realized I was happy-crying I was even more confused because how could I not know that’s what I was doing?  I have serious mind/body disconnect issues, and I want to fix it.

Reading: Saturday I started reading a book that wasn’t fanfic.  Since then I’ve read four more books and am almost done with a fifth.  The last one I finished was a novel, which delighted me.  I want to read more fiction.  I hope this lasts for a while.  Oh, yeah, and three were paper books.  Maybe I need to switch back to physical books.  Yay for good libraries!

Biking: still at it.  I’m having to take shorter rides now, though, because long ones hurt my bad knee.  I have dual rear baskets now so I can run more nearby errands on my bike.  In a little bit I’ll be riding to my sister’s to babysit…

Crafting: My ex-MIL loved the washcloths I made for her birthday.  I finished the pillow for my nephew, only for him to tell me one of the colors was wrong.  (Never mind that he had picked it out.)  So I’m waiting on new yarn to come in.  I warped for my tunic but haven’t started weaving yet.  I haven’t finished the dishcloth I started a few days ago, because I’ve been reading so much.  I got the yarn for Mom’s birthday present (washcloths that match her bathroom decor) but haven’t started those.  (Gotta finish the dishcloth first, as it uses the same needles I need for the washcloths.)  Oh, and Friday I cut out all the pieces for the change purses I’m making.  Now I just need to figure out how to sew on the zippers.  Haven’t done any spinning in a couple of months.

Mental stuff: much less depressed.  Not napping often.  Not eating junk food.  Still dissociating but not as much.  So, better overall.  I’ve been having more good days than bad.  Never did hear back from Hillary’s campaign.  I should call again.

Also… this is going to sound weird and sad.  For the last couple of years I’ve only had a libido when really depressed.  Like, I only get myself off when I’m miserable, because when I feel better I’m not interested.  What does it say about me, that arousal is a sign of depression for me?  I get anhedonic except for lust, and even then I frequently feel desire without being able to do anything about it.  But today I got turned on while in a good mood.  It felt weird, but I’m happy about it.

Also, watching cisgender porn as a trans person is hard.  Because my private fantasies are always with me in a male body, and so sometimes gay porn is awesome, but then like today I wanted to see my own physiology reflected so I was watching straight porn.  Neither feels quite right, but there’s a lack of good trans BDSM porn featuring submissives whom I can identify with even a little.  Stupid transgender problem #873987984789375…

Upcoming plans: Thursday I finally see the dentist.  (My appointment was rescheduled because of the last hurricane.)  Pride festival is Saturday, and I’m going to go for at least a little while.  Next weekend I’m going to a craft fair with Mom and ex-MIL.  In November there will be hiking in Georgia.  And cello lessons!  I resume those on Nov. 3rd.

Feeling crafty

A couple of days ago I finished some trans pride flag-colored yarn:

Trans Pride handspun v2

And then tonight I finished three projects!

First was some handspun, from Finn wool dyed by a friend.

"Makeup Counter" Finn wool handspun

Then I did the last few picks of the Log Cabin pattern scarf I started weaving in October.  It was meant as a gift, but I put so much work into it that I’m keeping it for myself.  Yes, I live in Florida and don’t need scarves.  It’s going up on the wall.

Log Cabin handwoven scarf

I finished the last few rows of my second Hitchhiker scarf, which is going to Awesome Niece.

Pansy Hitchhiker from handspun, finished

After that I started some more handspun, in some beautiful Polwarth I received in the mail as a trade for some other yarn I’d made..

Woolgatherings Green/Purple Polwarth, ply 1 in progress

And I cast on another One-Row scarf (from the Yarn Harlot’s pattern).  This scarf may be the softest, squishiest thing I have ever made.  I loves it.

Squishy One-Row Handspun Scarf, beginning

So I have been very crafty this evening.  It looks like a lot, but the three finished projects were already very close to being done.  Everything turned out great, though, and I like the way the new projects are proceeding.

Tomorrow or the day after I’m going to warp my loom for a scarf from handspun.  The Log Cabin scarf required color changes every row.  So the handspun one won’t have any color changes except for the ones dyed and spun into the yarn.  I need an easy weaving project after that last one.  As I said, it was going to be a gift, but I think I’ll make something a bit simpler instead.  I will never says never, but I don’t want to do a log cabin pattern again for a very long time.

Saturday’s fiber arts tally

~ 900 yards plied handspun
~ 200 yards singles spun
4.5 feet of scarf woven
1 knitted scarf finished
1 pin loom square made
3 pin loom borders crocheted

Soundtrack/background media:
Dragon Age: Inquisition (played by the Valkyrie)
The Adventure Zone podcast
SF Debris television reviews

Holy hell did I craft my ass off.  Tomorrow I want to finish that scarf and start one with my handspun. And, if my mojo is still going, I want to sew that damn woven blanket together!

Fiber arts update

I have decided to shut down my handspun “business.”  I just wasn’t making any money, and it seems silly to keep paying for a business license when I only made like three sales.  In future I’ll just “sell” it to friends for materials cost and call it done.  I’m going to grad school in the fall, and the idea of trying to run a small business while doing that gives me a headache.  So yeah, if you’re a friend and you’re willing to recoup my cost, let me know.  It’s usually about $15-20 for a skein’s worth, depending on where I got the wool. Usually indie dyers off Etsy.  Shit’s expensive, but sooooo soft and lovely.

Current spinning: Five of my seven bobbins are full, which means I have to stop until tomorrow.  Four of those bobbins are the same batch of fiber and will be plied together.  I’ll be able to ply a couple of them tomorrow because they’ll have rested long enough.  I could spin part of another bobbin (with the same wool that’s on the fifth bobbin) before bed tonight, but then I’d have to stop midway through tomorrow’s plying session to wind off the plied bobbin before I could start a second bobbin’s worth.  (Does that make sense?  I rewrote it like four times and I’m still not sure I explained it right.)  So I’m going to get back to knitting on my Hitchhiker.  It’s a scarf/shawlette pattern.  So far it looks like this:

Handspun Hitchhiker beginning

The yarn is some of my handspun.  I’m not thrilled with the way the colors are coming out, but the yarn itself is very soft and I like it.  this pattern is cool because it looks like it has teeth.  I want to make one with some striping yarn next.

A friend is buying me some wool, because I’ve giving her some of my handspun.  I am pleased with this trade.  I’m getting some purple and green Polwarth out of the deal.  Yummy.

I haven’t mentioned weaving in a while.  I haven’t been doing any.  I did this scarf back in October:

Houndstooth SPG scarf, off the loom

and then started this scarf:

Log Cabin scarf: tonight's progress

and petered out.  One, I hate weaving log cabin.  I didn’t know this until about 8″ into the scarf.  Hate it.  Two, my cats fucking love my loom.  I have to keep a towel over it so they don’t play with the yarn, so I wind up with this:

Babby love. If only their favorite snuggle spot wasn't my weaving loom...

Totes adorbs, but it makes my loom useless a lot.  I am hoping to solve this by getting a loom stand for my birthday next month.  The way the stand works, I could tilt it so the loom is nearly vertical when I’m not using it, and therefore would not be a good cat bed.  (I will be putting a nice cardboard box where my loom currently sits, on my desk.  Yes, I won’t be able to use that part of my desk, but kittens!!!)  Also, if I’ve got my measurements right, I could weave while sitting in my favorite spot on the couch.  (It’s also where I do all my spinning.  Does it count as being a couch potato if I’m making things while I sit?)  Even if I can’t weave on the couch, at least I could weave somewhere, unlike now.

Some of you may remember the black and silver blanket I was working on.  It is completely woven, but I have not sewn the four panels together because I fucking hate sewing.  Note to self: don’t make multi-part weaving.  It will never be assembled.  I’m going to let my MIL put it together with her sewing machine.  She asked, and I’m never going to do it myself, so she can have fun with it.

I think that’s everything I’m currently doing.  To close out, here’s some of my recent handspun yarn, because I haven’t shown it off in a while.

Sodalite Merino

Island Nights BFL, v3

Frutos del Bosque merino

Not too bad, yeah?

Itsy bitsy pin loom

I got a 2″ pin loom, because small squares will look awesome on the edge of the shawl I’m doing.  (I decided to add to the shawlette a little to make it full-sized, because it’s pretty.)

2" pin loom and finished square. Penny for scale.

I bought it from an Etsy seller, bigfam15, and it arrived today.  I’m very, very impressed with the quality so far, and his prices are extremely reasonable.  He makes two styles of looms, each in different sizes and shapes.  The “traditional” ones are set up like the vintage Weave-It looms and the modern Schacht Zoom Loom (which is what I have for a 4″ loom).  These looms all have the same three-pin grouping and are warped the same way.  I haven’t tried one of his “mini looms” yet, which have uniform spacing of pins.  I’ve never used that style.  I may try it someday, with one of his small ones.  They’re inexpensive.  The one I bought is made from reclaimed bamboo flooring.  It’s sturdy, light, and seems well-made.  I’ll definitely be buying a 6″ square traditional sometime soon.  I’d like to try making an afghan or a baby blanket…

Weaving with cats

I warped my RH loom this afternoon while hanging out with my bestie.  228 warp ends for Awesome Niece’s shawl!  I did it in three batches of 60 and one with 48, because having a lot of ends in one single batch means they’re more likely to tangle as I wind them on.  Bestie and her niece had come over to help make soup.  (It was lentil with tomatoes and fresh spinach.  Delicious.)  They stayed for dinner and “butterbeer” floats (IBC cream soda and butterscotch schnapps over vanilla ice cream.  SO GOOD.  Niece didn’t get the schnapps, of course.  She’s only 14.)  My float was small: a little less than half a cup of ice cream, half a bottle of soda, and about a shot of schnapps.  Caloric, but not too bad.  I still didn’t eat more than my calorie limit for the day.

Tonight I went to start weaving, and the babbies were very unhappy.  The loom is their napping place in the evenings, and they wouldn’t stay off it while I was trying to use it.  So I gave up, put the blanket on it, and they curled up to sleep.  Adorable, but I wanna be weaving!  Awesome Niece’s birthday is in a week.  I need to make her shawl by then.

So I picked up my bag of these pin loom squares…

Square with single crochet border.

… and got back to putting on the black crocheted borders.  I was in the middle of my fourteenth square (total, not just tonight’s batch) when I realized the square’s yarn is superwash and the black isn’t.  So I don’t know what’s going to happen when I wash it.  Crap.  I’ll take a couple of the spare squares and finish them in different ways — one wet-finished, the other steam pressed.  I’ll see what happens to each.  If they both suck, I’ll pull out the black and replace it with superwash.  I actually think I may have some of the same brand of yarn in black.  Why didn’t I think of that in the first place?  Silly Alex…

Oh, back to the babbies for a sec: they’ve been coming downstairs a lot, but not for long unless I’m there too.  Eris has overcome her fear and come down, but only when I’m nearby.  Loki sat in the bay window in the kitchen and watched the backyard while I warped the loom.  Then he bolted when the food processor started up.  Babbies do not like loud noises!

Achievement unlocked: crocheted edging

I have been struggling since I got my pin loom, trying to figure out how to join squares together using crochet.  I was trying different ways but didn’t like anything I saw online.  So this morning I shelled out for Margaret Stump’s book on pin looms, and I figured it out after reading her section on joining.

(The piece below is actually a perfect square. I was having trouble getting the photo angle right.)

Square with single crochet border.

It looks exactly the way I want it to.  I’m putting a single crochet edge on every square, and then stitching them together to make the shawlette/kerchief/thing.  Fortunately my crochet skills, which I haven’t used in 20 years, are not completely gone.  There are some other joining methods I’ll be trying on future projects, too.  I don’t really like the projects in Stump’s book — like, I am never making a set of dolls that look like an Amish family — but there’s some good info on how to do things.