I think the most important discussion here would be to talk about what exactly a "color gamp" is. When I first heard the term, my reaction was huh? It is really quite simple, though, and is a great tool for anyone in the fiber arts. When you weave, there is a relationship between the color of your warp and the color of your weft. Unlike when you use paint, the colors of the warp and weft do not mix. They create what can be referred to as an optical blend. Think of it as tiny little pixels all butted up next to one another. You can pick out the individual hues, but step back, and they start to blend together.
This blend is really important as you plan your projects. Are you making kitchen towels? Would that blue color you chose for the weft look better on green warp or an orange warp? What would the difference be? Does it make any difference at all? That is where a color gamp comes in. A color gamp is a sampler, or a study in color, that you weave. It can be referenced again and again and is a very handy thing to have in your workspace. There are some really beautiful color gamps out there, and you can play around with patterns and colors. It's worth a google image search to see the lovely gamps people have created. However, for my little rigid heddle loom, I chose to follow the instructions of Inventive Weaving book by Syne Mitchell for a traditional color gamp in pure hues.
Another skill I was interested in learning when making this color gamp was weaving a fine cloth on my rigid heddle. For practical reasons, the heddles on rigid heddle looms can only go down to 16 ends per inch and many stop at 12 ends per inch. Does this mean an artist on a rigid heddle loom cannot achieve the look/feel of garment fabric? No, of course not. Brilliant weavers out there came up with a clever and quick fix- use two heddles. Then, with two 12 ends per inch heddles, you can achieve a 24 ends per inch fabric.
There are resources out there that will show you what thread needs to go where in a two-heddle plain weave configuration. When threading the two heddles, you will end up with one thread in each hole of both heddles and three threads in each slot.
This project is small and works up very quickly. Threading the heddles probably took the longest, as you end up with 360 ends that all need to go in their particular places. Then, you do have to keep in mind that you have 20 colors that will need to be wound on to your shuttle stick. There are only eleven passes of each color, but you still have to stop and start a lot. I haven't yet washed my little beauty. I'm a little nervous. But really, I think it will look even better once it gets a good wash and I iron it out. This is a tool I am very glad I took the time to make.
And all of the colors make me smile to look at, so regardless of how much a use it as a tool in color theory, it makes me happy.
Happy New Year, everyone! It is officially 2017 and I have very high hopes of this being a fabulous knitting year. I always like to take some time to reflect, however, on knitting I've accomplished over the last year. Perhaps the greatest learning moments come from my most blundered of blunders. The biggest blunder I had in 2016 actually happened to be a weaving opposed to knitting project. To say it was a misadventure may be putting it lightly. Is sure was something, I'll tell you about it here.
For Christmas this year, I decided I wanted to up my handmade gift item count. Then I went a little crazy making hats and matching mittens for my sister. Because I was making her handmade gifts, I thought it would be nice to make something for her husband as well. I saw this neat idea of making a Morse code scarf on my rigid heddle loom. The basic idea is that you use the stripes you weave in the scarf to represent dots and dashes. In that way, you can write out a hidden message of sorts on the scarf. I was excited about this idea for a number of reasons: First, it would work up faster than a knitted scarf. Second, I could really personalize it for Mark, my sister's husband. Third, I could choose very masculine colors and the scarf would look great.
I had my plan all sorted out. The next step was to think of what to write out in Morse code. To that end, I contacted my sister to see what she thought would be good for the scarf. At this crucial juncture, my project became doomed. My sister calls her husband "Mark Bear," so she thought it would be great if it said that. Accepting the nickname, I plunged forward, planning and warping appropriate dots and dashes. A little ways in to the project, my husband checked in on me. I had casually told him about the plan previously, but with the scarf well underway, he was more interested in the details. When he asked what it said, I told him. He gave me a funny look and then laughed.
"That's the weirdest thing for you to give your brother-in-law," he commented.
And with a sinking feeling, I knew he was kind of right. The scarf wasn't from my sister, it was from me. Putting a pet name on a handmade scarf was a strange choice when the giver was Mark's sister-in-law. The only way the petname would really work was if I intended to make it for my sister to give to her husband. I was too far along, though. There was no chance of unweaving what I had done and no time to start again, so I decided to just put the weirdness out of my mind and continue forward.
Then, the next catastrophe- I had somehow gotten two of the warp threads crossed when I was threading my loom and the last letter in "MARK BEAR" was an N instead of an R when read in Morse code. I was officially making a scarf that read "MARK BEAN." What?! Okay, this was still salvageable. I would just never mention it was a scarf with a hidden Morse code message. Mark would never know and it was a pretty striped pattern.
Feeling like this scarf was a little bit of a disaster, I continued the back and forth of the weaving...until the scarf was about two and a half feet long and I ran out of yarn. I am not one to use obscenities, but I'm pretty sure one slipped out as my yarn dwindled to an end. Deep breathing, right? I have no idea how I got my calculations so wrong, but I could always buy more yarn. It was the beginning of Decemeber, but the retailer where I got the yarn earlier in the year was prompt and there was still time for me to finish.
Except the color had been discontinued.
I sat there in disbelief for a good thirty minutes just staring at the 2.5 foot swath of frabric in front of me. Then I decided to call it. This project was dead. We would buy Mark a nice bottle of whiskey instead.
And that is how this scarf came to be my froggiest of frogged projects in 2016.