Leno-Lace Table Runner

©Shireen Nadir 2014

For my latest loom experiment I wanted to try making something for the home, instead of another scarf. This is not even a little bit because I’m bored of scarves, but because all the delicious yarn I want to use is sock or lace weight and I’m waiting on my 10 and 12 dent heddles before using them up.

©Shireen Nadir 2014

I don’t know why I thought a table runner would make sense in my home, considering that I own a cat who likes to eat yarn, but that’s where I ended up going with this one.

  • Warp: Alternating threads of misc. black scraps in worsted and sock weight.
  • Weft: Cascade 220 Heathers in turquoise

I’ve tried to do something new with each of my pieces to help me learn. For the table runner I warped up alternating strands of sock and worsted weight black wool – 3 worsted, 1 sock, repeat, ending with 3 worsted. When I was ready to start the pick-up stick pattern I picked up the 3 worsted and skipped the sock yarn warps.

©Shireen Nadir 2014

Resulting in these long weft floats on the back.

I wove 20 picks of plain weave with scraps of navy blue yarn, and hem-stitched my edge before continuing. To dress up my edges, I’m using 2×2 Leno on an open shed, which is a fancy pants way of saying that I twisted the bottom warp threads over the top and ran my weft through them. Changing the shed and running your weft back locks the twist in place.

©Shireen Nadir 2014

Leno feels a little tedious because it’s done thread by thread, but the results of this simple technique have huge potential. I can definitely see myself trying different variations for more complex lace on future projects.

©Shireen Nadir 2014

I’m using a pick-up stick technique again to add warp floats to the work. Unlike my first pick-up stick project, I’ve left my outermost warp threads out of the pattern, so there is a 6 warp edging on each side of plain weave. This was intended to stabilize the piece, because I knew I’d be leaving long weft floats on the back, but it ended up giving me a different problem.

©Shireen Nadir 2014

The edges of my piece appear to be a little longer than the centre of my piece, resulting in slightly buckled edges which no amount of blocking or steam ironing seems to fix. I’m not entirely sure how to avoid this, other than to reduce my edging width.

©Shireen Nadir 2014

©Shireen Nadir 2014

On a side note, this post seems boring, and possibly irrelevant to my usual readers (pretty pics aside) but I decided to keep all the details in. Learning weaving techniques, lingo and best practices has been an interesting journey this past month, and it’s been good to document what I learned. Hopefully these posts can be useful to another new weaver as well :)


For Easter weekend we had a real treat–Rayna’s parents came to Toronto from Newfoundland for a few days. Rayna’s folks are from Newfoundland, and her dad is a super talented photographer, could it get any better?

©Shireen Nadir 2014

Yes it could; for a start they actually flew to Toronto with flash-frozen fresh fish (because, we all know you can’t get good fish in land-locked Toronto) Rayna’s skills in the kitchen are exceeded only by that of her mom and her dad’s idea of a good time is poking around in abandoned buildings with his camera. People after my own heart!

©Shireen Nadir 2014

We started the weekend with an amazing dinner for Good Friday, and Saturday the 6 of us (plus Kayleigh) took off to look for abandoned buildings outside of Toronto. We ended up stopping here:

©Shireen Nadir 2014

And here:

©Shireen Nadir 2014

And here!

©Shireen Nadir 2014

I had already decided that her dad, Jerry, was a kindred spirit, but he sealed the deal when I decided to make the short, but rickety climb to the upper level and, rather than try to talk me out of it, he said ‘I’ll hold the ladder’. When Tito expressed dismay about our adventure, Jerry simply said ‘She was going to do it anyway’. Yep, 2nd day, and he knew me already.

©Shireen Nadir 2014©Shireen Nadir 2014

We also had a bit of fun with Kayleigh. She gave us two good jumps for cookie before deciding we were ripping her off.

©Shireen Nadir 2014

Jerry had mentioned a huge abandoned cathedral just off the 404, on Woodbine. I’d seen this place a million times from the highway, and always wanted to go take a closer look, but I’d had no idea that it was abandoned. Apparently, it had sat lonely on an empty plot of land for a very long time, but today there is a housing complex (named ‘Cathedraltown’) encroaching on it’s doorstep.

©Shireen Nadir 2014

©Shireen Nadir 2014

The story there is sad; someone spent millions to build it, died before it was done, and his family refused to invest any more to complete it. There was a sign on the plot indicating that it may well be torn down to make way for a mall.

©Shireen Nadir 2014©Shireen Nadir 2014

We finished off the day at the cathedral and picked Jerry up on Sunday for a trip to the brickworks and the Leslie Street Spit, two of our favourite spots for shooting, but this post has become image-heavy enough!

Photos, food and new friends, a perfect Easter!


Weaving FO – Ombré Scarf

This is officially the first thing off the loom that I really enjoy wearing.

Warp: Alternating strands of Indigodragonfly MCS worsted,  ‘Unemployed in Greenland’ with strands of Indigodragonfly merino sock,  ‘Is The Money Ok? Did They Hurt The Money?

Weft: My own ombré dyed skein, sock weight, merino, 437 yards.

The result is light and silky with beautiful drape. I’m using a pick up stick technique to add a little texture. It’s just warm enough to use as a springtime wrap, I’m in love!

Ombre scarf ©Shireen Nadir 2014 Ombre scarf ©Shireen Nadir 2014 Ombre scarf ©Shireen Nadir 2014 Ombre scarf ©Shireen Nadir 2014 Ombre scarf ©Shireen Nadir 2014 Ombre scarf ©Shireen Nadir 2014 Ombre scarf ©Shireen Nadir 2014 Ombre scarf ©Shireen Nadir 2014 Ombre scarf ©Shireen Nadir 2014 Ombre scarf ©Shireen Nadir 2014 Ombre scarf ©Shireen Nadir 2014

Knitting FO – Los Guantes De Shannyn

‘Well and good’ (some of you have no doubt been saying) but what is she knitting?

These came off the needles a few weeks ago, they’re a gift for a friend (my own Los Guantes De Claudia pattern) and it seems the weather is just chilly enough that she’ll still get a chance to wear them!

Yarn is TFA yellow label DK in ‘Spruce’.

Los Guantes De Claudia ©Shireen Nadir 2014 Los Guantes De Claudia ©Shireen Nadir 2014 Los Guantes De Claudia ©Shireen Nadir 2014 Los Guantes De Claudia ©Shireen Nadir 2014 Los Guantes De Claudia ©Shireen Nadir 2014

Ombré Dyed Scarf WIP

I have finally started a project with one of my Ombré dyed yarns. Here’s the one I’ve chosen:

©Shireen Nadir 2014

Which, before I wound it up, looked like this:

©Shireen Nadir 2014

For the full tutorial on how I dye these skeins, click here!

This time I am warping with alternating strands of Indigodragonfly MCS worsted, in a colour called ‘Unemployed in Greenland’ with strands of Indigodragonfly merino sock in a colour called ‘Is The Money Ok? Did They Hurt The Money? (I know, awesome, right?).

I am trying a few new things this time around:

  1. I am using a pick-up stick technique to create warp floats on my piece. I’ve learned this from a combination of this pattern and The Weavers Idea Book by Jane Patrick. So far so good.
  2. I decided to hem-stitch the bottom before beginning the work, so I don’t have to do it at the end when it’s all floppy and harder to work with. I got this gem from the pattern instructions.
  3. I am alternating worsted and sock yarn to vary up my texture, in addition to the pick-up technique. In addition to giving me some texture, I’m hoping that the warp floats will soften up any remaining differences in how my colour transitions come out, so it looks as much like a gradient as possible.
  4. I figured out a way to make sure the colour transitions in my ombré yarn stay intact (see below)

©Shireen Nadir 2014

The problem I was having was this: when you wind yarn onto your shuttle, the beginning of the yarn ends up being the last bit of yarn to come off the shuttle. This makes working with gradated yarns tough. To fix this, I use my ball winder to make a mini ball. Then I start winding on my yarn from the outside of that ball. By the time I get to the inside of that ball, I’m at the beginning of my colour gradient and ready to start weaving. When I run out of yarn I repeat the process to make sure that my colours are coming up in the right order. Sounds simple, but it really stumped me for a bit!

©Shireen Nadir 2014

And here is the work so far. I’m weaving something that will hopefully be wide enough to be a wrap, and also hopefully have more drape than my all-worsted- pieces did.

©Shireen Nadir 2014

I hope I have enough yarn! This is only my 5th project, so I have no idea in my head yet of how much yarn these things take. I can’t wait to see how the colour transitions come out!

That Was Horrid, I’m in Love.

Against all the advice I’d ever read, or been given, or even inferred through common sense, I decided to warp the loom on Friday night with what amounted to lace weight, single ply, handspun. This way lies madness.

©Shireen Nadir 2014

Tito only made it about 15 minutes before declaring a moratorium on Noro Taiyo lace weight. The stuff is a little rough, with the hallmarks of handspun, including thinner bits and slubby bits. It sticks to itself like velcro if you let it twist together by accident, but you can’t pull too hard to untwist it because it may just pull apart.

©Shireen Nadir 2014

We ended up losing one warp thread right at the beginning, and another one about halfway through the scarf, though through some really awesome luck they both happened to be at the selvage.


The colours look nuts. They look like they could never work out, even in the ball. When you warp it, it looks like a carnival.

But then I started to weave… and oh my it’s lovely.


Every 20 minutes it looked like a completely different colour way. It would look like this for a while….


… and then like this for a while.


And then it came off the loom and looked like this.

DSCF0009 DSCF0004

I wove very loosely, because it was so delicate, and also because I wanted the warp threads to show. The moratorium has been declared off – because I absolutely need to do this again.


Here are the changes I’ll be making though – I’m going to work with Taiyo sock instead of Taiyo lace, (100g/462 yards versus 100g/918 yards) so I have something a little more robust, and I’ll be changing to a 10 or 12 dent reed (in knitter speak this means I’ll be working it to the correct gauge instead of what I did, which was the equivalent of knitting lace on worsted weight needles).


I expect I’ll get a more tightly woven, robust piece from it, while still being light and drapey. This piece is very delicate, I’ve already managed to snag it on something with disastrous results.


It’s undoubtedly stunning though. I’m in love, I want another. I used to joke with friends that tequila was like that abusive lover that you stupidly kept going back to. Now it’s Noro. Noro and tequila.

Ombre Dyed Yarn DIY

Dying Ombre Yarn ©Shireen Nadir 2014

I love the idea of ombre yarns, and since I got weaving I’ve been dreaming of a beautiful ombre scarf, plain weave, with a neutral warp, transitioning over the course of a long, fine fabric.

Laurie from The Black Lamb had given me 2 skeins of a beautiful, natural merino silk sock yarn when I bought the loom, so last night I decided to experiment with my own ombre dye job. Here are the details of how I did it, and I’ll definitely be trying to do it again (with better photos) in the near future!

*Before you start – I’m using a silk merino superwash blend. If you’re not using a superwash, then be super gentle, because this process can be hard on your yarn and you don’t want it to felt!

Divide your yarn into mini-skeins. There is no real easy or fast way to do this–I recommend putting the skein on a swift if you’ve got one, and unwinding it onto a niddy noddy, chair, or even your arm. I was not very scientific about mine – I wrapped it around my arm 40 times, tied off my mini skein and then, without cutting the yarn, began another 40 wrap skein. This gave me 10, more or less equal mini-skeins that were all still attached to each other by a length of yarn.

Dying Ombre Yarn ©Shireen Nadir 2014

Fill a bowl with a water-vinegar mix. I’m using 3 parts water to one part vinegar. I found that 6 cups of water and 2 cups of vinegar were enough, in my case, to cover my yarn completely. I put my 10 mini-skeins in the mix and let it soak for about 30 minutes.

On my dining table I laid out a few strips of wax paper (to protect my table) and then covered it in plastic cling-wrap.

While the yarn was soaking, I prepared my dyes. I set up 10 plastic cups (because I’ve got 10 mini-skeins, you might need a different number) and put about 1/3 cup of water into each one. I’m using a combination of food dye and Jaquard Acid dye to create my colours.

Dying Ombre Yarn ©Shireen Nadir 2014Dying Ombre Yarn ©Shireen Nadir 2014

To graduate the colours, here’s what I did:

  • Cup 1: 3 parts Jaquard Turquoise
  • Cup 2: 2 parts Jaquard Turquoise to 1 part Jaquard Blue
  • Cup 3: 1 part Jaquard Turquoise to 2 parts Jaquard Blue
  • Cup 4: 3 parts Jaquard Blue
  • Cup 5: 3 parts Jaquard Blue with 1 drop of red food colouring
  • Cup 6: 3 parts Jaquard Blue with 2 drops of red food colouring
  • Cup 7: 2 parts Jaquard Blue with 3 drop of red food colouring
  • Cup 8: 1 part Jaquard Blue with 4 drop of red food colouring
  • Cup 9: 1 part Jaquard Blue with 5 drop of red food colouring
  • Cup 10: 1 part Jaquard Blue with 6 drop of red food colouring

The practical upshot of this is that you change your colour mix gradually over however many cups you’ve got. You can control the degree of change and the number of steps as needed to get the colour shift you’re looking for. To test whether my colours were shifting the way I wanted them to, I dipped a small piece of paper towel in each cup and laid the paper towels out in a row to see how the colour change looked. This is a good time to tweak your colour mixes if you need to.

After the requisite 30 minutes, I took my yarn out of the vinegar bath and laid it out on the plastic wrap, gently separating the mini skeins from one another.

Dying Ombre Yarn ©Shireen Nadir 2014

I placed a cup in front of every skein, and put on rubber gloves to protect my hands. Very gently, and starting with a very small amount, I poured the dye from each cup onto the skein in front of it, ‘squishing’ the yarn gently as I did so to make sure the inner fibers were receiving dye as well.

Dying Ombre Yarn ©Shireen Nadir 2014

I continued up the line until all the yarn was treated and then started back at the beginning again, adding dye until the yarn was fully saturated, being careful not to allow the little pools of dye to mix with each other more than I could help. Having said that, you do want to make sure the little lengths of yarn that connect one skein to another are receiving dye as well!

Dying Ombre Yarn ©Shireen Nadir 2014

Dying Ombre Yarn ©Shireen Nadir 2014

Dying Ombre Yarn ©Shireen Nadir 2014

When the yarn had absorbed as much dye as it could, I pulled up the sides of my cling wrap and used it to wrap the yarn, as one whole package, and I put that package in a microwave safe bowl to keep it from leaking everywhere.

Place the bowl in the microwave and nuke it, one minute at a time, checking in between to see if your dye bath is ‘exhausted’ (that is, if the water is coming out clear, or if it’s still full of dye). Once you’re getting clear water, take it out of the microwave and put it in your sink to cool off.

ONCE THE YARN IS COOL and not before (you’d be surprised how hot it gets) gently open the plastic wrap and give your yarn a cool water rinse with a little mild detergent. Don’t let the water run directly on the yarn if you’re not using superwash – even this can cause felting.

Dying Ombre Yarn ©Shireen Nadir 2014

Crappy cellphone shot of my finished work

Admire your handiwork. You should be feeling pretty rockstar at this point.

Gently press out the excess water with a towel (that you don’t care about) and hang it to dry. Once dry, undo your little ties and re-wind the mini skeins into one big skein. You’re done!

Dying Ombre Yarn ©Shireen Nadir 2014

Dying Ombre Yarn ©Shireen Nadir 2014


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Resin Jewelry
Find me on Ravelry
I'm a Craftsy Designer

The Blue Brick on Instagram

my craftgawker gallery

Say Hello =o)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,462 other followers

%d bloggers like this: