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Snapshots of Creativity

It’s one of those weeks where I’ve been very productive, but haven’t had time to shoot anything properly. In lieu of proper posts, I leave you with instagram snapshots of what I’ve been up to :) Have a wonderful weekend!

More etched pieces, I think I'm addicted ;)

More etched pieces, I think I’m addicted ;)

The beginnings of leatherwork. An etched love letter on a copper base.

The beginnings of leatherwork. An etched love letter on a copper base.

My first pair of Hermione's Everyday socks. 10000 Ravellers can't be wrong!

My first pair of Hermione’s Everyday socks. 10000 Ravellers can’t be wrong!

Ollie, the junior foreman, keeping an eye on me.

Ollie, the junior foreman, keeping an eye on me.

Shawl pins, after the metal-smithing and before receiving their patina, flowers and resin.

Shawl pins, after the metal-smithing and before receiving their patina, flowers and resin.

My Magrathea is finally blocking. I cast it on over a year ago, in a Tanis Fiber Arts OOAK that I'd been hoarding forever...

My Magrathea is finally blocking. I cast it on over a year ago, in a TFA OOAK that I’d been hoarding forever…

Red Queen Anne's Lace earrings, on their way to a customer!

Red Queen Anne’s Lace earrings, on their way to a customer!

New Adventures, New Logo

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The Blue Brick is getting a new logo! The blue is fairly obvious, and if you were to see my yarn stash you’d know that turquoise is my all-time favourite, calming colour. The font is a serif, something that feels classic and romantic, much more connected to the type of jewelry that we make than contemporary, modern fonts. The filigree work is a nod to my heritage; my father was born in India and I have always loved having mendhi applies to my hands.

To celebrate our new adventures, our leap into selling our work on a more serious level, and the fact that it’s an actual company and not just a hobby. It’s like getting a new haircut.

Opening Day

The store is open :) Click on the handy ‘visit our online store‘ buttons to visit the Blue Brick’s Shopify site and check it out! If you see something you like, use the coupon code OPENINGDAY at checkout to get 10% off your entire order (expires at midnight EST).

The site is new and I’m sure there will be much tweaking in the near future, so please bear with me while I smooth out the little things, but on the whole I feel quite happy and satisfied with this new adventure. Ultimately I hope to phase out the Etsy site, so even if you’re picking up a pattern, or e-book, I would ask that you use the new online store instead of Etsy.

I’m too giddy to think of much else to say! Here’s a pretty picture :)

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Star Anise Hat, and the First Nice Day!!

Today was gorgeous. A perfect day for a Queen West march and photos of my latest FO – the Star Anise hat by Alice Twain. A completely selfish, instant gratification knit, I whipped this one out in 2 days. I love the way she designed it, and while I didn’t bother with the tubular cast on, and I worked with 3.25mm needles throughout, I can say that the pattern was perfect with no other mods and I love the fit! Ravelry project page here.

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The best way to block a hat!

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I love that you can see Tito taking the picture in the restaurant window.

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It’s all melting… and while I know we will see snow again before Easter, I still love it.

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Ye Olde Day Job

… is occupying my every waking moment. Definitely heading into a crunch time, and it’s hard to find time to craft. In honour of huge workloads, I’ve ordered new business cards for my own company, The Blue Brick :) They just arrived!

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Tutorial – The Colour Shifting Scarf

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This winter has been super cold, grey and monochromatic. So when Tanis Fiber Arts came out with mini-sock yarn skeins I was inspired to weave a colourful rainbow scarf, to give myself a cheerful pop of colour on these grey days. Changing colours as often as I did can be a bit fiddly, but oh-my the results are worth it, this is the perfect grey day scarf!

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In Newfoundland they say ‘There is no such thing as bad weather. There is only inappropriate clothing’. Well, it’s -40 out there today, that strange, cold place where celsius and fahrenheit say the same thing. I think that the spirit as well as the body needs to be armed against weather like this, and this scarf is the answer. tutorial-blank

You will need:

  • 2 packs of Tanis Fiber Arts Mini Sock Yarn Skeins
  • Optional: approximately 120 yards in a neutral colour (I’m using Koigu KPM, colour 2360)
  • A rigid heddle loom (I am using the Ashford 24” knitters loom)
  • A 12-dent heddle (Better for sock weight, but work with what you’ve got)
  • A boat shuttle with extra bobbins*
  • Tapestry needle
  • Scissors

*Most looms come with stick shuttles, but because you’ll be changing colours frequently, a boat shuttle with enough extra bobbins to give you one bobbin per colour is much easier. Also, a boat shuttle gives you a smoother pass through the shed, and because the bobbin spins freely it doesn’t do that awful snag thing when you’ve passed your stick shuttle though without a long enough length of yarn. If you enjoy weaving, it’s a worthwhile investment.

**//EDIT//**

I made another one of these later on, and I made a few tweaks that really improved the design. I used a 10-dent heddle instead of 12 which greatly improved the drape and allowed me to warp to 80”, which meant that after I cut off the loom waste Tanis was left with a more generous sized scarf at 65” long and about 15” wide. Because I had fewer dents to work with, I warped 6 threads of each colour instead of 7, and when weaving I wove 12 picks of each colour instead of 14. She loved it :)

Click here for the hemstitching tutorial I wrote while weaving this scarf.

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1. Open up the packs of yarn. Enjoy how ridiculously happy it makes you.

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2. Wind up the yarn into little balls and work out the order that you’d like your colours to appear in the warp. I went for something close to a natural spectrum. You will use one ball of each colour for your warp, and one ball of each colour for the weft, so keep the 2 sets separated.

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3. Do some math. You can change this to suite your preferences, but mine looked like this:

  • Intended scarf length: 60 inches
  • Intended scarf width: 15 inches
  • Estimated loom waste: 18 inches
  • Total warp length: 78”

Because a warp is under tension, pieces often seem shorter than you’re expecting when they get cut off. To account for this, I gave myself a buffer of 7”, increasing my total distance between the back apron rod of the loom and the warping peg to 85”.

Each mini skein is approximately 34 yards. With an 85” warp, this should let you fill about 7 slots of the heddle with each colour (remember, that means 14 warp ends per colour).

4. I chose to frame my scarf with a neutral colour, which has the added benefit of making it wider. This is optional, but if you choose to do the same thing then begin warping your loom with the neutral colour. I warped 8 threads of the neutral, and then proceeded to the first colour in my rainbow. Work your way across the loom, warping the colours in the order you set out in step 2, filling 7 slots with each colour.

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5. Now grab the other set of yarn cakes. Pre-wind your bobbins, one with each colour.

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6. Begin weaving. After you weave the leader, weave a few picks with the neutral colour and leave a tail at least 4 times the width of your piece. (You will use this to hemstitch the piece after weaving a few inches. This is my favourite hemstitching tutorial).  Starting with the first colour in your rainbow, weave 14 picks. Using the visual guide below, change to the next colour, staying in the order you set out in step 2.

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Tip: Changing colours:changing-colours

7. When you get to your last colour, simply start again with the first colour. Continue weaving to the end of your warp. End by weaving a few picks of the neutral colour and hemstitching. On my scarf, this meant 3 full repeats of my 12-colour rainbow, and a little less than half of a 4th repeat before I ran out of warp.

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8. Cut the scarf off your loom, wet-block, trim your fringe and buffer both body and soul against Old Man Winter!

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