Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why are there so many scarves about rainbows?

The secret of Scarf 15? Rainbows. Pure rainbow happiness for cold little girls (or cheerful grownups). Scarf 15 makes me so happy. Henry says it is his favorite of all the ones I've made. I hope somebody nice gets to wear it someday. Someone who lets her friends wear it at lunchtime.

Here's the no-longer-a-secret rainbow ingredient: Rainbow Yarn!

See how nicely it plays with the soft and squishy turquoise yarn?

Here you can see the beautiful drape that the hand weaving makes possible:

And, oh that happy fringe! Here's a closer view of the fringe:

Happy happy, all around.

the true meaning of unique

Do your Facebook friends like to share their pet peeves about misused words and phrases? Mine do, but I wonder if it's because so many of them are educators. One word that gets misused quite often is "unique." Many people use it to mean "unusual" when it really means "one of a kind." Dictionary.com defines unique as: "existing as the only one or as the sole example; single;solitary in type or characteristics."

Each of my scarves, like each of their owners, is unique. There may be others of the same color, others that do the same job, others that are just as pretty, but none that have the same combination of characteristics and quirks. How comforting that is! In a world where everything is mass produced, it's reassuring to know that uniqueness still exists - that it needn't become a synonym for "unusual."

I'm so accustomed to making things for people I know and thinking about how they will wear them that now I think about the imaginary someday owners of each of my scarves as I make them. I can't help but wonder if they'll love the color or the style or the length or the pattern. I imagine them throwing the scarf on over a simple outfit to feel pulled together or being grateful for the softness as they pull it up over their nose on the coldest February day. I'm so accustomed to making things for people I love that now I can't help but love these strangers, and feel so happy to be making something to make them happy. Every little unique scarf for every little unique someday owner = happiness.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Easy Being Green in Scarf Fourteen

In her profile for Ravelry (an online knitting community), my friend described her favorite colors as: "green, green, blue-purple, and did I mention green?" Scarf 14 was inspired by her unapologetic love for this most amiable color. Green is the color of new growth - so fitting for this project of mine involving so much personal growth. It is the first sign of spring poking through the muck of winter. Hello, green!

Lest this scarf take us into leprechaun territory, I mixed the bright Kelly Green (hey, my color!) with a variegated green & brown. It's still mostly green - the brown sneaks in through little dark stripes and subtler, lighter stretches - but it feels more appropriate for fall and winter. It will still perk you up on a dark day, but will actually go with your winter wardrobe.

Speaking of growth, don't you just love how the scarf grows from this tangle of yarns to the soft and suave accessory pictured above?

Scarf 14 was sold in my Etsy shop. It's going to be an early birthday present for someone who loves scarves and all things green. You can just imagine how happy that makes me.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

This just in!

Look what arrived in the mail - my tax permit! That's right, folks - it's not all yarns and looms over here at One Hundred Things to Do - we've got some business going on!

But something else was delivered to my door that I'm equally excited about. Can you guess what it is?

It's a fringe twister! It's been taking me an hour or more to hand twist the fringes of my scarves, so I decided to invest in this little doodad. It cuts the fringe twisting time approximately in half, which means I can charge less for the scarf. Win win.

That there's the fringe on Scarf 13, looking all pretty in in brown and green. I don't think you've officially met, so here's a closer look.

Scarf 13 was a custom order - an ultra-skinny, ultra-long scarf in wool and cotton - and was sold on Etsy.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sea Scarves in Captivity

Ah, remember back when Scarf 12 and 13 were little and used to take baths together? Those were the days. Not as cute as the one of you and your cousin in the bathtub with popsicles? You're right. They do look a little more like sea creatures than toddlers.

I'm not torturing them - just washing them for softness and to fluff up their fibers, allowing them to reach their full coziness potential.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Will the real Scarf 12 please stand up?

+++ Earlier today I published a post all about Scarf 12. If you're getting this via Reader, you've probably already seen it. The trouble with that post is that all the pictures weren't of Scarf 12, they were of Henry's scarf, which I grabbed by accident to photograph this morning. Oops! Here we go again - same story, different pictures. +++

Last winter I made a scarf for Henry (my better half) and everywhere he wore it people told him he looked like George Clooney. Henry looks nothing like George Clooney. What's up with this scarf? Magic, I think. Only answer that makes sense.

Of course I couldn't go too long without recreating the magic of the George Clooney scarf, so that all men (not just my husband) can have the good fortune to go around being mistaken for movie stars.

The secret is a silvery gray wool crossed with a variegated gray and brownish-olivish wool/acrylic blend. The result is a surprisingly sophisticated scarf with colors that shift in the light. Very adaptable, kind of like George Clooney.

Newlin the Cat is getting as close to it as possible so that he might be mistaken for George Clooney too. I don't have the heart to tell him the magic only works for people.

Scarf 12 is for sale in my Etsy shop.

My Constant Companions

Meet Audrey and Newlin, my roommates. They are very into sitting in my lap and have lately been ousted by the loom, which is sitting there instead. They are usually nearby when I am weaving and though it looks like they would get in the way of things, that's usually not the case.
Newlin really loves to climb into the loom when he can, or just sit next to it when it's filled with yarn. He doesn't mess with the yarn, just looks at it.

They're my constant companions and cheerleaders, but I totally understand that seeing cats near something they might put around their neck makes allergic people panic. That's why I offer a wash'n'send service for you allergic folks - just say the word and I'll make sure your scarf is cat hair free before I send it your way.
I should also note that they don't usually snuggle up to the yarn, the way Audrey is doing up above. This is a rarity (and for me a very cute one), which is why I caught it on camera.

And Now For Something Completely Different: Scarf 11

If you've been here before you've probably figured out that I'm a sucker for smooth, subtle neutrals - scarves that wow with texture and form rather than in-your-face color. It's just how I roll. Until now.

Meet Scarf 11: Miss Pom Pom. I've never been able to resist this pom yarn - it's just too fun, isn't it?

Here's our friend Miss P on the loom:

The warp yarn is a cotton/acrylic blend that's soft and squishy - it's one of my go-to yarns for knitting baby things and a perfect match for the poms.

One of my favorite things about Miss P is the variety of textures. I pulled all the poms on top of the scarf as I was weaving, so one side is a field of soft squishiness. The other side shows off more of the weaving, resulting in little scattered patches of threads. They're both soft, of course, but the differences gives the scarf a little more interest, possibly even (dare I say it?) a little more sophistication.

Everyone who has met Scarf 11 has fallen in love. Some have squealed and run right over to savor her plushness (not just teenagers - think women in their 60's). I can't wait to see who takes her home.

Scarf 11 is available for sale in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In the Pink

This afternoon I took advantage of Texas' tax free weekend to pick up a few new duds. My mom encouraged me to get a shirt with a mauve and pink paisley pattern. I usually shy away from warm colors, thinking they don't look good with my skin tone, but she convinced me. I loved it so much that I immediately removed the tags and wore it out tonight. Later, when I was hanging it up in my closet, I was startled by how much it stood out against all the blacks, blues, and grays of my wardrobe. Not a pink, purple, or red in sight. Until tonight.
I thought back to my post about Scarf 5, in which I said "I'm not a pink person. I don't believe I own a single piece of pink clothing." Boy, have things changed in just a few short days! I think this scarf project is shaking things up for me.
I am dressing in the pink and I am feeling in the pink. Thank you, scarves!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Scarf 7: Rainbow, meet Rain Cloud

Wouldn't Scarf 7 look great with a denim jacket? My cousin Zak says it's perfect because the colors are happy but not too bright. My mom says it's perfect because it's not too wide, so you can loop it around and around your neck.
I had such fun weaving Scarf 7 because the stripes are all one yarn, making it fun to see what's coming next! And I love the way the colors interact with the silvery gray lengthwise yarn (warp yarn).

You can find Scarf 7 for sale here, in my Etsy shop.

Scarf 6: Brown and Blue and Soft All Over

I tried a new design for the borders on Scarf 6. It brings in a little extra of the blue/green/teal yarn and adds a little something special that's hard to put your finger on.

Subtlety is the name of the game with Scarf 6, who I can see comfortably flopping around an Ivy League campus, surprising those who come near with its tealy charm.

Scarf 6 is currently for sale here, in my Etsy shop.

Scarf 6 was also featured in a Treasury List!

Scarf 4: Luxury Defined

If a scarf could make me drool, I'd drool all over Scarf 4. It's just so indescribably soft, it makes me want to make clothes and bed sheets and everything I own out of it.
Don't get me wrong - I take a lot of care in choosing yarns and treating scarves with special washes to make them all soft. I'm very picky about what goes against my neck so I don't want to make anything remotely scratchy. But Scarf 4 takes the cake. I could wax nostalgic about the softness of Scarf 4 all day, but instead I'll tell you the story of how it came to be.

Once upon a time, in a small village in northern Scotland, there was a small white cotton yarn who dreamed of one day becoming the softest scarf in the world . . . . Okay, no, not really. Here's how this story really begins:
Yep, just the same as other scarves: with a lot of threads that go one way and a lot of threads that criss-cross them going the other way, back and forth, left to right and right to left, until it's done.
I love all the little flecks of black and gray. It's so subtle and sophisticated. And soft. Did I mention that?

I'm seeking a good home for this little pet of mine. It's currently for sale here, in my Etsy shop.

Scarf 5: Pink and White Makes Everything Right

Where am I getting these post titles from? I don't know. (Well, "In Which We Learn About" is a reference to Winnie-the-Pooh, but the rest? Who knows.)
I love me a good houndstooth. Houndstooth is a traditional weaving pattern using two alternating colors in the warp and weft to make a pinwheelishy-check pattern. You'll see me using houndstooth in scarves to come and it may be more obvious. It's a subtle pattern in Scarf 5 because of the slubby nature of the hand-spun cotton yarn.
If you know me, you know that I'm not a pink person. I don't believe I own a single piece of pink clothing and I'm not sure I ever have (except for that pink footy bunny suit when I was young, a la A Christmas Story). But even I, pink-avoider that I am, love this pink yarn. It's a bright pink twisted together with cream and just a pinch of orange. It's so warm and happy.
The resulting scarf is a little preppy, a little artsy, and very soft. I'm very happy with it.
To see Scarf 5 in its finished state, you can find it for sale here in my Etsy shop.

Scarf 3: A Comfort Cloud

It's hard to describe the magic of Scarf 3. It's like the softest spider web, but strong enough that you can wear it without fear of it falling apart. It's super soft and light. I tested it out in 107 degree heat and it was super comfortable. I like it because it adds a lot of texture and interest without any weight or bulk.

It all began with the softest, thinnest baby alpaca lace yarn.

Even on the loom it looks like spider web threads, doesn't it?

Or some kind of fairy magic?

Here it is woven and off the loom, waiting to be felted.

You can find Scarf 3 for sale here, in my Etsy shop.

Scarf 2: Would you care for some coffee with your cream?

Can you see the slubs? The hand-spun cotton of this scarf is a dream. In fact, this whole scarf is a dream. It all began on a Thursday (cue dream sequence fading) . . .
Late Wednesday night, I had the idea for the 100 Scarves Project. On Thursday morning I woke up and went straight to my loom. I warped up this scarf and got busy weaving. About two hours later my stomach started grumbling and I realized I was still in my pajamas and hadn't eaten breakfast! That's how much I love this scarf. It's better than breakfast. :)
I was going to a game night get together on Friday so I hurried to finish it. I took it to the party fresh from the loom (unwashed, unironed, untrimmed) to show it off and one of my friends immediately wrapped it around her neck (several times - it's very long) and exclaimed, "This is perfect! I want a scarf exactly like this!"
I was sad not to give it to her on the spot, but I had already given Scarf 1 away and I needed to hang on to a few scarves if I was going to get this business going. I spent the next two weeks photographing it all over my house and yard, in every light possible, trying to find the perfect spot.

If you're interested in purchasing this creamy, lovely, slubby, perfect scarf, you can find it here in my Etsy shop.

Let's Start at the Very Beginning

You've already met Scarves 9 and 10. Let me introduce Scarf 1, which was made and hugged and sent off to live with its new owner before I had found my current scheme of photographing scarves with numbers. Scarf 1 has a cotton warp (those lengthwise strands of yarn) and a fuzzy mohair weft (the side-to-side strands). After weaving it up, I hand felted the mohair until it got all matted and soft and secure, essentially holding the cotton threads in place. Here's a close-up:

I'd intended to use the teal mohair for both the warp and weft, but after I'd gotten it all set up (not a quick process, let me assure you) it became clear that it was too hairy and was sticking to itself too much to weave with. So I had to take the whole thing apart. It looked really beautiful while getting set up though, didn't it?

Lessons Learned:
1. Don't try to use sticky yarn for the warp.
2. Closely related but slightly different shades look pretty together.
3. When at first you don't succeed, make 99 more scarves anyway.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Scarf 10 - All Ruffled Up

I finished Scarf 10 today. It's appropriately named Scarf 10 because it took me well over 10 hours to complete, but boy-oh-boy is it worth it. I can't possibly describe how absolutely luscious this scarf is. See for yourself:

It has a row of wool running down the center, which I felted to create a soft band in the middle flanked by asymmetrical ruffles down the sides.

Only yesterday, when it came off the loom, it was flat:

It was so pretty and soft I almost couldn't bear to plunge it into the hot water, but plunge I did. It took about two hours to hand felt the wool stripe.

And now it's done!

You can find it for sale in my Etsy shop.
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