Rubberband Man


You know that problem I told you able in the last post where a tie-up came loose? Well, it kept happening, and not just on the one treadle, but some other treadles as well. It seems some of the treadles really don’t like being tied to the eighth shaft. That last tie-up seems to want to work its way out of the treadle.

So, there has been some unweaving to take care of areas that were woven with the correct tie-ups missing. And there has been a treadle fix to keep the ties in place.

It might be a little difficult to see with all of those tie-ups hanging down, but for the eight treadles that I am primarily using in the pattern, I have wrapped a rubberband around the end of the treadle to prevent the ties from sliding out. This has worked out well so far.

I have about 30″ woven so far. I have at least 40″ (if not 50″) more to go.

Thanks to those that have sponsored me already. If you would like to sponsor me in the Race for the Cure, just go here and for every $5 in sponsorship, you are entered in the raffle for this shawl. Thanks again.

Copyright 2011 by G. P. Donohue for

Race for the Cure Weaving

So, as some of you have figured out, the shawl that I was putting on the loom if the “thank you!” prize for the those that support me in Race for the Cure. For every $5 you sponsor me for in the Race, you get 1 entry in the raffle for the shawl.

So how is the shawl weaving going?

Well, it is on the loom and the treadles are tied up, and I have started weaving. Here’s a couple close-ups so that you can get a better idea of the design.

Of course, there is always a chance that this could all go horribly wrong. (For example, I have already had one of the tie-ups to one of the treadles come loose, causing a big old problem when trying to weave. I had to cut out the weft and start again.) If things do go so wrong that they are beyond repair, I will weave the winner another shawl just for him or her.

The race is October 23 in Hunt Valley. The drawing for the shawl will be October 30 at 7PM Eastern. Thank you in advance for helping out!

Copyright 2011 by G. P. Donohue for


Woohoo! Socks are done.

The toe and the heel of these socks are from Charlene Schurch class I took back at the MDSW. For the toe, I used Becker’s magic cast on, rather than knitting a rectangle as the basis for the toe. I think I am going back to the rectangle method, as the magic cast on gives two little points on the toe when the sock is actually on the hoof. For the heel, it is a matter of increasing a number of stitches, than knitting a trapezoid for the bottom heel, followed by picking up stitches along the sides of the trapezoid and gradually knitting in the increased stitches into the back of the heel. That works pretty well, so I may be doing that again.

Not that I waited to be done the socks to start this, but last month I was spinning up July’s shipment from Spirit Trail Fiberworks‘ club.

It is superwash BFL that I spun up as a single at around 24 epi. When I saw a notice on ravelry that she had more of the roving available, I contacted her (during Irene, no less) and snapped up the rest of it. Once it arrived, I spun that up to match the initial shipment so that I had a total of 18.6 ounces of singles.

With that much of one yarn, a woven shawl sounded like a good idea, so the last 10.6 ounces spun got wound into a warp, and the warp is currently being put on the loom.

The yarn is kind of kinky right now, which is making it a bit of a pain sleying the reed, but it is not too big of a deal. I think I might add a dummy warp to the end of all of these warp ends so that I can use as much of the warp as possible.

Who am I weaving this shawl for? More about that later.

Copyright 2011 by G. P. Donohue for

You’re Only Human (Second Wind)


Sunday was the day. It was a great day for the race, weather-wise. It was sunny with a little nip in the air so that I wouldn’t be a sweaty mess. (I am told that I am the only person Mr. Penney knows that can sweat in the shower.) My goal for the day was to just get around the same time was last year, which was about 25 minutes. I have been having problems with my foot lately, so haven’t been training as much as I had in past years prior to racing, thus setting that expectation bar low.

When I arrived at Race for the Cure, I immediately started walking the mile to the starting line. One of the things that I learned from my previous years at the race is to get there early so that I can get a spot near the starting line. Of course, this doesn’t mean that those arriving after me are just going to fall in behind me. If you have been to a concert at a venue where everyone stands, it is similar to that because while you think you have a good spot, other people arrive later and decide that there is a spot for them right in front of you. It is strange how all this jockeying for position happens at the start of the race.

Once the gun goes off, the whole mob starts to slowly move forward past the starting line until the people at the very front move forward enough such that those behind them can make a full stride. After the first turn in the course, I have pretty much finished passing most of the people that I was going to pass (which are generally high school kids that were just playing around.) I got to the one mile marker and saw that I was only 7 minutes into the run. Huh? That is too fast. I am going to not have anything left for the finish. Dang it!

I am guessing where they start having water on the course is the halfway point, because this is where I am a pretty much running by myself. The front pack had pulled away from me, and those behind me hadn’t yet caught up. It was like a 15 foot buffer in front and back. I have never had this happen to me before. It was a very weird sensation.

Time at the two mile marker says 15 minutes. I am fading. I am breathing heavy. My shoulders are bothering me because of a deteriorating disc in my neck. People are passing me. Wow, I just had a little girl pass me! The good thing is that the guy on the side of the course is telling us that it is all downhill from here. How I want him to be telling the truth.

“Just keep going,” I tell myself. “It can’t be that much longer.”

Then, the next time I look up, I see the finish line with the clock saying 23:30. This is my second wind and I sprint to the finish (as much as I can at that point.) My chip time was 23:37.1, a whole lot better than I thought I was going to do. Woohoo!

After the race, it was still emotional to see everyone out for the cause.

I visited a few of the sponsor’s booths and headed home, feeling just a bit proud of myself.

Thanks to those of you that have sponsored me. The raffle for the shawl is this Sunday.

If you have mailed in your donation but have not received a confirmation from me yet regarding how many entries in the raffle you have, please contact me. I want to make sure everyone is counted.

Thanks again.

Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for

The Twist


So, to whom do I owe my speedy ability to do a blanket twist fringe on my weaving?

Why the Olsen twins, of course! This trusty little twisty braider is the tool I use for doing fringe on scarves and shawls. Here is how it works.

On this model, there are two prongs with hooks that you can access by pushing up on the bottom of the prong. There are models that have three prongs, but it was hard enough finding this one, so I am not going in search of a three-prong-er.

Place a bout of warp threads that are to form the fringe in each hook.

Try to keep where the hooks are securing the bouts even so that the bouts get twisted the same amount.

Now to do the twisting.

There is a button on the side of the braider. Moving the button up towards the “1” marking causes the prongs to twist clockwise.

This twisting is the important part to be consistent on. There are two ways to judge your consistency between twists that you do along the width of your weaving:

  • By feel. The more twist that you put into the yarn, the harder it will feel. While it does take a little practice, it is easier that it sounds.
  • By angle of twist. Angle of twist is the same as it is in spinning yarn, the angle that is formed by the yarn. You should be able to do this by eye, with no need to get out the protractor.

Why don’t we use counting the number of twists as they go into the yarn? Because 1) the hooks may be grabbing the yarn at a different distance from the weaving as you do each piece of fringe so the same number of twists among different lengths of yarn will produce different looking fringe, and 2) those prongs go around so fast, you will have a tough time counting.

Now, it is time to twists the bouts around each other by moving the button towards the “2” marking.

This moves the prongs around as a set counter-clockwise. Don’t get to concerned about your consistency on this part this, as the bouts will naturally twist on each other to achieve a balanced fringe.

Now, just tie a knot to secure the twist while wet finishing.

After wet finishing, I re-tie the knots so that the fringe is the same length across the width of the weaving, then trim the fringe near the knots.

And here is the shawl again. If you would like to win this shawl, or just support Komen of Maryland, just sponsor me in Race for the Cure. For every $5 you sponsor me for, you get an entry in the raffle for the shawl. The race is October 3, and the raffle will be October 10 at 5 PM Eastern.

Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for



So, what I had to the loom? I began with purchasing four skeins of Djinni from Dragonfly Fibers in the Spring in Washington colorway. Don’t bother looking around for it. It was a colorway only available this spring. Whether it will be available again next spring, you will have to ask Kate.

I used two of the skeins to wind the warp, reserving the other two skeins for the weft. Since I had decided on making a shawl using a Swedish lace pattern, I went with a bit of a looser sett than I would for regular plain weave. Plain weave would had be at 12 epi for this yarn. For this shawl, I went with 10 epi. The warp was three yards long and was 22 inches wide in the reed.

This wound up being relatively pain free to warp the loom with, possibly because I sleyed the reed, wound the warp onto my sectional back beam, then threaded the heddles from the front, which is not the normal order in which I do things. I am finding that this works better for me with the sectional back beam that I have on the big loom.

Once the loom was dressed, I was ready to weave.

Unfortunately, the shuttles are cut out of the picture above, otherwise you would see that I am using two shuttles to weave this. Why? Because each shuttle is gettings its yarn from its own skein. I did this to try to reduce any patterning that dyeing would produce. This is a similar idea to alternating rows of knitting between two skeins of patterned yarn.

The weaving went fairly quick. If it hadn’t been for a lot of other things going on during the month of July, I would have gotten it done then, but instead it came off the loom…

and got its fringe done and then wet finished at the beginning of August.

I will show you the tool I use to do the twisted fringe in another post. You will point and laugh at it.

Now who did I make it for?

Well for the winner of the raffle of those that support me in the Race for the Cure. For every $5 you sponsor me, you get an entry in the raffle. The winner gets the shawl. The drawing will be October 10th at 8PM Eastern, so all donations must be made by then to be eligible for the raffle. As on previous raffles, family is not eligible (though I have something special for family.)

Thank you for your support.

Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for

So Emotional


Yesterday was Race for the Cure; and this time, I had a very different experience. It started off rather the same. I was nervous about getting there on time and actually doing the run; all of the minutia. But after the run, it was totally different; and I am not sure I can put my finger on why.

First, let me tell you that I made it to the starting line on time this year. Hooray! And even though it was cold and rainy, I ran an ok race in a little over 25 minutes. But really, that doesn’t matter.

After the running, I was relaxed and felt relieved because I could now just go around a see what was going on. The walk was about to start, and because of the weather being miserable, it was the hardcore doing the walk this year. For the 5K races like I just ran in, you have runners that will run in anything; but for the walk, you really have to believe in the cause to do it in rain with temperatures that were hovering in the 40’s.

And this is when it all hit me. A thousand things ran through my head as I saw those that have survived and those that are still in the fight making their way through the course anyway they could. A lack of sleep due to nerves combined with the thought that because of breast cancer I might lose someone that is very dear to me combined with other things that are too numerous to mention, I started to get a bit emotional. More emotional than I care to get in public. (Hey, I might be gay, but I can still go with the macho bit.)

I wound up leaving soon after that, with a lot more to think about.

This morning, I checked my email. Lots of donations! Thank you so much. Words can not even begin to express how thankful I am. Really, I am truly touched by everyone’s generosity. And I am emotional again.

And because I can’t say it enough, thank you.

Copyright 2009 by G. P. Donohue for

Apparently Nothin’


There has been a lot going on around here, but not a lot to show for it. A little over a week ago, I finished writing up the pattern for Sheila’s sock club so that everyone’s favorite test knitter could start knitting it. I still have some hints and tricks that I want to put in it, but the pattern itself is done, barring any corrections. I have received the winter edition of yarn from Sheila. And? SQUEEEE! But again, I can’t show you that yet.

I finished spinning up the single last night of the first course of Hungry for Handspun‘s Fiber Feast. I would show you, but it really doesn’t look much different than the last time I showed you. I am figuring on chain plying. What I will do with it, after that, I am not sure.

Finally, I am running again in the Komen Maryland Race for the Cure, in Hunt Valley, MD, on October 18. Unfortunately, this year I am not able to offer any prizes, but I did start the ball rolling by selling off some of my stash on eBay. The last buyer paid me this past week, so all of that is done and out the door. I will write up a lessons learned on that later.

If you would like to support me in the race, just go to this link.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you for your support.

Copyright 2009 by G. P. Donohue for

Closer than Close


This post may be of particular interest of Roseann.

No, it is not completely finished. There is still the fringe to do, as well as fulling it; but the Habu silk scarf is off of the loom, which is a big deal for me.

The colors are pretty true in these photos. We shall see after fulling (which is similar to washing, but is not meant to clean the weaving but to relax the threads so that they settle into place.) It may turn out pretty different after that. More to come.

Copyright 2009 by G. P. Donohue for