Tuesday, January 31, 2012

8 armadillo bodies

 We've started the 8 armadillo bodies!

 I can't wait to get this started so I can see what the twill looks like!

Did you know...?
  • Armadillos have sharp claws meant for digging.  
  • Most of their food is insects and termites.  
  • They have a low body temperature and metabolism.  
  • Armadillos have large eyes but poor vision.

Monday, January 30, 2012

It's not recommended that you hold your breath for 6 minutes.

I have started the plans for the armadillo skins, which is a twill fabric.  I will be using the same 3 colors that I used in the armor fabric.  The sett will be 30 epi and I plan on warping 5 yards to hopefully make 8 armadillos!  I plan on making the body fabric a little bit wider also to speed up the weaving time.  Instead of weaving it 14" across, I'm weaving it at 24" across.  That way I can fit 2 sides of the body and 2 sides of the smaller inside tummy parts all in a line.  I really want to have at least 2 armadillos completely done before the weekend of Feb. 10!

I used my washed and dried armor fabric to predict what I needed for the body fabric.  I enlarged Amy's pattern to 200%, so it was basically doubled from the original.  But I noticed that things don't line up quite right on the shell fabric.  I predicted the dots/pyramid stripes well, but I'm off by just a little less than 1/2 inch.  I wove things so close together that there is no room to spare between the parts.  So I think I am going to enlarge the pattern again, but at 190%.  That should fit everything.

Here is a sample of the twill I plan on weaving for the body fabric:

Here are some other combinations that I don't like as much as the above combination:

Did you know....?  Armadillos can hold inflate their lungs with air to become bigger so they can scare away preditors.  Also, they can use this ability to float in water or hold their breath for up to 6 minutes under water! 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Purpose of Armadillo Armor

Maybe it's just the science teacher in me, but I am fascinated with learning some facts about each animal I am making.  Armadillos have some cool traits!!

I was doing some research the other day and came across this interesting tidbit: Armadillos are the only mammal that can bend and curl up into a ball with a hard outer shell!

Here are the steps they take to curl up into a ball:

Wow, I wish I could do this sometimes!

I finally finished weaving all the armadillo armors!  I was expecting to get 4 armadillos, but I ended up with 8 armor pieces!  But that's ok because all the gators sold like wildfire... so now I want to try and weave 8 armadillos so I'll have some extras! This fabric is fresh from the loom and before washing.

According to my calculations, if I make the fabric 10" wider (24" instead of 14"), then I can fit the entire armadillo body in the same amount of length it took to weave the shell.  But I am going to add just a little extra because that's cutting it so close!  So I'm going to warp 5 yards of fabric for the bodies.

I love these dots!  And these colors!

And one last little pic here...
Couldn't resist a picture of this cute little guy enjoying the beginning sounds of a few spring birds!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Armadillo Armor: The Gathered Pyramid section

I've already started the armadillo but forgot to include a picture of my goal!  The cute armadillo is found on the cover of Amy's book Weaving a Zoo:

I was measuring the armadillo pattern in the book the and comparing it with the amount Amy says to weave for each section. It seems very important to get this right because the armor piece is just one piece sewn on top of the armadillo, so each section needs to be just right.  Well, I think it's because her sett was different from mine, but I noticed I need to make a few more stripes of each in order to get the right size to cut out.  I get almost 3 rows of circles per inch, and I need about 3" for the neck to the gather, 4" for the gathered part with the triangles, and then the last section are more spots and I will need 5" of those.  So I had to add a few rows to each of her suggested numbers.  Here is a badly done sketch I made in the paint shop program:

With my sett, I am weaving 12 rows of spots for the bottom, 8 rows of triangles in the middle, and 9 rows of spots at the top, and that should give about 1 inch of room for some shrinking without too much leftover.  I am hoping this will all work out just fine!  Below is the pattern done in my colors and my way.  Again, I changed a few things to suit my needs better.  For example, I skipped a few dark plain weave stripes because I didn't have anything darker than the weft brown.  Also, I reversed the triangles to point up so I can weave this section from the tail up, and the triangles are pointed up towards the head.  It just makes more sense to me to do it this way because I can imagine the pattern laid right on top of my weaving.

And so far, I think it looks pretty darn good!  I was hoping to get 4 armadillos out of this, but I've already woven through 3.5 armadillo shells with lots left on the loom! 

It such neat fabric... great colors and a great texture!

If it didn't have such long floats on the back of the fabric, it would make some neat polka dotted dishtowels!

Did you know?  "Armadillo" in Spanish means "little armored one."  The Aztec called them azotochtli, or "turtle-rabbit."

Friday, January 27, 2012

THE blue jay

When I first saw this post, I remember commenting to myself, "What a cute blue jay!  It's like that one in my backyard.  Boy, whoever is getting that quilt is SOOOO lucky!"

And guess what arrived in the mail for me yesterday?!


I love the colors, I love the quilting, I love the design!!!  The craftsmanship is impeccable!!

I hung it in one of my most prized and beloved areas of my house:

And I notice now it's off-center from my peg board because I was just so excited to hang it up and enjoy it!!!

Thank you so much Judy!!!  (And... amazingly, it's JUST in time for my BIRTHDAY next week!!!!)

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I had the opportunity to take some pictures of some gorgeous handwoven items for someone else.  It is always fun to be able to handle and study other artists' work!  There were so many pictures that it's too hard to choose my favorites, so I just made a random selection.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Armadillo Armor: the Spotty sections

First, many thanks for all the help on yesterday's draft!  I have a scarf to weave for someone out of red and yellow and now I can warp my 4-shaft loom with that project.  But for now, I finally found a chance to start my armadillo!!!  Things get pretty busy here in the spring, and even though I only work 4-days a week, it seems like there's a lot to do on those 3 days off!  And I have had quite a few special orders to fill lately.  Honestly, I didn't expect all this business after Christmas!

So, this is the start of the armadillos from Amy Preckshot's book Weaving a Zoo.  I did some thinking and planning for them first.  Amy has you weave 2 different kinds of fabric for the armadillo, so I am starting with the armor part.  I kind of had to guess about how much fabric to weave, so hopefully things will all work out ok in the end and I will have enough of each kind, but not too much!

 I chose to stick to browns because I lack gray tones.  Hopefully my armadillos won't mind being brown!  I am using my typical 12/2 cotton yarn for these.

I am weaving about 14" width for the armor fabric. I have it set at a tabby set of 20 epi.  It looks like an overshot-like fabric with floats going on (but no half-tones), so it shouldn't be too hard to weave.  It will be tabby weave in-between each shot of float yarn.

I will need to weave lots of spots and a few pyramids, like 21 rows of spots and 8 rows of pyramids.  But with the spots for the tail, I don't really need to include that in the whole scheme of things, maybe only once at the beginning or end of the piece. 

One of the 3 colors I chose is very golden-y.  It reminds me of homemade gingerbread cookies!  I warped 4 yards for the armor fabric, but the body will have about 6-8 yards.  I'm predicting 4 animals again this time around, but it's hard to say.

 I have changed Amy's pattern just a little bit.  My circles were so squatty because I am using the same size of yarn for both the floats and the tabby weave.  To correct this, I decided to stick an extra center piece in each circle, and I like it a lot!  Perhaps she didn't want them to be complete circles, but it conflicts with my inner perfectionist that wants things to look more even.... plus, once it comes off the loom it will only be more squatty!  So here is what I am doing:

  Here is a picture of what I have so far:

 The one row of circles at the bottom are the squatty circles, but the rest are the more even circles.  I think this would look really cool in red and black for a lady bug!  I'll put that on my ever growing "to-do" list.

But I'm in it for good now!  There's no turning back...

I've never actually seen a real armadillo, so I searched for a video on youtube.com and found this cute video! 


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I need some professional help!

I think I now understand insanity.  It's all due to Marguerite.  She's a wonderful lady, don't get me wrong.  Her patterns are beautiful and her work is a masterpiece... but...

WHY didn't she mention the color combinations she used in her patterns?  I mean seriously!!!  I have racked my weaving brain over this one pattern and can't seem to figure out half of it!  There is definitely something going on with color in order to get a weave that looks like this!

So I am turning it over to the professionals.  Please... I beg you... help me figure this out before I truly go insane for much longer!  I am so ashamed that I can't seem to figure it out.  It's probably so simple and right there in front of my eyes, but I can't... I can't do it!  I even tried to have my non-weaving husband help... we are lost.

Here is the challenge piece:

Page 40 in A Handweaver's Pattern Book by Marguerite Davison

This is what I've figured out so far:

I've even accounted for the tie-up being different... and I think I have the colors for the bottom all set-up just right.  I just need some help with the 3 sideways V's at the top right for the treadling pattern... It needs to make some sort of neat looking horizontal design and diamond shapes where the horizontal meets the vertical patterns.

Thank you in advance for helping me with my weaving challenge!!!!  And later I will work on forgiving Marguerite...

I know I began with this combination when I first sat down with the draft, but it didn't look right at the time.  This is what Helga sent me, and there are parts of it that look very right, like the diamonds where it all comes together.  Perhaps it's just hard to see all the details in Marguerite's picture.  Now it seems so simple!!  I guess sometimes I just over-think things!  Thanks for your help, Helga & also Barbara!  And everyone else who was crunching on this draft!

And now for the good news: I finished the black and red hound's tooth scarf!  It will be put into the mail today!

70 inches of scarf plus 7 inches of fringe....on each end...

She said she wanted a loooooooooong scarf!!!

It turned out so beautiful, soft, and met the specifications for length!  It's so flowing and soft... I'm almost a little jealous!  I'll have to make one for myself before winter is over!  Add that to my "to-do" list...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hound's Tooth in Red

After all the intense alligator sewing, it's been so nice to have some weaving time!  I've missed it sooooooo much!!!

This very bright and cheerful red causes my brain neurons to liven up quite a bit!

I love my loom!!!  And my weaving/creative space!!!  
(This scarf project looks kind of puny on it though....)

 I love it all!!!!!

After this super long scarf, I plan on working on some armadillos from the Weaving a Zoo book.  I am also working on some weaving photography projects that are keeping me busy and out of trouble as well!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Making another scarf

Making another scarf... but this time it's not super secret!  One of my sister's friends saw her new hound's tooth scarf and wanted one also, but this time we're working in red and black.

Here is threading the reed:

 And threading the heddles:

More to come as I progress on it!

The next few weeks look a little bit busy, hopefully I will get in enough weaving time!