Nikki's Notebook

My journey as a fiction writer and a place for my projects, writing and otherwise.

Aurora Borealis

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I’m calling my latest scarf Aurora Borealis because, driving up to Duluth last night, I saw the same colors from the scarf undulating on a sign at the top of the hotel for Black Bear Casino. I realized that the effect the sign was going IMG_1296for was to mimic the Northern Lights. I’ve only seen the Northern Lights once in my life. I was at a classmate’s house in Superior, Wisconsin, working on a project for our Women’s Studies class. We finished up, and I was the first one to step out the door on the way to my car. Looking up, I gasped. Ribbons of green light were dancing in the air, the colors fading and intensifying in turn, the display growing and shrinking. A few shots of reddish-purple light showed up here and there, but mostly it was green. I called my classmates out of the house and we all stood watching it for awhile. Finally, I got in my car, and as I drove back over the bridge to Duluth, the lights stayed ahead of me in the sky.

The colors and richness of this scarf remind me of the beauty of the Northern Lights. My pictures just don’t do it the justice it deserves, especially with the greens. Believe me, I tried photographing it in different places all over the living room, and I was using natural light, but my camera just couldn’t capture how deep and gorgeous these colors are. Part of it may be the color of the light reflecting off the snow outside, but most of it is probably my photography skills and the limitations of the camera (though it is a very good camera). I love the slow color changes of the yarn, too. In the warp it resulted in thin stripes of each color, but in the weft it made for nice gradual color changes. Except for where I had to start a new skein, which resulted in a couple spots where there are abrupt color stripes, but it didn’t bother me enough to try to avoid it. Maybe if I do it again.

Here are the specs on the scarf:IMG_1291
Yarn: 3 skeins Crystal Palace Mochi Plus in colorway 560 – Jungle, and Knit Picks Telemark yarn in Pesto for the edges of the warp.
Warp: 100 warp ends, 10 on each edge of the Telemark, and 80 of the Mochi Plus for the body of the scarf.
Weft: All Mochi Plus.
Size: 9″ wide and 47″ long without the fringe, 54″ long with the fringe.
Notes: I used Betty Linn Davenport’s book Hands on Rigid Heddle Weaving to calculate how much yarn I would need for the project, wanting to make it 54″ long NOT including the fringe. It ended up much shorter than that at 47″, but a lot of it was probably because of a problem I had with one of the warp strings. The yarn is a 1-ply that is very soft and somewhat loosely spun, which I discovered is not ideal as a warp yarn. The heddle rubbed against the warp yarns as it moved back and forth and made little balls of fuzz on it as I went along. On one of the strands of yarn, this caused a problem as the yarn got progressively thinner and thinner as the heddle rubbed, until it finally broke near the end of the scarf. Luckily I was able to finish and tie it off, but I wish I could have gotten a few more inches out of the scarf. Still, I think it would have ended up shorter than I intended, meaning that I need to make a note to myself that I should add more than 18″ for take-up to the warp for future projects.

IMG_1287One of my goals with my weaving is to follow the advice of the book and plan out projects in advance and to keep records of how they turn out, so that I can learn more about how certain yarns will behave and such. It is not in my nature to plan ahead, or to be detail oriented. But with this project I calculated how much yarn I would need for the warp and followed their advice that the weft usually needs about the same amount. What I didn’t do, however, was weave a sample to see how the weft behaves and actually calculate how much I would need. However, I was worried about not having enough yarn, so weaving a sample would have eaten some of that up. In the future, though, I would like to be more systematic so I can eliminate some of the trial-and-error approach that I take with my knitting.

For all photos, click to go to my Flickr and see a bigger version.
This scarf is listed for sale in my etsy shop.

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Written by nikkinbird

January 2, 2010 at 6:14 pm

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