Big softness

Last Friday, a knitter friend visited me here in Den Haag. We met at the cat café (Ditjes en Katjes), a lovely little café with a nice atmosphere. Fortunately we still had a spot to sit. They are usually full and you need to reserve a table if you want to be certain that you can enter. They have a handful of cats who are all very social and relaxed. One of them even decided to lie down on my lap (making all the people around us quite jealous). He purred up a storm, taking a semi-nap and a bath. My tea was cold after that, of course, but I did not want to disturb him by moving.

One of the adorable cats

We had a chat and some herbal tea in interesting flavours, and after a good long while we decided to walk to the Cross & Woods. Of course they were just having a sale and they also got some nice new yarns… so we spent quite some time there! In the end I bought some lovely Rico Linea Botanica, which is organic wool, plant-dyed, and amazingly soft. I was thinking about making a nice thick cozy wrap. I love working with thin yarns. I like the elegance, the finesse. However, thin yarns usually don’t produce cozy thick wraps, so choosing thicker yarn sometimes can be very practical.

My friend fell in love with a pink Zauberball and a shetland wool kit. Lovely choice! There was so much loveliness to choose from, it was almost impossible. We had a nice chat with the shop ladies. They will be at the Breidag in Rijswijk, and it will be their first time. I gave them the tip to bring a good daylight lamp, because it’s always hard to see true colours at these events. My friend and I said goodbye after visiting another shop, and I went home.

Weaving the wrap

I was itching to start working with the Linea Botanica, so after I finished the Whisper wrap on Saturday I immediately took the opportunity to warp the loom with that lovely yarn. I used my Vari Dent heddles and manually cut one of the dents so that I could use the entire width of the reeds. I used two 20/10 heddles (5 epi) for double width and warped the loom as follows:

*4 grey, 2 white, 12 purple, 2 white, 8 grey, 2 white, 6 purple, 4 white, 6 purple, 2 white, 4 grey, 2 white 6 purple, 4 white, 6 purple, 2 white, 8 grey, 2 white, 12 purple, 2 white* 4 grey.

I was looking for a slightly random-looking tartan pattern. The two heddles together had 100 dents, so I created a repeatable pattern of 96 threads, ending with 4 more threads of grey. This is also the pattern that I used for the weft. Threading those 100 threads went a lot quicker than threading the cobweb last week!

Warp is tied on – ready to weave!

I started weaving and tried to keep things loose. I wanted a supple fabric. The yarn was about the same thickness as Malabrigo Rios, so I chose a sett that was a bit looser than the one I used for the Rios scarf. But after a while I started wondering whether it was too loose.

Lots of space…

It did go fast, though. And I finished the weaving last night. The fabric felt soft and supple, but also a bit fragile. I was afraid that I would pull holes in it with my fingers. So I decided to wash it and see what would happen.

Cat-pressing of course

The wrap became bit more sturdy, but not much. I would have to full it a bit. That was slightly daunting, because I had not really done that before, and I didn’t want to end up with a plank. So I did it by hand, today. Just moving the wrap around in the hot soapy water. Rubbing the edges a bit. It started fulling quite quickly and easily.

Fulled version

After fulling the wrap had shrunk a bit, of course. It’s now 42 cm wide and 170 cm long. I did not full it completely, because I still want to be able to see that it’s woven.

Still some texture left

Freya walked past it and put one foot on it. She pulled back quickly. It’s still too early for the cat-press.

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