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Folly or fantastic - I'm growing a cloak! #CAPEtember2022

 
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And I'm going to take the raw wool and transform it into a cloak in a month.    .    .    hopefully.



a link to the video in case you want to drop it a like or comment on youtube to help my channel out




a link to the video in case you want to drop it a like or comment on youtube to help my channel out

This gives me 10 days to spin (should be fine with a sufficient coffee supply)
10 days to weave (pushing it, but doable)
and 10 days to sew (um... doesn't it take everyone else 40 days to sew a simple garment, or is that just me?)

And since I'm a glutton for punishment, I'm making three youtube videos about my journey.  (to put that in perspective, it usually takes me about 20-30 days to make a video)

I'm going to share my project journey here and hopefully get some hints and tips on where to go next.  Then when it's done, maybe it will inspire more people to make cloaks or take on huge projects just because... fun?  




So what is CAPEtember?  It's a make-a-long for making capes, cloaks, and other garments that drape around the shoulders.  2022 is the second year and I was sad I missed it last year so when I heard it was coming back, I dropped everything to join in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZElgDINB4w&t=0s

Inquiring minds need to know, are cloaks practical outerwear?
 
r ranson
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For those of you with less bandwidth or maybe just not keen on video, I'll also be posting photos (and possibly some spoilers).

This is Miracle.  



It's her wool that is going towards the cloak.

She looks pretty brown in this photo, but that's just the light.  Once it's off the sheep the colour of the wool shifts from fluffy cloud grey to charcoal to chocolate depending on the lighting.  It's a lot like the cloaks of Lothlorien from the Lord of the Rings books in the way that it blends into the natural world around it.  Or perhaps the colour-shifting cloaks of the warders in The Wheel of Time books?  
 
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Sheep to cloak in 30 days or less! If anyone can do it, it's you! I'm in for the ride-along, and I'm working on a pair of nålbinding socks & a shawl I'm nålbinding (nearly-sheep-to-shawl, since I didn't shear or scour it) to keep my hands busy, while I watch (in between farm chores, that is!).
 
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I'm doing Capetember too, though I'm starting with some previously prepped wool. Going to use the Camden cape pattern, which has been in my pattern stash for a couple of years now. It's got panels that are just about narrow enough to work with my more narrow (and easier to warp) Dorothy loom, though I'll still need to piece some for the back sections.
IMG_3004.jpg
Starting the spin of my midnight blue/black/purple merino
Starting the spin of my midnight blue/black/purple merino
 
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I've been meaning to sew myself a hooded cloak! This may be the boost I need to get it done.
 
Carla Burke
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Shawn Foster wrote:I'm doing Capetember too, though I'm starting with some previously prepped wool. Going to use the Camden cape pattern, which has been in my pattern stash for a couple of years now. It's got panels that are just about narrow enough to work with my more narrow (and easier to warp) Dorothy loom, though I'll still need to piece some for the back sections.



Shawn, how do you like your nano? I've backed the Kickstarter for the 2.2, and it's due to be released, next month, so I've not tried one, yet. Do you think it will speed your spinning, for your capetember cape?
 
r ranson
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Exciting!  I'm glad I'm not alone in this.

Here's how the wool cards up.  I'm using the drumcarder but it struggles a bit with such long wool so I have to be conscious of how I feed the wool into the drum.  



But the results are wonderful to behold.  
 
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It’s definitely possible to sew it in 10 days. I sew the below one in 6 days, but my back hurt afterwards. I did buy the fabric, but the pattern was an original from 1870 from a book from that time on female garments.
I really love the results, and it’s wonderful to wear in the garden during the cool California winter evenings.
The great thing about using a pattern from Victorian times, is that you make it your size, by using your personal ruler. There are books about how to make those rulers, but it’s pretty easy to do.
I love that system. It makes it super easy to transfer the pattern to paper in the right size. Only funny thing was, that the pattern ended up very large, since most of the pieces for the cloak were just 1 piece.
Anyway, I have added a picture of the pattern for inspiration.
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Shawn Foster
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Carla Burke wrote: Shawn, how do you like your nano? I've backed the Kickstarter for the 2.2, and it's due to be released, next month, so I've not tried one, yet. Do you think it will speed your spinning, for your capetember cape?


I’m a big fan of Dreaming Robots’ products. I have two Nano 1.0s and an EEW 5.2, and I’ve bought Nanos for two family members as well! The Nano is outstanding for fine spinning and is very very portable, so that definitely helps with getting the spinning done for this cape—it means I can spin in places I wouldn’t otherwise. I will also use the 5.2, though, as the bigger bobbin means less time switching them out and there’s more capacity for plying. I’ve got some pain and inflammation going on in my hips that makes using my treadle wheel not advisable right now, so it’s e-spinner or bust.

I ordered the motor upgrade as part of the 2.2 Kickstarter. There were a few bugs in the 1.0—nothing that stopped me using it, but I did need to do some tweaking to get it to work as I wanted. Most of those are handled with the 2.2, so I expect you should be in good shape. I hope you enjoy it!
 
Carla Burke
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That's awesome, Shawn! Thank you! If it comes in time, maybe it will make the trip out of state with me, for my stepdaughter's wedding, at the end of October. I wish it was here, already - there's a lot of spinning left to do for my shawl - which I'm now subbing in for my cape, for capetember. Can't help thinking it would be substantially faster than my Navajo spindle, that I'm using, and definitely more portable than my castle-style Ashford Traveler.
 
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I understand wanting to work on the cloak nonstop but your health is more impirtant.  Sitting is the worst thing you can do to your spine!  It's smart to get up and do Yoga stretches at least every hour.  That's also a good time to drink a glass of water. (not coffee)
 
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Carla Burke wrote:That's awesome, Shawn! Thank you! If it comes in time, maybe it will make the trip out of state with me, for my stepdaughter's wedding, at the end of October. I wish it was here, already - there's a lot of spinning left to do for my shawl - which I'm now subbing in for my cape, for capetember. Can't help thinking it would be substantially faster than my Navajo spindle, that I'm using, and definitely more portable than my castle-style Ashford Traveler.



Oh goodness, yes—way faster than a Navajo spindle. (I have never got the hang of those, though I’m pretty competent with a drop spindle.) Waiting for shiny new tools is always hard when you can see their intended purpose right in front of you, isn’t it? Are you thinking you’ll get your cape done within the month? I’m admiring Raven’s dedication to this project, but I will be glad if my day job and harvest duties leave me enough time to just get the spinning and part of the weaving done during September!
 
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I'd love to get my nearly-cape-sized shawl (loosely planned to work like the one what's her name wears, in Outlander, but an 'art yarn', nålbinding version) done, by the end of the month, but... Well, I'm not betting on it. My hands are pretty crippled up, and we have livestock, and I have to get them settled for winter, and finish stocking the pantry, in case we get snowed in, too. But, I'm going to try!
 
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What a cool project! and certainly a large undertaking.

The nano will help you a lot, I have found the e spinner a critical ingredient in a speed project like this. I broke down and invested in the EEW 6.0, and it's been the best value of my fiber arts journey so far. The 8 oz bobbins, namely, enable me to pack a lot more in at a time.

I still have my original nano, which I use for small quantities of luxury fiber or quick little spins, just because the portability cannot be beat! My treadle wheel doesn't leave the house anymore- too precious and difficult to transport.

I've even found the EEW 6, packed in a large cooler bag with the battery pack and fiber, works a treat.

Looking forward to see how your project works up! Did you mention what breed Miracle is? Gorgeous sheep.  I love the luster of the longwools, and their silky handle of fiber. A cloak is a perfect use for that wool.
 
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Athena Craig wrote:I understand wanting to work on the cloak nonstop but your health is more impirtant.  Sitting is the worst thing you can do to your spine!  It's smart to get up and do Yoga stretches at least every hour.  That's also a good time to drink a glass of water. (not coffee)



I take lots of breaks as there's so much to do day to day on the farm ... and on top of that getting the firewood ready for winter and firewood for next winter because it takes a year or three to cure.  

So I set a time, 1 hour working on the cloak, 2 hours doing farm stuff.

Although I am looking forward to weaving as I find this is one of the most relaxing tasks for my back.  It's like gentle back yoga.  
 
r ranson
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distaves (the plural of distaff) are cool and spinning a lot of yarn in a hurry is a great way to improve a skill like this.  

My yarn is not as consistent as I would like, but my spinning speed is about 10 to 20% faster.  But it's getting more consistent as I go which makes me happy.



Here's a video about how to put wool on a stick to make it easier (and after a while, faster) to spin.



we also have a permies thread about these awesome tools
 
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Wow, I am wishing I knew how to spin and weave, now

Just one question: isn't this the wrong time of year to denude that poor sheep?  

Don't forget to post the final pics!!  
 
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This is why I go on and on and on about finishing yarn.



Not only does it make a huge difference to how the yarn behaves when working with it, it also make the yarn last better in the finished garment.  
 
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Y'all...I am just a non-cloak-making (but definitely wannabe) observer here, so please excuse my impertinence.  I am reading all of the crazy comments (about having to finish canning and work with gardens, and livestock and etc) and I'm wondering, why Capetember cannot be moved...

Those ole timers of the past did this sort of thing (making a new cartwheel, weaving a cape) in the fallow, cold winter months...

It's the NAME, isn't it?!?  Capetember cannot take place in January or February because it's got to end with EMBER?!?  Well, I think February could e renamed Capetember.  Or January.  Just a thought...
 
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Betsy Carraway wrote:Y'all...I am just a non-cloak-making (but definitely wannabe) observer here, so please excuse my impertinence.  I am reading all of the crazy comments (about having to finish canning and work with gardens, and livestock and etc) and I'm wondering, why Capetember cannot be moved...

Those ole timers of the past did this sort of thing (making a new cartwheel, weaving a cape) in the fallow, cold winter months...

It's the NAME, isn't it?!?  Capetember cannot take place in January or February because it's got to end with EMBER?!?  Well, I think February could e renamed Capetember.  Or January.  Just a thought...



Ahh, but if we wait that long to push through, we won't have our cape done by the time we need them...
 
r ranson
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I'm not sure the creator of the CAPEtember make-a-long is a homesteader, so they are probably approaching this from the "oh noses!  The weather is about to turn cold, I need warmth!" point of view.  

Which is pretty much where I'm coming from.  I spent last winter without any warm outerwear for complicated reasons.  The spring and summer got lost to life.  Now it's starting to get nippy at night, I'm suddenly aware of how cold I was last year.  I need something fast.  
 
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Around where I live, people often get caught by dressing for the beautifully warm sunny day, and fail to prepare for the suddenly cold, damp breeze that early evening brings. The "normal" weather high vs low is 9C, which is the same as 16F (this time of year). That's like your "nice 70F day" turning quite suddenly into only 55F. Currently, that just means that I grab a sweater to go and put the geese to bed, but give it another 6 weeks, and depending on when the fall rains start, R Ranson is going to want that cape!  (She's in a similar ecosystem to mine, although it wouldn't surprise me if her highs were higher and lows were lower.) We've had snow in early November!

I *really* like how hard she's trying to plan in advance. She mentioned somewhere that this project gives her a break from chopping wood and other outdoor tasks - I think that's an excellent approach!
 
r ranson
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Summer usually changes to winter in about a 12-hour span here.  It can happen anytime between now and the 13th of Oct.  

But I'm making progress.  I think I have enough yarn now, time to work on weaving.  
 
r ranson
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Was playing with some lining ideas and this happened.

 
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r ranson wrote:Was playing with some lining ideas and this happened.

Yes, chickens like to poke their little beaks into everything! Did the teach you anything about your options? Did they show a distinct preference?
 
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is there any reason why flatlining a cloak would be a bad idea?
 
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I keep having to look up flatlinning. Here is a good article.

I think it should be fine to do that. I would flatfell my seams, or some other way of making the inside seams look pretty.
 
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Because ...does one really have to have a reason for chickens?



The weather kept me in the house yesterday and I needed a rest from getting this yarn on the loom, so I decided to have some CAPEtember fun.  At least I made a cape, even if it doesn't fit.  
 
Shawn Foster
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r ranson wrote:is there any reason why flatlining a cloak would be a bad idea?



My personal preference is for flatlining whenever possible, as I detest the process of bag lining. I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority on that, but eh, well.  You may, of course, want to make your seam finishing particularly tidy, as the interior is more often visible with a cloak than with a coat. It’s an opportunity for design elements—the smooth finish of flat felling? perhaps a wild print made into bias tape for a Hong Kong finish? vintage lace seam tape? sturdy practical twill tape? So many choices!

I have a fair amount of spinning left to go yet, even though I’m only spinning one of the yarns that will go in the weaving.
 
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r ranson wrote:is there any reason why flatlining a cloak would be a bad idea?


I think it is a good idea. As you can see, I flatlined mine. I also finished all of the seams by hand, so they are very neat. The cloak is actually reversible that way, plus it means a nice soft and fabric on the inside, adding to the warmth of the cloak.

Btw. It has been interesting reading about spinning. I haven’t done any spinning since I was a child and we don’t keep sheeps where we live. So unless I want to spin cat and dog hair, or buy wool I am out of luck. As I child I also hated it, since I had to keep my hands busy even during story time. So it was either spinning, knitting, crocheting or needle work. My parents were old fashioned that way. Anyway maybe I should try it again.
 
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Shannon Makes and JillianEve are doing a live stream on youtube tomorrow all about CAPEtember.  Might be fun to pop in.  
 
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I dug another piece of winter wear out of storage today.  It was chill enough this morning for a sweater, but it quickly got hot again.  

The cloth is woven and off the loom.  It looks better than I could have imagined.  Next comes fulling.  Here's a video about what finishing the cloth involves.



As for the second cape video, it should be ready on the 20th.  

 
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I've made exactly zero progress on my nålbinded one, in weeks. Just too busy a month, on our farm, while also trying to get us ready for our youngest daughter's out of state wedding, next month. October will be at least a crazy, for the same reason - maybe November...
 
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I always forget how busy september is on the farm.  The weather is finally cool enough to get stuff done and there's a mad rush to get all the things finished that were started over the summer.  

I'm getting really worried that I'm not going to get this done in time.  
 
r ranson
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The weaving video comes out tomorrow.  

Today, I'm trying to get my head around the instructions for this Mood pattern.

https://www.moodfabrics.com/blog/the-winterberry-cape-free-sewing-pattern/

I want to point out that the collar, comes in two pieces.  We can see the seam between the two pieces clearly in some of the pictures later on where they do a closeup shot.

Now the instructions say...

Add one edge of your collar along the neckline of your cape, faces together. A half inch of collar should overlap on either side.

Fold your collar downward in half, placing the faces together, and stitch down the sides. Clip your seam allowance, and turn your collar right-side out. Stay-stitch or pin the lower open edge into place.



Implying that there is only one piece folded in half???

How do I do the collar?
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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I think a paragraph is missing from the instructions. It sounds to me like there are two pieces that form the collar. one will be attached to the lining, one attached to the cloak. Then the lining and pretty fabric are sewn together, matching the collars and front edges... probably.

That is how I would do it.

Are you still considering doing the lining in the "flat" method? Because that would change everything.
 
r ranson
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Yes, I'm going to be flat-lining and extending the front by about 3 inches or so.  
 
Jay Angler
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I don't really want to give these guys my email address, so I haven't seen the pattern itself, but I'm suspicious that they've confused the instructions from two different patterns, judging from the pictures of the instructions. Do I recall correctly that you were going to make it reversible as well, or did that plan change? (IE is the "lining" actually a potential other side?)

How I'd tell for sure, is to compare the length of the armhole on the pattern, to the width of the collar piece. Normally, I'd just compare it to the shoulder seams, but that doesn't work for a cape. From the picture of the collar turned up and down, and the picture of the collar piece sewn in place, the sewn in place picture is only one side of the collar.

That said, normally, even on a lined garment, the collar would not be made out of "lining". If you're trying to make this reversible, you need to decide if you want the part of the collar that gets seen when the collar is folded down vs up:


Worn like this, you'd want the outside of the coat and the part of the collar that shows in the above picture to follow the instruction of "putting right sides together".

However, if you're going to mostly wear it like this *and* if you're still planning to make it reversible:

Then you'd want the non-matching fabric's "right side" to be against the coat's "right side" so things will reverse properly. If you decided against the reversible thing, then you need to decide if you're making the collar totally out of the outside fabric, which is pretty common on men's coats. Or if you want to put the lining against your neck and have it show as a decorative contrast on the outside when the collar's folded as in the second picture. Formal coats I've worn, didn't use lining as part of the collar, but they probably did have some sort of interfacing inside to give them a bit more stiffness.
 
r ranson
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It looks like if I make it an inch shorter than I wanted, I should have enough fabric for both sides of the collar to be in the handspun cloth.  So not reversible, but still looking pretty good.  
 
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