Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Frayed Knot

The handspun warp that I mentioned in my last post didn't take well to the motion of the beater. See how it is fraying? This yarn was not spun tight enough to hold together as a good warp should.

Here is the interaction of a frayed bit of yarn with its neighbors. It made getting a good shed challenging--not impossible, and not horribly hard--I could usually encourage the fibers to let go of each other by placing my hand or the shuttle in the shed and moving it back and forth.

Here is the shot off the back of the loom when I had two weighted replacement threads. By the end I had at least three weights and four or five threads that I was able to just knot back together. I eventually gave up on the weaving....the whole warp was slowly pulling apart!

But I like the finished piece! It is reasonably soft and has a nice drape--and I have no idea how I want to use it! I was hoping to get enough yardage to make a vest. I guess I'll just have to try again! :)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Handspun in Weaving

This is a first for me! I am using a handspun single for my warp and weft! I am impressed that the single is strong enough to work as a warp. I have had two threads pull apart, but it wasn't hard to repair them.

This yarn is from the first (and possibly only) raw fleece I purchased. It was a pain to remove the vegetable matter--yuck! But, it was a good test yarn. I have enough to do a good sized sample project (20"x60" on loom). The end goal is to explore the creation of woolen fabric to make my husband a vest to wear with his Lord of the Rings cloak. A secondary goal is to gain confidence with handspun so I can weave a scarf out of the fiber (now yarn) that my mom gave me when I first started to spin. It's been waiting patiently for a couple of years now! So far, I think there is hope!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A dyeing we will go...

It was another day for solar dyeing. Local temperatures were a little lower than the last day I did this, but I tried it anyway! Today I put a board covered with aluminum foil under my dye pots to increase solar reflection and put all my pots in big, clear plastic bags to help insulate them. Did I take any pictures? No! I was busy watching the kids play in the kiddie pool in the front yard! But the dyes just amaze me!

Green, purple and a touch of orange. This set was in my big roaster. I had to add some extra heat via the microwave at the end of the day because there was quite a bit of excess dye in the pot when I started rinsing.

Pink, purple, blue. This one was fun dye--I just poured the dye onto the fiber and let it soak in! The presoaked fiber was in a glass casserole (dyes only) dish with a lid.

Check on the rainbow colors! Each of these were dyed in my old canning jars (now dye pots). Color is so amazing!

And with all this dyeing going on, guess what is waiting patiently for its turn to become curtains!


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Finished fabric

This is the semi-artistic shot of my finished fabric for curtains. I wet finished it in my bathtub and then put it in the washer on a rinse/spin cycle (front loading washer) to get some of the water out. I used the dryer to get the fabric 3/4's dry, then put it outside on the line.

With the fabric weaving finished, I spun some hand-dyed cotswold wool and cast on for a scarf. This is a simple lace pattern and I liked knitting it, but the resulting fabric didn't work. It had columns of 'slip one,knit two together, pass slipped stitch over' separating the yarn-over holes that were too stiff for me.

So, this scarf is now working on becoming my socks (at least I think they'll be mine!).

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Works in progress

My last dye-day produced some gorgeous rovings. Most of them were on a light grey wool and done in families of color. This purple one has some blue in it. I started spinning it last night... I like it!

Lest I forget...This is my new bobbin winder. One of my weaving guild members suggested this to me. It's a $7 hand mixer from WalMart. I used the tin snips and removed the cross bars from the beater, then wrapped tape around it so the bobbins would be snug on the post. It works pretty well--the speed control could be improved (it goes really fast on the slowest setting), but I'm not ready to take it apart to play with the gear ratios yet!

The weaving is progressing! That's almost an inch of yardage wrapped on that beam. I hate to tell you how hard it has been to work on this big project. I can only work on it a little each day. I have a paper where I'm keeping track of my progress. It's about half full of measurement numbers now. I think the end is in sight!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Spinning wheel!

My incredible husband helped me cut, create, and position the flyer assembly on the treddle base I refinished earlier this spring. Right now it has a cotton drive band and slips a little at high speeds, but it works! I was able to treddle and spin roving into yarn! Yee-haw!

There are a few things that are probably going to happen before we call this done, but it's amazing to see it actually work!