Friday, July 31, 2009

Flax Seeds

All my flax is out of the ground. This is the batch that I pulled early in the summer. It's dry...I don't know if it's truly retted yet.

I want to keep the seed for next years' crop, so I used my old dog comb (they are such handy tools!) and combed the top of the flax to remove the seed pods.

It's easy enough to get the seeds out of the pod one pod at a time--just roll the pod between your fingers, let the hull and seed drop into your palm, then blow gently and the hulls blow away. I just haven't figured out how to do that on a larger scale! Here's to learning new things! :)

Misc. Fiber Things

My friend was given some llama fiber by her neighbor. She was so excited!! We picked out the longer locks, washed it, carded it, and blended it with some wool roving. I was pretty tired by this point! But the fiber nests spin beautifully!

This is my great aunt modeling her new vest. It's an 8-harness diamond huck lace pattern with bamboo warp and weft.

This was my "short vacation" project. A pair of mittens for my growing three-year-old. The yarn is a commercial wool/silk blend.

And this is a project for a friend. She won some alpaca fiber at a fiber festival last year--it is beautiful and soft!! The goal is to spin the fiber into a yarn that can be woven with the two blue yarns. What kind of yarn will that be? At this point I haven't decided! It may be a straight two ply alpaca; it may be cabled with the blue yarns...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

More Hanspun Thoughts

Sharon Alderman has a chapter on "Crepe Weaves" in her book Mastering Weave Structures. "Physical crepes"are woven with a "very highly twisted yarns woven in plain weave, set openly enough to allow them to collapse and crinkle when the cloth is wet-finished".

That sounds like my handspun yarn--a highly twisted single! And the end result--fabric that was rough and bumpy!

Sharon's solution? "...if the highly twisted yarns were set very closely, tracking did not occur. (The threads had no room to collapse.)"

So, do I have enough yarn left to try a closer sett? I'd love to know if this would work!

As an aside: I can tell that I am growing as a weaver. The first time I looked through this book, it didn't interest me. Now, I am reading it carefully and learning lots!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Handspun Singles as Warp

I left my camera at a friend's house early this week and missed some great photos! This handspun single (natural brown, 36 wpi) was dipped in a gelatin solution while skeined, allowed to dry, then wound into a cone. The gelatin is referred to as "sizing" and helps protect the yarn against abrasion and wear from weaving.

The yarn looks well behaved on the cone, but as loose warp threads it was like a pot of curly ramen noodles!

The warp was slow to thread because of the curliness of the yarns and one thread broke because of a glob of gelatin that wouldn't pass through the reed, but other than that it was straight forward to warp.

My project: the same huck lace that I did earlier with the pale orange yarns and plain weave. I was looking to see how the single would behave as both warp and weft and how the single would effect the final fabric.

I sett the warp at 18 epi, and wove without measuring my picks per inch, but it's pretty close to a balanced weave.

The plain weave looks great! There is just enough variation in the handspun single to make it an interesting fabric (although it's rough and scratchy--maybe it's time to spin a softer yarn!). The huck lace portion (Upper fabric in photo) shows more deflection than the plain weave part, but I can't see the lace! The fabric may need a second wash--or the hairyness of the wool single may keep the yarns from deflecting enough to see the lace! All in all a very successful experiment! :)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Box Bag II

This is my second attempt at making a box bag. I added a tab at the end of the zipper (a suggestion on someone else's blog) and made the lining separate from the bag. I topstitched the zipper for the outside fabric and connected the lining all at the same time.

I like having the finished seams on the inside. It's much nicer than the first version with raw edges.

But, there are still a few more tweaks I would like to try. 1) Would it be better to attach the zipper to the lining first (rather than to the outside)? 2) What sort of interfacing (if any) do I need? 3) Can I make the bag bigger?

My goal? A box bag pattern that will work with my handwoven fabrics!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Box Bag Bonanza

I know I already posted once today, but my husband is home and played with the kids and put them to bed (he's been gone on a business trip this past week), and I got to play!

I am looking for a container for some drop spindles. Neither of them are very large--7-9" shaft length--but they are a gift for a friend and I have been trying to come up with something nice to put them in.

Enter the world of Box Bags. Caro of Split Yarn has some beautiful box bags. I want! I want! But, they are more expensive than my budget for this project, so I searched for sewing tutorials, and found one!

Kelly of Dragon{knit}fly has a nice tutorial about how to make a box bag. It worked great! This bag starts with some 12"x16" rectangles of fabric, and creates a finished bag 7" long x ~4" square. My toy wheel drop spindle (10 1/2" shaft) pokes out the top, but otherwise fits great!

One of the challenges with this tutorial are the inner seams. See how the stitching is visible on the inside of the bag? I'd like to figure out a way to have finished seams. Some folks have used bias tape to cover the seams--it works, but there must be a more elegant way!

Even with my seam issue, I am pleased as punch with my new bag! Hmm! Depending on the fabric that my swap partner weaves, maybe I could make a box bag from her handwoven fabric!! :)

Huck Lace

This huck lace scarf is an 8-shaft pattern from Carol Strickler's "8-shaft patterns" book. Can you see the patterning?

Weaving huck lace with fine threads (the warp is 44wpi, the weft over 50wpi) is a bit like weaving the emperor's new clothes. If I look at the cloth on the loom just right I can see the texture. If I blink it disappears!

Wet finishing loosens the fibers enough that the pattern shows up beautifully--it's a very delicate overall pattern...and I can't see it at all in this picture!

I have a few more yards of this warp on the loom. Hopefully it will weave as beautifully as this did!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

What a difference!

Check out the differences in these two pieces of fabric! The top one has a dark blue weft; the lower one a grey. The top one is one side of the fabric; the lower one shows the other.

Such differences--front/back, dark/light weft!

The dark weft fabric is for the Weaver's Swap. The grey weft is for me! :) I wonder what I will make?