Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I came into the kitchen recently to find what looked like four cones of twine on my counter! The grain of the wood at a distance sure fooled me! This is one of four chair risers that my husband turned for me on the lathe. They are made of two 2x4's that have been cut into a cylinder and an indention made on the top surface for the leg of the chair.

I discovered that my weaving chair was too low (even with a pillow on it!) and my shoulders and elbows were complaining. Getting the chair at the right height makes it easier to weave!

This is what I've been working on. It's a 16/2 cotton/poly brown with a mystery bobble yarn as the white stripes. It's a fun fabric and I'm weaving it to be put away as yardage (I have no idea what it will become!). It has been lots of fun to imagine what I could make with this...and to think of coordinating fabrics that I would like to weave next!

And here's a blast from the past. My twill scarf has been hanging on a closet door for weeks while I tried to decide what to do with the fringe. Right now I am playing with adding beads--a first for me--mostly to add some black to the very orange warp threads.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Handspun projects

This cardboard loom was warped to test a color & weave (shadow weave) pattern that I was hoping to use with these two handspun yarns. Unfortunately, I either messed up the pattern--very possible...I pulled the weft out at least three times on this little piece!--or the pattern is just hard to see at this scale. The yarns are spun from a dyeing series from a while back: two rovings dyed in similar colors and patterns, one with dilute dyes, the other with concentrated dyes. For now, these yarns have been returned to the yarn box. I've requested a book via interlibrary loan to learn more about color & weave patterns.

This piece makes me smile! It's plain weave with handdyed, handspun singles used as both warp and weft. I still remember spinning this single. The colors formed such beautiful stripes that I didn't know what to do with them!

The original plan had been to ply the single with itself. I could imagine all my pretty colored stripes turning into mud. I couldn't handle that possibility, so I began looking into more options. I considered chain-plying, but I'm not overly fond of the technique and didn't really want a three ply (or quasi-three ply) yarn. For a while I hunted around trying to find an appropriate yarn to ply with these pretty stripes...and then I just gave up and put the bobbin on my shelf.

As I put the two green yarns away (awaiting further enlightenment on shadow weave) I spied the bobbin of green & purple. I grabbed it off the shelf, ran upstairs and made a new batch of gelatin sizing (1/2 oz gelatin: 2 C. water), skeined that pretty bobbin of singles, and sized the yarn! While the sizing dried, I made my calculations, trying to maximize the existing yardage of singles. Soon the warp was wound, the scarf (?) was woven, and it was wet finished. It's sooooo pretty! It's Romney wool and is a bit scratchy, so it may not really end up as a scarf....but I love the color and the fake plaid effect as the various stripes crossed each other! I may have to do this again!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Handspun Wool Singles (warp & weft)

I did it! I finally did it! I bit the bullet, sized my warp yarns with gelatin and wove with handspun wool singles. This is not the first time I've done this, but I'm still new at using my handspun singles as warp. Without sizing, they fall apart after a yard or so of weaving. Sizing the warps requires planning and an extra day to dip them and let them dry. --Oh the challenges of life! :)

I'm pleased with the way this turned out. The singles were ~14 wpi and I sett them at 10 epi in a 6 dent reed. Three yarns were used: variegated blue, variegated red, and pink/light blue/cream stripe.

I have wet finished this piece already and like it's hand, but I'm considering fulling it some. I read recently that you can wet a piece, wrap it in towels, secure the towels, and throw it in the drier--and the end result is a fulled piece. (Gudrun Polak has an article in the Jan/Feb 2010 Handwoven that uses this method of fulling.) Has anyone out there done this successfully? I have to decide if I'm willing to sacrifice this piece to test the method!