Thursday, December 29, 2011

First results of thick-thin spinning

My first stab at spinning thick-and-thin was successful or not, depending on how you look at it.  It's not a sturdy yarn, but I learned a great deal from the process.  I did find a rhythm to the process but I need to make some adjustments to give integrity to the yarn.

Here are two thick sections--the one the left will pull apart, the one on the right will not.

 And here's why, as I have it figured:
1)  The left section is too long, and the ends of all the fibers are not caught in the twist of the thin sections;  I need to pay better attention to where the fibers pull apart as I finish the drafting for the thin sections and start on the thick.
2) I drafted too much fiber into the thick section on the left, and had some fibers that weren't lined up with the others so, again, the ends of the fibers weren't all caught in the twist of the thin section;
3) My tension/uptake was too high; it all needed a little more twist--not a lot, but a bit.

I have a bit more of this fiber, to do some more practicing.  I'm not sure what I'll do with this, which has more sections that won't work than those that will.  Perhaps I'll just run it through the wheel again, to give it some more twist, then ply it with an even, thinner yarn.  (I do have a smaller skein of this spinning, as a part of the history of my work. )

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Back again

I've been away from blogging for awhile, due to chaotic change in my work life.  But I'm back, because spinning and weaving calm that chaos--in my mind, at least.

I've been buying some fiber--more about that as the days progress.  At the moment I'm spinning some thick and thin, a la Jacey Boggs. (If you haven't seen her Spin Art video yet, do it!  She's natural teacher, and even if you aren't interested in textured yarns, you'll pick up some terrific hints about spinning in general.)

I can't say that I'm horribly proficient yet but, with Jacey's instruction, I'm getting there--and having great fun.  I am using a local wool blend (from Alice Threlkeld) in a wonderful saffron color.   I'll post photos when I have finished.  If it's not too embarrassing!! :-)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

First Commission, Warping!

I finally have had a chance to start warping the commission piece for Kim.  It will be the widest piece I've woven yet, just shy of the width of the loom.   The threads will be the same as for the St. Pat's table runner:  cotton/linen warp, and a green, flecked yarn for weft.

I've learned a couple of things with this warping, things that work better for me, anyway.  Mostly I've discovered that it's much better if I temporarily tie warp threads in groups of 4 at the back.  It takes some more time to do the warping (I'm warping front to back) but it makes it much less likely that I'll make an error when threading heddles--at least when I'm using 4 shafts.

Almost has the front beam warped last night, and then realized I had made an error.  That I made that mistake, and then took so long to realize it, meant I needed to hang it up and go to bed!  Tonight I'll be able to finish warping, and maybe start winding some bobbins for the weft.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

St. Pat's Runner

I finished the St. Pat's table runner-almost. (I am working on tying the fringe.)  I like it more than I feared I might; it looks rustic, which is exactly what I wanted.  I used cotton/linen warp, which seemed appropriate for flax-rich Ireland, and a yarn the colors of Connemara marble.  (I knew that I didn't want bright Kelly green.)

This weaving doesn't have wavy edges, as my earlier pieces did, and I think that's because I didn't tighten the warp so tightly that the finished part was pulled over the front beam.  The picks were then not so close together when I wove, but that was perfect for this piece.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Weaving again

I've been doing a "little bit" of weaving while I waited for thread to start learning double-weave.  It has arrived but, in the meantime I have a commission. (My first!)  While I waited for measurements I started a piece for a St. Pat's Day table runner.  And therein lies the adventure.  :-)

I have warped the loom several times, and everything has gone remarkably smoothly.  I suppose I shouldn't have expected that to go on forever--but I was hopeful.  Let's just say it was a warping-from-hell.  I learned a couple of things, though:  how to make a heddle from string (actually, I used sock yarn and I may come to regret that--fortunately it isn't a very long piece, so the friction will hopefully not destroy it), and I also learned that when you make such a heddle you must pay attention to where you create the "eye."   Mine was too high and when I opened the shed that warp thread was not clear about where it wanted to be.  I fumbled--literally--my way through that, and weaving seems to be going smoothly now.

So, once this piece is finished I'll be ready to get started on the commission.  I had bought yarn for the commission but, now that I've been working on this piece, I think I'd like to use this same combination of warp and weft yarns for the comIMG_20110228_212407.jpgmission.

(Pink yarn is just waste weaving, to even out the warp threads.)