31 May, 2011

Hot Weather and Wool

It's the end of May.  Yesterday the temperature here in Virginia rose to 36 C / 96 F and today is forecast to be even hotter, with a hazardous weather outlook and an air quality alert.

While sweltering outside yesterday, I was asked about the wool uniforms worn by the Confederate army in the summer during forced marches and battles.

I really don't know how they managed.

I've heard the Berbers in North Africa wear wool in the hot desert.  I've heard that sheep get some insulation value during hot summer weather from the wool that grows back after spring shearing.

30 May, 2011

Being Sent From Pillar to Post

There was that strange Scottish blanket in The Comfortable Arts that mystified me because its construction was supposed to reflect twill as done on warp-weighted looms, and I couldn't figure out how a warp-weighted loom could produce twill since I've only seen photos of such looms set up for tabby weave, with one heddle rod.

I'd hoped that Keep Me Warm One Night by the same author would have more information, since it covers the same ground, Canadian textile history, with a lot more text.  What I got was much the same information with a reference to see Hartmann's The Warp-weighted Loom for an explanation.  This is rather dispiriting news.  I finally finished reading that book not too long ago after taking an uncharacteristically long time to get through to the end, and I completely missed whatever it was I should have noticed.

The content of The Warp-weighted Loom is great, if you allow for frequent instances where the author gets into abstruse discussions about researchers' interpretations of historical data and the probabilities of those interpretations being correct.  Commendable, necessary, and exhaustive.  These are punctuated with a high level of technical detail I can only hope makes sense to experienced weavers and archaeologists.  There's a great deal of material in the book and there's little white space on the page around the type, a combination that makes for tough going.  Normally, it is my particular joy to search through a wealth of written information and pull out the pertinent parts.  Right now, I'm out of sorts and don't feel up to the endeavour, so I'm putting it off.

I found this tantalizing quote in Kay Wilson's A History of Textiles under the heading float weaves:
The opposite to the weft-faced twill is the steep or warp-faced variety.  The angle of the wale is more than forty-five degrees, and there are more warp than weft.  Denim and gabardine are modern examples; they show weaving sequences of under tw [sic], over one.  If the warp and weft counts are about equal, and the weft goes under two, over two warp, an even-sided (and reversible) twill is produced.  These were woven on the warp-weighted looms of Bronze Age Europe.  The even-sided twill allowed for an even division of the warp between the front and the back of the fixed shed rod.
Reading this passage, I sort of get it but I don't.  The author does not make explicit the difference between 2/2 twill and the tabby structure basketweave.  Pity this weave doesn't rate an illustration in the book.

Fortunately, Katherine Larson's The Woven Coverlets of Norway does contain an illustration of balanced 2/2 twill weave structure.

I'm still unclear about how many heddle rods are required for twill, where the rods sit on the warp-weighted loom, and how you work them.  Not that plain tabby wouldn't be challenge enough, had I the loom to play with, but I'd like to know.  I understand that warp threads for the rosepath pattern are picked up manually.

28 May, 2011

one hundred-thirteenth and -fourteenth skeins


Yet more handspun Wensleydale, the last half of the braid, spun in the opposite direction this time.

27 May, 2011

Indigo Dye Over Onion Skins


Took some of the superwash Blue Face Leicester I got at MDSW festival and went to a natural dye workshop out in the country here in Virginia.  I came away with this.  The fibre is dyed with onion skins brightened in the pot by tin and then overdyed with a dip in a woad vat and a dip in an indigo vat.

I can see that the result is very striking and that the colours are harmonious.  Some handspinners at the workshop admired the combination very much.

Me, I think the fibre could star in its own science fiction horror movie.

For the right person, someone who likes autumnal colours, once the fibre is spun and knit it will make a gift that's really something.

There are only two ounces.  I am going back and forth trying to decide on the way I want to spin them.  I could spin a fine yarn with two plies and make fraternal mittens.  On the other hand, the colour might look more punchy and more evenly blended in a soft, fluffy worsted three-ply yarn.  If I go that way, I'll probably need to spin up some of the same wool undyed to eke out the yardage for a hat.  There's always the option of stranded knitting using this colour against an undyed background, though I think the result would be diluted and rather wretched.

24 May, 2011

one hundred-eleventh skein


Finally finished spinning the small sample of BFL roving I got at Christmas.  Still can't get over how much more fuzzy the roving is than regular top.  This skein feels a bit like a stray because I don't have a purpose in mind for it and because it is small and one of a kind.

23 May, 2011

The Prince of Wales Spinning Wool with a Castle Wheel

Happy Victoria Day!*

Queen Victoria could spin flax, you know.  There's a photo of Her Majesty at a flyer wheel, spinning and drafting flax from a distaff in Patricia Baines' Spinning Wheels, Spinners, and Spinning, and unless memory fails there's another in Peter Teal's Hand Woolcombing and Spinning.

That was over a century ago.  What sort of royal patronage is handspun receiving these days, you ask?  Well, regarding fibre, there is the Campaign for Wool, which among other things has scheduled promotional events around the world to encourage consumers and industry to use wool.

Here is a short video, "HRH The Prince of Wales speaks about wool" which was made for the campaign.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QeGWxJDRQno



There is a longer version as well, "HRH The Prince of Wales Speaks About Campaign for Wool" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DDxOx1RCsY where he goes into more depth about the connection between wool and environmental responsibility and about wool's beneficial properties.

Even better and more specific to handspun, you can find photos that show Prince Charles sitting with a group of handspinners and trying one of their spinning wheels at the National Wool Museum in Wales here: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2010/06/29/inside-track-on-prince-of-wales-91466-26745826/ and here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10432169.  Admirable, in my humble opinion, and fun.


*(Not Canadian?  Never heard of this statutory holiday celebrating the Sovereign's birthday?  An explanation is here on the Canadian government's webpage.  Not clear why Canada is connected to the British monarchy?  An explanation of Canada and our constitutional monarchy on the government's page here.  Want to visit Canada and see what the fuss is about?  There's the Victoria Day parade in Victoria, British Columbia.  The Times Colonist newspaper has details.  You may be more interested in Victoria's WWKIP event coming up in June.)

21 May, 2011

one hundred-tenth skein


Just when you thought this blog was going to be all Blue Face Leicester wool all the time, a switch!  This is my first time spinning yarn with Wensleydale wool.

Wensleydale is a longwool.  It's hairy and wiry, and reflects a lot of light when you see it in person.

I got a dyed braid from Flying Fibers at Maryland Sheep and Wool, and this is about a quarter of it spun up.

20 May, 2011

The Persistence of Electronic Memory

I listened to part of an episode of Spark's broadcast on the CBC called, "Digital Impermanence, Pervasive Computing, and McLuhan Today," May 8, 2011, specifically the first and last segments, "Why the Medium is Still the Message," and "The YouTube Trapper and the Idea of Digital Impermanence."

There's a quote in the first segment, from media critic Marshall McLuhan: "[the computer] ends nature."  Also, about electronic media in general: "understand everything that is going on and then kind of neutralize it as much as possible.  Turn off as many buttons as you can and frustrate them as much as you can."  And from his son, Eric McLuhan, there's some interesting discussion on the detrimental impact of new media on a person's ability to imagine and work on long-term goals.

Spinning yarn by hand and reading books about handspun, in light of the McLuhans' assertions, start to look positively heroic.  Blogging about handspun and keeping up with online content about handspun, probably not.

It's difficult today to imagine that a decision to turn off the button would cause significant frustration in anyone–except the person who turns the media off and adjusts to its absence–because the number of content creators and broadcasters has multiplied considerably since McLuhan gave the interview.

In the last segment, archivist Jason Scott talks about the risk of entrusting uploaded content to companies that may discontinue service and support in the future.  I think this risk could become an issue for fibre artists who manage and share their content extensively in many forms on many sites for the benefit of themselves and others.  Retrieval is the whole game.  Such sites include LibraryThing, Ravelry, Flickr, and YouTube.

You may also be interested another Spark broadcast "Stealth Social Marketing, Haptics, and Obsolescence," May 15 & 18, 2001, for the short segment, "C'mon, Get Haptic."  Haptic relates to the sense of touch.  Mark Paterson talks about the delicate and involved skills that used to be common when using technology when he was young and about the rich tactile experiences people had.  For example, setting the needle to play a record or pressing a manual typewriter key.  He contrasts this to today, where we swipe smooth touch screens.

Makes me think about how we shop online for fibre to spin into yarn without touching the product first.  There is a weavers guild that elected to keep printing costly, time-consuming newsletters and sending them through regular mail rather than switching to email because members want the enclosed woven fabric samples.  There is software that lets weavers and knitters see and tweak designs before committing them to fabric.  I show my handspun to people and almost all of them say, "Let me see it," and hold out their hands to touch the yarn.  Such a mix of the virtual and the concrete.

Paterson says he is not making any sort of value judgment about change and the difference in haptics then and now.  If anyone did make such a value judgment, I would understand.  The original Luddites in 1811 were weavers.

19 May, 2011

The Sheep Market (10 000 Drawings of Sheep)

In "Crowdsourcing Systems on the World-Wide Web," Communications of the ACM, April 2011, there is a picture of Aaron Koblin's The Sheep Market with selected details, as an example of crowdsourcing.  The caption states the illustration is "a collection of 10,000 sheep made by workers on Amazon's Mechanical Turk.  Workers were paid $0.02 (USD) to 'draw a sheep facing to the left.'"

It was interesting to read the article in light of the many websites fibre artists use that have elements of crowdsourcing, such as Ravelry, Etsy, blog platforms, Flickr, and search engines.  It covers issues such as factors that influence whether users contribute and to what degree, ways systems can determine the value of contributed data and weight contributions, ways crowdsourcing can be applied to solve problems not just aggregate data, and management, version control, and editing of crowdsourced content.

18 May, 2011

one hundred-ninth skein


The one hundred-ninth skein I've spun is made with more of the rose red BFL, spun like the preceding skeins.

17 May, 2011

Spinning and Weaving in Palestine

I got a used copy of Shelagh Weir's Spinning and Weaving in Palestine in the mail.  Turned out the copy was unpleasantly musty.  Stuck it in a closed box for a while with some loosely wadded blank newsprint-type paper, the kind used for packing.  The pages smell better now.

I got the book because I'd seen this title in more than one bibliography in other books, and because as a Christian the area and its traditions are interesting to me.  There is a mat loom depicted for use with papyrus reed.  I wonder if it has any relation to the mats or pallets mentioned in the New Testament.

The book is brief, forty pages, but still comprehensive.  I learned that sea water makes dye fast.

The spindles in the illustrations are of monster proportions, between 14 and 18 1/4 inches long.  They are top whorl, and the shafts are a bit irregular, possibly warped out of true and probably shaped more roughly than your typical modern spindle.

Weir describes spindles used either rolled or dropped.

Weir writes that she saw Turkish spindles used by old men.  (Turkish spindles have crosspieces rather than a whorl.)

There are a couple of photos that show bare feet tensioning a weft thread or twirling a supported spindle.  Very exotic.

Writing in 1970, Weir found first-hand material for the book, but she notes her reliance on older publications for "some of the processes and apparatus which have long since gone out of use."  I'll leave you with this quote about the way things once were:
Before European textiles began to flood the markets in the last part of the nineteenth century, textile production in Palestine was a flourishing industry, and can be counted as one of the more important occupations of the townspeople.

16 May, 2011

The Woven Coverlets of Norway

I am reading Katherine Larson's The Woven Coverlets of Norway, a book which describes more than just coverlets.  It gives an overview of textile production in pre-industrial Norway from the sheep or flax up.  There is a darling photograph of women washing sheep in washtubs.

The image which most captivates me shows a beautiful tapestry loom.  Most of the looms in the book are massive, chunky warp-weighted or horizontal types.  This tapestry loom is delicate.  The joints are pegged; that is, a cross piece goes through a slot and is held in place with a small peg.

The loom's construction and the pegs' size and shape remind me of a stool from my childhood home.  The stool was made in Canada a few generations back by the part of my family that came from Orkney, a cluster of islands in the north of Scotland historically supposed to have ties to Norway.

Speaking of resemblance and propinquity, some of the woven coverlet motifs look a lot like motifs in Fair Isle knitting, Fair Isle also being in Scotland's far north.  For example, the square weave coverlets' eight-petalled roses look like a stranded knitting Norwegian star pattern, and krokbragd (rosepath) coverlets look like peeries in scale and arrangement, if not exactly in their small shapes.  The Danish coverlets have Xs and diamonds arranged like Fair Isle Xs and Os.

14 May, 2011

Could Be That All Down Breed Wool Resists Felting

Remember I ran a handspun, handknit Shropshire wool swatch through the washer and dryer and it came out fine?  Well, I hear it could be possible that all wool from breeds of sheep in the down category is resistant to felting.

One of the Maryland Sheep and Wool fleece sale attendants says so.

The Tsarina of Tsocks says so too in her The Tsarina Tsays blog post, Little Acorns.

This could have possibilities.  There are those relatives I would vote most likely to toss handknits in the wash thereby inadvertently, irreparably felting untreated wool into something resembling a tortured potholder.  I bought some BFL superwash wool top at MDSW to make gifts for such folk.  It's only kind.  To impose incompatible rules or expectations on anyone when giving a gift, that is uncalled for.  However, at the same time I have to consider my own druthers and I'm not excited about the idea of spinning wool plastered with resin.

Nice to know I can widen my search for superwash alternatives from just Shropshire to any down breed.

The down side (oh, sorry, terrible pun) is that down breed wool fleece and roving are rarely sold on this continent to handspinners.  Too, down breed wool is uncomfortable to spin.  Probably there's more than a bit of correlation there.  The up side is I have new motivation to spin up that Dorset cross wool I bought on a whim this spring.

13 May, 2011

Props for Sleeping Beauty

You know you've gotten a reputation when a friend calls and asks you where to find a spinning wheel to help her child and friends tell the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale in a video project for school.

I figured that the best option for a prop would be a drop spindle and distaff combination because there would be no sharp tip to hurt kids, no pieces to worry about losing or breaking, and nothing large to cart around.  Yet the set would look impressive and archaic.

I trimmed a forked branch down to one yard in length to make a distaff.  I loaded the four tines with a wad of combed Romney wool.

I made a basic bottom-whorl drop spindle from a dowel and wooden toy wheel.

I took one of my spindles and more Romney, and I spun some special Z spun, S ply two strand yarn.  (I started widdershins or the opposite direction I usually spin and finishing up by plying in the opposite direction I usually ply.)  I spun a medium amount, enough for show, and I wrapped it onto the basic spindle.  Then I tied the free end of the yarn to the distaff, hiding it in the wool so it looks as though wool feeds into the yarn.

The yarn was Z spun and S ply so that the child could turn the spindle normally clockwise without undoing the yarn.  This was the first time I'd spun widdershins.  I got used to drafting and turning counter-clockwise after five minutes.

Forget and spin clockwise when spinning counter-clockwise, and you'll know right quick.  The single strand falls apart.  But plying, you wouldn't necessarily know.  I accidentally let an arm's length of plying get past me that was turned the wrong way.  Discovered it later when I unwound the yarn.

The tip of the dowel is blunt, so the audience at the child's school will have to imagine Sleeping Beauty pricking her finger on the spindle tip and falling into her swoon.

I should have secured the yarn on the spindle with half-hitches instead of the usual clove hitches just to be sure it stays in place.

So, I have now made a distaff but still have not used one.

ETA: Here is a photo of the spindle, if you need to copy it.  You can click to see it enlarged.


12 May, 2011

That Which Supports the Spindle


My new supported spindle was sold on its own.  Bowls for support were sold separately.  Such a bowl could cost as much as the spindle.

I didn't see a bowl that really grabbed me.  As I said, stock was low.

I knew from books that traditionally a supported spindle could be spun on such humble spots as the bowl of a spoon or the curve of a potsherd.  (Bizarre word, potsherd.  As in, shard from a pot.  You know anyone who says potsherd has been listening to the King James Version of the Bible.  Did you know the King James Version was done four hundred years ago, in 1611?)

I found that my favourite footed ice cream bowl worked well enough to support the tip.  There is a slight depression in a ring at the bottom of the bowl.  I could set the tip there and keep the tip in place.  (In the photo, the spindle is laid at rest across the bowl.)

Nevertheless, I was open to new and better options.

At a kitchen shop, I found an egg cup with a shallow cup.  The shallow shape is very much like that of a proper, purpose-made spindle support bowl.  Works even better than the ice cream bowl.  The cup is smaller: the spindle tip doesn't skid around.  The base is wider: the cup is more stable.

Yes, I brought my spindle into the shop to test the egg cup.  Only did so because the clerk knows I spin yarn and I wanted to make her laugh.  I paid first.  I guess most people who buy egg cups buy them in sets, not singly, because the clerk told me she had wondered why I was buying only one egg cup.


11 May, 2011

Supported Spindle


Bought a Russian-style supported spindle from the Spanish Peacock at the festival.  Early in the day I tried a Tibetan-style one that was set up with a cup and some sample fibre.  At that point I wasn't able to draft the fibre all that easily and since I'd never spun with a supported spindle before, I was clumsy at keeping the spindle upright and moving.

TJ King suggested I come back and try again mid-afternoon when she expected the booth would be less busy.  I did so.  Brought with me some some Shetland fibre I'd bought.  I figured Shetland's short staple might lend itself to spinning with a long draw, which is how you spin with a supported spindle.

I am happy to say I was able to make yarn.  A couple of other customers kindly gave advice and help.  One started the leader for me.  She said that usually when she starts the leader she uses spit to make the fibre adhere to the spindle.  I thanked her for the tip but added that I didn't quite feel up to spitting on a spindle I hadn't bought yet.

The particular Russian supported spindle that appealed to me most of all the woods on display, curly maple, was still available for me to buy.  Given how brisk their sales were, that was a wonder.

How to hold a supported spindle, more or less.

10 May, 2011

Photos of Sheep

Some sheep I saw at the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival.
Jacob sheep eating a leash.

Could be Karakul.  Notice the very fat tail.

Lincoln, I think, enjoying a meal.

Border Leicesters reveling in the attention.

Romney, I think, wearing a coat to protect its wool.

Karakul

Blue Face Leicester lamb with a very sweet disposition.

09 May, 2011

Nothing Quite Like Being There


I enjoyed my time at the 2011 Maryland Sheep and Wool festival.  Got there on the first day, before the official start time.  There were lots of cars already in the field and a steady stream of cars arriving.  I approached from the west as the official website recommended and found that to be a good tack to take.

The weather was good and so was attendance I thought.  Though, from a crowd-avoidance standpoint, attendance was something.  One barn of vendor booths had so many people in its centre aisle around mid-morning that I went in five feet and walked out again, giving the idea up as hopeless.  Fortunately the aisle cleared out in that barn later in the afternoon.

Ran across half a dozen friends I ordinarily see at guild meetings.  Was great to see them under such, well, festive circumstances where there's so much to talk about.  Was amazing too, considering there were thousands and thousands of people milling around.

I enjoyed chats with random strangers while standing in lines, testing products, taking a brief rest in the skein and garment building, and sitting on the grass with the informal learn-to-spindle gathering.  I like watching people learn to use spindles.

I talked with vendors, sometimes just for a moment and in some cases for extended periods, which was very generous of them.  In particular, the owners of Indigo Hound passed along interesting practical and technical information about flax hackles, scutching knives, warp-weighted looms, sword-style weft beaters for warp-weighted looms, the use of oil dressing on fresh raw fleece as well as on washed locks, and wool combs' tine and handle shapes.  (By the way, as of this writing, Indigo Hound does not have a website, so if you found this blog post because you are looking for a link to them, sorry.)

Some of the barns had sheep and goats in them.  I didn't take many photos, but most of what I took were pictures of sheep.

I had a good time shopping.  I made some impulse buys.  I made some buys I expected to make.  I didn't buy some things I half expected to.  There were some products I went to the festival particularly to see because I thought I might possibly buy them.  I can now say I'm glad I've seen them.  I didn't bring them home, though.

07 May, 2011

Spurs

With handspun, I determine what I yarn I spin and when.  It's great.  It's terrible.

Here, have a quote from Ruth Yeoman of Royal Holloway: "One of the very important values which underpins the craft ideal is autonomy, a sense of self-determination, control over one's work, independence of self."

Have another from C.S. Lewis' novel The Horse and His Boy: "'P-please,' said Hwin, very shyly, "I feel just like Bree that I can't go on.  But when Horses have humans (with spurs and things) on their backs, aren't they often made to go on when they're feeling like this?  and then they find they can.  I m-mean–oughtn't we to be able to do more even, now that we are free.  It's all for Narnia."

I suppose whether you set your own pace or someone sets it for you, it's perfectly normal to live with unresolved tension over the state of things as they are contrasted with a state of progress you would like to achieve.

I want to make more progress on the part where I take the handspun and make useful pieces of fabric.  The card weaving I showed you yesterday moved me a smidge in that direction.

I do not yet have all the proper tools, sufficient and suitable handspun, and a clear idea about proper gauge and patterns for card weaving, backstrap weaving, nalbinding, and sprang.  However, I do have these to a certain degree and I could be making more cloth than I am.

The other cause of inertia, which I'm sure I've said before, is that I like to spin yarn with a drop spindle.  So that's what I do.  Weighing fibre, tugging out a leader, getting the spindle whizzing, and defaulting to my usual drafting gauge (somewhere around 36-40 wpi): it's such an easy and enjoyable pattern to be in.  And the materials are right to hand.  Path of least resistance and all that.

On the positive side, spinning habitually this way means I'll build up a passel of similar skeins.  That should get me closer to having the sufficient and suitable handspun I need for weaving cloth or making sprang.  Though for sprang, half the yarn had better be spun widdershins.

06 May, 2011

Old Believers' Belt Tool

A blog can get to be a series of disjointed and drawn-out story installments, yes?

This past December, I saw a film called Old Believers and worked on paper to reverse engineer a fibre arts tool I saw used in the film.  Here's the update: Mike King of the Spanish Peacock worked from my drawing and produced a replica of the tool.

I have no idea what to call it, so I say belt tool for want of a better name.  In the film, weaver Feodora Seledkova uses hers to secure the near end of a warp as she weaves a card-woven (tablet-woven) belt.  She tucks the tool into the sash at her waist.  The tool acts as a tiny cloth beam.

I thought I'd need a sash like Seledkova's to hold the tool in place at my waist.  However, I find I can secure the ends by slotting them through the front belt loops on my jeans, so there's no need to make a sash.  I can go straight to weaving.




Bookmarks.  I think I just wove some skinny bookmarks.

At first I turned the cards in one direction but that caused the fabric to corkscrew.  Reversing the direction of the cards every four turns creates a flat woven band.  It's too bad, because the selvedge is not nearly as firm or even with that method.


ETA: I have posted directions on how to make a belt tool here.

05 May, 2011

Sprang on the Brain

I have sprang on the brain.  Sprang is a bias fabric formed on a frame by plaiting stretched threads.  Hammocks are made of sprang.  The idea of sprang intrigues me.  With handspun, of course.

Someone recently mentioned to me that she has tried sprang.

I read Mary M. Atwater's Byways in Handweaving, which has a section on sprang.

In Dorothy Hartley's Lost Country Life: How English Folk Lived I found an illustration taken from a manuscript at Trinity College.  The author describes the illustration as possibly sprang, "a curious old weave" that gives "a curiously elastic fabric."  The illustration shows the entire frame and notes there is no weaving shuttle and no weft.

I finally read to the end of Marta Hoffmann's The Warp-weighted Loom and found mention of the questions raised by the Oseberg loom artifact and the Monte Cassino MS loom illustration.  The "thin line running across the warp" sounds like a sprang setup.  The Spanish Peacock sells a reproduction Oseberg loom as a sprang loom.

I discovered some Youtube videos, from user denblauwenswaen, on how to do sprang.  On her site, she has examples of finished items, including sweaters.

I ripped out the blue scarf-in-progress again because it needed a smaller needle size.  Ah, the perils of knitting.  Sprang looks pretty good in comparison.  Perhaps a nice pullover made with sprang.

This could all be just big talk.  I dislike big talk.  I normally keep quiet about my textile aspirations on this blog and concentrate on writing as I go along about what all I've learnt and actually done.  But, watching Blue's videos I believe sprang is something I'd like to do.

First I need to spin yarn for it.  Then make or get a frame.

04 May, 2011

Are You Going to Maryland Sheep and Wool?

Hope to be at Maryland Sheep and Wool festival this weekend.  Say hello if you see me!

I will be wearing a Rav button on my shirt and probably an intent expression on my face while I shop.

Fair warning, though, until I finish seeing all the booths I'm interested in, if you run into me it's only going to be a quick "hello, how are you, and what good stuff have you found."

03 May, 2011

Antler Whorls from Crossman Crafts


Here is my new drop spindle from Crossman Crafts in the U.K.  The whorl is small, an inch and a half, and is made from naturally-shed deer antler from Scotland.  The wood is English boxwood.

Spindles with antler are uncommon and I feel fortunate to have one.  To the left you can see another antler whorl, smaller and in conical shape.  I've worn that one as a pendant.  The exposure in the photo doesn't do justice to antler's slightly mottled surface.

The large and small whorls were stock items but the shaft and hook were made to order.  Initially I gave completely wrong specs to Peter Crossman due to a math error I made and he graciously reworked the piece when I realized.

As always, I note on the blog whenever I receive an unsolicited gift from a business so that you can know what could be influencing what I write.  Some beads and some pieces of taffy turned up in the parcel.

Hopefully it goes without saying that any complimentary parcel enclosure from anywhere is done solely at the discretion of the business owner and should not be expected as ordinary or anyone's due?

The beads are half-scale replicas of beads from the Tudor shipwreck the Mary Rose, which is in Portsmouth, England, same as Crossman Crafts.

02 May, 2011

Greasy Romney

I did some more combing of the Romney fibres I bought two years ago that were clean but otherwise unprocessed.  I stopped when I hit a patch that had some residual grease.  Not pleasant to comb stale grease.  The fibre is back in its bucket in the closet waiting for an opportune moment in which to address it properly.