January 31, 2013

Out of Sight, Out of Mind and Vice Versa

I took this photo of knitted dish cloths, stacked and ready to be given to their recipient.  Shortly afterward I found two more lime dishcloths in a cardboard box.  Last week I'd completed them, put them away in the box for later, and forgotten about them.

I feel silly for the oversight but am giving myself slack.  I can't have every piece of every on-going project out in sight.

January 26, 2013

one hundred, eighty-fifth skein

Spun another skein of Blue Face Leicester wool.   Not too exciting, other than it coming out thinner than I intended.  Too bad, I was thinking of weaving it with the last skein of the same stuff.

Since the skein is not exciting I will post a picture of something else, something that heralds a project in the near future: a couple of warp chains in commercial linen yarn.

January 23, 2013

Skrydstrup How-To Video

I posted a how-to video on YouTube about the way to work a warp in the Skrydstrup språng pattern, following Collingwood's book.  This is what I used when I made the bog hood.

January 22, 2013

This and That

All I have to blog about is a little of this and that.

I knitted more lime green cotton dish cloths, gave away four inexpensive spindles with wool to four beginners, washed another gallon bag's worth of Romney locks, ordered more linen yarn to weave another towel in Ms and Os, spun some BFL wool, and read some more pages of Prehistoric Textiles.

I tried out a lacy språng pattern sample and I made ridges in språng.  I recorded some how-to videos about språng, advised someone who was warping a språng frame, and watched a new Carol James språng video about her tunic.

I conversed with other handspinners about topics near to our hearts such as dyes, project planning, project design, antique wheels, spindles, fibre arts magazines, and festival shopping.

I saw most of a Canadian production wheel outside an antique shop and didn't think to take a photo.  I sewed by hand most of an apron out of a thrift store linen dress.  I threw away the thrift store linen jacket I meant to alter because the fused material inside proved too difficult to remove.

Haven't posted my språng videos to YouTube because the footage would make more sense if I make two small edits, and first I need to learn how to edit video.  There's always something to learn.

January 18, 2013

Archives New Zealand Films

"They Toil and Spin"
Women in New Zealand during the Second World War, spinning yarn in the grease by hand to make water-repellent woollens for servicemen to wear.  Quite a few different spinning wheels in there.

"Patterns in Flax"
The New Zealand flax plant is a type of lily that gives fibre for textiles.  Shows fibre production, processing, mechanized manufacturing, and traditional Maori patterns and methods.

www.youtube.com/watch? v=65cqHTsldxc
"Shearing Technique (short version)

"Hill Country (1960)"
A twenty minute documentary about a New Zealand sheep farm and its community.

January 17, 2013

Linen Ms and Os Fabric After Washing

I washed my handwoven linen Ms and Os fabric.  Whereas it was almost smooth before, now the texture is puckered.  Handling the cloth is even better than seeing it.  It feels correct for towelling.  I like it considerably better than a plush cotton towel.

Like most people when I think of towels, I think looped surfaces and products that come from machines in distant factories.  This weaving project has been a way to dip back into historical methods, use simple equipment, and experience another technical approach, another means to the same end.

January 16, 2013

Lime Green Dish Cloths

I am knitting dishcloths in lime green cotton.  Doesn't get me nearer my goal of handspun wearables for me in natural colours, not in the least.  The fibre and colour are not my taste.

Yet it serves me to knit them.  I needed a simple project to take along to a knit and natter, one that would let me concentrate on my friends and the conversation.

I heard a quote I like by Michael Fogus: "Talking is a denial-of-service attack on thinking."

The end product will make someone else happy.  These are replacements for the dish cloths I knit four years ago and gave away, back when I first learned to knit.  The pattern looks more refined this go-round.

January 14, 2013

Bog Hood

I was wracking my brain trying to think how to stretch the card-woven strap with fringe across a språng frame when the frames were all too narrow.  The solution was to turn one frame on its side.  Works because the warp is short.

The språng pattern, after the woman of Skrydstrup's cap as written down by Collingwood in The Techniques of Sprang, is functional and decorative.  By functional I mean that the reversal of twist prevents curling.

The fit is comfortable.  It kept my ears warm on a slightly chilly day.  To keep my ears warm on a cold day I would need to tie a knot under my chin, which I can't because the strap is stiff.

I am pleased to have made a fitted item, and to have worked with a wide warp.

January 12, 2013

Fringed Card Weaving

A 60 inch card-woven strap with 12 inch fringe in the centre section, made with my handspun Perendale wool.  Used eight cards, threaded alternately S and Z to give the nice little chevrons.

This is the first time I've used wool yarn for card weaving and I like the result.

Right now the fringe looks like an inadequate skirt.  It is a work in progress.

January 11, 2013

one hundred, eighty-second, eighty-third, and eighty-fourth skeins

Three ounces of two ply Perendale wool yarn spun thin with extra twist, and an ounce spun thicker (18 wpi for a single strand) with ordinary twist.  Extra twist makes the thin stuff harsh to the touch.

After this photo was taken, I started making the yarn up into a bog hood.  I estimated the yardage for the small skeinlettes correctly, they just had enough for the warp.  However, I ran out of the thicker yarn halfway through weaving.  I spun more with the last two ounces of Perendale.  Can really help to buy more supplies than you think you need.

There are four little skeinlettes because making a warp for card weaving is easier with the continuous method, and for that you need a ball of wool for every hole in the card.

January 10, 2013

Taking a Chunk of Wool at a Time

I washed my first gallon-size zippered bag's worth of Romney locks from Vancouver Island.  Am pleased to have gotten this much done and thereby made a little progress.  I am determined not to let this washing and combing project hang around like the Hampshire wool project has.

When I bought the locks they came in a large trash bag.  I sorted through them and placed them in gallon bags to take home in my luggage.  I find it much more appealing to wash the contents of a gallon bag than that of an entire trash bag.  I came to the end of the chore just about when I wanted to stop and go back to spinning Perendale wool top for the bog hood.

Am happy the grease is gone.  Quite a difference in texture, there, before and after washing.  Also am pleased to experience the fluffiness of clean locks.  I've spun so much from dense commercially-prepared top, handling locks is quite a contrast.

I own a fair bit of fibre and you may wonder why I am fussing about this Romney and Hampshire from Vancouver Island, Canada that I bought washed but want to improve through re-washing and combing.  When I assign meaning to objects, sometimes I think of them as having spacial relationships.  Out of all my supplies these wools are lagging a step behind the rest in the process of turning fibre into cloth.  Whatever else I have in boxes and buckets, that is all commercially prepared and ready to spin into yarn, and therefore that much closer to being finished projects.  I'm worried about the greasy stragglers getting picked off by moths; I've heard that moths are more attracted to unwashed wool.  It's not merely about the state of progress the wool is in, though: the Romney and Hampshire wool is important because it originated on Vancouver Island, like me, and as an expat I want to wear something made of wool from home.

There are many handspun projects I think would be good for me to start, and do, and complete.  Priorities are more elusive.  A month ago I was sure my New Year's plan would be to spin the dark Virginia-raised Romney roving and make a språng pullover, and I thought that project would be the best.  Now here I am washing Romney locks and making a bog hood, and I haven't done anything about a pullover.

Probably I should divide the three pounds of roving into gallon bag-sized chunks to make the task appear surmountable, and within in the first bag have pre-measured 2 ounce sections.  I weigh out that much before spinning with my drop spindle so I know when to quit and so my skeins are consistent.

There is timing to consider.  The roving is naturally dark and needs no further colour but the locks would be improved with dye.  I would dye outdoors, so not until Spring or early summer.  I'd like to dye skeins of yarn so the locks should be washed, spun, and mordanted beforehand which moves the timetable up.

Perhaps both sources of fibre will go into the same finished object.  Perhaps.  Interlaced språng's structure is more visible with two or more colours of yarn.  I am trying to decide if that would be good or distracting in a garment.

When I work with handspun–when I've got the skills already and am doing it for real–I execute something I've thought through first.  To satisfy me the final product doesn't have to be superlative with all the factors resolving themselves optimally but it must be done well and match my taste.

January 09, 2013

UK paintings database and weaving

Amand Point's "Arab Weaver" shows tablet weaving on a frame very much like Peter Collingwood shows in The Techniques of Tablet Weaving.  The warp has green borders and a white middle.  The weaver works from left to right, beating the weft with his right hand.  The beater is not shown but a raddle is.  The warp stick is shown and enough of the frame is shown to get a good idea of its design and size.  A family sits around the weaver, probably winding bobbins from swifts.

British (English) school, "The Weaving of the Throckmorton Coat, for a Wager in 1811" shows the scene that is the basis for modern sheep to shawl competitions

Jehan Baleschoux's "The Unannounced Return by Night of L. Tarquinnius Collatinus and his Companions to Find His Wife Lucretia Weaving" Baleschoux painted it in 1570, making the piece one of the oldest I looked at in the database.  Funny to see an ancient Roman story done up in sixteenth century clothing.  Not long after, Shakespeare wrote about the same story in Lucrece.  The bard has Lucretia spinning yarn not weaving, but it's much the same idea: Collatinus proves that his wife is a chaste and productive housewife while left alone at home for long stretches of time.  There should be a comma in the painting's title between L. Tarquinnius and Collatinus because they are two different men.  Or more accurately Tarquinnius's name should be omitted: Collatinus is Lucretia's husband.
Note that the artist Hardy includes a spinning wheel in his relatively modern painting about absence and faithfulness in "A Prayer for Those at Sea."  Also, see Shakespeare's Coriolanus, Act 1 scene 3, where Virgilia stitches and refuses to cross the threshold until her husband comes back from the wars.

Francis Sydney Muschamp's "Penelope" shows another scene of a faithful wife, from Greek mythology.  Penelope sits at a tapestry loom at night, undoing her work she can outwit her suitors who are pressuring her to give Odysseus up for dead and remarry.

John William Waterhouse's "Penelope and her suitors" shows her weaving on a horizontal loom (which is historically inaccurate)

Bernardino Pinturiccio's "Penelope with the Suitors" is also old, 1509, and unfortunately shows a horizontal loom.  On the upside, there is a cat in the picture, a plus for me.

I've skipped some of the paintings of Penelope, including one where she prays to Athena, who was thought to be an excellent weaver and patroness of weavers.

Edward Irvine Halliday's "Athena and Arachne" shows the mythic contest and tapestries woven on horizontal looms (a method inaccurate for ancient Greece)

If you search for weave and weaver on the database you will find additional paintings of horizontal looms, which I have left out of my list.  I went looking for one more set of figures from mythology associated with yarn.

Jack Leigh Wardleworth's "The Thread of Life" shows the Fates.  Lachesis is handling greenery and not measuring the thread as I would expect.  Clotho holds a distaff with flax in the crook of her left elbow and her hands are in the spinning position, though the spindle is obscured behind Atropos and her shears.  Clotho is undraped from the waist up, if that sort of thing bothers you; this represents nurture.

Godfrey Sykes' "The Three Fates"

(after) Phillip Gayle, "The Three Fates"  (Has undraped figures.)

Sebastiano Mazzoni's "The Three Fates" shows a peculiarly-dressed distaff whose fibre defies gravity.  Funny looking spindle, too.

January 08, 2013

UK paintings database and old spinning wheels, part two

Continuing from my last post, instances of fibre arts in the UK's new database of public paintings.  More tomorrow.

Thomas Duncan (attributed), "The Spinning Wheel" shows a woman with her hands in her lap at rest near a spinning wheel with distaff dressed and bound with red ribbon.

Nicholas Condy's "Interior, Girl Spinning," shows a spinning wheel of chunky design

Charles Towne (attributed), "Italianate Landscape with Peasant Woman Spinning" shows a small figure holding a long distaff at her left side and minding a mixed flock

Eric Austwick's "Mona Douglas (1898-1987) Spinning" shows a woman spinning, holding her hands on the fibre quite far apart.  The distance between the maidens of the wheel is also wide.  This the first portrait of a specific person I've come across in the database, and either she or the painter must have been from the Isle of Man because the painting is held in the Manx National Heritage collection.  The museum is located incidentally in a place called Douglas.  The painting entered the collection the year after Douglas' death.

Henry John Dobson's "Old Lady Spinning" shows a woman spinning a fine thread with her hands wide apart.  She wears old-fashioned clothing and granny glasses and she stoops with age as do many handspinners shown in the paintings in the database, enough to call the depiction a theme or cliche.  The window alcove is the same as the painter's "Burn's Grace," so was probably painted in the same place.

unknown, "Old Woman at a Spinning Wheel" shows a dynamic scene of a young girl trying to climb on the lap of an old woman, whose hands are pulling a strand of flax off a dressed distaff.  A cat stalks a bobbin on the floor.  A bottle of gold liquid dangles on a string from the wheel's adjustment knob, possibly for wetting the flax though I doubt it since more commonly flax spinners use cups.  The bottle could be for oiling the wheel's parts.  There are more spokes than usual on the wheel and the turning on the legs is quite bulbous.  The painting is in a collection in Ulster, a place identified with flax production.

unknown, "Portrait of an Old Lady Spinning" shows a wheel in use with what might be tow flax arranged on a distaff.  The distaff is cone-shaped with wooden spokes radiating out from the top and set into a wooden ring at the base of the cone.

Mortimer L. Menpes' "Spinning Ajmere" shows a wheel that looks Eastern and from the name it might be a scene from India.  A quick Internet search on the painter shows he travelled in India.  No date is given for the painting but the museum acquired it in 1929.

James Duff's "Spinning and Weaving" shows hand methods of spinning and weaving on the left juxtaposed with mechanized methods on the right.  The painting's date is recent.

William Collins' "Spinning Girl of Sorrento" shows a distaff held in the left hand and a spindle held in the hand against the right thigh.  It is not clear whether the spindle is in use or at rest.  I trust there is a seat under the woman and she is not standing on one leg.  It is difficult to see the spindle's shape.

Karel Frans Philippeau's "Spinning: Italian Scene" shows a woman holding a distaff in her left hand and reaching down toward a stick in a child's hand.  There is a filament running from her hand to the top of the stick.  The description calls the stick a spinning reel.  The fibre on the distaff looks like line flax.

Cogswell's "Still Life Interior with Spinning Wheel" shows a very odd, rudimentary spinning wheel with a board taking the place of the front leg, mother of all, and maidens.  The wheel obscures whatever spindle or flyer and bobbin should be there.  The spokes and legs have no turning details at all, unlike the pieces of furniture in the room which are elaborate.

unknown, "The Fortune Teller (A Family Group at a Spinning Wheel)" shows a castle wheel, very small, with a cup to hold water to smooth flax.  Line flax and the undressed distaff are on the handspinner's lap.  She sits in a chair with a somewhat narrow back, possibly to facilitate arm movements during spinning.

Leon Bakst's "The Sleeping Beauty: The Princess Pricks Her Finger on a Spinning Wheel" shows enough of the scene to convey it but not enough to tell exactly what part the princess injures herself with.  The old woman appears to be adjusting the drive band.  The wheel is a castle wheel, I think.  The painting's style is interesting, it was done about a hundred years ago and is refreshing after so many weighty and dark paintings.  Also, there's a cat playing with an enormous ball of yarn.

Hugh Cameron's "The Spinning Lesson" shows an old woman spinning flax from a distaff on a wheel with long legs and a lot of turned detail in the wood.  A girl watches.  The room is in deep gloom with light from one window, which could help the woman see the fibre and spin a fine yarn.

Samuel Edmonston's "The Spinning Lesson" shows a young woman spinning from a distaff on a wheel just outside the door.  A girl and an old woman watch.

John Phillip, "The Spinning Wheel" shows a woman holding fibre, possibly flax, in her lap.  A glossy spinning wheel sits in position in front of her; only the edge of the spinning wheel with the flyer is shown.

Chinese school, "Two Women Spinning" shows a woman rolling out something long and white.  Another woman sits on a very low stool and spins with a delicate Asian-style wheel, spinning longdraw off the tip of the spindle.  Here and elsewhere fibre preparation and spinning yarn are considered one process.  The women sit in a building with one side open to the courtyard.

Beatrice Offor (attributed), "Woman at Spinning Wheel" shows a woman spinning on a wheel.  There is a roughly-dressed distaff but the woman is drawing out the fibre in the opposite direction.  The wheel is quite small for the frame and the frame is slanted at a steep angle.

unknown, "Woman at a Spinning Wheel" shows a woman outside sitting in front of a castle wheel.  She is wearing wooden clogs and one clog is on the treadle, which I find unusual since I see most handspinners go in sock feet or slippers.  She is holding a dressed distaff bound in blue ribbon.

Julien Gustave Gagliardini's "Woman at Spinning Wheel" shows a woman sitting outside in front of what I take to be a swift, not a spinning wheel.  There is yarn on the swift.  The base of the swift is formed from the upturned crotch of a tree cut where three branches meet.  A similar swift is shown in Spencer's Spinning and Weaving at Upper Canada Village.

Margaret Thomas' "Woman Spinning" shows a woman standing with her left arm raised in the air, a strand going from her left hand down through her right hand and down another good foot or more to a spindle suspended in the air.  The spindle has two whorls, rare today, and the cop of yarn is wound between them.  Very little fibre remains to be spun, which makes the portrait look posed.

Pieter Nys' "Woman Spinning" shows a woman spinning flax next to a hearth.  The drive wheel is quite small.  And, nothing to do with spinning, I think I recognize the type of footstool in front of an empty chair as the kind you put coals in for a portable source of radiant heat.  The woman is minding a child as she spins.

Paul Falconer Poole's "An Italian Family" shows a woman seated on a bench outside, spinning with a distaff in her left hand and a top whorl spindle dangling by her hem on her right side.  She is looking straight ahead, not at her fingers.

Isack van Ostade's "Interior of a Barn with an Old Woman at a Distaff" shows just that.  The dressed distaff consists of a long post fixed in a base.  It is placed on the ground near her left hand.  Her hand is raised to draw down fibre.  Her right hand drops down at her right side, holding the tip of a long spindle with no discernible whorl and a cop evenly wound along its whole length.  In the old days, according to Baines, the phrase "spin on a distaff" implicitly meant distaff and spindle.

William Linnell's "The Distaff" shows a woman on the shore seated and holding a distaff in her left hand.  The distaff is dressed with what might be tow flax.  A strand runs down through the right hand, which is at rest on the woman's lap.  If there is a spindle, it is hidden behind her skirt.

Frederick Goodall's "The Distaff Worker" shows a woman seated on the ground in a field.  In her right hand she holds up a spindle, either top or bottom whorl.  Her left hand draws from a mass of fluffy white fibre pinned down by her foot, a method new to me.  There is a lamb in front of her and a flock in the background, so the fibre is probably wool.  The woman's headdress, the dry field, and her position on the ground make me think this scene is in North Africa or the Arab peninsula.

Mark Senior's "The Flax Spinners, Rotterdam" shows a woman vigorously turning a very large wheel by hand and holding fibre in the way you'd use a great wheel.  I hope the flax is tow, I hear line flax is unsuited to great wheels.

T. Cash's "Welsh Woman Picking Wool"

Henry Hetherington Emmerson's "Wool Gathering" shows women gathering wool next to a flock of sheep, probably Scottish Blackface sheep from the markings, horns, and texture of wool.  The women hold their aprons folded at their waists to form bags in which they put wool that was shed by the sheep and left on the plants around them.

January 07, 2013

UK paintings database and old spinning wheels, part one

Old paintings show us how people used to live, and in this case, how they spun yarn and treated their equipment.  The UK made available online a database of its public paintings.  Here are some to help you celebrate Distaff day.  My favourites are first.  I have posted details about as many paintings as I could in one sitting but there are more left.

Thomas Fawcett Hutton's "Kitchen in Wales" shows a great wheel

Francis Wheatley (style of), "A Woman Spinning in a Farmyard Setting" shows a spinning wheel with a drive wheel that is quite small, and a tall pole which is probably an undressed distaff.  The woman's foot is not actually on the treadle, she is sitting behind the wheel holding on her lap what looks like a bundle of line flax in strands about two or three feet long.  She is holding the fibre in a manner similar to the way strands of line flax are supposed to be arranged before putting them on a distaff.

Thomas Stuart Smith's "A Welsh Interior, Spinning," shows a very large great wheel in use
"Woman Spinning" shows another spindle wheel but this one has no legs, has a crank at the axle to turn the wheel, and a peculiar rim on the wheel which might be in two hoops connected by cross pieces.  Good detail on the spindle assembly: you can see the wound cop, the leather bearings, and the grooves for the drive band.  The woman's long draw technique looks accurate.

Reinier Craeyvanger's "Cottage Interior" shows a Saxony spinning wheel.  In a back room, a blacksmith strikes iron on an anvil.

Bartolome Esteban Murillo's "An Old Woman Holding a Distaff and Spindle"

Thomas Uwin's "Neopolitan Peasants" shows a spindle and distaff, though unfortunately not in use

Frederick Daniel Hardy's "A Prayer for Those at Sea" shows a spinning wheel with distaff
and "Preparing for Dinner" shows a spinning wheel in the background

Quiringh van Brekelenkam's "Domestic Dutch Interior" shows a spinning wheel with a rim like a great wheel
"Interior with Old Man and Old Woman Spinning" shows a spinning wheel in use with flax on a distaff which might be a bird cage distaff.  The base of the wheel looks like box, something like those decorations shaped like spinning wheels that hold potted plants.  The man is not spinning like the squinting modifier of a title suggests he is.

Hendrik Martensz. Sorg's "Interior with Young Woman Washing Pots" shows most of a spinning wheel

William Allan's "The Ballad of Old Robin Gray" shows a spinning wheel with a distaff whose fibre is bound with a pink ribbon.  Distaff ribbon colour at one time denoted marital status.  Marital status is the theme of this particular ballad where a young woman is pressured to marry an older man instead of her sweetheart.  I can't remember which colour ribbon means what marital status and so cannot tell if the ribbon is symbolic.

John Ballantyne's "Thomas Faed at His Easel in His Studio" shows a castle-style spinning wheel among the props, rendered without the level of detail in the painting attributed to Faed; for example Ballantyne leaves out the flyer and bobbin.

Thomas Faed (attributed), "The Spinning Wheel" shows a woman sitting at a castle wheel with a flax distaff dressed and bound with pink ribbon.  A girl interrupts her and a boy pokes his head out from under a table cloth right by the wheel.

Hendrik Ringeling's "Woman and Child" shows a castle wheel with two upright posts holding the flyer instead of the usual one

Caspar Netscher's "A Lady at a Spinning Wheel" partially shows a spinning wheel with an elaborately turned design and what is probably a distaff dressed with flax and bound with ribbon

Francis Henry Newberry's "A Spinning or Rope-walk" shows women walking backward spinning rope on multiple heads on a wheel turned by a child.  If memory serves, a copy of this is an illustration in Patricia Baines' Spinning Wheels, Spinners, and Spinning.  Most of the paintings show handspinners in a domestic setting but Newberry shows them in a community or business setting.
"A Weaving Shop" shows a bobbin winder, a swift, and horizontal two-harness treadle looms in use.  The bobbin winder is sitting down and turning the wheel by hand.  At first glance it looks like she is spinning.

"Interior Scene, Spinning Wool" shows a similar setup as the rope-walk, only for wool

Margaret Sarah Carpenter's "An Old Woman Spinning" shows part of a wheel, with a bobbin almost full of a shiny fine gold thread, probably flax.  Quite a thick drive band on the wheel, and the band only goes around the bobbin, there is no flyer at all.  Also, the thread comes straight off the bobbin, not through a spindle and out the far side of the support.  The right arm is raised to the wheel suggesting she is turning the wheel instead of treadling.  I would say that this is bobbin winding not spinning yarn except that the bobbin is too large to fit any weaving shuttle I know.

Michael Sweerts' "An Old Woman Spinning" shows a spindle and distaff in use

Thomas McEwan's "At the Spinning Wheel" shows a spinning wheel with unusual turning on a leg, what could be a strangely large bobbin, and what could be a very thick rim on the wheel
"Interior: The Spinning Wheel" shows a similar wheel.  You can see the fibre held in the hand more distinctly in this painting; the preparation looks like a rolag.  The woman is spinning while minding an infant, her eyes are not on her work.

Francis Hayman's "Girl at a Spinning Wheel" shows flax being spun from a distaff on a dainty wheel

Veitch's "Girl at a Spinning Wheel" which was painted only a couple of decades ago, unlike most in the database, shows a castle wheel in use with a forked distaff.

a French school "Interior, a Peasant Woman Spinning, her Daughter Making Lace and Conversing with a Young Man" shows a wheel turned by the right hand with a handle, possibly a crank handle on the axle, and a distaff loaded with flax and held under the left arm.  The distaff seems to have a cross piece, maybe to make it easier to hold in place.

January 04, 2013

Stack of Stick Shuttles for Card Weaving

My father made me stick shuttles for card (tablet) weaving.  Now I just have to find ten friends who want to join me, heh.

The wood is maple, from Vancouver Island, Canada.

ETA: My father says I had a hand in the stick shuttles too.

January 03, 2013

Rebecca Burgess on KPFA's The Herbal Highway

KPFA's The Herbal Highway has an interview of Rebecca Burgess posted on the radio station's website at www.kpfa.org/archive/id/87046.  The show originally aired on December 13, 2012.

The interview runs almost an hour.  I spun more Perendale wool into yarn while listening.

I appreciated Burgess' point about the comparatively complex colour that comes from the multiple pigments in natural dyes.

I was also interested to hear about the study done on the alleviating effect of turmeric-dyed cloth on rheumatoid arthritis pain.  I recently read most of Jenny Dean's Wild Color and wrote turmeric off for some reason after reading Dean's description, probably colour-fastness.  Now turmeric interests me again.  Nice to think that cloth could be therapeutic in contact with skin.  I regularly cook turmeric and rice because ingestion of the spice is supposed to be good for health.  I wonder whether turmeric in cloth counteracts inflammation or just reduces pain.  In the study people slept on turmeric-dyed bedclothes.  Would be hard to fit a sheet into a dye pot of the size commonly used by dyers at home.

January 02, 2013

Spinning Perendale Wool

I hope the luster on this Perendale wool comes through in the photo.  This is the first time I've spun wool from this breed of sheep.

I liked it in the store and was at the till holding my money ready when the owner said although the unlabelled braids were in the Corriedale section the wool was really Perendale.  Everyone was buying white wool to felt snowmen figures and the supplier was out of white Corriedale.

I've spun Corriedale already for the woven chocolate cake scarf, and I didn't especially want to spin the breed again.  I was just in the mood to buy something and the glossiness of these braids attracted me.  Pleasant to find they were from a breed I hadn't spun yet.

If you don't spin yarn, I should say that some handspinners like to try out as many types of fibre as they can.  Shops even sell sampler packs.

I am spinning at about 36 wpi in size and giving the strand more twist than usual in hopes that the finished 2 ply yarn will stand up to the abrasion and tension of card weaving.  In the same shop I had another look at Candace Crockett's Card Weaving and examined the picture of a reproduction Danish bog hood.  That's what I plan to make.  The piece is begun with card weaving to make a strap.  Then the strap's fringe is worked in språng.  I will spin a looser, thicker yarn for the fringe.

The construction is clever.  I expect it is a good starting point for pieces that combine significant sections of weaving and språng, my next direction.  I also expect the hood is easier to do than something like the Tegle stocking which has card weaving in four places across the språng.

January 01, 2013

New and Renewed Fibre Goals

  • make a hood with tablet weaving and språng after Candace Crockett's hood in Card Weaving (deadline: January)
  • make cloth that combines plain weave and språng (deadline: January)
  • make 2/2 interlaced språng scarf with Targhee (deadline: February)
  • learn intertwined språng
  • re-wash Hampshire wool and comb it
  • comb remainder of dingy white Romney wool or ditch it
  • re-wash a whole lot of white Romney locks, card the short salvaged pieces on a rented drum carder, and comb the full-length locks
  • spin the natural dark Romney roving
  • learn to regulate my Stovetec rocket stove using the damper, and heat dyebaths
  • dye a good tomato red with madder root powder
  • spin up the last braid of synthetically dyed wool and, forever after, use natural colour alone (deadline: November to use yarn and give item as a Christmas gift)
  • read the fibre arts books I've gotten recently (Prehistoric TextilesEcclesiastical Pomp)
  • finish reading other fibre arts books that are lingering around
  • spin from stash to reduce volume and have fewer boxes of wool sitting around
  • make another major piece of handspun clothing, with an eye to making a complete outfit someday (deadline: March or September)
  • take a risk and spin the good stuff; don't hold off out of fear, there is more good wool out there
  • use my wool combs more often because combed fibre is so very, very nice
  • focus on making lovely handspun stuff to keep and wear myself since I keep getting sidetracked on this
  • participate again in public craft demonstrations and informally coach people to spindle spin, knit, weave, tablet weave, and work språng
  • record and upload more YouTube videos about how to do språng
Not all of these will get done in the coming year but it's good to have a list for reference and bolstering resolve.  And there's a to do someday list:
  • comb the pound of dark Romney hogget
  • manage an indigo or woad vat
  • use up stashed skeins of handspun yarn
  • weave a shoulder bag
  • spin and weave a second handspun hooded jacket, this time with sleeves
  • practice nalbinding with store-bought Icelandic yarn or find an easier yarn to use
a Stovetec rocket stove heating chilli