28 November, 2015

Still Life with Mitten


Here's a photo of my fourth mitten in progress.  (Below is a copper and sterling barrette I made for myself in a workshop.)  Three other mittens, in the same yarn and pattern, are in a project bag.  They need their tops Kitchenered for a seamless look.  The blue waste yarn is going to come out of the cuff, it was there so I could pick up stitches and make the cuff hem seamless.  These little tricks are what make handknits so satisfactory.

I read over the plan I made this summer and realized I should say something about progress.  I have the knitting machine and have nothing with it.  The mitten above is made of the same yarn I mentioned in that post.  I took the sewing class and learned some, but not enough, which explains why I've signed up for another one.  I still need to get more structure and routine into my time spent on fibre arts, and more time spent making things for me, really.  I have not gotten into clamp resists or block printing.  I bought paint for block printing and a blank linoblock to carve, on the theory that I can use labour and save money that way.  I still think a custom-made block would be nice.  I got distracted by the thought of using mordants and chemical resists in dyeing.  Nothing has come of that beyond acquiring supplies.  I did spend time in thrift stores there for a spurt and I bought a small selection of interesting clothes that could be upcycled.  Nothing made its way into my wardrobe.  My locally-sourced Romney wool roving is at the spinning mill; this campaign on Go Fund Me has me worried about the mill's future.

This is the weekend that holiday sales ramp up.  You can use the coupon code "SpinningWheelEarring" in my Etsy shop, Rosetwist LLC, through Monday.  I've been working on products and hope something will please.  I like coming up with fresh things.  Recently I've been turning fibre arts-themed coins into earrings.  Hopefully I will finish and list a new pair today using coins from Egypt.  Am also mulling over a limited edition dye kit.  The main kit is selling well.

Rosetwist LLC dye kit

07 November, 2015

Started Another Pair of Susie's Reading Mitts

I started knitting a mitten with Solitude Wool Coopworth sport yarn I bought at either the Fiber Farmers' Market or Shenadoah Valley Fiber Festival.  It is good to have something to work on while watching TV or meeting up with friends.

The pattern is Susie's Reading Mitts, adjusted for yarn gauge.  Love the lustrousness of the yarn.


17 October, 2015

Bobbing for Walnuts

black walnut dye bath
A black walnut dye bath smells to me like ginger beer.

I made a batch and tinted a thrift store print dress to turn the white background into a light shade of brown that is more harmonious with the red and brown in the print.  I dyed some cotton jersey fabric with walnut and then with a rather exhausted indigo vat, and got a dull blotchy brown.  I dyed a couple of silk scarves and got a rich, warm shade of brown with lighter shades where I bound the scarves with yarn.  One scarf has a small blotch.  I am getting a lot of blotches with indigo from the sediment and from the fabric popping above the surface.

I don't know what I am doing with walnut, really, since brown suits me very ill.  But other people like brown and the walnuts were gleaned.  Love gleaning.  I picked up some more black walnuts this week and dropped them in places around town right at the edge of trees and meadow where they will get light and space to grow.

It is interesting, having a company and thinking about fibre arts processes in terms of products that I could sell to other people.  People who might cross my palm with silver.  People whose taste may be very different from mine.  I am reading India Flint's book Eco Colour again, and this time I am thinking of doing some of the techniques.

If I dye some fibre walnut brown for spindle kits to put in my shop, I will only do one kit's worth because I really believe that un-dyed fibre is best for beginners.

silk dyed with black walnut

10 October, 2015

Spinning Wheel Post Earrings

spinning wheel earrings
 Am rather pleased with my self for turning wee sterling silver charms of spinning wheels into post earrings for the shop.  Didn't melt them to bits when soldering, hurray.  A couple of friends have promised to buy both pairs.   I am about to get more supplies and make additional pairs, it's just a matter of how many and what other charms to try as well.  You are welcome to let me know what you think, here or through Etsy.

03 October, 2015

Mordants, Discharges, and Resists

I am learning more about dyes and ways to use them with mordants, discharges, and resists which fix, remove, or resist colour.

I also went to a fibre festival and paid attention to what people were doing and saying.  It was interesting to see what was popular.

My roadside-gleaned walnuts are in the bag and waiting for me to get around to them.  So is a second vintage silk scarf in a pale print that would be improved with an over-dye of indigo.  Did I tell you about the first one?  I have two.

12 September, 2015

Looming Deadlines

No particular fibre arts progress or insight to report, other than deadlines are useful even if you procrastinate and only partially finish or make tiny steps in the direction of finishing.

05 September, 2015

Waiting for Walnut Harvest

I went to visit one of the area walnut trees.  The walnuts have not yet fallen.  I want to dye some things brown with the hulls.  Patience.

29 August, 2015

Old and New

I tested out fine gauge copper for knitting, to make jewellery.  I got an okay result.  The process was a so-so experience.  I will try again with fewer stitches and smaller needles.

Have washed the bulky-gauge grey wool vest that I got at the thrift store, and was very grateful to have a Spin-X appliance to whiz the water out for faster drying.  I am quite sure the vest is handknit, one of the cables is crossed backward.

I found a fisherman's sweater from Ireland at a thrift store and bought that to pass along to someone.  There were a number of other things in the shop that looked interesting but nothing I had to have.  I had my eye on white linen blouses and a white slubby cotton cardigan that would look good garment dyed or resist dyed with indigo.

Since I feel my indigo vat management skills could be improved to get stronger colour, I poked around on the Internet and found some blog posts by Catherine Ellis and India Flint about managing an indigo vat using fructose.  So that's good.

I got my sewing machine serviced, and a generous friend came over to walk me through cutting, piecing, and finishing edges.  I am using linen fabric, of course.  My knowledge and experience of sewing is still rudimentary but I possess more than I did a week ago and that pleases me.

I was thinking, if most cotton raised in the U.S. is now genetically-modified, then perhaps people will start to think of vintage cotton clothing as extra-valuable because the material was raised from non-GMO seed.  Perhaps.

22 August, 2015

Toxic Clothes, Benign Clothes

Newsweek's article, "The Environmental Crisis in Your Closet" by Adam Matthews, August 15, 2015 is worth reading.

I went to a number of thrift stores this week.  Found some things, mostly things that would need upcycling, not so much that can go right in my wardrobe.

Warped the språng loom for a cowl with indigo-dyed organic cotton yarn.

15 August, 2015

The Plan and the Parameters

I may have mentioned, I was talking to a friend about handmade projects, completion, diligence, and accomplishment along with the gap between where I was and where I wanted to be.  She mentioned structure and scheduling, like the way your mother made you brush your teeth at a certain time every day.  I should build some in to my day, regarding fibre arts.

Regarding my wardrobe and phasing in handmade garments, I have thought about what I want to do.  

I consider myself fortunate that I do not have to market myself for an arts grant or crowdfunding, or position a personal brand of any sort.  I don't have to come up with a catch phrase or elevator pitch.  

I was reading a free publication about local food and local food producers and processors, and really wished someone would do the same with clothing.  A couple of people recently have said that we've had the national and international conversation about local, ethically-sourced, biodiverse, and nourishing food but we haven't had that conversation about textiles.

Onward to the plan.

I am going to continue to avoid merino wool and synthetic dye, to avoid synthetic fibres, to prefer organic cotton over conventional, to prefer linen over cotton, to keep silk to a minimum if any, to prefer breed-specific wool with as much longwool as I can get, to buy some secondhand textiles, to seek out natural colour (i.e. from wool from black sheep), and to prefer materials that have travelled the least distance with exceptions for hemp and indigo.  This suits my taste and also addresses a number of issues that I'm interested in such as increasing biodiversity, reducing pollution and erosion, fostering local economies and local capacity for processing or production, treating animals kindly, and reducing contact with materials that may harm the body like resins in superwash or petroleum-derived substances.

Assuming all is well with the mill, I will have five pounds of local white Romney wool spun for me into yarn.  I was thinking two pounds of two ply for weaving and three pounds of three ply worsted weight for knitting, but maybe I should get all two ply.  

I have signed up for a basic sewing class.  

In a couple of months, I plan to try using a friend's knitting machine.  

I have some weld that I ought to use.  It is a lovely, lovely lemon yellow dye.  I redid the madder but got a rusty orange-red that displeased me.  The store-bought cashmere sweater is dyed a deep indigo, not evenly but good enough for me.

I bought yarn for two sweaters, undyed local Coopworth that never left the East Coast for processing.  Some is 3 ply sport weight and some is 2 ply lace weight.  This commits me to knitting lace, which is a bit worrisome given how aggravated I felt about knitting lace the first and only time I did it.  

I learned about Quince & Co. yarn, which is entirely domestically sourced.  Their bare 3 ply sport weight yarn interests me.

True to my record of loving fibre arts tools, I now want to custom order a clamp resist for dyeing and a block printing block.  We shall see if I can afford them.

I love books too.  I ordered some secondhand books about sewing, making clothes with handwoven yardage, and using knitting machines.  I borrowed some as well.  There is a fresh heap of books by the chesterfield.

I did some people watching at church, looking at their clothes, especially the detailing.  I need to do some window shopping, the new season's clothing should be out.  My sense of what's in style could use some sharpening.  

I need to spend more time more regularly in thrift stores and consignment stores, and look at the racks for items to wear.  I've been drawn to linen things that I would not wear but I keep in a box because I like them.  My wardrobe is on the meagre side, by design and also because I am hard to please, hard to fit, and not fond of dressier styles.  

For fun, I bought a piece of secondhand clothing to make over.  It was very cheap.  It will take some time to alter, but it will be fun to do.  I won't want to wear the results, we will see what happens to it.

I repaired the metal catch on my shorts with pliers and am feeling smug.

I was with a small group of people I don't know that well and they started talking about clothes shopping, specifically buying lots of clothes from cheaper retailers.  I didn't challenge them on the implications to workers or the environment, I got a bad reaction once when talking up the Buy Nothing Day campaign with a stranger.  Then one of them started talking about the thrill of finding clothes in thrift stores.  I fostered the conversation along those lines and found some of the others were thrift store enthusiasts.  So that was fun.

As I said, I don't have to worry about putting a label on this course of action.  I was talking with someone and she said that once I have made handdyed, handwoven, or handknit clothes and wear them then the goal is that people would see and ask, and I would urge them to make their own.  And I just felt that, no, this is not about activism.  Or, I'm not about activism.  Now, possibly I am kidding myself about this.  I love to enable, I will give folks way more information than they need all about how to do this.  I'll give them tools and supplies.  I wore my "will knit for love" button to the store and the clerk asked me to teach her to knit.  I said yes.  You know my personal photo on this blog is my fist holding aloft a spindle as if to say freedom through handspinning.  Still, I'm am doing this to clothe myself well just like I buy organic vegetables, dry organic rice, and rosemary garlic lamb sausage so I can eat well.  I hope that makes sense.  The difference is that few see my supper.  And I don't eat organic or local or home-cooked food all the time.

One last thing, I have listened to the first episode of the podcast Woolful and quite like it.

08 August, 2015

The Proper Response

I watched the documentary, The True Cost, about the cost of mass-produced clothing including the cost to labourers, the environment, and farmers who produce raw goods.  It made me want a handmade wardrobe even more.  I don't want my money perpetuating that.

I recommend the movie, which is on Netflix streaming in the U.S. right now, or available to buy on iTunes and Amazon.  I know some people won't like the content politically because it talks about unions, worker's rights, pollution, and government regulation.

I wish the documentary had touched on the issue of synthetic dyes, as well as non-commercial alternatives to the conventional system.  And given more commercial alternatives.

I don't think I learned anything new, except that one expert who was interviewed said she believes that the socially responsible sourcing guidelines of major clothing companies are worthless.  As in, the companies don't stick to what they say they do.  That shook me up.

Mostly the value I got out of the movie was the human face it put on the issues, on the balance of power.  It is really hard to see people tear up or express anger over what has happened to them.

I have been reading the blogs of a couple of fibre artists, Katrina Rodabaugh and Victoria Pemberton, who have found artistic expression by putting limits on their work, such as no new clothes or no synthetic dye.  It has made me think about the criteria I want and what I want to do.  I'm still thinking.

Some friends and I were talking about slow clothes, handmade clothes, and locally-sourced and locally-made clothes.  Things like the deaths at Rana plaza, how a move to slow clothes would change how people look, the difficulty of getting everything local in an outfit even down to the shoes, and how weight fluctuations would be accommodated in a wardrobe that takes a lot of effort and time to make.

01 August, 2015

Madder Powder, Ruined

I ruined 3 ounces of madder powder by letting the water get above 140 degrees F, and am cross with myself.  Another pot of water is heating.  This one will come to temperature and stay there for a bit until I am satisfied, then I'll put in the dye.

I did my first Periscope broadcast, looking at my madder dye bath and then some fibres dyed with various natural dyes.  Didn't retain any viewers or get any live chat, oh, well.  It is up for the next little while and then it is deleted.  My username is Rosetwist LLC.

Was successful at drilling a hole in the pewter whorl I cast, so that was good.  Have to figure out what to string it on, for a pendant, and then it will go in the shop.  Probably it would be better for me to fit it with a shaft and sell it as a spindle.  Me with no wood or way of shaping wood.  But if I sell it as a pendant, I make no claims that it can spin which is probably good because it is not evenly formed and may wobble.

Picked up a piece of horn at auction and made it into a diz (a tool used in wool combing).  Loved working with the material, loved that it was up-cycled.  Somehow I managed to make the diz with the beautiful golden ratio, about 2 x 3 inches, even though I didn't measure.  I need to learn how to polish horn to a glossy finish, so a trip is in order, to see the tinkers at Colonial Williamsburg.

Finally finished knitting the baby hat with sock yarn.  Still love that pattern.  Still have more sock yarn to use up.  Another hat went right on the needles.

There's someone in Australia, I heard about it though Fibershed's Facebook feed, someone who is doing an entire outfit entirely of local materials, local processing, local production.  It's called one year, one outfit.  I think it's great.  She's asking other people to do the same.  The yarn I have that's local to where I live, I don't know if it left the area for processing so I don't know if it qualifies.

25 July, 2015

Elusive

My goal of a handmade wardrobe continues to elude me.  I would ideally like it to be made by me but in the meantime I could make do with pieces from other people.  After scouting around on Etsy I have concluded that most of the naturally-dyed clothing is too muddy and blotchy looking for me, and the handwoven clothing is too busy and geometric looking.  Few of the handknits appealed either.

You can see some things I did think were interesting or well executed, here, under favourite items.  But some of the appeal might have been the photography.  A lot of them would need modification before I would wear them, such as a different colour, a thinner yarn, natural fibres, or some shaping.

Also, in Etsy clothing, apparently the key to sales is to chop old lace tablecloths up into abbreviated tops with string for straps, dye them with mushrooms, and allude to faeries and woodsprites in the ad copy.  I don't think I could do that with a straight face.

What else.  I gathered from the Internet images of a number of old Roman spindle whorls in glass, lead, and clay.  I successfully cast a pewter whorl in sand on my own without help, and now have to cut away the sprue, file the edges, and bore a hole for the shaft.  If I can do that, especially the hole part which worries me, then I'm in business.

More dyeing with indigo today.  I am going to put a perfectly good, unworn cashmere sweater in the vat.  Hope the colour comes out evenly.  Wish me well.

18 July, 2015

Holland Covers

There is this thing in historical novels where the author describes a room with the upholstered furniture covered with white fabric cloth to protect it.  The name for it was holland covers.  It was something you did as a maintenance chore for when you were away from the house, travelling.  I've always thought it sounded rather nice, all that white and an uncluttered feeling.  Not livable, but interesting and out of the scope of my ordinary life.

I was recently given a vintage damask linen tablecloth with yellow stains and holes to see if I could revive it.  The woman said, "lemon juice and sunlight."  I used citric acid powder in the wash, followed by time to dry in the sun out on some grass.  Had to wash the cloth twice, and then the stains were gone.  Then I gave the cloth two dips in the indigo vat, a vat which was successful by the way.

I threw the mottled blue thing over some boxes of packing supplies and buckets of wool in the wool room to envelope them and get them out of sight, sort of like holland covers.  It's mottled because the cloth was too large for the dye to penetrate everywhere.

Over top is a thrift store linen dress, bright blue flowers on a white background.  Someday it may become an apron.

I still have most of an indigo vat outside, dormant, and am thinking what I could do with it.  When I finish knitting the baby hat, I will pop that in the vat.  I keep forgetting to pretreat some wool with alum mordant overnight for a madder dye pot.

11 July, 2015

See and Be Seen

I've been spending my time acquiring supplies and skills, which is to say my to-do list has gotten longer.  I've been doing this largely to the exclusion of working on projects and as a result I am a little cross with myself, ready to instate resolutions and revolutions.  Maybe I'll track every day I make stuff for at least an hour.  Or maybe I will slough off again, lying on the couch reading the messy stack of how-to books I have out from the library.

I heard a quote from Ted Wright about the difference between hipsters and yuppies: "Are you doing it because you want to be doing it, or are you doing it because you want to be seen doing it?"  Certainly I do fiber arts because I want to do them, and so do all the fiber artists I know.  And yet, we love our show and tell.  In person, at exhibitions, online, in print.  Blow by blow, or in a big reveal.

Speaking of being seen, last month I went to a World Wide Knit in Public Day event.  It was fun.


I went to a local meeting for the Society for Creative Anachronism, to see inkle weaving and tablet weaving, and while I was there I got to see a centuries-old lead whorl and got to hear about probable methods of making shafts to go with such whorls.  I should have taken a photo of the whorl but I was intent on taking measurements, and forgot.  The whorl was about 1 inch in diameter and shaped like a donut with a hole about 3/8 inch in diameter.  The height was a little over 3/8 of an inch.

And this is why we are seen doing fiber arts, for the free flow of information to better our understanding, our skills, and our stash.  And for delight.  Because it's fun to make someone happy by showing them your yarn.  We don't see knitting and weaving much in ordinary daily life as the traditions got interrupted, and so we compensate.  Each conversation is like finding another puzzle piece to construct an idea of what is possible, what was done and what can be done.

Today I plan to manage my first indigo vat.  I've invited a friend to come over and dye some yarn, and I must say that this is helping me get to it and not put it off.

30 May, 2015

Shreds

I managed to shred one of my handknit hemp dish cloths, scrubbing lime scale off a stock pot.  The dish cloths are good at scrubbing but poor at wiping counters, having little absorbency.

I managed to properly calculate the number of rows and put them into the revised felted cloche-style hat so that it had the desired final dimensions after two trips through the washing machine.  The hat is in the mail.  The only photo I took shows the hat modelled by a friend, who didn't sign up to have her face on my blog, so you will have to go without photographic evidence.  I didn't show it off at a guild meeting either.  I was impatient to get the hat in the mail and to the intended recipient to find out if it fits.  Fit is important as I plan to make another for her and garment dye it.  I saved the reject hats to chop up and test dye on.

Some of my friends tell me they like making new things all the time with plenty of variety.  I like production work.  Making the same thing again, or with a small variation.

The språng loom, alas, remains bare.  And the wool room messy.

And I may be about to cast on another Norwegian Sweet baby cap, just because I like production work, I have extra sock yarn, and I want something to do before and after supper in an unfamiliar restaurant with a group of strangers.  The one wrinkle is, it has been so long, I have forgotten all the modifications I used.

24 April, 2015

Rose Beads + Fibre Arts

I have come up with a number of ways to marry rose petal beads with the fibre arts.

Stitch markers in brass; copper; and nickel, brass, and copper that you can wear as earrings or use to count knitted stitches.

rose bead stitch markers
Stitch markers you can wear in a cluster as a pendant.

stitch marker necklace
Earrings in sterling silver that you can use as stitch markers.



A bracelet whose beads slide to let you count up to 15 rows of knitting to keep track of a pattern.

counting bracelet for knitting
Orifice hooks with handles made of rose petals to let you thread a spinning wheel.  Also plain hooks of copper and recycled sterling silver.  It turns out I like hammering metal, I will have to find excuses to do more of that in the future.

orifice hooks
I plan to sell these tomorrow at Powhatan's Festival of Fiber in Powhatan, Virginia.

Oh, and this is what the simple, basic drop spindle kits look like.


20 April, 2015

Losing My Amateur Status

I like to write and I like to make up jokes and clever sayings to make people smile.  Recently I have had a lot of fun writing witty sayings about fibre arts and putting them on pin-back buttons.  I am very fortunate that a friend lent me her button maker.

Here are some examples.  Give fleece a chance is not original.  There are more designs posted at www.facebook.com/RosetwistLLC.

buttons for knitters

I am taking these buttons, rose bead stitch markers, and basic spindles, and going to sell them at Powhatan's Festival of Fiber this Saturday.  It's in Virginia.  I am splitting a booth with a friend, and you can find me under the Rosetwist LLC sign.  Or you can shop at www.rosetwist.com.

Getting ready has been interesting.  I had a custom stamp made for me by The Spanish Peacock from my artwork.  Kids can get their hand stamped at the festival, just ask.




04 April, 2015

Looking forward to festivals and SIPs

My thoughts are turning to Spring wool festivals and spin in public days.

A farmers' market expressed interest in having members of our guild come out and demonstrate handspinning but we don't have a volunteer coordinator to take it on.  It's a good location: I can think of two guild members who found the guild because we were at that market doing a demo.

This month at another location, the guild is doing a demonstration, fiber prep through weaving, and I am participating.  I am trying to decide what wool to spin.  The yarn I make at a demo comes out irregular with thicker spots, so the yarn has to be destined for a suitable project.  There is a wool festival coming up where I'd like to display some yarn that looks like a beginner did it, and I was thinking some indigo blue would be eye-catching.  There's all that BFL I dyed with natural dyes in the fall.  Some of it is indigo.  I must quit being such a miser and use it.

As for current projects, the sweater is on hold, I haven't started the språng pullover yet, and I am knitting another hat to felt.  In other words, I'm doing the easy stuff.

14 March, 2015

Fulling Woes

I knitted a hat and ran it through the washing machine a couple of times to full it.  I think the shape is too short in the crown and too flared in the brim for a cloche shape.  My head is too large to fit women's hats so I need someone to try it on and tell me.

When you full knitted fabric, you can't undo and redo your work.  But the resulting fabric looks terrific.  Also, the knitting is very easy.  It is done with large needles in the round with knit stitches only, no purling, and the shape is simple.

07 March, 2015

You Made That?


There you are, photographic proof that I have finished the watch cap with Fibonacci stripes.  I would like to rip out the crown and make the hat shorter so the brim doesn't need to be turned up, but it stands as it is right now.  I have other things to make.

It has been six years since I learned to knit and spin yarn.  I showed this cap to someone, an ordinary guy who was taking training in the same class as my husband.  He said, "You made that?" and I remembered what it was like to lack the skills to select yarn and turn it into something wearable, to live where a handmade hat is remarkable.  I mostly discuss knitting with knitters, and forget how impressive a finished object can be.

28 February, 2015

Fibonacci Stripes on a Hat Brim

I'm knitting a watch cap with Fibonacci stripes on the brim.  I'm using up some leftover yarn to do it, plus I bought a ball of grey.  Not crazy about the synthetic dye but am living with it.



14 February, 2015

Felted Bowl


Took some leftover Paton's Classic wool yarn, knitted it, and fulled it to make a bowl.

For my upcoming språng project, I bought some gorgeous Border Leicester yarn from Solitude Wool dyed with real indigo.  I wetted the skeins and hung them to dry with weight on them so that when I warp the loom the yarn won't give much and the tension will be consistent.

31 January, 2015

Waiting and Planning

If all goes well, this spring I should be at a public event where I could show people examples of språng.  It follows that I have to make the språng examples, språng being a rare sort of textile.  So I am in the planning stage and hope to get to the creating stage soon.

The first question is what yarn to use.

I don't have enough time to spin the yarn, except for språng patterns where a little yarn goes a long way, such as all-over holes.  The Wensleydale roving I have might be good there.

I want to spend a sensible amount of money on the yarn so I have to balance practicality with my desire for quality and the attributes I like (local or domestic, cruelty-free, undyed or naturally dyed, lustrous).

I will do well to go against my natural orientation to monochromatic yarn suitable for textiles with interesting structures, and instead consider yarn with colour and språng with colourwork because the majority of fibre artists respond to colourwork more than structure.

The second question is what sort of items will I make and with what patterns and dimensions.  I would like a number of things that look good hung on coat hangers.  Artwear, if you will.  I'll have to work this out myself, as I don't know of any suitable patterns.  Even if I just get one piece done, I will be pleased.

It's a puzzle to figure out and hopefully execute reasonably well.  I like planning, and I like doing språng.  I expect I will like the products very much, as språng is so pretty.  This is good, as the products could wind up being part of my wardrobe.

I've been in the planning stage for this project for a few weeks now.  Just in the last few days, I've become more optimistic about the whole thing's chance of success.  There are other things I need to make this spring for the same event and I just recently found a better method to get them done, which means I can be more productive and have more time to give to språng.

10 January, 2015

Språng Waistcoat in Skrydstrup Pattern


språng waistcoat


I finished my språng pullover.  You can see it is more of a waistcoat than a sweater.  It is in the Skrydstrup pattern from Collingwood's The Techniques of Sprang, so four rows of S twist alternate with four rows of Z twist.  The pattern of twists cause the fabric to curl a little but not distort to one side the way all Z twist would.  The curl is visible in the edges of the armholes.  

I am more pleased with it off the loom than I was when it was on the loom.  

The drape of it makes the armholes look curved but they were done straight.  

The construction is a lot like what we used to wear in kindergarten to keep our clothes clean while fingerpainting, a plastic garbage bag with holes cut for the neck and arms.  Except you don't cut språng just anywhere.  I didn't cut this piece at all.  

The hole for the neck is a slit formed by treating the threads on either side as a separate section.  You work to the middle of the row, move the threads as if you'd come to the end of the row, move the next threads as if you were starting a row, and go from there.  I picked the easiest row in the pattern to start this on, row 7.

The armholes are formed by seaming the sides partway.  They look rather deep but they are correct because when you put on the vest, the fabric stretches horizontally and shrinks vertically.

03 January, 2015

Eight Feet to Propinquity

I steeled my heart to take the incomplete, lackluster språng pullover off the loom to discard it, and then I couldn't do it.  I like things to be useful and this project still has something to give.

So I ignored the loom as it sat out of the way next to the window of the wool room.

The last few inches of warp are the most difficult to complete, not mentally but physically, as there is little room to maneuver and interlink the threads.  This is why so many traditional objects in språng are not worked right up to the middle.

However, it turned out that it wasn't the interlinking that was holding me up, but the position of the loom in the room.  Once I moved the loom eight feet over to my desk within reach, I felt a lot more like finishing the project.

Of course, feeling like doing something is not actually doing something.  You'll know I've finished the project when you see one or two new språng how-to YouTube videos from me featuring a white pullover vest in the Skrydstrup pattern.

Speaking of making things convenient, stuck to the top of my loom is the pattern copied from Collingwood and on it a bobby pin marks the row where I left off last time.  I don't have to figure it out from the strands' positions in the last row.  Learned this from my weaving lessons.

I'm trying to think of a språng pattern where I would have a hard time figuring out where I left off, and can't.  Not even the Coptic turban pattern, you just have to count how many holes down from the apex of the diamond.  I have some trouble following that pattern.  It's easier now that I've improved the chart I made.

The next large piece in språng I make, I'd like it to be in the Coptic turban pattern.  I'd like to make a more polished piece than I've done so far, an eye-catching stole that would get people interested in doing språng.  Unless, that is, the next large piece I do is for my dad on the loom he made for a permanent installation piece.  Coptic turban would have too smooth a texture and too understated a look.  That loom needs something with texture, like Gothic arches.

Now, I have no use for a stole myself, so it would not in the least fulfill my goal of handspun wearables for me in natural colours.  You can tell I still lean toward making things that allow me and others to learn about techniques and tools.  I expect this to continue.