Friday, February 17, 2017

Beginning Weavers Learn about Weaving with Wool

Our beginning weavers joined the larger group to lean about "Weaving with Wool" at the monthly weavers meeting. Wool, like every fiber, come in different weights, twists and texture. It is recognized as a good insulator, dyeable, resistant to wear, is flexible, absorbent and elastic.
A handwoven vest with interplay of patterns


Woolen or Worsted, each having its own set of characteristics and which works best depends on the final purpose, the weave structures and finishing. Finishing in weaving is more about blocking and washing/misting of your woven product than just the completion. There are a lot of pre and post weaving decisions to make, especially so when the fiber is wool.
Finished vs Completed 

When fabric is handwoven, the finishing helps the fiber to bloom, to intertwine & fibers connect, thus determining the texture, strength and size of the completed fabric.  There are resources to facilitate your weaving with wool, check out the weavers' library.  This all seems complicated, however, like any learning experience you break it down into manageable pieces and focus on learning the simple before jumping into the complex experience.  We are all learning everyday...beginner, intermediate and expert weavers alike. 
Handwoven vest




















Each fall, the weavers hold a beginners weaving class. Cathy, the primary course instructor determines the schedule, usually beginning in Mid-September after the Open House and finishing near the end of October. Sometime after the first of the year, there is usually a sample style workshop in which the new weavers get to experience multiple weaves while only warping one loom-a sampling of the complex while mastering the small piece.
Excited beginning weavers show their first fabulous runner. 
The instructor tries to link each new weaver with a mentor to reassure them that help is only a phone call away. I must admit back in the day I viewed it as a lifeline, a way to continue to learn the process without frustration.  Today 15 years later, I still pick up that phone and ask "Vicki, Are you busy, I have a question." Weaving is a dynamic experience, as you master one technique, there is always another one of interest.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Spinners Tools in Everyday Life.

The January gathering of the spinners choose to celebrate more than just their spinning prowess. The spinners were asked to share alternate uses for their spinning tools or household tools for spinning use.  We've all used those rake combs to detangle yarns ends, or the freezer to prevent moth infestation, but here are a few novel ideas that are simple to use and readily available.
Terry is demonstrating the use of a lazy susan to assist the    winding of your spun yarn. 


Greg has taken landscaping tape and a indelible marker to use as waterproof labeling of skeins of spun yards for dyeing.
Two different drop spindles are used to wind string for later use in bundle-tying of yarn prior to washing/dying.




And lastly we all struggle with tangled christmas lights, Colleen suggested try using a nitty-noddy to organize them.
It was a fun night of spinning, knitting, laughing and all those fun things that happen 
when spinners gather.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Krobragd Weaving

This season, our weaving study group topic is Scandinavian Weaving. Krobragd is a boundweave structure that is usually woven on 3 harnesses, using a point twill with pickup draft. This resulting weave has floats on one side and a tighter weave on the other.   Danish, Norwegian, Swedish versions are similar but there remains some distinct difference in the design patterns. Historically,  these weavings served a functional purpose, and only the wealthy used them exclusively for decoration. My limited knowledge is showing. All I really understand is they are awe inspiring, whether a wall hanging, a rug or a coverlet.  In early December, Dorothy, one of our weavers,  completed this marvelous piece of Krobragd.

She designed it using the patterns and colors of her ancestors as a gift to her son. She shared that it was a fun, rewarding and sometimes challenging project that took a little time (I believe that's an understatement), but so worth it to hear her son's appreciation in his  "Thanks, Mom."