Friday, April 08, 2005

One for the record books...

I am grateful to Gloria, my weaving teacher from so long ago. It was she who insisted that her students keep records for absolutely everything they wove. Her theory was that even if the sample didn't work, you learned something and that something needed to be recorded.

I learned to weave before learning to spin. So once I started getting serious about spinning, another set of sample books became necessary. Here is my collection of sample books:

spinning & weaving record books
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They are like gold to me. Just look at the treasures they hold:

20+ years of weaving records
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These include samples I've woven when planning projects, swatch exchanges through various guild activities, and samples from workshops attended. Not shown here is the box of samplers that were too big for notebooks. There's variety in weave structures, yarns, setts, and color interaction. Some new lesson learned on every page. A wonderful supplement to any weaving reference book, or even a whole shelf of reference books!

spinning sample books
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There's not as much bulk to the spinning sample books. I've taken a variety of approaches to keeping records of my spinning. If I was trying to learn more about the fleece characteristics of the different breeds, then my records are more likely to look something like this:

more spinning samples
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The green page is from a workshop with Patsy Z. I also have created record pages of my own. There's a place to keep an unwashed lock for reference, then something to provide an example of each step along the way: a washed lock, the carded or combed preparation, the singles yarn, plied yarn (if plied), and a knitted or woven swatch.

When roving or commercial fiber is used, I tend to keep it simple with something like this:

another way to keep spinning records
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These are just 3x5 cards that I've run through the computer with spaces for fiber ID, TPI, WPI, ratio used, fiber prep method, drafting method, and plying method. I then mark 1/2" increments on the card and fold it in half along the wide edge then wrap the yarn. Sometimes I do 1/2" of the singles and 1/2" of the plied yarn on the same card. Sometimes I do different card for singles and plied, which is what you see here.

These cards fit very nicely into those plastic pages sold to kids for their baseball cards (my generation) or magic cards (current generation). Those plastic pages are also a great way to keep track of dye samples. There's a couple pages of those in with the spinning samples.

Sadly, I started knitting lo-o-o-o-ng before weaving or spinning so I never developed a method for keeping knitting records. The only thing I do is keep a photo of each garment I've knitted and perhaps some comment about the yarn and the pattern. Those are scattered all over the sewing room..some in drawers, some in notebooks, and some in piles. If I designed the garment, then all of the chicken scratch pages are in a folder somewhere...or maybe even online at my old blog.

Since I have returned to sewing this year, I've been thinking about keeping some sort of sewing journal to record lessons learned. It won't be anything as extensive as the weaving and spinning records....just notes to remind me of an innovation that worked, or an idea that turned out to be really dumb.

So that's records books. See, I'm not such a slacker after all.


  1. I think I recognize the green spinning pages. Did you take a class with Patsy Z? I haven't kept very good records of my knitting, spinning, and quilting, but I have been keeping my weaving samples with notations. Now to organize them.

  2. Oh, Valerie, this was such an inspiration to see your record and sample books! I have not been so diligent but the scanty ones I do have are precious. Thanks for motivating me to do better with this. Your books are works of art in themselves and worth more than gold.


tie in the loose ends...