Thursday, August 28, 2008

Spindle spun, wheel plied:
Remember this? Since that time, a bit of spindle spinning here and there has resulted in this:

Fiber: Cotton silk blend (percentages unknown) multi-colored sliver in Indian Turquoise colorway.
Handspun on a Forrester cherry support spindle.
Yield: ~250 yds. for .95 oz. or 26 grams.
Intended use: Weaving.
Source: This stuff has been in my stash for years so: ?

The cops were wound from the spindle onto 6" weaving bobbins. I was able to place the spindle in my Schacht lazy kate to transfer the singles. The weaving bobbins were then placed inside the wooden boat shuttles on the floor to provide weight and tension for plying on the wheel.

There's probably not much silk in this blend because there isn't that characteristic silk smell, dry or wet.

I dearly wish you could reach into the screen and feel this stuff. It is luscious! I have a little over 100 grams more to spin. (BTW, that shiny disk to the left of the skein is a dime for size reference.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ready? Sett? No!
(or "What's on the Loom?)

I came across this Silk Bamboo on the shelf at Joann's and curiosity got the better of me. I've been intrigued with bamboo yarns since this scarf was finished. The idea of it being combined with 30% silk was irresistable.

Though packaged as a knitting yarn, the weaving possibilities were of greater interest to me. So, I wrapped to get an idea of ends per inch, then I went back to my notes on that scarf. The scarf was sett considerably more dense than I would have thought. Also, my warp plan was for a deflected double weave which calls for a close sett. So I started at 21 EPI and got this after washing and drying:

The finishing experience was much like the one described in the scarf post. The web is much stiffer than one would expect of the yarn before finishing. It becomes even stiffer when wet (think cardboard). Once completely dry, the yarn returns to a wonderfully fluid drape. This fabric is incredibly cushy and soft. It would make a wonderful, warm baby blanket (expensive, but wonderful). However, I was thinking more along the lines of a scarf....this sett would not do.

So I opened the sett to almost half the original, re-sleying to 12 EPI. However, when I sat down at the loom, I was a bit perturbed over a non-weaving situation and beat the weft almost as hard as the previous sample. The yarn is softly spun and packed right in, ending up like this:

The swatch on the left has been washed, the one on the right has not. As you can see, such a tight beat prevented the migration of the warp threads, so there are long weft floats showing.

Back to the loom with a lighter touch on the beater:

I think this should be about right. The first scarf is complete, I'll weave off the second one before wet finishing and will share the result. This shot gives you a glimpse of the luster that drew me to this yarn.

BTW...I've looked around the web for a bamboo-silk weaving yarn of finer grist (this is about a dk weight) and didn't find anything. There is a bamboo-silk sock yarn, but it has the requisite nylon included in sock yarn. If you know of a source for a weaving yarn, please leave it in the comments. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Baby Poonam, free pattern from Berroco website. Yarn is Encore sport weight. It's packed up and ready to go to the post office in the morning.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

More from last weekend...

Part of the trip up north included some time in Munising MI. While the guys were diving I hiked up to Munising Falls:
Then on the way back I decided to stop and take in the Heritage Center. (The main building is not pictured on their site. It's restored school house from the early 1900's.)

Inside the main building I found this home made barn loom:

Much of Michigan's Upper Peninsula was settled by Finns, Swedes, and Cornish mining families. Rag rug weaving is a part of the heritage. You can see more of that here. I've seen a number of these looms in the UP. Most of them have been located in a small basement area with room only to climb onto the bench, weave, and advance the warp. (Wait I know some people who live with AVL's like that today!) I've even seen a set up where the warp could only be wound on by coming from the outside through a coal shute opening above the back of the loom!

Note the leaf spring used for the back brake lever above and the brake drum fabricated into the ratchet brake below. (Another branch of Michigan automotive history.)
The view from the back of the loom:
Below is the brake on the cloth beam:

I'm not sure about the warping heel referred to in this note. Perhaps they mean warping reel? It was not on display.

Like the cars in the previous post, I think it's important to embrace our weaving past. At the same time, I'm ambivalent about historical re-enactment displays with weavers and spinners in period dress. It's too easy for the public to dismiss weaving and spinning as something only relevant to the past, as in "Thank God, we don't have to do that anymore!"

Since I'm one of the people who says, "Thank God, I can spin, weave and make my own fabric from raw materials!".... I'm happy to see a whole new generation being introduced to weaving in the current issue of Craftzine:

Take a look! Enjoy!


Friday, August 15, 2008

Busy times...

This is a photo from last weekend's trip:
Lake Superior at Whitefish it's finest. (This is not the's one of the Great Lakes. There is no surf on the Great Lakes. It was a windy, choppy day.) DH and DS were out scuba diving in this while I was eating fudge and taking these photo's. Below is the lighthouse.
Whitefish Point has a lot of memories for our family. During the late '80's and through the '90's we were there every summer, mostly for long weekends. The main town (if you can call it that) is Paradise, Mi. and we have generally stayed in mom & pop motels. We tallied it up this past weekend: it's been 7 years since we were last in Paradise.

The primary reason for this lapse is the lack of charter boat captains for the scuba divers, since diving was the primary reason for the trip. This year a charter was found and, despite the choppy seas, a few of the divers were able to get in the water for a wreck dive of two. Here's one:

Then tonight we did this:

I wondered how this would come off this year with the gas prices and the economy and what not. There's no getting around it, Detroit is the birthplace of automotive history. There's no doubt that "the times they are a'changin'. " But it would be a shame to totally ignore the past....even if it was a gas guzzling, environmental debacle waiting to happen. Those who choose to ignore history are doomed to repeat it......
So tonight, we enjoyed a bit of our personal history. My only complaint: too many Chevelle SS's and not enough Classic Mustangs. There was one Porsche 911, my dream car since I was a freshman in college.

However, those are the interests of the Y chromosomes in this household. The fabric of the last post has been washed with 13% shrinkage in length and 9% shrinkage in width. Today I wound a warp of a new bamboo silk yarn (70/30 fiber content). And I've finished the body and the first sleeve of the baby sweater that needs to be mailed out this week. Fiber pictures later......

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


This fresh off the loom:

Here's a closer look.

The big picture showed what I was looking for: I missed a treadling block about a third of the way up from the bottom. Maybe you noticed already. Anyway...the fabric is intended for a vest, cut out with the weft running vertically so the small blocks of color change will be at the shoulder. So I should be able to work around that missed block.

The fabric has not been wet finished yet. I have to serge off the sample sections and sample with wet finishing techniques before dealing with the whole 4 yards. The width off the loom is 27", width on the loom was 30".

That's it for now....tons of things to do here.

Monday, August 04, 2008

This is a riot...
Star wars alpacas:
Desert Blog...

Whoops...sorry to have blipped off the radar screen lately. There's been a lot of activity around here, but little of it is blogworthy. Now I have a couple things, so here we go:

Just beyond the starting gate is Baby Poonam from the Berroco Free patterns site. My version is at the "2/3's up the back" stage so enjoy the picture at the Berroco site until mine is at a blog worthy photo stage.

A number of years ago I started knitting for the children of my nieces and nephews (ie. my great nieces and nephews). I recently learned that there is a surprise on the way and the shower is on Aug. 24. I won't be able to attend (in fact, I may never actually see the child...which as been the case with several of the "greats") but I'm pretty sure I can finish this and get it in the mail in time for the shower.

Then, coming up to the finish line is some yardage to cut off the loom. I can weave about 3" more on the web, then it's "cutting off time". So there will be photo's of that soon as well.

Meanwhile Wanda has bestowed the Arte y pico award on me.

I am humbled and a bit embarrassed considering how little I've been blogging lately. To be in compliance with the we go:

1) You have to pick 5 blogs that you copnsider deserve this award, creativity, design, interesting material, and also contrubuites to the blogger community, no matter of language.
2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award-winning, has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog thathas given her or him the ward itself.
4) Award-winning and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of “Arte y pico“blog , so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5) To show these rules.

There are many more than five worthy of nomination, but I'll narrow it down to these:
Sharon at In Stitches
Jackie at One Thread Two Thread
Stef at Distracted Muse
Lee at When She Was Knitting
Bonnie at Weaving Spirit

enjoy that little surfing trip.....