The recent addition of weaving to our product lineup at work, along with last weekend’s trip to the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival have renewed my enthusiasm for other fiber crafts besides knitting. Of course, there’s spinning, which is one of my more recently adopted fibery pursuits.
Last night, I plied the Spunky Eclectic Targhee I spun last weekend. Here’s a quick shot I snapped while it was still damp and hanging in the laundry room to dry:
It’s highly variable in thickness throughout the hank, but I do love it. While spinning the singles, and when I first started plying it, I was having some trouble with the yarn twisting onto itself as I was feeding it into the orifice to wind onto the bobbin. I usually try to have as little tension as possible when spinning, but when I finally upped the tension while plying I realized that right there was my problem – not enough tension. So there are some extra-twisty bits in here, but I’m okay with that. Final details to come once it’s completely dry – which it probably is by now, but I was distracted by something else today:
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but weaving was my first serious foray into fiber arts, well before I ever learned to knit. While in college majoring in graphic design, I needed to take some art/craft electives. My classmate Kristine, who was a fine arts major specializing in crafts, took a weaving class and encouraged me to register for it as well. And it stuck. I took weaving classes from my sophomore through senior years, and even during a summer session between junior and senior year.
When I decided last weekend that the unknown sample fiber that came with my spinning wheel would probably become a blanket for the kitty, it just made the most sense to weave it based on the yardage available – and it doesn’t hurt that weaving a sport-weight handspun yarn into a kitty blanket would be faster than knitting it. Plus, the added exposure to weaving products at work has made me want to weave again!
The handspun that will become a kitty blanket (just the top two skeins).
Today, I did a quick dig through my fingering-weight yarn stash, and found a blue-and-cream partial ball of sock yarn that was a left-over sample from work. After doing a little math to determine how far my handspun weft would go, I decided on a sett of 5 ends per inch and 150 warp ends for a 30″ warp width. I ran a little short with the left-over sock yarn and ended up with 131 warp ends. I discovered my more-than-20-year-old homemade raddle (a 40″-long 2×3 with finishing nails partially tapped in, spaced 1/2″ apart) had gone missing. After looking for it, I vaguely remembered that it may have broken either during our move to NH or sometime after while being stored in various places in the house during remodeling.
Raddle-less, I watched a quick video on YouTube to learn how to warp my loom front to back – I had only ever learned back to front. So the loom is now warped, and I have a header of waste yarn woven in, ready for me to begin weaving with my handspun.
View from the back of the loom with the reed threaded and ready to begin threading the heddles.
Loom threaded and warp wound onto the back beam (yeah, I got some of the warp twisted when tying onto the back beam – oops).
At the front of the loom with a header of waste yarn woven in.
Loom details: It’s a Leclerc Artisat jack loom with 36″ weaving width and 4 harnesses. I bought it way back in 1991, my first big purchase that wasn’t a car. I saved up graduation/birthday/Christmas money and bought it within a year after graduating from college. I bought it used at a weaving/yarn shop in western New Jersey and I’m still amazed that Mom and I were able to fit it in a Jeep Cherokee to drive it home to my apartment. Even though I don’t weave much anymore (this will be my first weaving project in about SEVEN years!), I wouldn’t dare sell this loom – it would be too expensive to replace if I were to change my mind later. It’s been with me through three moves, from one apartment to another apartment to our first house and finally to our house in New Hampshire.