Then and Now Spinning

It has been awhile since I posted. I have been in the midst of a larger project for spinning than I normally do. As in, I came up with a plan for all of my handspun, early stuff, that was lying around. Now I have been spinning for a few years though not as continuously to be a consummate master of it. But I have been spinning and do enjoy it.

One day this past spring I hit on a plan for a project. I had a Zoom Loom and loved using it. I had made some squares with my handspun with it, and I have posted before about that at Projects Abound and When Projects Aren’t Going Well. So you can see it has been a couple of years since I decided that using my handspun that was in small lots, not perfect, needing something to happen to them was perfect on a pin loom.

Alas, what was to happen to these squares that I had been making over the past couple of years and mainly here recently? This spring I decided that a perfect project would be to make a cloak. So taking out my squares I laid them out several times on the floor to make patterns and decide what would work with all these diverse squares.

Then my three week trip this summer was coming up. I would be driving Mark’s truck so space was not an issue. They all came with me as well as a spindle and more wool and the Zoom Loom and crochet hook to continue making squares and crocheting them together.

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A sneak peak at the project

I sat for a week watching the extended Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies with my father and spun, wove, and crocheted away. Got quite a bit of the project done on that trip.

As this project is about handspun, past and present, it is very eclectic in its colors, spinning, quality of spinning and wool, well really everything about it.

As it is an evolving project on this end now (though still not completed) there are a few things I would do different but at this point I’m not taking anything apart. It is what it is.

Now I’m spinning and working on a border around the whole thing. Had a pretty merino silk mix that is all the crocheting that you see in the above picture. The colors in it were real subtle and once spun even less so. It seems to be just a black. Though there is a glow about it that doesn’t say black like the picture says. I have run out of that so now have spun some generic black wool I have. Will be interesting to see how the two look together.

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Singles yarn

Now all the spinning being done this summer is on spindles. When traveling I take my Bosworth. But at home I use my Golding. It never leaves home but oh, I love using the Golding most. This black wool has been interesting in seeing how color is really so indefinite. I know that’s not the right word, and I should some day look up proper terminology for what I observe. But it was amazing, to me, to watch this fiber as I drafted it looking toward a window and seeing a blue glow all about it. As the light came through the thin fiber strands it had a pretty blue tint. I know that all has to do with the dying and how black is created in dyes but still despite the chemistry etc. I love to see it happen.

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Piled yarn

Last night I got two spindles plied. So today it will be some more Slow TV of the Knitting Night and crocheting around the cloak. I will see how far this goes and then back to spinning some more. You’ve got it. I don’t know yet how much of a border this will get in the end. Did find a pattern I like and will see how it looks. Then if it does please me, oh dear, I’ll need to be spinning more. I’m sure I don’t have enough for any big dream though I have been amazed at how much farther the yarn has gone than I have expected with the crocheting. (No I haven’t done any numbers to see what I need to do to accomplish any of this. It is what it is.)

As we all need reminders. I went out to look at my very first spinning and the wrist distaff I made with it. Actually my very first was a red that I wove into a hat and it sold at the CHH sale. Rather surprised me that the two hats sold. But a very close second is this white. I didn’t find it. YIKES! I do need to figure out what happened to it. I wouldn’t have gotten rid of, given away, whatever it. It should be still about as a reminder. Thankfully, I did find a picture on the computer of it so here is my first and yes, despite that thin bit in the picture above, I have vastly improved.

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My first spinning project

 

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An Indigo Apron

I wanted to make something from my indigo dyed pieces from Art Camp. Looking them over, I decided that two pieces were the top and bottom of an apron. Then I cut other pieces for the straps and ties. I hand sewed it all, and it came out pretty descent. Probably would be better if I’d gathered the bottom waist, but the pattern shows this way, so I went the easier way. Finished it at my folks this week.

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Victor P. Buchcik Spinning Wheel

So I love spinning and weaving, and I love history, so of course I started volunteering in our small town at the Heritage Center and Log Cabins. There, in a corner, was a spinning wheel so one of the first things I set about doing, as a member, was sorting out this wheel which they said the lady who gave it to them had come and spun on it, but it hasn’t been for a little time.

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Looking straight on as one would when spinning

The wheel had a plastic drive band that had been wired together and was of no use whatsoever. So I got rid of it and tied on a new drive band (will take better cordage next time) So now the drive wheel turned with the treadle. The treadle rod is in the middle of the treadle which I haven’t seen before but it had a very smooth motion and was quite easy to treadle.

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Looking at the back of the wheel

Then to tackle the scotch tension. It had a piece of plastic cord tied to springs on each side. Now for all I know of scotch tension, that wasn’t going to work, and it didn’t. So I cut that all out and tied another string to the spring on the one side and then tied it around the knob, on the other side, that is there for that purpose (ignored in what was) and then played with the tension.

Did you notice the crochet hook sticking out at an angle in back? Befuddled me for a bit. Thought at first it was used for the orifice hook and that is just where they kept it, but alas it totally doesn’t work for that. Did learn though how to get the bobbin and flyer off. The maiden on the tension end moves back and turns down to take them off. Alas whatever once ran through those holes that keep it in place when all together has long been lost and along the road someone figured out that a small crochet hook fit in just right.

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Side view of wheel before scotch tension work. See the stretched spring?

This tension is the problem I think. The flyer and bobbin did not spin if there was the least bit of tension on it. Then after some fiddling, the flyer would spin but the bobbin did not. It was at that point that I learned the importance of both being able to spin. Have you ever wondered why the bobbin needed to spin, albeit slower than the flyer, when spinning on a treadle/flyer wheel? I have. And, as of yesterday, I learned why. With just the flyer turning the draw in is way to fast for these hands to keep up. With the bobbin turning as well, there is time for you to draft and get it right before it winds on.

Also an interesting bit for this wheel is that the flyer and bobbin sit so far back. They are actually, basically, for all practical purposes behind the drive wheel when you are sitting at it. Makes it a bit of a stretch when working back there.

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Spinning at last.

So, yes, I did manage to spin some. That was after realizing there was no orifice hook and a long way for something to reach through. I searched several drawers and finally found one paperclip. After bending it in different contortions, I managed to make it do the job and got some wool through. That also entailed cleaning the hole out with the wool. Icky! But we were spinning. It didn’t go super easy though. I so wanted to add some oil to the bobbin and tension thinking it would help it move smoother. But I also know “they” say to never oil the drive band or tension. So maybe the groove just needs cleaned up more? Or a wider band for the tension. I already know I am going to do that for the drive band, but the tension as well?

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Label on bottom of table.

After all this, I wanted to know what this wheel was that was driving me crazy. On the bottom I did find a label. Designed & handcrafted by: Victor P. Buchcik, 8 Norman Street, Wagga Wagga 2650″ . Now this label was between all the legs and footman, so not easily photographed or for these old eyes to read. I went looking for a Victor P. Buchcik online. Got that much down. Thought maybe a local builder? There are lots of Czech and Wends around here so names that only the Good Lord knows how to pronounce are in abundance. Alas, nary a hit on the name at all. Next I thought the “8” was an “&” so looked up Norman Street as well as a compatriot in the work. Alas nothing. So looked up Wagga Wagga. A HIT! A town in New South Wales. What? Australia? How did it get here if it was made by some home guy in NSW? I did, at first, think that the four digit number was maybe a number for the piece, but it turns out to be a post code. That took seeing the picture and realizing that Norman Street wasn’t a man but an address. So of course, I looked up the address and it is a nice house though lots of trees in the way of seeing it very well.

If anyone knows anything about this wheel or the maker, I would appreciate knowing something of them. If you have advice on getting it to spin smoother or dealing with that scotch tension, advice appreciated.

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There is Something on the Loom

Yes, my loom is warped, and I did start weaving. I need to get back out there again and get with it. Alas there is a little snag in the plan. But anyways, my plan to begin with was to weave red, white, and blue cloth to make either a valance or swag over some of the windows between the living room and the gallery above. (Now I know gallery is a big word but coming up with a proper name for the walkway between the two sides of the house above was difficult and so I settled on gallery.)

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A warped loom

Because of the mix of yarn sizes I had, this became a mix of ideas in the warp. My loom has a sectional back beam (something I became once again thankful for when I tried to help someone warp front to back recently) with one inch sections. So I just made up a threading for each inch in color and sizes. I was using both 8/12 and 16/2 cotton in this. I then tried to repeat the same pattern in mirror image for the two sides as I worked out from the center. Alas, in threading the reed I realized that a couple weren’t exactly the same but que sera at this point. It will look fine and it isn’t quite noticeable … though more noticeable in this picture than when I’m sitting and working on it.

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A warped loom

Next came the trouble of what to use for weft. In the top picture if you look in the distant top right corner, you can see a bobbin of 16/2 blue thread. As there was so much of it, the plan was for it to be the weft. Alas and alack, It just didn’t look right. Above you can see where I used some size 3 cotton crochet thread to get the spacing done. Then I used the 16/2 blue. Yikes! the crochet thread looked so much better. The colors were just lost in the 16/2. So it was start weaving again with the crochet thread and it did look quite good. I did need a bit of practice on those selvedges but as I was only doing a straight twill I could concentrate on them, instead of a pattern, and things became better.

Then I quickly ran out of crochet thread in size 3 and navy blue. That’s ok, I’m running to Bastrop and can visit Hobby Lobby and get some more. But best laid plans. They didn’t have something that I consider so common. At least in right size and color. Guess still too much in the middle of nowhere. So I got what they did have and will see if it works. If not, I will try some other things with what I have and if all else fails will take a trip to Yarnorama and see what they have.

I did take a picture of the weaving at that point, but it just didn’t look good so it went to the trash bin and will have to wait to see the finished piece. I’m not sure how it will look in the end when wet finished, but I do like the colors and it will be interesting to see what happens. I’m thinking a more valance look is what is going to happen as opposed to swag but that will be ok. It actually will go farther that way.

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Colors That Came out of the Pot

So I was dyeing Saturday and my pieces are now washed and dried and ready for a new life. But what did I get?

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Beautiful Silk

I couldn’t get pictures that really showed the colors well. Still a lot to learn with a camera. But this piece came out just lovely. (At the rate I’ve used lovely on this and the last post, you would think I’d been spending time reading items from England, and you would be right.) But anyway, I dropped this piece of silk in the cochineal pot first. Didn’t stay in long but it did come out a nice pink color. Then I dropped it in the indigo pot. When I pulled it out, I was amazed at the lovely color. It shows a bit of the pink and the blue but mainly it is this absolutely lovely mauvey purple. I will have to find a use fitting to its color and silk.

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Hanging between dunkings

Here are the three dresser scarves. I bought them while in Germany and the Good Lord only knows what their fiber make up is. But I was thinking that a nice green would be better than white in our new bedroom. So in they went in the osage orange bath. After a good bit of time, they then visited the indigo bath several times. I never could decide if they looked very green but there was definitely a hue there hiding.

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Home and getting rinsed

But when I got them home and was rinsing them, it was quite an odd event. The water went all yellow/green. It was like the osage orange orange was maybe washing out from under the indigo. Could it be I should have waited longer between taking it out of the osage orange and putting it in the indigo? Odd but we continued rinsing till it was clear. Hmmm… What was I going to end up with?

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A close look of the scarf

 

Again I didn’t get the picture to look as close as I would have liked. But they ended up a very dusty blueish color. They look like there is more grey in them. A quite lovely color though not green. Well, in my eyes. My husband says there is some green there to him. I do love the color. Not what I was hoping for but they aren’t still white, I do like the color, and they will look fine in the bedroom.

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This should be a soft orangey color

So then in went a piece of cotton. First the osage orange a bit of time and then the cochineal. It is not an in your face orange. But very soft. Now I hate yellow and have a dislike of orange, but this came out a nice comforting color. Not bad at all. Will have to find a good use for it as well.

My only other piece was the one that I’m holding in the picture that was suppose to be a video in the last post. It is just a nice mottled blue. A good piece of not very dark indigo.

So my own dyed items from Saturday. It was quite a fun adventure. Not sure I would get enough into dyeing to want to get too particular for particular colors, but having the pots and just experimenting is a good bit of fun. I probably got some colors I like better than if I had tried for something I wanted.

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Red, Yellow, and Blue, What Fun!

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Wild hog fresh off the fire

Early Saturday I headed east from Lexington for Jesse Jones Park in Humble where I volunteered when we lived that way. It was fun to head out for a Second Saturday despite the drive being 4 times as long as it once was and it not being perfect weather. Now I know these pictures make it look like a lovely day, but the weather was a fickle maiden this day.

The theme of the day was food from the fire. There was a wild pig spitted and roasted over night to be enjoyed. These pigs are way too abundant and tear up all in their path. There were also set ups of castiron dutch oven cooking with savory and sweet. Wonderful tastes for all to enjoy.

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Maureen warping a loom in the shade out of the occasional rain. Jane showing visitors how to get seeds out of cotton.

But I also took out the dyes left over from Art Camp and as a continuation of the theme from last month, spinning and weaving, we had some dyeing going Saturday this month as well as a new weaver trying to learn to warp a loom and people wanting to know what that wheel did.

We had the three pots from Art Camp going. The cochineal and osage orange on a very low fire that someone put more wood on that shouldn’t have. Oh well, it didn’t ruin anything, but my idea of a small fire and others wasn’t quite the same. Then the indigo pot was at work on the table. We tried to make sure we did everything as we were taught at Art Camp, alas, and with me there is always an alas, but alas we did have one bit that never got put out but it wasn’t a flop so can’t complain.

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The cochineal pot

The afternoon was spent trying to keep the occasional drizzle and big drops out of the pots. Especially the indigo. We dropped in cloth the park is going to make into aprons. Roving of both cotton and wool went in different pots. Dresser scarves of unknown fiber. And Maureen even took off her apron when she decided she would love a blue one instead of white.

We were thankful that the Lord provided us with a tree that had a branch that just went off on its own almost horizontal to the ground. As we were out without a clothes line the leaning branch became our old fashion hanging rack to let the indigo items air in the oxygen before going back in the pot.

 

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The osage orange pot

I had pieces left over from Art Camp so threw some of them in the pots. So we experimented. I even went for an orange and it isn’t a bad one either. I don’t really care for orange but it is quite muted. I also threw in a silk piece. First in the cochineal and then the indigo. It is the most lovely mauvey purple one could want. I so love how it came out.

I did ask about the time once and a gal said that it was late. I about panicked as I did have a two hour drive home. But it turned out her definition of late and what I would have called late back in my old days at the park were two different things. It was actually just normal time when things start shutting down. We had two hours yet before we would have thought it late in the old days. Doesn’t that sound bad. But those days are over a year ago now. Time sure flies when you’re older.

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The end of watching the magic

We did get the fun of watching the cloths come out of the indigo bath and turn from a yellow green to blue. I don’t think I will ever be tired of watching the magic happen. We even had the idea of trying to get some video of it happening. But best laid schemes. We were all ready and pulled out the cloth, had video going, or so it seemed. After I got home and watched it, it turned out it didn’t start at the first press of the button, but started when it was pressed again to stop. So I clipped a picture of the cloth all blue and if one were to want to they can watch the top of the table and listen to us talk to visitors who came by while we were trying to do this. Oh, and yes my dress is my first outfit that I don’t wear anymore, but if one is playing around dye baths, if I’m playing around dye baths, I figured I better wear something that wouldn’t matter if I spilled the indigo completely over. Actually, I made it out with only my hands very blue but with some scrubbing, I only have blue finger nails now. It is wearing off but indigo does love protein. And yes, my hair is down. I had to wash it Friday, and there was just no way it was going to stay in a bonnet. So it won and I had a mess to comb out when I got home.

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Part of our afternoons work.

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Time spent with friends away from the crazy modern world.

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Weaving Those Squares Together: Part 3

So I did sit down and weave a square in the corner. It actually went better than any went before which can be seen by the end of this post. So here goes. I am assuming that you have read the last two posts and so am not going to repeat some things from them. I am going to assume you know what you are doing in some points. But this time we are going to be catching loops on all four layers so the needle will be busy.

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Lining up sides to loom

First thing is again to line up the loom at the sides so that pins match. The double loops on both finished squares are in the corner and the double loops that go around the corners are at the ends. This made this one easy to get going.

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First layer catching inside loop

So on the first layer, you begin with catching the loop that goes to the side facing our new square. We do not want to catch the loop that goes to the other side at all.So now to continue with the first layer catch the second loop in each pair since we will be going around the two pins to the left of each set of three pins.

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Circle the corner and make sure of the loop

When finished with the first layer, and you come around the corner, be sure and pick up only the loop on that side of the corner and not the one that faces the outside.

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Making sure of the loop on layer two

Now you continue down the row with the second layer. Going around the second and third pin in each set of three, make sure you pick up the right hand loop of each pair.

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End of second layer and starting the third with a mistake

So you made it to the end of the second layer and now to go around the corner of two pins. Pick up the same loop as did on the first layer. Oh, dear. This is the loop that is to be to the outside of this square and we should not go through the same loop as before. I didn’t realize I did it here, and that I shouldn’t have, till looking at the pictures. But if you look at the following picture, you will see this done correctly on the opposite corner. That outside loop around the double pins does not loop with a finished loop.  But after you just circle the pins, continue on layer 3 and picking up the other corresponding loop to the set of pins. Actually, should be the only loop left in each set of two. Also around this time you will be joining with a new thread. If you cut one long one you are going crazy with all the knotting, but with each layer the thread is getting shorter and thus easier.

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Starting the fourth layer

Now you are finished with the third layer and starting the fourth. We are going to go around the two pins on the outside and do not pick up a loop before starting to weave the first row. This loop is the outside loop of this square and would be caught up with a square on that side. (This is the correct way to do the corner just above.) So do not catch up the loop on the finished square at this point. Did I say that enough times? Do not catch this loop. But continue weaving this fourth layer as normal and catching the leftover loop of each pair as you come around the two pins that correspond to it.

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The finished square

So here is the finished square taken off the loom. Looks pretty good except for that mistake at the top right corner. The dark green loop should just be through the lower loop that is mainly on that side and not the top one that it is also through. Besides that I think it came out pretty good. I may even grow to like the open space between the four squares. I want to reenforce that point but as you’ll see in the next picture, I haven’t come up with a good way to do that. Maybe I should trust it on its own.

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The sample full of experimenting with this idea of connections

So here is my sample for seriously figuring this out. I have connected 8 squares in two rows. (Like you couldn’t figure that out on your own.) I started with the first ones on the right, and I worked my way left. So the two I documented yesterday and today are the two on the far left side. You can see my two experiments with strengthening the inside corners in the first two but they just don’t look nice. Also quite a bit of learning showing there but I think I’ve got a plan and system now for doing it. Now to try in a perfect piece. I see a scarf in there waiting to look nice.

 

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Weaving Those Squares Together: Part 2

I sat down again yesterday and wove squares together trying to make it look better and make decisions about those short corners. I did come up with a third bit of advice though while doing it.

Advice 3. They would work much better with a sticky grabby yarn. I’m using cotton crochet yarn as it is easy to see what is happening, alas it also shifts very easily and can go wonky easily. I think a nice grabby wool with all those barbs helping out would keep the yarn in place better.

Next just a bit about how I finish squares. I know “they” tell you to just bring those two tails back in over and under a couple of wefts and then cut them off. For me (being me) that just looks a bit odd. Just this short thick bit that stands out. Like a mistake. But I also have a tendency towards over kill on making things secure. When I package a box to mail, you can bet there is tape everywhere, and the poor person getting the box will have a time breaking into it. But my goal is that nothing in transit will break into it as well. So back to the squares. I take those tails and weave them all the way across before cutting them off. So you will see that on two sides of each square that last thread is doubled and two sides it is not.

So one last comment before starting. Remember from yesterdays post to cut your yarn before starting. It calls for 8 yards for the full square, so cut two 4 yard lengths and start with one of them. When getting near the end use a Russian Join to connect them and continue on weaving.

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Square and loom lined up matching pins and first layer laid in

The first step in weaving two squares together is to make sure that you line up sides to match. If you look at the loom on each side there will be 3 pins at one end and 2 pins at the other end. Those two pins match to two pins on the touching side and they create two loops that go around the corner. So be sure that when you lay the loom and square down together that the 3 pins match up to 2 loops that are all committed to that side (the top of the photo) and the 2 pins are match up to the two loops that come around the corner (bottom of the photo).

Also you can see that in this first photo I have already laid in the first layer. It is easier to lay the square and loom together so that the first layer you can just lay in and then only have half the length of yarn to weave through loops on the second layer. You can even flip the finished square over if needed to get it to line up for you. Yes, that took me a bit longer than it should have to figure out.

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Second layer begun. Circle top two pins in group and catch top loop

After the first layer is laid in then you start the second layer the normal way. When you get to your finished square, I find it easier to catch the loop after I have the yarn between its proper pins and heading back for the next weft. So on this second layer you are wrapping the yarn around the top and middle pin in each group (per my photo) so the loop, from each group of the finished square, you want to catch is the top one that corresponds.

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Second layer completed and left loops all caught

Now in the above photo the second layer is completed.You can see at the far left that where the two pins are I only caught the loop that is on that side and not the one that technically faces the left side of the square (as opposed to top per photo). I have done this several ways and still fiddling with it.

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Third layer complete

Now with this photo you can see that the third layer is laid in as you would if doing a normal square by itself. Nice to have an easy run again. If you look closely at the top left you can see where my Russian join is. Not as nice a one as my illustration yesterday, but maybe that is so you can tell it is there. I have also started the needle down for that fourth layer. Remember here is where you start weaving over under every other warp thread, and we are finally creating a woven piece that won’t come apart. I am still amazed at whoever dreamed this whole process up first and figured out that you could weave this way.

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Now picking up the bottom loop of finished square

When weaving the fourth layer and you come to the finished square, you will pick up that other loop in each pair. So now we come around the bottom two pins in each group and going over the other, we will then start weaving over and under the warp threads as we head back down the row. Now it is easier to see why you pick up which loop you do in each pair as they line up.

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Finished fourth layer and weaving in tails

Once you have woven all 16 wefts in then you weave in your tails as much as you want. I did catch that same loop again that we caught on the second layer. The one of the two that go around the corner that is more to this side.

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Finished! 

Ok, yes, it does need to be taken off the loom and tails cut but those pictures didn’t make the grade. And yes, I know there is a bit of fuzziness to these so you can only guess how bad those were.

Next we will add a square into that spot at the top and have two sides to weave into it. Fun!

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Weaving Those Squares Together: Part 1

Yesterday I vacuumed the downstairs and upstairs at one time. Anyone, who knows me well, knows I absolutely hate vacuuming. That may be a bit strong, but I really don’t like it and can put it off forever. So needless to say, after such an ambitious workout, I had to sit and weave. So I set about to improve weaving those little squares off the Zoom Loom together while making them.

So to begin with, how about some advice? I know I like things to be really easy. Alas life isn’t easy. But when weaving this long of a piece of yarn at once, you really need to cut it in two. Each should be enough thread to do two of the four layers. (Or maybe you want to do each on its own, but I found that two layers at once did work.) So roughly 4 yards long each. Now what can happen if you don’t?

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My mess!

If you try to weave it all with one long thread, inevitably on that first pass of weaving into the loops of the finished square, you will end up with tangles and thread coming off of the posts. The only good in this is that the yarn has a size large enough that you can see the tangle and pull on the correct thread to undo it. But… Who wants to spend all that time untangling knots and then putting the thread back on the post that it was pulled off. Now I don’t like to waste things, and I wasn’t going to just chuck this, so yes, I untangled the mess, got the thread laying back in its proper path and then worked even more carefully. Alas it still tangled up. So my advice. Cut the length in two. You do need to cut it before starting to weave. This is different than the standard directions for weaving a square where you just take the end of your yarn and lay it in place for the first three layers and then wrap the yarn around the square 5 times and cut the thread. Then you thread it onto your long needle and start weaving it in and out.

So once you have decided to weave using two lengths you will need to join them when almost at the end of the first one. When I was learning to weave on a triangle loom, I became good friends with the Russian Join. I have a tendency to want color changes so needed to find a way to do that with the least knot showing. So it was a happy day when I discovered this method of joining two threads. Here it also works well.

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First yarn woven into itself

Take the end of the yarn you are working with, and using a tapestry needle, weave it back into itself leaving a loop.

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Two pieces of yarn looped together

Next take your second piece of yarn and thread it on the tapestry needle and then thread it through the first loop. After you have them entwined then weave in and out of itself just as you did with the first one.

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My mess!

Now you take your two ends that are short and hanging out and pull them tight. Scrunching up the loop till it disappears. I pull them as tight as I can at first to get it as snug as I can. Then I smooth it back out and make it lay as smooth and as flat as it can. This particular thread does that well.

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Laying flat and ends cut close.

So once you snug it up, then cut those loose ends off close without cutting the wrong piece. It is rather nice how it can blend in to the rest of the weaving and is hardly noticeable.

So there is my first two pieces of advice for going crazy. Since all this will be long, I will start weaving two together tomorrow.

Categories: Fiber Arts, Weaving | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

My Apron is Now Blue

Yes, I had a desire to dye my workhorse apron blue. It is the apron that has managed to make it to more than one entry here. From the moment that I wove the cloth and completed the sewing. Then it has been a help so many times – needing hot pads for cast iron pots or an umbrella in a gully washer. On a hot Texas summer day, it was so handy for wiping away sweat. It had all the marks of its life but still going strong as ever.

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My set up

But what does one do when they come home with indigo? They look for something to turn blue and my apron went in the pot. I poured out the large container of dye into a bucket my husband got me, and I let it sit. Then I added color release (oh, what is its proper name?) to the pot a couple of times and then got a fairly green paper towel twist. So in went the apron. And then laid out. It was a bit windy this particular day so hence the cardboard protecting the pot from blowing bits of this and that while awaiting the next dunking.

At first I didn’t think it was really working and I was going to have to go in and read a good bit more. But… Then I pulled it out and it had that greenish hue that was exciting to see turn blue. So I laid it out to oxidize and came back later. In it went again. I so wanted to get a picture of that greenish hue before it really oxidized but alas and alack it always turned before the camera could catch it. Even when I got the tripod out and only had to hit the button. I am wondering though about slowing that change down. I’m sure it had to do with how well set up the pot was and as I’m still a green newbie at it… Much to learn yet.

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It  is getting darker

But for a good bit of the day I kept dunking the apron and then taking it out. Laying it out to oxidize. Constantly having to move the drying rack as the sun passed across the sky as I did read to keep it in the shade while processing. It started much closer to the back door than it finished.

I loved the dark wet color so kept at it a couple more times and finally declared it done and let it dry completely. I could be happy if it were even darker than it is but all in all it is a pretty good color. Then I read Connie’s notes on finishing and so I washed and set and declared it completed. That was just in time to wear it last Saturday.

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Ready to head out

Saturday, Texas 180th Independence Day celebration was at Washington-on-the-Brazos not far from me. Since joining the guild in Bryan, I had the opportunity to go out to Barrington Farm and demonstrate spinning for the day. I love spinning and talking history so what is a better way to spend a day? As I was getting ready to head out early, Mark got a picture of me in my handwoven dress and now handwoven, partly handspun, indigo dyed blue apron. Had the car packed with my wheel, wool, cotton, bench, niddy noddy, and much more, because you never know what question will be asked or what you will decide that you wished you had brought along.

It was a beautiful sunny day. With a wonderful breeze that only got in the way when trying to card wool and then take it off the cards and roll it up. I learned to aim the cards in just the right direction to let the breeze help me and not hinder.

I had several great conversations. I guess when you love history, and you think everyone should love it as much as you, and they should want to learn all they can; you love it when someone comes by and wants to listen and ask questions. Though near the end was the best part of the day. A group stopped by and the mother had that look of someone who had spun out of necessity in her life. I asked if she had and through her children translating for us, I learned she had spun but with a wheel that you turned with a handle. I did a first and asked if she would like sit and try my wheel out. I never let people touch it when demonstrating, but I couldn’t help myself here.  I learned that they were from Damascus, and I was amazed that here was a lady from the oldest city in the world (continuously lived in) sitting at my wheel taking part in one of the oldest occupations in the world. I was so in the moment that I just lived it and now have so many questions I would love to ask her and her children. She had that wonderful old sweet grandma look about her and her kids were in their 20s or so maybe young 30s by my guess. Oh, I want to talk with them now.

That aside I had a wonderful day. Lovely day. Sweet day. Thank you Lord for the blessing of it.

And you never know who you will meet.

 

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My spot for the day

Categories: dyeing, Spinning | Tags: , | 4 Comments

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