Posts Tagged With: handspun

My Old Workhorse

I originally wove and sewed my workhorse back what seems like years ago but was only about 5 years give or take. I wrote about it inĀ Weaving With Handspun. Now these three pieces, at that time, were a pocket, bonnet, and apron. The bonnet went the way of bonnets with me. It was lost somewhere, besides at home. Only the Good Lord or whoever came across it later know what became of it. I do tend to loose bonnets when out and about. But alas I really didn’t cry over it much as I never looked good in it and it seemed a bit smallish. Actually stuffing all my hair in it was a chore. The pocket gets used everytime I go out to events. Always need somewhere to stash stuff on myself.

But the apron. Ahhhhh…. I love that one. It is a bit short and could have been several inches longer, but that doesn’t hinder its usefulness.


Getting ready to put her away again.

I wrote before about how sturdy it is, how it was woven, but I did get some close ups of it this time.

IMG_2549 (1)

The thick learning to weave cotton weft

Version 2

We are getting better and thinner at this cotton spinning

Version 3

We’ve gotten much better at spinning cotton and even have it in thin close rows now.

This apron is good to wear when demonstrating or reenacting as I can show the difference in my learning to spin cotton with the three sections of weft with the thicker at the bottom and the thinner at the top.

But this isn’t where this post is really going. You see, Saturday I was at Winedale Old Fashion Christmas with some friends having an 1850s Christmas in the rain. Yes, it rained and there were some intrepid visitors who came around and saw us but for the most part we just enjoyed being with each other.. getting wet.



A moment of little rain so time to get a picture.

When it was time to leave it was raining, of course, and I needed to go get my car. So not having a hat, I made the decision to not wonder how I would look, but that I would take a hint from Dilue Harris. You see, she was involved in the Runaway Scrape (If you don’t know what that is, just ask. I will be happy to tell you more than you ever wanted to know.). When crossing the San Jacinto River she lost her bonnet (we have something in common) which wasn’t a good thing. After the Battle of San Jacinto and her family was returning home, they came close by the battleground. She wanted to go and see it but alas had lost her bonnet. What was a girl to do? So she tied her apron over her head and thus went to see where the battle that gave Texas her independence took place.

So yes, with little ado about how silly I looked, my apron was tied on my head and off I headed into the rain. Can I just say she came through again for me. I hurried off holding three petticoats and a full 1850s skirt up out of the puddles. Actually, that was useless, I was really holding them up to make quick walking a good bit easier. I sunk in over my shoe once. But what of all the apron covered? That piece of linen and cotton never let a drop of rain through. My head and back, as far as it reached, were as dry as if we were sitting at home by the fireplace. It held up once again to its workhorse image. Nothing that beautiful but if you ever need to pick up a castiron pot on a fire, just fold over once and have at it. If it is hot and dreadful day, just wipe away and it will keep the sweat at bay. If you have to run in the rain, it will keep you as dry as being home.

Categories: Sewing, Weaving | Tags: , | Leave a comment

My First Spinning

I know that if you ask me how I got into spinning and weaving the story you will hear goes like – how my love of history led me out to Jesse Jones Park to the Homestead to see about volunteering and pretending to live in 1820s 1830s Texas. While there I met Jane who asked me what I would like to do. Of course I replied that I wanted to learn all I could about life then. She then turned to me and said, “Would you like to learn to spin and weave?” After the goose bumps rose, I said YES. And as the saying goes – the rest was history. So I started at the park and spinning and weaving.

My early days at JJP

My early days at JJP

But if I were truthful that wasn’t the first. We had lived in England for 5 1/2 years and the month before we moved back to the States, we went over and visited Little Moreton Hall. I had read an article on her when in high school and now was finally going to see her for myself. It is a very crooked building and has been since it was built as the family had a good start on her before learning that great halls were now all the rage and so added one at the top of the house since there was no where else. Alas the foundation wasn’t strong enough for the extra room, and the house has ever since been sliding, sinking, tilting, etc. with each succeeding generation doing what they could to keep her standing.

Little Moreton Hall

Little Moreton Hall

Now my first advice in these events is not to read everything they give you when you first arrive or else you may be purposely breaking the rules. Alas I was too excited with the view to read the back page of the flyer they gave us and missed an important notice.

When we got inside we ooh’d and ahh’d appropriately and took pictures of the shapes in the windows which would make wonder blackwork patterns. Then managed to enter a room over the entrance and there was a gal in period dress spinning away. ( And you wonder why I had such a hard time wrapping my head around a history of less than two hundred years when Mark and I had gotten to the point of only going to places at least 500 years old. Otherwise they were just too new and boring. I’d love to need her dress. Though thankfully Texas history proved to not be too boring.) Well, I have rabbit trailed so back to the story.

A great find in a small room

A great find in a small room

No one else was about and only I was entranced with watching what she was doing. She then invited me over to see what was happening and said that I could have a go at it as well if I desired. Well, she didn’t have to ask twice. She showed me what drafting was and how it all worked.

Learning to draft - though at the time I didn't know that term

Learning to draft – though at the time I didn’t know that term

She then let me have the wool and she treadled the wheel while I drafted and created my first yarn. A very exciting moment.



Alas when all was done she let me take the yarn I had spun and we walked out. As it was a month and I was moving across an ocean that bit of yarn was tossed in a – what am I going to do with you, I have nowhere for you and though it was fun when will I ever get to do that again moment once home. Ah, the bad decisions we make though alas even if I had tried to save it, I probably would never have known the safe place I put it again. But what you see there in my hands was the first.

Now to not reading that back page. It says in big letters not to be missed if you turn it over. NO PICTURES IN THE HOUSE. Oops. Yes Mark did get in trouble right after this for taking a picture but alas it didn’t happen till after we got these of my first spinning experience.

Last note for the WordPress group. Yes, I finally played with watermarks on pictures and though a bit slow on it at first, I did these four pictures and learned a little bit about doing it.

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Weaving with Handspun

Every since I started weaving I have wanted to weave something that included handspun in it that I could wear when doing period demonstrating. I have done Texas history demonstrating as well as Colonial. So it would be great (I kept thinking) if I was wearing something that had my spinning and weaving combined so that when people asked what I had done, I could answer, “This is some of my work”.

This pass winter I finally did it. I bought some cottolin from the Lone Star Loom Room in Katy, Texas and then made a long warp with it. Then I started weaving some just plain weave with the cottolin. It took a bit but I finally got brave and started adding my handspun cotton into the weft. Now this cotton crossed the entire process of my learning to spin cotton so the first skein was thicker than the remaining skeins. So I added the thick first (starting at the bottom of the apron and wove 2 cotton and then 3 cottolin for a pattern. After awhile I ran out of the thicker cotton and so then wove it 1 cotton and 2 cottolin in the weft. I loved the way it was turning out.
Now on my loom I could not weave a full width so I had to weave two identical panels and then sew them together up the middle. I came so close to getting it exact but there is a bit of a problem near the bottom of the apron. All in all it came out a tough thick handy apron.

Then I made a pocket out of the cloth with the handspun in it. Alas it didn’t come out as a perfect shape of a pocket, but once again it is very sturdy cloth and has worked well though people don’t get to see it when it is inside my dress at the seam.

Now I also made a bonnet. I used just the cottolin for it. I fretted quite a bit over making it and spent a couple of days pouring over the 1838 Workman’s Guide and the bonnets there. I finally used the front of one with the back of another and got brave enough to cut the fabric and start sewing. I would change it a bit if making another one but it came out quite well for my first one.

Now here is a picture of me wearing it all at Heritage Day in February.

It turned out the apron was a perfect for dealing with the cast iron pot on the fire. I forgot to bring my lid lifter but was able to use my apron just doubled and could lift the lid and even turn the pot on the fire. Never felt the heat through it but alas for the black marks on it now. But isn’t that what an apron is for? Helping with the work.

Categories: Weaving | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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