Posts Tagged With: Zoom Loom

Learning to Spin

Yes, I learned to spin a few years ago. Have you noticed that learning to spin and mastering all it has takes more than a few years? I feel like I could be spinning the rest of my life and still feel like a beginner.

But what does one do with all those beginning spinning yarns? Most are just small bits. Just a few ounces of fluff that you turned into a semblance of yarn. So they continued to accumulate in baskets and on shelves and soon you wonder what will happen to them. Something needs to happen.

Then one day you are looking at your Zoom Loom and realize you have the perfect tool for using up little bits of homespun. So you start weaving away and start gathering lots of little squares of all colors. What next?

Mine went into a cape. I laid them out in different patterns on the floor, many different times, and eventually came up with a pattern for the back that worked well with what I had so far. (Picture long gone but did take one for when I started putting it together when I had a pattern I liked.) Then started down the front. Alas, as this was a work in progress and depended on what was spun it ended up with a not so evenly pattern on front, but then that is kind of what kind of project this was. What was at hand is what went into it. So the best of the early learning to spin yarn became a new cape.

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The back

The original back idea, that was approved by me, got shortened by a row because of wanting more for the front of certain colors. I now wish I hadn’t changed that and had kept the original back pattern. Alas too late for that change. I am not taking it apart to change anything! I do still like its symmetry. I even remember many of those yarns and their spinning. Some from the very beginning and some further down in time. I do like the thick squares best for looks despite the fact they are so hard to weave the last couple of rows.

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The front

Of course after such a nice pattern on the back I was left with leftovers for the front. There is more of a pattern from the top coming down that then somewhat goes its own way and did its own thing. I don’t dislike it but looking at it on a small scale in a picture, I see where I would now switch some of the squares around and place them in different spots.

I will say though that some of those squares are really nice and some aren’t so very nice. Still blaming it on that early learning curve. The wonder is that I can see where I’ve been and where I’m at now in spinning.

That is quite a fancyish crochet border around it. Two rows done on the same level one in front of the other.  I think this border would look much nicer in a very thin crochet thread on something nice a bit delicate. But it does give it the bulk it needs for what it is.

So Learning to Spin is complete and I do still have several bits of early spinning that is cream colored in a basket. They all look really sad compared to these. Need to dye them and find something to do with them now.

I did post a bit on this project while still not finished at Then and Now Spinning.

 

Categories: Fiber, Weaving | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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.

spinning - first spun yarn as a wrist distaff

My first spinning project

 

Categories: Fiber, Spinning, Weaving | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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.

 

Categories: Weaving | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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!

Categories: Weaving | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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

A Challenge Made, A Gauntlet Picked Up

So I have written a bit lately about CHT Art Camp. Between here with my dyeing adventure and for the CHT Newsletter. You’d think I would be tired of writing about it by now but I have continued on the journey that began with a challenge that was given to me at camp and well – what is one to do but take it up and make it happen?

Sunday evening I was sitting with some gals from my dyeing class and we were chatting and I was making little squares with my Zoom Loom.  Well, despite feeling quite brain dead, I was mesmerized by a thought that one gal had about the Zoom Loom. Could you weave two squares together and then not need to connect them afterwards? Somehow have one completed square beside the loom and weave in the new one to it?

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Two squares woven together

It doesn’t matter how brain dead one may feel, one must take up a challenge and see if it could be done. And guess what? I managed it. Well, barely that evening.

The idea was to see it with two different color of squares, which would be ideal, one could weave it and then see how it went together. Alas I only had the one yarn with me to try, so I made two squares with different patterns to differentiate them.

I wove one and then had a time to get brain cells to work together, but I decided to cut enough yarn for a second square and then I decided to cut that in half so that I wasn’t weaving it all through the connections. I laid in the first layer. Then I wove into the finished one on the second layer. When I got to the end of the yarn I made a russian join with the second piece of yarn and then laid in the third layer. Then came the harder bit. I was so brain dead I knew I had a problem but couldn’t figure it out. I have made so many of these squares I could do it in my sleep but not this evening. I had to get out the booklet and figure out what I was suppose to be doing. I finally found my silly problem and got back at it. So with the fourth layer you weave the actual square but also making sure to catch the loop to the first one as well.

I made it work! I was happy, though it did look a bit sad, it had worked.

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After a couple of dips

I then got home and decided to keep working on the idea so wove five squares together. The middle one was a pattern square and the two on each side were just done plain weave. And not leaving well enough alone, I decided it was time to try dyeing at home with the indigo I had brought home with me from Art Camp.

So here is my home setup. I didn’t think to take pictures at first so none of that first dip. I was afraid at first that it wasn’t going to take but after a few it kept getting darker and was working. Adding the color remover worked to get that look I was looking for in the solution.

So taking a clue from camp I spent the day walking by and lowering it into the dye, walk away, taking it out of the dye, finding a way to hang it up to oxidize, walk away, and repeat. I actually was even having fun getting pictures when it dawned on me to take them.

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Draped more so that the bottom can drip.

I must say that it was fun and these five squares were connected without seaming. I did learn in doing the five that it matters which ends you connect with (accidentally did that correct at camp.) And that you want to pick up the second loop first in each set. So if I do this again, it will come out even better. Right? Always looking to improve.

This was ever so exciting to see and do. So simple. So amazing. Even seeing that bit of yellow turn to blue. I debated still going further with the dye to get it even darker but it is quite dark on its own so think this is it for this piece.

So here is a closeup of one of the connections woven together. Do we really like closeups of our work where it is shown to us at 5 times larger than it really is? Guess what? I just noticed that I missed a loop. Or did I catch the wrong bit at the first? Looks like there could be three there. Or … hmm…. guess there is room to still improve and make this work better.

connection

Where two come together in the weaving.

Categories: dyeing | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Still Dying to Dye

I didn’t get around to ironing my big piece till after dark yesterday and as there isn’t good light in this house for pictures, I was lazy and waited till this morning to post again. Excuses I know. I need to get away from them. Note to self – Remember INDUSTRY.

The dyeing continued on. (Have you ever tried to keep track of your spellings of dying and dyeing? So changes the meaning in a sentence. Don’t we love all the borrowing that English has done to give us such fun words!)

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Pole wrapping

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Second pole wrapped piece

I did another pole wrapped piece with my large cloth. I included a sample picture of pole wrapping this time. Here is the PVC pipe to which the cloth is taped. Then the twine is wrapped around it with constant scrunching up for effect. You can see this piece has been scrunched up once and then there is more wraps waiting to be scrunched.

This cloth is anything but a stiff cloth and so loves to just go where it pleased. This I worked to my advantage and as I wrapped it, I let it just twist and scrunch at will. Didn’t try to keep it straight at all. It also was too wide for the pole so had folded it in half to the center so that the dye is strongest down the middle and lighter on the edges giving it a wide border. (Boy, another fun word. Almost had someone staying with me instead of an edge to my fabric.) You can tell in the picture that as I wrapped it, the more it went off kilter and thus more vertical lines towards the bottom.

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Bar towel block dyed

Next, I had the bar towel that I wanted to try and so had to hurry with it – so I felt. (So much to try in so little time.) Connie had some beautiful ones with sharp shapes on them that I admired, so off I went. Do need more practice at getting a sharp edge to my shapes (more clamps?). But I did have a thought guiding this one. She had two … well I forget what she called the shape but as soon as I saw them I saw lightening bolts. Then the commas looked like they could be rain drops. Well after clamping them I decided it needed something else (over kill?) so also added the half circles. So we have a storm at night – lightening, rain, and the moon out as well. Ok, a strange storm, but a storm none the less. I think this came to me as small things can excite me, and I remember the first time I recognized a contributor in Handwoven magazine. It was a towel by Connie that was a pattern from South America and had to do with thunder and lightening. It was exciting to think, “I know her!”

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Wash cloth

Then the poor wash cloth. This one’s best claim is that it was dyed in indigo so fun, but alas and alack, nothing to brag about. Again, I need to improve clamping for better definition. And though the picture is a bit fuzzy, I decided it really wouldn’t look much better if I went and retook it. The edges inside the cloth are fuzzy. Though it was fun, and I think in a setting where you weren’t competing for space with others, it would be much better. But once again, a good practice piece.

The wash cloth and bar towel do take up dye quite easily. Neither were dumped more than a couple of times, if I remember right. So again more times in a bath would give them even a better and deeper shade of blue. You know, I came home with dye …. hmmm … they may get dunked again. I can see possibilities and another dunking, or half dozen dunkings won’t make them look worse.

One thing we could do was bring things from home to dye. So I had brought some zoom loom squares that I had made with handspun yarn that had been dyed by a friend in osage orange. It was a very light coloring to them, and not really liking the color yellow, decided that maybe we would see if we overdyed them, they would come out green.

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Very light osage orange

These two squares I wove at camp. You see, in the evenings we sit around and talk and work on small projects. While making one square with the zoom loom, a gal in my class got to wondering if you could weave two squares together instead of having to connect them afterwards (by sewing or crocheting etc.). Hmmm… the wheels went turning and I had to take up the gauntlet and see if it was possible. The funny bit of this is that I’ve made many, many squares and can do plain weave in my sleep. Or so I thought. Alas being half brain dead after busy days, and late at night, I had an awful time trying to get that forth row woven. I had missed the right pins on the third row then had done an extra row. After way too long, with even getting the booklet out, I finally found what I was doing wrong and did manage to weave the two together. I made one plain weave and the other a pattern so they stand out better. The suggestion was two different colored squares, but as I only had the one yarn, I thought pattern could do the job. I make it work! You have to cut your yarn for the whole square at the beginning, and as I didn’t want to weave the whole length in on the second round, I cut it in half and then made a russian join to continue. It worked. I don’t know if I’m the first to try this or not, but I showed to another gal that does lots of zoom loom squares, and she was impressed with the idea as well.

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Dusty over dyed squares

So the last sample for today is my squares I dyed. I strung them on twine and dunked them a couple of times in the dye bath. You can easily see that the osage orange was not that strong of a color as the squares didn’t turn out green. But they aren’t just a strong indigo blue either. They are a lovely dusty blue so the yellow did have a small affect on them.

Categories: dyeing, Fiber Arts | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

CHT Conference 2015

Another conference has come and gone. This was my fourth Contemporary Handweavers of Texas Conference, and this year it was held in Austin. So since we moved 3 weeks ago that meant just an hour’s drive from our new home.

One of my Warp Speed Ahead centerpieces.

One of my Warp Speed Ahead centerpieces.

I went over early Friday morning so I could set up my centerpieces on the tables and then do a stint at the check in table. I must admit I rather enjoyed coming up with a plan for the centerpieces. I did still have my original note I made in a meeting when I had that insane moment of volunteering to make them. (I have since lost it, but it is interesting to see where one begins and follow the journey to where one finally has the finished product.) I then worked on two ideas – a ball for the world and shuttles taking off into space with yarn flowing behind; then the second idea was a cylinder with the shuttle going around it with the yarn flowing around and around. Then both ideas were going to have color changing LEDs inside. As I progressed and played with the ideas I passed by my prototypes and had a brainstorm. Why not put the cylinder inside the circle. It looked great so instead of settling on one idea and making it. I now had to make 12 of both and combine them. It worked out and I was pretty happy with them.

I roomed with a friend and took very few pictures as in only a couple to remember the time with. The hotel had a lovely courtyard with outside entrances that I loved but alas we were on the inside with a lovely view of the intersection of 290 and 35. At least if you wanted to see something moving there was no lack – even if you were up at 4:30am.

View from room

View from room

My favorite class was Woven Silk Flora with John Mullarky. He was a fun teacher and reminded you of a kid still having fun with life. The class used the dreaded silk hankies. I had one once and swore to never touch one again. Alas this day I learned to make a silk flower with the Zoom Loom (developed by John Mullarky) and actually wouldn’t mind a few silk hankies finding their way to my home now. It was quite fun though a bit more challenging than using just the wool and cotton that I have used on the loom. I did get my flower done in class. Not perfect as a first try never is but I will be making many more and they will improve with the practice.

Only the flower. I did get the green leaves done and attached but no picture... yet

Only the flower. I did get the green leaves done and attached.

But what can be a great part of a conference? The Goodie Bag. So below is my haul of things that I didn’t have to pay for. Well, almost. The bits from classes which are there, I did pay a $5 class fee for supplies but I still feel they count for this picture.

The wonderful things given to us or just to me.

The wonderful things given to us or just to me.

In this picture are quite the treasures. The silk and merino roving, top right, was a door prize from Red Fish. I consider them a bit expensive for me, but boy, I will treasure this and enjoy the spinning and finding a special project for it. And not prejudiced, but I think I got the best door prize of all. My flower is there with the leaves done and attached. There is a lovely washcloth, kleenix cover, card holder, split ply key chain, shuttle, dryer balls, covered button, card, stuffed little pincushions, samples from a class I made, and a stick spinning kit. Already tried the stick spinning and now know how I will at least begin every spindle from now on. It works so well and as the spindle I’ve used the last five months doesn’t have a hook on top, I had the dickens trying to get that first bit spun and wound on. This was very quick and easy to get the beginning spun. Each of these came from different guilds around the state.

Now don’t think I didn’t hit the vendor hall as well. I did buy some organic cotton for weaving and some variegated cotton. And yes, as all good wives tend to do, I did go over what I agreed I would spend with my husband by $10. At least he isn’t upset.

Categories: Weaving | Tags: , | 3 Comments

When Projects aren’t Going Well

OK, so I have warp on the loom that refuses to cooperate. 7 repairs hanging off the back with other broken threads. The sad part is that this is the same warp that I made the corded petticoat on with really no trouble. Why it is going south now is beyond me. But alas the end is in sight and I must get back at it today.

My corset is needing help as well so decided I really need to do a third mockup before cutting out the real thing so here goes. My big goal today. Must, though, watch videos again.

But during this time I have done a couple fibery things. I made more squares with my Zoom Loom and was running out of ready early handspun with color. So Saturday afternoon threw two small skeins of white in a crock pot with some Easter egg dyes of unknown color. It came out a bright green and not all fitting to current project so added some cherry kool-aid. Actually I think it was Wyler’s which is cheaper. So it came to a darker color. One skein took in the color wonderfully and I actually really like it though it did show a spot where a tie was too tight and no color got under but it doesn’t show really in the squares. Actually just little spots in the swatch and looks good. I think. Alas it would be nice to replicate this color but will never happen. Who knows what colors really went in that pot and how the skein became somewhat heather in its look. So the couple of squares I get from it will be in a special place.

The green skein and swatch

The green skein and swatch

Now the other skein I threw in at the same time took none of the color except for one of the plies on a short bit. Hmmmm…. I’m sure they are both wool and the same type as in my old stuff was all from the same place pretty much. So once again I threw in some more tablets of unknown color and a good glug of vinegar for good measure and cooked away some more. Now I have some pink yarn. Hmmm… At least it will blend in to the other squares somewhat.  As you can see in the photo just a bit of one ply did take on the darker color but that was all.  A mystery I would love to know why it happened but not enough to really spend my time now figuring out. Anyway both skeins can be used now, so I am happy with the results and will be dyeing more white wool for said project. Up to 62 squares for it and as the project has done a normal in my head – it is evolving and I need more than I planned in the beginning.

The pink skein and weird section of ply that did take the darker dye.

The pink skein and weird section of ply that did take the darker dye.

Now with all this going on and my actual favorite thing to do in the world is research, I started building up a Pinterest board with spinning and weaving. Now I was very picky as to what I pinned to it. Starting out with old painting then evolving into old photographs. It has been a fun journey and I would love to know more about some of the pictures out there. Some are so common and come in different forms. What was the original one? Was it all staged? Did said woman really spin or just look good? I also found some old postcards with spinning wheels like I haven’t seen before. There are a couple from France that are downright interesting. And of course so many different styles of wheels. Who doesn’t love a Norwegian wheel with all its craftsmanship and beauty? But being me of course my favorites are the ones from Ireland that are so simple and plainly cobbled together and similar in Appalachia.

I remember back when I first started this journey of spinning, I joined a spinning group online and not long after someone in Kansas asked about spinning in a historical context on the frontier. Right away many women in the northeast responded that no one was spinning at home any more after the mills were build in the early 19th century. Well, a few of us had done research and we immediately responded that yes they were spinning and gave sources. Looking at all these pictures sure backs up the fact that women were spinning in America long after there was available mill cloth.

But my thoughts also go to the lives these women lived. Some of these pictures come with stories and would we today, no matter how much we love the past, really want to live their lives? For a time I would say yes, but I would miss my modern conveniences I’m sure. Actually I would probably only really miss this computer I am sitting at right now with its access to a world of knowledge. And of course indoor plumbing on cold winter nights. These were not wimpy women such as myself.

Categories: Spinning, Tidbits, Weaving | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Projects Abound

Well, I am still working on the loom but as the left side kept getting worse, I decided that the best action was to cut it off and start fresh with retying it and making sure all the broken warps are in good order in the back of the loom, so here is where it sits at the moment. I am really liking what is happening in it if it would just go well.

Starting over with same project

Starting over with same project

I have also been weaving on my zoom loom with my handspun. Have quite a few swatches done and I am liking how these are looking. These are a great project for something easy that takes up little space and is fun to do. I am getting better at them as well which is a plus for liking more of them. I am hoping for enough that will go together that they will make a nice shawl or something of the ilk. With these it would be thick and warm so maybe something else by the time I start putting them together.

Zoom Loom swatches

Zoom Loom swatches

Then what is taking so much thought with time right now is my corset. I won the class from http://www.historicalsewing.com. Boy am I glad I didn’t tackle this on my own or I would be already headed to the looney bin. I have made two mock ups and still have it too tight in the waist. So just took pictures and am about to send them on to get an expert opinion on the problem. Not the easy fixes I was hoping for that wonderful fit.

But as I came up to my room one day this week, I just stopped and took this picture of my table. Can’t remember now if that is corset one or two but the way it is laying should have been a hint. About how it stretches around my middle.

Trying to make a corset.

Trying to make a corset

So anyway, now back to all three projects. First to watch video and read about the corset sizing and then posting pictures for advice. Then maybe get to the loom if my brain isn’t fried and finish tying on and start weaving. And to relax this evening making some more Zoom Loom Swatches.

Categories: Sewing, Weaving | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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