Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Exploring a New Spinning Technique

I am exploring a new-to-me spinning technique. To back up a bit, I ordered a "organically grown" roving to try. I ordered a pound. I like the idea but the roving is disappointing. It is full of vegetable matter (VM) and second cuts or neps. The wool fiber itself is soft but the staple length is a bit on the short side. I am spinning it using a modified long-draw technique to get a woolen yarn.* The wool is a brownish grey. With all the VM and neps, it makes for a rather scratchy yarn. I wouldn't want to use it for a garment of any kind. I decided to try spinning an encased yarn using recycled sari silk. The bright silk fibers look stunning against the neutral grey background fiber. The whole thing is bound with a copper-colored thread which you can't see in the picture due to its fineness. The yarn is horribly overspun as this was the first time I have tried this method. I am going to try again with finer chunks of the sari silk and paying closer attention to the amount of twist. I am quite pleased with the yarn otherwise. It looks far prettier in person. I am going to weave it as an accent in fabric for a purse. Something that doesn't need to be soft or next to the skin.
I am weaving a final use-the-stash-warp. My loom is being cranky, something it rarely does, so I am slowed down by having to stop and make adjustments to get it humming along again.
The dye kitchen has been dismantled and the dyepots put away for the season. I just need to organize and write up the notebooks which is another large job. I will be posting more on a regular basis as I am getting back to work here. Stay tuned! -Renee
*see glossary

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Indigo, Spin-In, Skagit Valley Weavers Guild

I am slowly getting back on track after such a major change in life. I was combing through my digital picture files to look for pictures of my weaving over the past 10 years and I made a disconcerting discovery. While I have many pictures of inspirational subjects, my pets, my husband and even members of his family, I have very few pictures of my weaving! This picture is one I snapped of one of my first tapestry weaving samples. I was using whatever yarns I had around. I actually like the way my samples turned out. I will have to get very serious about photographing my weaving from now on. It will just not do to have so few pictures!
There is a wonderful magazine called Wild Fibers. Linda Cortright is the publisher and editor of this amazing magazine. I could write several paragraphs on just how wonderful the magazine is but will place the link in my links section instead. Check it out, locate a copy and buy it. Serious fiber lovers will be hooked. The Fall 2007 issue has an article about the Miao (pronounced meow) people of China's secrets on making indigo dye. The article is titled, An Eye for Indigo and starts on page 8. The article is fascinating and I highly recommend it.
Saturday I went to a Spin-in put on by the Spindrifters spinning group up in Bellingham, WA.
It was the first spin-in they have put on and they did a wonderful job. There were two young gals highlighted in Spin-Off magazine on page 14 of the Fall 2007 issue. One of them had a booth at the spin-in. It was a treat to be able to chat a bit with her and look at her beautiful yarns. The speaker, Susan Forsyth, gave an excellent talk and demonstration on wool combing. Susan also has a feature in the same issue of Spin-Off. The spin-in was a pleasure and the Spindrifters deserve a "well done" for their hard work.
Last night was the Skagit Valley Weavers Guild meeting. Our program consisted of small presentations by two new study group leaders and a viewing of the DVD, Weaving Around the World. It is amazing how pampered we western weavers are compared to many cultures who make incredibly beautiful and intricate weaving with a few sticks or whatever materials they have on hand. I'll take the pampering though!
Well, another storm appears to be moving in and I need to turn my attention to my loom which I will be putting up for sale. In the meantime, I will haul out what weaving I haven't sold and take some pictures! -Renee