Saturday, November 8, 2008

Spinning a Warp

Oh boy! I had another wonderful spinning class with Judith MacKenzie McCuin. Actually it was two days in the countryside east of Bellingham, Washington. As you can see from the pictures we had spinning wheels and fiber galore. The first day was a comprehensive spinning class. I always learn something new even though I have been spinning for about eleven years. Spinning, weaving, knitting, like so many things in life all have a life long learning curve. Judith always brings a lot of fiber. Not just quantities, but varieties as well. There were fleeces to look at and discuss. We spun Shetland and Ramboulett blend wool, rabbit and wool blend, Bison, baby Alpaca, merino wools, bamboo, silk and linen blend, and mohair locks. We spun woolen, semi-woolen, worsted, and semi-worsted yarns.
The second day took all of that and expanded it to focus on spinning yarns specifically for weaving and even more specifically, for using as warp.

I have never used my handspun in a warp even though, as Judith says, there is about 7000 years of history to back it up. I was surprised how little it takes to make a scarf. I have decided that the first warp I put on my new Jane loom will be the yarns I made from this class. I will have to wait a bit to put all the knowledge I gained to work, but I am spinning the fiber we were given in class in the meantime. I must say I am enjoying myself tremendously!
It is always satisfying to be able to take a day or two or three and concentrate on building my skills in the fiber arts. It is always tremendous fun to meet other spinners and weavers both new friends and old. One of the things I love about spinning in a group is the chance to chat while the rhythmic hum of the spinning wheel relaxes you into a lovely state. I actually think we learn better under such conditions. I wouldn't be surprised if they ever do a study that it would prove true. As you can see from the picture it is a wonderful activity for both women and men. I know children take to it quite well too.
Things are a bit slow at the moment on the fiber art front for me. Being in limbo is a challenging state to be in. I don't have to tell everyone how the economy and housing market is around here since it is nigh universal. We hang on and know we will get where we want to go... eventually.
The weather is stormy which make for pleasant times spinning and weaving, and perhaps for me, sewing. I have a use for that shibori woven fabric that I need to work on.
I will be posting on my progress with that as well a some of the fun spinning yarns from class.
A special thanks to Nancy for hosting us all at her farm. It is a pleasant place to spin.


bspinner said...

Judith is right. Using handspun yarn for warp has been around for along time. Almost all of the teams that compete in the Pa Farm Show Sheep To Shawl use handspun yarn. It add to the character that commercial yarn could never do.
Sounds like it was a fun two days spinning.

Renee said...

You have a good point bspinner! I have also participated in sheep to shawls. I don't know why I haven't tried using my handspun as warp but will be correcting that soon. I agree that handspun yarn adds character that you cannot get with commercial yarn. Thanks for the comment! -R

Heidi said...

I am using handspun as warp right now, on my RH loom! Hand dyed and handspun - what fun!

How did you find out about the Judith class? I always seem to hear about these opportunities after the fact!

You are right, things will work out for you when they are supposed to you. I spent a year trapped on the east coast when I was supposed to be here, so I can sympathize!

Heidi (WWG)

Renee said...

Hi Heidi, I hope I get a chance to see your finished scarf. Keep me posted and perhaps I can get to a guild meeting to take a picture of it. I found out about Judith's class from the Skagit guild. It was sponsored by N.W. Handspun Yarn in Bellingham. I do believe there is a website. If it isn't on my fiber links side-bar I will put it on. Thanks for the comment, -Renee