Sunday, March 18, 2018

Spinning cotton and flax

This week I have been working on recalling my cotton spinning skills.  I have a new support spindle and bowl from Hipstrings, which I love! This came with a sample of variegated green Upland cotton.

I also have a video purchased from Taproot Video, Joan Ruane's "Cotton Spinning with the Takli."  I've been watching that a little bit at a time for the last couple of days, trying to work on cotton spinning skills I know I possessed at one time!

Then I went on the website and purchased the downloadable versions of two more videos - Stephenie Gaustad's "Spinning Cotton", and Norman Kennedy's "Spin Flax and Cotton: Traditional Techniques".

Ah, yes, cotton is not the sole focus of this current obsession!  I signed up for an all-day workshop on June 30 at Aker Fiber Farm in Enfield, NH on growing, processing, and spinning flax.

I was down in the basement this morning looking for a stash of handspinning cotton that I know I have, and came across proof of prior cotton spinning efforts.  These were done probably 10 years ago, most likely on a charkha (I do still have a charkha as well).

Besides these quills holding handspun cotton, I located two Akha spindles, one with cotton still on it.

And I managed to round up my Takli spindle collection.

I still have a few things to fill in.  The purple Takli is from John Galen.  He has another spindle or two I'd like to add.  I also plan to order a cotton sampler pack, and I have some cotton handcards on order to learn to make my own punis (cotton rolags, ready for spinning).  

In the meantime, it is only a few days until I leave for Stitches United, for my band weaving classes with John Mullarkey!  So excited!  After that, I'll be counting down to NH Sheep and Wool in May!  I am also planning at this point to attend the Fiber Revival in Newbury, MA in August, NY Sheep & Wool Festival in October, and the Northeast Handspinners Gathering, in November, in Nashua NH!  Joan Ruane is one of the teachers being featured there.  Class lists and registration are not available until June 1st, but I'll register as quickly as I can, and hope to get her class.  Abby Franquemont, another favorite instructor, is also listed.  I'm going to take advantage of a bit of flexibility while I'm not milking any goats, as long as hubby continues to be agreeable.  Looks like a fun year ahead!

Friday, March 9, 2018

What's on my looms?

Busy around here has recently included 18" of snow, and a 24 hour power outage.  24 hours certainly beats days (and twice in the 24 years I've lived in this house, weeks) without power.

I spent part of that time figuring out how to get some weaving done by the light of the small casement window.  The big Macomber is the only one in a room with any outside light, so I worked on the Peaches & Creme baby blanket.

This one is the Goose Eye Baby Blanket from the Nov/Dec 2017 issue of Handwoven magazine.  I actually managed to get a handle on the pattern repeats by the time I had to stop.

These are my loom dogs!  The two Aussies (Penny, red tri full size Aussie, and Jasper, red merle mini Aussie) are the only two dogs that will come downstairs into the basement with me.  The two Border collies, River and Remy, refuse to come down.

Today, after spending far too much time shoveling yesterday, I managed to make progress on warping the Baby Wolf, and beginning to wind my next warp.

This is the warp on the Baby Wolf.  It took me about a week (the warp was already measured, wound, and chained) to get this into the raddle, wound on the back beam, threaded through the heddles, and sleyed in the reed.  Today I tied on to the front beam.  The yarn is Maurice Brassard 8/2 cotton from Lofty Fiber.

This is the pattern - twill blocks, the Masters Towel pattern from Lunatic Fringe yarns.

I also started winding the warp for my next project.

These are shades of gray from the previously-purchased Gray Matter kit from Lunatic Fringe.  This pattern will use the five shades of gray, plus white, for the pattern.  It will go from dark gray to white, then back to dark gray - 11 sets, with black outside edges and thin black stripes between the colors.  I will be using black for the weft as well.

The pattern draft for this is the Jack Hearts draft from the Ashford New Zealand website.

This is the progress on the baby blanket after my weaving-in-the-semi-darkness episode.  This is about half done, if not more, and I will be putting the gray Hearts towels on this loom (the big Macomber) next.

Following this (and the finish of the Artist towels on the Baby Wolf) I am planning to start a set of Pinwheel towels in white and Peacock blue cotton.  I may go ahead and warp this while weaving these other projects.  The draft is from A Weaver's Book of 8 Shaft Patterns by Carol Strickler, #59.  I saw a Ravelry project using this draft, and the same Peacock blue cotton that I already have, and it was spectacular.