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not another yarn blog (spinning, weaving, and natural dyeing)  RSS feed

 
master steward
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Back to yarn adventures.

That big pile of yarn I mentioned earlier, full of colours I would never willingly use...  Well, I choose the colour I liked least of all and designed a set of towels around it.  I hate it!  I have 4 yards left to weave which should really take me a day, but I can't bring myself to sit at the loom with such ugly yarn on it.



I started out with waffle weave towels, but the loom doesn't like this kind of design because it is an 'unbalanced weave structure'.  Meaning that it has a pick that is 3 down and 1 up and this loom is a Fanny counterbalance.  blablabla technical stuff which leads me to get under the loom and change the way it was tied up to create a nice twill.



still too ugly.

and yet, the individual elements and colours aren't too bad on their own.  I just don't know why I have such a hate on for this warp.  But it's holding up production, so I need to find some way to motivate myself into finishing it. 


Edit to add: one option might be to change the weft.  Here are some random yarns from my pile to see if anything here might be useful.

 
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I started out with waffle weave towels, but the loom doesn't like this kind of design because it is an 'unbalanced weave structure'.  Meaning that it has a pick that is 3 down and 1 up and this loom is a Fanny counterbalance. 



Waffle weave is definitely a job for a jack loom...but they, in my experience, are so hard on our joints...lifting the weight of too many harnesses.  I always wanted a counterbalance or countermarche for weaving ease.   A weaver who has the energy that you do needs several looms of different types I think.  I had several at one time and they were all warped most of the time...a two harness counterbalance rug loom, a four harness jack, a flying shuttle and an eight harness jack and various inkle and frame looms.

You'll face down that warp and plan the next one while you finish it up I bet...likely you already have several in mind. 

The colors are fine.  That warp will make lovely kitchen towels and in the end you've added some depth and breadth to your feel for color.  I've had warps where I pulled out some warp threads in a color I didn't think was working or just didn't like...after washing no one knew but me....

I especially like the wide stripes of that golden cream color with the white, both in the twill and waffle....and I like that same color in the weft of the waffle weave picture. 
 
raven ranson
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Thanks for your kind words.

Judith Browning wrote:

You'll face down that warp and plan the next one while you finish it up I bet...likely you already have several in mind. 



To get my mojo back, I wound the next warp late last night. 



It's an asymmetrical sample for an online weaving class I've been following.  It should be wide enough for a series of napkins.   I didn't use the colours recommended because I'm trying to use up what's in the stash, but I followed the basic design pretty closely with near-black, dark and light browns and a green zinger (because red plus white yarn in the same project makes pink and red when I wash it).

The idea with this warp is that I'll be trying lots of techniques I've never tried before so I can see what kind of patterns I like.  I also have a top-secret plan for these finished napkins... but only if they are a success. 



Jane Stafford's Online Guild is a series of 10 video classes a year with some written instructions.  She's on year two now which focuses on Colour and Design.  Last year, it was a lot about basic techniques.  You pay for one year of access, but have access to the whole library of videos during the year.  Each 'class' is about 2 to 3 hours long.


I recommend this for people who have woven at least a little bit.  It's not your absolute beginner class, but it has enough good stuff for any weaver.  Some of my local weavers have been at it for over 30 years, and they are still learning loads from Jane. 


And because I've been looking for an excuse to post this photo

Waffle weave is definitely a job for a jack loom...but they, in my experience, are so hard on our joints...lifting the weight of too many harnesses.  


I love the way the light interacts with the loom and the cloth


This is the first loom that ever loved me back.  I went through dozens of looms before finding this one.  Always before, they hurt my body too much to weave.  But this one is easy to warp, easy to treadle, easy to use.  Only downside (and the only reason I got a fanny loom) is a lack of shuttle race and it's not super-easy to advance the warp without getting up.  Also, it only fits about 10 yards on comfortably and I want to weaver larger batches. 

Other than that, my Ashford table loom is my favourite.  But it's usually warped up for teaching on these days, so I haven't had much chance to weave on it. 
 
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I think this books fits here. It's about everyone and everything involved in making a new suit for growing boy Pelle. The way it was done in the past (will be done in future too?)  By Swedish author Elsa Beskow.
 
raven ranson
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I'm excited about our new fibre mill opening in town so today I sorted fibre which I'm hoping they can spin into yarn for me.



I set up a 'table' with the wire grid on it to let the debris and dust fall through.  It also makes it easier to find second cuts (short bits of fibre from when the sheerer took a second pass with the sheers).



This is lovely, soft alpaca from my giant rescue boy Beau.  I'm hoping to find some local white wool to blend it with... however...



This wool is destined for the compost pile because it's not good enough to send to the mill.  This is a combination of local fleeces dropped off at my home by farmers who don't know what to do with it.

There's a lot wrong with this, not including the wasp and rats nests.

  • some of the fleece was weak because the sheep had a stress or nutritional problem at some point in time.
  • some of the fleece was rotten because it was stored wet and not left to breath.
  • None of the fleece was skirted prior to storage, so the dung and other debris stained the potentially good fibre
  • some of the fleece had too much debris and other vegi-matter like hay and weed seeds.
  • some of the wool had bug damaged and other signs of infestation


  • Maybe half of this wool could have been saved through skirting and proper storage.

    The other half reflects the health of the sheep.  It's amazing how much of the health of the animals is displayed in their fibre. 


    I really want to blend my alpaca with local wool so I'll keep looking for the perfect fibre.
    Then again, looking at my current finance, maybe it's for the best that I don't have the fibre for the mill yet.  I'm excited to support the new mill, the only problem is, it costs money which I need to earn somehow.
     
    raven ranson
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    a couple of new companions for my studio space.

    My napkincock (as in weathercock, but for napkins)



    These are the napkins I mentioned a few posts earlier. 

    Another new arrival, an olive tree in a cute pot



    I think I would like to make some bonsai olive trees.  I don't know how to make bonsais or to keep things alive in pots for more than a few months, but they seem like enjoyable skills to have. 
     
    master steward
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    Those are some really lovely napkins, and love how they match your napkin holder!

    My husband has been into bonsai off an on for 7 or so years. I have no idea how to do it. But, he has an orange tree and a pine tree and  a coffee tree all in small little pots. They haven't died yet...
     
    Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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    r ranson wrote: ... I think I would like to make some bonsai olive trees.  I don't know how to make bonsais or to keep things alive in pots for more than a few months, but they seem like enjoyable skills to have. 


    If you really want to make and keep bonsai trees, there are books, websites, etc. on it. But I can tell you: it will consume a big part of your precious time. It's a lot more work than just a plant in a pot.
     
    raven ranson
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    I acquired a large volume of yarn that I'm keen to transform into towels, napkins, and other goodies.  The thing is, these yarns are in colours I would never imagine using myself, and yet, it's also a great opportunity to expand beyond my normal designs. 



    These are the first colour combination.  She wanted these colours, but some more dominant in pink and others in blue. 

    I get out my pencil crayons and start playing (by the way, does anyone else find it weird that a pencil crayon set doesn't come with purple?) 



    I like it so much, I wound a warp for 6 towels.

    But the next challenge... haven't a clue what to do with these colours.



    She wants the yellow and grey/green as the main with a splash of colour and some texture in it.  Any thoughts?
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    If a colors is going to be left out of a crayon/paint/pencil/marker/etc set, you can be 95% certain it will purple. My brother had a crayon set "Red, orange, yellow, green, blue BROWN, BlACK." Instead of getting all the primary and secondary colors, they added brown and black, instead of purple. Crayon sets often have "red, yellow, green, blue"--no purple or orange. Orange is, at least, easy to make with red and yellow. But, take red and blue and try to make purple? You just get a dark, muddled color.

    (This is a pet peeve of mine, can you tell, lol!)

    At least it looks like you have magenta and cyan (sky blue), which in most color theory are the actual primary colors  (not red and blue like we were taught in school) and will actually make purple when combined together.
     
    Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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    Not being a weaver I can't answer your question about what to do with the yellowish and green-greyish yarn.
    But about the purple missing in sets of crayons or colour pencils ... yes, that's weird. Why do they let it out? I never understood. Because I am a drawing artist (illustrator) of course I don't have that problem myself. I have a set of 72 colour pencils including 7 different purplish ones (lavender, light violet, bright violet, violet, bright purple, purple and grape). Wow, do I feel rich having all that purple!
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    I bought the big, 132 pencil prismacolor set mostly for the purples that weren't in my 48 pencil set...
     
    raven ranson
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    One thing I like about my studio space is how versatile it is. 

    I push everything against the wall and set up this portable table and voilà, I now have a typewriter repair station. 



    This picture has a play of light and shadow that we get in this room some mornings.  I just adore how much natural light this room gets.
     
    raven ranson
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    Lambing season has begun. 
    first-lamb-2018.JPG
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    raven ranson
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    Weaving Cotton towels from the colours picked out by N---

    Some of the white yarn is really old and has a much rougher texture than our modern weaving yarn.  But loads stronger too.  I'm really excited by how these towels are coming along. 
    handwoven-towels-for-n.jpg
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    Nicole Alderman
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    That's LOVELY. I love how the cream blends with the other colors. Beautiful!
     
    raven ranson
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    Here are some towels I've made for Christmas gifts.  I was showing off to some friends and towels were bought, so I have less now.  But this is great news, because I know they are good enough for the holidays. 
    handwoven-yellow-and-white-in-twill-and-waffle.jpg
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    handwoven-towels.jpg
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    Nicole Alderman
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    Those are gorgeous! I had no idea one could make chevrons when weaving--I love the effect! All of them have beautiful colors, too ♥.
     
    raven ranson
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    spinning flax, dyeing flax, and enjoying spring.
    handspun-flax-to-linen.jpg
    [Thumbnail for handspun-flax-to-linen.jpg]
    handspun flax with natural dye and playing with mordants
    spring.jpg
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    raven ranson
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    No yarn for you today.  I'm currently engaged in some top secret weaving projects.  So secret that if someone comes to my house, I'm required to cover the looms so they can't see what I'm doing.

    Here I am setting up for a photo shoot. 



    The 'cloth' goes on the chair, or at least that's the plan, but what angle to have the chair?  Such tough decisions.  To the right is the most light this time of day. 
     
    raven ranson
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    Weaving and spinning like a mad thing this last month.  All top secret so I can't share them with you till this winter.

    Today I ventured into busy downtown.  To think I used to live among all those people.  Old China Town has two things going for it.  Quite possibly the worlds most delicious tea and great scenery for taking photos. 

    Here's my favourite before we added yarn. 
    china-town.jpg
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    raven ranson
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    More yarn... or more specifically future yarn.
    flax-flower.jpg
    [Thumbnail for flax-flower.jpg]
     
    raven ranson
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    Lately, I've been focusing on my writing (I can't believe it yet, but it looks like my book will be published this winter!), spinning (mostly for sale to help fund the preliminary things I need prior to starting a kickstarter) and taking photographs of stuff. 



    I wish I could show you photos of what I've been weaving, but it's all hush hush.  But the next warp is entirely homegrown, handspun, natural dyed. and I'm really excited about this.  But alas, you'll have to wait for photos of that too. 

    Once that project is finished, I can start weaving for sale and holiday gifts.  I'm thinking linen for a start because the weather has been perfect for it.  Warm but humid. 
     
    raven ranson
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    We found a poster for our favourite movie at a yard sale.  I can't believe someone was getting rid of this. 

    Ashford Elizabeth II spinning wheel with distaff dressed in flax. 
    elizabeth-dressed-in-flax.jpg
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    raven ranson
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    weaving handspun, handdyed linen singles for photographs for some sort of book or something. ;)
    weaving-with-handspun-linen-singles.jpg
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    Could you arrange the linen singles so all have at least some part in focus?

    The blue one looks nice with the wood of the shuttle!
     
    raven ranson
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    Sebastian Köln wrote:Could you arrange the linen singles so all have at least some part in focus?

    The blue one looks nice with the wood of the shuttle!



    Thanks.

    I'm saving the best photos for the book.  This is just a little bit to whet your appetite.
     
    raven ranson
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    Today's adventure to the local fibre mill.  I picked up my core-spun yarn.

    This is excellent yarn for making rugs.  It's also very good because it uses fibre that would otherwise end up in the compost pile. 
    core-spun-yarn-local.jpg
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    core-spun-local-yarn.jpg
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    raven ranson
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    Have yarn, will travel.

    Getting ready for a big fibre festival next weekend.  I hadn't planned on selling there, but a friend has been weaving with my yarn and wanted me there spinning.  I'll bring a few skeins and see how it goes.  If nothing else, it's a good excuse to spin for 7 hours while hanging out with my tribe. 
    price-tag-for-yarn-skeins.jpg
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    have-yarn-will-travel.jpg
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    raven ranson
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    I'll be making towels like this for my kickstarter rewards.  These were a sample.

    The labels are from Mountain Street Arts on etsy.  They have washing instructions on one side and are easily customizable. 
    IMG_4217.JPG
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    IMG_4219.JPG
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    raven ranson
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    This summer I wrote a few articles for a magazine.  More on that when it comes out.  But they sent me my reward.  It's yarn!



    The plan is to make something called a Gamp.  This is a cloth that shows off the different colours, and more importantly how the colours interact.

    One trick to understanding colour is to discover how light or dark the colour is.  I suspect this is called value (but there is also intensity and hue so it could be one of those or some other word, I wasn't really paying attention to the vocabulary).



    The goal for this cloth is to show off the colour, but not be the normal kind of gamp.  I'm also keen to create something useful instead of a wall hanging.  Maybe a set of towels.  Still in the planning stages.

    Any ideas? 
     
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    Just beautiful. I did some natural dyeing with my daughter yesterday and we just loved it... we have since started talking about growing and spinning flax... I love that we can see how it's all possible!
     
    raven ranson
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    Crazy busy time for me right now, but I have managed 20 minutes of crafting time a day (nowhere near enough) this week.



    Last year I worked with yarn in balls, but it was hard to keep an even tension on the warp.  So for this year's double wide blanket, I wound the yarn into cakes and put it on the yarn stand.  Most effortless experience with wool and warp I've ever had.   I really need to buy one of these stands for my studio.



    A handwoven blanket lasts a long time.  People take good care of it because it's unique.  Not like the mass production things we get in a store.  So I'm gathering up long thrums and putting them in an envelope with the yarn band so they have everything they need to do repairs (which basically means I have everything I need to do repairs since I'm most likely the one who will do them).   The yarn band says what the yarn was and the lot number in case they need a large amount to patch the hole the dog ripped in it... which I hope never happens.
     
    raven ranson
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    I saw this handwritten weaving pattern at the local agricultural museum.

    The curtains were woven in this, in what looks like 16/2 cotton, plain weave.  Quite nice, but I think maybe better in different colours?
    IMG_4797.JPG
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    Oh, sure, you could do that. Or you could eat some pie. While reading this tiny ad:
    What makes you excited about rocket ovens?
    https://permies.com/t/90100/excited-rocket-ovens
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