Wednesday, 24 April, 2024

By The Fibreside

Knitting and spinning on the Sunshine Coast of BC

single post

Spinning, Weaving

Fabric

You know, there’s something about weaving. Not necessarily the process, because that seriously took me way too long, but part of that was a) the demands on my time, and b) the set-up I had. First the loom was in the guestroom, which made it hard to weave when Mike was on nights. Then there was the standing, which I don’t mind, but the table was a touch too short, which made me lean a little awkwardly. But there was definitely something satisfying about finishing, and unrolling that cloth from the cloth beam (okay, I admit I had to look up what that part was called, or you would have gotten ‘that front roller thingy’).

Three tea towels.
Three tea towels.

What I know about weaving would fit in a slim volume, but I knew enough not to cut them apart until after washing, and I knew I’d need to seam the ends to keep them from unravelling, bringing my exceptional(ly bad) sewing skills into play. And as I noted in the podcast, they came out of the dryer, well, interesting. I knew the yarns were a little different as I was weaving them, but I didn’t expect it to be THAT different. You’re thinking, but it couldn’t have been that bad, right?

Lovely rolling hills of... fabric.
Lovely rolling hills of… fabric.

But ironing is a wonderous thing, and after ironing, cutting apart, ironing ends, sewing ends (badly), and ironing again, I have three lovely, and soft, tea towels.

The humidity from the rain the last few days is playing havoc with them. I need to iron them again, maybe...
The humidity from the rain the last few days is playing havoc with them. I need to iron them again, maybe…

I wish there was a way you could all feel these tea towels. They are soft. Like, wonderfully soft. Snuggle up with soft. And they actually look like tea towels. Sure, there are some errors, and my edges could use some work, and my sewing is sub-standard, but for my fourth weaving project ever, I’m very pleased with them.

And that makes me start thinking. Thinking about my original plan for my Level 3 final project, which was to weave a sampler of silk and cotton. To spin up cotton warp in all the different colours – white, brown, and green – and silk weft in both tussah and bombyx top and noil (and maybe mawata), and make a lovely plaid-box runner, probably about 2′ by 3′. I threw that idea out the window when I was having such trouble with spinning silk and cotton, switching up to wool and adding a dying component. But then this happened.

Silk. Silk that actually worked.
Silk. Silk that actually worked.

I spent a weekend spinning Tussah silk. ~8 WPI in the ply, 210 yards, so not quite enough for Level 4 dying, but close. It worked. It didn’t take too long. And since I have fifty hours, I could probably still dye the silk with padauk like I was planning to do with the wool. I still have to make friends with cotton before I decide to switch fibres back but it’s oh so tempting. Can’t you see it? White, brown and green weft, honey-tussah and white-bombyx, some overdyed with red padauk with a couple mordants, texture shifts with top and with noil… It might not be useful, or as useable as a tea towel (that has to be ironed if it rains outside), but it would make a beautiful fabric.

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