Monday, June 30, 2014

Clearing the Handspun Decks

Weaving hasn’t been consuming all of my time lately ~ I’ve reconnected with my Lendrum Spinning wheel and I’m truly enjoying it!

Before I could spin the Louet silk that I dyed a few weeks ago, I had to empty up some bobbins that had been languishing for yonks.
I believe that this single on the bobbin is spun from a colourway called Teddy Bear and frankly I can’t remember if Susan gave it to me or if I bought it at a spinning day….either way it was just taking up a bobbin and looking very stripey.Teddybear merino wool is spot dyed brown and pink with cream and a bit of yellow and when I spun it I got a nice long marl moving from cream to brown to pink in every possible permutation.

I didn’t want to lose that beautiful transition and if I plied it with itself I would tone the whole thing down and blah it out I think.
I chose to ply it with this super fine cashmina which is a wool and cashmere blend.
Because the cashmina is very, very fine compared to the handspun merino wool, I got a really great spiral yarn.
I’m really happy with the result!
After freeing up my spinning wheel; I now have all of the silk spun and plied with itself.
The effect is an all over pale pink.
But when you look closely you can see a bit of orange and cream.  I think I’ll use it as weft for a scarf.
After all that spinning I was really stoked about weaving with silk and so a few days ago I warped up this hand painted silk.  The silk was painted with ProcionMX in Old Gold and Yellow so it is very sunshiny and I'm ready to weave!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tartan Yardage Completed ~ Lynch Tartan

My tartan yardage has been off the loom for awhile now and I just remembered that I haven’t shown you the finished product.
It made a lovely looking log of tartan as I pulled it off the loom.
I ran out of the Ancient Blue wool weft when I was well into the 8 yards; I substituted grey/olive marled wool in the same grist for the weft that I luckily had on hand.  You can definitely see the difference between the two wefts; the true tartan wool is much smoother and has more lustre than the run of the mill wool weft.  However, the grey/olive weft shows the green up much more than the Ancient Blue.  This photo is before washing to full the cloth.

The definition of Ancient colours is that they are distinct from modern colours by being less saturated in tone and lighter in shade.  The term ‘modern’ refers to the aniline dyes introduced around 1860 which produce darker greens and blues and richer reds and yellows.  The term ‘ancient’ should no be confused with the age of the design.

I thought I’d give you some weaving statistics for this yardage.  I sett the warp at 28 ends per inch, 2 per dent in a 14 dent reed.

The On loom Width was 32 inches ~ The On loom length was 8 yards.

The Off loom width was 30 inches for the Lynch Tartan ~ The Off loom lengths was 5 yards 29 inches.

The Off loom width was 30 inches for the Plaid piece ~ The Off loom length was 1 yard 12 inches.
The Loom waste in the warp was 15 inches at the end and 4 inches at the tie on for a total of 19 inches.

I washed the yardage in my front loader machine on a cycle that took 25 minutes.  I want the yardage to be well fulled and this was the least time my machine could do, and frankly I just wasn't prepared to do it by hand.  I used the tiniest amount of organic laundry soap in the wash. Ahhh, I’m wishing for the days when I could open the top of the machine and pull my weaving out when I thought it looked right, sadly those days are long gone and I have to wait for the full cycle!
I folded the yardage a few times so that it fit on the drying rack and put it outside in the shade to dry.

The finished width was 29 inches for the Lynch Tartan ~ The finished length was 5 yards 24 inches long.

The finished width 27-2/4 inches for the Plaid piece ~ The finished length was 1 yard 10 inches long.

The secondary weft caused more shrinkage than the Lochcarron Wool weft; but overall there was very little shrinkage ~ not even 1%!
This is the tartan before it was pressed.
 You can see a huge difference in the fabric after just one pass through the steam press.  This yardage is amazingly supple and light and has a fabulous sheen, really lovely.
My plan for much of this yardage is to frame a piece for each of the members of the family and maybe get a garment for myself.

The Europeans have a phrase for one slow truck trying to pass another slow truck on the highway ~ an elephant race ~ well, this yardage and Ngaires shawls were our elephant race!  Thankfully, both are off the looms and we are ready to weave again!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dyeing Louet Fibre with Gaywool Dye ~ Part 2

Finally the continuation of Dyeing Louet Silk Top with Gaywool dye story.  I was trying to get enough silk spun for the final photo and the sunny days kept pulling me outside, hence the lengthy delay!
After waiting for 24 hours to allow the dyes to penetrate the silk I unwrapped the plastic wrap to finally get to see the result of my dye sprinkling. I removed it from the plastic wrap and coiled into a bowl for rinsing.
The first rinse had a bit of extra dye, but surprisingly not that much.  Most of the very liberally sprinkled dye has done it’s job and coloured the silk beautifully.
I must admit that I loved the colour of the water as I poured it off!
After I rinsed the silk out completely I laid it on a towel covered drying rack in the shade to dry which took about 6 hours in our marine climate.
I’m really impressed with the colours now that it’s dry enough to spin.
I had planned to have some undyed sections of silk, but I see that I should have opened up the silk roving just a bit more when I was applying the dye.  The dye took beautifully on one side but didn't seep all the way to the center of the roving.
Finally I’m ready to spin, and don't you just love my nifty plastic bag apron?  I find that silk fibres stick to my regular cotton spinning apron so a clear plastic bag does the trick!
I pull off a section of roving about 18 inches long and gently tug the sections between my fingers all along the length. This opens up the fibre enough to make the silk fibres moved easily as I spin.
I’m really pleased with the colours as I’m filling the bobbin ~ a lovely marled pastel pink and coral is what I’m seeing right now, but I’m sure the effect will change when I ply it.  I’m aiming for a 20/2 grist for weaving, so this is quite a fine yarn.