Friday, September 17, 2010

Old Yarns

So let me continue the story.  I can tell it now that the event is over. 

John and Bjo (of Griffin Dyeworks) holds a fiber retreat once a year here in So. Cal.  This year they had to go out of state due to family business and left Roberta, Debbie and I to run it.  On top of that, they pointed to a bunch of boxes and said they were for the retreat.  So the three of us went through the boxes and there were a bunch of yarns that had been dyed with natural colors.  And we couldn't just let them sit there, never to see the light of day.  So we took them and decided to make Bjo a viking bag out of them.

When we gave it to her, she was, of course, surprised and thrilled.  I will have to post a picture of the finished bag later.  Now my stash of hand spun wool is completed depleted and I need to get spinning more.  There is a camping event coming up the second weekend of October (Great Western War - SCA, Kingdom of Caid) and Bjo will be there and she will have dye pots going.  Let's see how many skeins I can get finished.

Roberta has gone to a couple of Mountain Men events and said they would go crazy over handwoven belts and sashes.  Especially if you use natural dyes, so I've been Googling Native American colors and the plants that need to be used.  Now I have to find those plants around here.  There are many washes and back canyons I could go to, but it's not safe to go by myself.  About a month ago I could have gathered elder berries, but the rattlesnake danger was high and my beloved preferred I not go until we get better clothes and boots.  I still need to gather the leaves and bark, so maybe when it cools down (its still in the 90's)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Grades of wool

Well I finally did it!  I've finally got the "studio" up and going - sort of.  OK so it is somewhat organized.  And the small loom doesn't have stuff draping all over it.  And most of the weaving / spinning / basket / paper / rubberstamp stuff is in one area (mostly).  GriffinCliffe Designs is now open!!!! Maybe.

So a few months ago a friend handed me a bag of wool yarn (colored) and said "make somethingout of this".  OK - When do you want it by?   Mid Sept was the answer - which is sort of this weekend!!  So last night, while watching "Stardust" for the umpteenth time, I broke out the warping board, the yarn and commeced warping off my threads.  All the yarn is this HUGE rough wool rug yarn, just like the stuff I began weaving with.  It was cheap, 100% wool and long lasting (I still have some pillows I made 20+ years ago).  The only bad part was, one color had bugs (you know - the "sand") and another color, someone had used to much alum as a mordent and the wool was rotten.

After I got over my panic of the "sand" I came up with enough stuff to weave another one of the bags.  I figured I'd use the small floor loom to welcome it back home after being foster out for the last 10 years or so.  Like I said - the yarn is THICK!  I used a 6 dent reed and everything is nice and close. 

So Sunday evening I was able to warp the threads (only 90 so it wasn't that difficult) and I threaded the reed.  This morning I got up and took everything out the the garage - I mean the studio and dressed the loom.  Now this loom was my first. I got it from a Braille school in Oragne County for a small donation some 20+ years ago.  It's been a great loom - only 20 inches wide, simple 4 harness, and no brake.  I've tied a rope around the cloth beam to act as a brake.  It servces the purpose.

I got the loomed dressed and had my foundation woven in by lunch.  The the problem.  I really should have gone with a black of even a grey as the weft, But I know I don't have much of either, so I went with white.  I think a darker weft would have enhanced the natural dyed yarns, but what can you do.  And as I still need to weave the strap for it, I wasn't going to have time to spin up a balck weft.

I finshed weaving about 4PM and finsihed my day watching a movie with the husband.  You've got to relax nd snuggle occasionally.

More pictures later in the week

OH!!! About the grade of wool!!!  I have been weaving with a variety of wools for the past 10 years and had forgotten how rough rug wool is.  In fact, I think its rougher then the black welsh mountain fleece I have to spin up.  And what yarns are left over are currently sitting in teh freezer.  I better tell the hubby about them.

What's black and white and red all over?

I spent three days last week up in Seattle so I pushed to get the viking bag woven and off the loom. When I got home I washed the material and the strap so it would full a little (or shrink) and here's what I got.

It's funny how all three colors had shrunk at different levels. Guess I'll have to give the material a good steam pressing before I sew it up.

I'm deciding I'm not a big fan of ridged heddle looms. They're great for travelling with and teaching on, but I don't get a tight tension on it and then there are the bruises on the belly where the loom rests, I'm going to use the floor and table looms as much as possible.