Thursday, February 24, 2011

Weaving My Spinning

I have wanted to do this forever! I'm weaving with my own handspun yarn. I bought the tussah-merino for this years ago and started on the blue. I don't even remember when I finished it, plied it and skeined it. It sat in the stash, waiting patiently while I spun the grey.  It wasn't as obviously beautiful as the blue and it took forever!  But at the back of my mind while I've been spinning, I've been planning to use the handspun to weave a pinwheel scarf.

Here's the scary thing, though.  A loom, especially a floor loom, puts quite a bit of tension on the warp threads. I was afraid that my handspun wouldn't stand up to the stress. Some people say it probably will.  Some people recommend soaking the warp in unflavored liquid geletin to strenghten it. Some people say to use handspun only in the weft or on a rigid heddle loom, if you must weave it.

But think about it.  Spinning was, in fact, one of the first activities taken over by the Industrial Revolution, but that was only in the 1800's. What did weavers do for thread before that?  They used handspun, of course.  So it's obviously a doable thing.  In fact, some cultures still use spindle spun threads to weave.  So there!

The St. Francis Upon the Hill Renaissance Faire is coming up.  We demonstrated spinning last year.  It worked so well that we've been invited back and asked to weave as well. One of the questions we got last year was "What do you do with all that stuff? (that you spin)"  I quickly knitted a shawlette out of handspun llama to show one thing.  Getting ready for the Faire this year, I thought about that pinwheel scarf.  Was there any way I could get the grey done in time??

Well, I did.  It spun up a little thicker than the blue, but it's done! Warping the loom was a challenge. The yarn still had residual twist in it and it wanted to wrap itself all over the place.  But many hours of coaxing later, I got the loom warped.  Bringing it up to tension was kind of nerve-wracking.  But hey, if I break a warp thread, so what?  It wouldn't be the first nor the last that's broken.  I know how to fix a broken thread.

The yarn has some residual fuzz to it. It pays to take time to get the weaving right because un-weaving it is difficult.  The threads kind of want to lock together and have to be teased apart.  But still.  It's working!

I wonder what they'll ask this year.  Probably "What do you do with all that stuff you weave??"  I guess I'd better plan on weaving something and making it into a bodice or vest or something.

Which gives me an idea...

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