An Introduction and 3 Finished Objects!

Firstly, I’d like to introduce Harriette.  She’s my new assistant and will be modelling finished articles on my blog.  Within hours of starting her new job she was demanding a new hand-sewn skirt – so I suspect she may be trouble!!!  Anyway, here she is modelling the first of my finished objects (and also the new skirt):


This is the Purple Paradise shawl I started weaving in March with hand-spun yarns for both the warp and the weft.  It came off the loom in May.  I’ve finished it off by making a twisted fringe from the warp-ends.  Here I am starting to use the twisted fringe maker on the shawl:


The second finished object is also being modelled by Harriette:


This is a Mobius cowl knitted from my first core-spun yarn.

Finally, I have finished spinning the “Bowties are Cool” Doctor Who inspired yarn.  This isn’t being modelled by Harriette as she objected to juggling the three large skeins.  So instead I’ve draped them on the back of a chair.  However, I hope this gives an idea of the scale of this yarn, which is fairly light (being core-spun) but very bulky:


It’s been a nice few days finishing off knitting, weaving and spinning.  But as you’ve probably noticed I still have lots of active projects I really must get on with (though I’m very tempted to immediately cast on a shawl with the bowties yarn)!

A Long Update

Firstly I must apologise for the length of time it’s been since I last made an update to this blog.  The reasons for which I’ll briefly explain.  Sometimes I read other craft blogs where the authors have wondered how much from their personal life they should put in the blog, and I don’t think anyone is sure what the right answer is.  In my case I’ve decided I’ll mention a little of what’s going on in my personal life, then you don’t need to worry if I go all quiet again for a while, but in general I intend to keep this blog as a mostly craft only zone.

I’m in the process of divorcing my husband and, as it turns out, even if you’re able to sit in a room and discuss the options calmly with a mediator, rather than dragging the process through a court, things can still be said that surprise or upset.  There were certainly surprises during that last mediation session a few weeks ago.  One thing that upset was the suggestion, from my husband, that my spinning wheels should be considered as a “collection” that could be sold as a job lot to raise funds.  When discussing this later it transpired that my husband considered this to be a joke.

As an act of defiance I came home and finally put together my main Ashford spinning wheel with the lace flyer.  I polished it with a beeswax polish, and did two coats.  But after doing that the undermining effect of the implicit suggestion that my craft hobby is unimportant and that my equipment can simply be considered as an asset to be sold has taken its toll and I’ve found it impossible to get any inspiration for any craft activity at all.

However, today the sun came out and I took my spinning wheel into my patio to supervise the children playing and impressed them with my long draw (and impressed myself with the 40:1 ratio that my wheel now has).  It seems to have a rattle at the moment, so I’ll try and tighten everything up and get it running smoothly, but otherwise it’s delightful.  And here it is glowing in the afternoon sunshine:


And here’s some Shetland and soybean fibre I carded together a long time ago, being spun on my new lace flyer (as you can see two coats of furniture polish isn’t really enough and the spinning oil has stained the flyer, I’ll add more polish over the summer):


Before the mediation session put the kibosh on my crafting energy, I had a lovely day at Creating Space and got my Purple Paradise Shawl off the loom:


Since then it’s had a wash but I’ve not done anything with the fringe.  I think I’m going to work a twisted fringe.  However, at the moment I’m unsure how to proceed, as it does appear to be a rather tedious process (this from someone happy to spin 100g of fibre into yarn – a process that takes many hours)!

Purple Paradise

What a terrible name for a shawl.  The name is derived from the names of the tops I handspun and I’m now weaving into a shawl.

One of the yarns is a 2-ply Blue Faced Leicester, that I spun worsted style from hand-dyed tops called Violetta.  The other is a single of Corriedale spun long draw from hand-dyed tops called Birds of Paradise.  I spun these originally nearly 2 years ago!

I’ve tied a 100” (2.5m) warp onto my 16” rigid heddle loom, set at 7.5epi.  I’ve warped up nearly the whole width, leaving just one eye on each end of the loom without a warp thread.  When it came to warping up I wasn’t sure the thread was going to be robust enough and I want to minimise warp threads getting broken.  The rigid heddle has slots and eyes, threads in eyes experience the most stress and wear during weaving. Threads at the selvedge often get drawn in and therefore also experience more stress and wear than other threads.  So I wanted to avoid having a selvedge thread that would experience further wear from also being in an eye.

To further help with wear I’m keeping the tension as low as possible and winding the warp on regularly.  As for an earlier project I’m winding paper onto the front roller when advancing the weaving.  This is helping to keep the tension on the weaving even across the whole work.

I’ve woven about 18” so far and it’s looking good.  The weft thread is fairly slubby, but that’s making the weaving look very interesting.  I’m not too sure how the woven fabric will behave when it’s off the loom as the weft is a fairly active single, so it may collapse.  I’ll have to see what happens!

Here’s progress after tying on the warp and weaving a few picks: