Here’s the cloth woven of handspun singles off the loom.
Weaving it was not too hard. I had about 3-4 broken warp threads throughout the whole three yards, which I attribute to several factors:
- Not enough twist. I spun this yarn on my spinning wheel with a Woolee Winder attachment. While I dearly love how the WW automates the process of winding on, it does tend to pull in the fiber, so when I spin with it, the yarn on the bobbin has less twist than if I’d spun it without the WW, or spun it on a drop spindle. In fact, that’s my next project in this exploration, to try weaving with spindle-spun yarn. Yarn spun on a spindle tends to be less forgiving. If you don’t put enough twist in, the spindle hits the floor.
- Hairy yarn. The laceweight was a bit on the hairy side, and the coarser Shetland fibers reached out of the yarn and grabbed their neighbors, increasing friction to the point where it damaged the neighboring yarns. I think I’d fix this by using smoother singles or sizing the warp before putting it on the loom.
- Weighting broken warp threads does not work with singles. You know how you normally repair a broken warp thread, by cutting a replacement and then weighting it off the back of the loom? You know what happens when you do this with an energized single? That’s right, the yarn untwists over time and “plop!” that weighted replacement thread is on the ground. I’m proud to say that I only had to do this twice before I figured it out and started tensioning my replacement threads with friction instead of gravity.
- Trying too hard not to break warp threads. This one surprised me. When I was weaving slowing and oh-so-carefully so as to put the least amount of strain on the warp, I broke threads left and right. When I cranked up the tension and started weaving with my normal fast rhythm, going so fast that I even forgot the sizing crutch of adding hair spray, I stopped breaking warp threads. Weird, huh? I attribute this to one of two things, either weaving with rhythm and speed distributes the strain more evenly than weaving slowly and carefully or…yarn smells fear.
What went right with the cloth?
It wasn’t as hard to weave as I’d thought. After I got into the swing of things and stopped breaking warp threads it was just another weaving project.
I love, love, love the granola goodness of this cloth. Weaving with handspun gives a life to the fabric that you just can’t get with commercially milled yarns. The subtle irregularities make it textured and inviting. I loosened the tension to get an inkling of the handle it might have after washing and it was soft and textured, the fabric equivalent of oatmeal cookies warm and fresh from the oven.
My husband covets this cloth. One of my hopes for this fabric was that the muted colors would appeal to a male sensibility. It worked! Eric has already made noises about some of the things I could make for him out of this. He says blanket, I’m thinking hat.
Here I’ve cut a whack of sample fabric off the end to test-drive wet finishing three different ways as Daryl Lancaster describes in The Weaver Sews: What to Weave, Part 2.
I’m still hoping that this fabric crumples up and does interesting things in the wash.
Here are the thrums from the project. There’s a 1-inch grid beneath the pile. As you can see, the waste is minimal. And here I wasn’t even trying to minimize loom waste. If I had, I would have lashed on or used Nadine Sanders’ shoestring warping method.
I’ve got a cunning plan for these, which will be the topic of a future post.
Next warp, I’ll try weaving with spindle spun yarn and see how that fabric compares to this.
I haven’t yet figured out whether this is (a) proof that there are actually places where LEDs should not go, (b) the taxidermied corpse of a muppet, or (c) rather cool. What do you think?