Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Since last we spoke, I've been busy as a bee. Or a spider, perhaps, given my affinity for textiles. On to the list!

1) I finished spinning the silk hankies on my Tiger spindle, and am about halfway through plying them on Emma's spindle. I chose to ply on her spindle because it is larger and I'd like to see if I can ply everything into one large skein. I suppose I could have plied on my wheel, but I want my first spindle-spinning to be completely spindle-spun. It would be faster on the wheel, but that's not the point.

2) I finished spinning the cotton punis on my Tiger spindle. They are currently resting, tightly wound on their bobbins, hopefully letting all that lovely twist go dormant. I learned my lesson from plying the silk hankies - spindle plying is easier when the singles are not frantically energized.

3) I started spinning some silk top on my Tiger spindle. I needed a portable project to take with me to Friday Harbor this weekend, and none of my knitting projects appealed, so I dove around in my fiber closet and came up for air clutching some of the never-ending bundle of tussah silk top I bought years ago. I tucked an ounce or so in a quart size Ziploc, put the spindle in the same bag, and I was good to go for the weekend. It was nice to be able to spin without lugging the wheel around.

4) I plied all the warp yarn for the Sheep-to-Shawl. The spinning group on San Juan Island spent a couple months washing, dyeing, carding, and spinning the singles, then sent the whole pile to me to ply. It took me three evenings, they spun so much. Lovely stuff.

5) Last Thursday, I measured the warp for the Sheep-to-Shawl and sleyed it in my reed. Then I tied the rest of the warp chain to the reed, bundled the whole thing in a plastic bag, packed everything I need to weave (except the loom and bench) into a box and headed up to Friday Harbor. We made the Practice Shawl this past weekend! I'm the weaver this year, and am borrowing a loom so I don't have to cart mine all the way there. The loaner loom is also a Baby Wolf, though it only has four harnesses rather than my eight, so I knew the reed from my loom would fit in the loaner. That way, all I had to do on Friday was thread the heddles and beam the warp, and that only took two hours. I made the warp long enough for both the Practice Shawl and the Fair Shawl, so we're all ready to go.

The warp (Romney/Border Leicester dyed mossy green before blending with baby alpaca) went on the loom perfectly, with no tangles or broken threads. The weaving went well on Saturday, too, and I really like the finished product.

On the loom: 25" x 81"
Finished size: 20" x 72" plus 6" fringe
8 epi
8 ppi

The weft is undyed Romney/Border Leicester. The wool in the warp comes from a sheep named Buttercup, and the weft wool is from Bailey. They live on San Juan Island, at Shepherd's Croft Farm.

The weave pattern is another I doodled up myself. I like diamond-y twills. This one is fairly subtle in these yarns and at this scale, but I really like it.

I hemstitched the shawl while it was on the loom, then today I did a row of decorative knots before twisting the fringe. I also wet finished it this afternoon.

I like it. I like pretty much everything about this shawl. Even more than the actual physical object that I get to keep, I like that it was a collaborative effort of all my spinning friends and I like that we spent a wonderful day together making it.


Caroline M said...

I like the diamond pattern. It is subtle but it's clearly there. It sounds like a shawl filled with happy memories.

Liz said...

You are such a fiber goddess. Love the shawl, especially the collaborative nature of it.

cyndy said...


Wonderful work of many hands...lucky you that you own it!

bspinner said...

I love your shawl!!!! I have to get to work and get mine ready for our state sheep to shawl. Isn't until Jan 09 but time goes so fast and I haven't thought about the color or pattern. At least I have the yarn all spun up.
Great Job!!!!