So, I am just having all sorts of fun weaving these days. I am really happy with how my handspun, hand dyed/ natural grey wool wrap turned out. It is really soft. I ended up braiding the fringe and adding beads. I left little loose tufts on the fringe. I think it adds character and reminds me of the playful nature of the yarn.
Trying out my finished handspun wool wrap
close- up of braided fringe
Finished handspun ramboullet, hand dyed with natural grey wool wrap with gnarly fringe
I warped and wove the full 15″ width of my Leclerc Dorothy loom with most of my remaining handspun colored cotton. Oh my goodness!! I love, love, love the feel of the fabric. Believe it our not I have never handled handspun, hand woven cotton fabric before. It has a certain wild yet lush quality to it. I plan to use it for clothing. It was fun just weaving bobbin after bobbin not worrying about the pattern. I just pulled random colors out of my basket and wove till I was finished.
My Dorothy loom only holds 4.5 yards of warp. I was amazed at the shrinkage of the cotton. My finished cloth was 4 yards 5 inches. After washing it was 3 yards 23 inches!
For what it’s worth, I do not own a bobbin winder and my shuttle only came with one plastic bobbin. Not to be deterred, I made some bobbins out of packing paper and wound them using a pencil with masking tape on one end affixed to my spinning wheel. Works like a charm.
Making bobbins out of packing paper
My rigged up bobbin winder. A pencil jammed into my spinning wheel orifice
packing paper bobbins
I also put a warp on my Kromski rigid headle loom. This one is just some clearance navy cotton yarn I felt like using up paired with a tan/gold recycled sari silk that is too close to my skin color to look good on my without a contrasting color. There was only enough cotton warp for about 2 yards of fabric. The pattern is a very simple weft float using a pickup stick.
warping a rigid heddle loom is fast. A nice option if you have only a small amount of yarn. The loom waste is minimal.
recycled sari silk yarn used for weft
rigid heddle weaving with simple pickup stick pattern. Cotton warp with sari silk weft
close-up. rigid heddle weaving with simple pickup stick pattern. Cotton warp with sari silk weft
I have been spinning yarn since 2005. My first experience with the luxury of working with natural fibers was after winning a gift certificate to Evelise’s Yarn Shop at the Berrien County Youth Fair . An Afghan that I had crocheted with acrylic yarn won Reserved Grand Champion. With the gift certificate I bought my first designer yarn, a black cotton, and a pattern for a beaded crochet handbag. The bag was a success and I was in love.
Unfortunately I could not afford to buy more natural yarns. I was over the cheapo acrylic and so I stopped crocheting. At college the following year I gained new hope of acquiring “good” yarn when a professor at my university did a show and tell with spinning equipment. I became fixed on the idea of spinning my own yarn.
Online I ordered a kit that came with a book , Spin It by Lee Raven and 1oz of roving. The book had instructions on how to make a spindle out of a CD. With a pencil, CD, and the small bit of sliver I became a spinner. Shortly afterwards I learned to knit.
I knitted a lot of lace shawls with my handspun. I love making them but that was all I would do with my yarn. After a while I had way more yarn than projects I wanted to knit up. I kind of got bored.
For the longest time (12 years!) I was so afraid that my yarn wouldn’t be strong enough to weave with, especially my cotton. It was only safe to crochet with it.
A few years ago I had crocheted a ruffled throw with my natural colored cotton See it here that I wasn’t all that happy with. I just kept crocheting in a round until I had used up all of the different colors of cotton in my stash. After a while it started to come apart where I doubled the stitch count. I decided that I had nothing to lose by unraveling the throw to reuse the yarn for weaving.
I warped random colors on my Leclerc Dorothy table loom that I bought in my college days. With a simple plain weave I slowly but surely realized that my worries were unfounded. Without any special treatment I was able to weave an eclectic little scarf. Oh the new possibilities!
This week I met a new milestone. I am now using my handspun to weave!
Not wanting to lose momentum I decided to unravel a shawl I knit from handspun wool. I alternated a painted handspun with a natural gray that proved to be scratchy against my skin. The pattern was just mindless, uninspired blah. I wouldn’t miss it. Finding a darker grey rambouillet yarn in my handspun stash that was nice and soft I began warping my Dick Blick Art Craft table loom. Sadly the loom sat untouched for 6 years. I found it at a garage sale in Amish country for $125 and thought it was too fine of a machine to pass up.
So far so good. I am looking forward to doing more with my handspun.