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!
Weaving in progress
I loaded up as much warp as I could on my 15″ Leclerc Dorothy loom. It holds 4.5 yards
Finished handspun cotton cloth
fuzzy( sorry for the pic quality) close-up of the handspun naturally colored cotton cloth.(brown, green, and recycled blue jean cotton in various combinations)
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
Last year I planted my first cotton seeds in my kitchen one frigid February, Indiana winter day. View Post. It was a lot of fun to watch the plants mature. I learned so much and at the end of it all I had useful fiber.
It took me a while to get around to spinning it up but I did finally get to it. I’m really happy with the result. The brown skein is especially interesting because there was a lot of shade/color variation in the crop that occurred naturally. To think they all descended from one gifted cotton boll with 21 seeds inside. Now I’m debating what to make with it.
Spinning Cotton on my Ashford Traveller Wheel
Bobbin full of white cotton yarn
Winding Cotton Skeins
Skeins from 1st Crop
Finished skeins from first cotton crop
I found a straggler! It must’ve opened up over the winter.
Of course I planted a new crop for this year. The kids from the youth ministry helped. Then my niece wanted to plant some too, so we planted more. I’m sure a gardener would cringe at our methods, those poor seeds. The cool thing that I’m finding with cotton plants is they’re really hard to kill. Those seeds just know what to do! Even if you put too many in a whole and forget to cover them.
1 week old seedlings in my kitchen. Baby nephew is loving the new hiding place
These cute little guys know just what to do.
It’s been pretty cloudy so far this spring so they are stretching for the sunlight.
My niece helped me pot the 2nd batch of seedlings
About 1 month in, some of the plants have adult leaves coming in.
So far so good
Although I have crafted textiles for a long time many people that know me have never seen me work. Most crafters rarely work in public. If we do, it’s usually with a small knitting group.
After all that fun I had at the living history event I realized how much I enjoy engaging the public about crafting. Especially spinning yarn. So many people are fascinated by the process. I love demonstrating the process, and letting people feel the different fibers. Most rewarding of all is persuading people to try spinning and teaching them on the spot.
A piece of a new spinner’s yarn. I’m so proud of how well they did with just a few minutes of instruction
Ever the dreamer, I envisioned teaching lots of people to spin so I ordered 48 drop spindles.
I ordered 48 drop spindles in hopes of teaching more people to spin
Who does that? right.
It is too cold right now for me to attend outdoor living history events so I decided to pack up my spinning wheel and some fiber and spin at the St. Joseph Public library. Thankfully a wonderful crafty friend came with me. It was a hit. We had so much fun and met so many people that I decided to make it my Sunday community outreach.
Today was an especially awesome Sunday. I had 4 girls come and learn to spin! I should have brought more than two spindles. They picked up the skill extremely fast and are already talking about what they want to make. We even had a new weaver friend come and show us some of her beautiful brocaded trim. (I will try to get a picture to share next time). Next week I’m going to show the girls how to dye their yarn with sharpie markers and alcohol.
We can dye the small amounts of beginner’s yarn with Sharpie markers and alcohol
I made small dots on the yarn with Sharpie markers. Sprinkling alcohol on the yarn will spread the colors and set the dye
Sharpie marker dyed yarn. Reminds me of Tie Dye
Last year I purchased a rag rug to use in my kitchen. I spent about $40 dollars on a colorful 5ftX4ft rug I’m guessing made in India with all the bright polyester fabrics. I love it. Now make it? Dream on sister. My fabric scraps aren’t nearly so colorful and I’m not about to go buy fabric to make a rag rug. So I put that idea away.
A few months ago in October I went to a heritage festival in New Carlisle and found a woman crocheting rag rugs. They were gorgeous. She showed me how to tear long strips from lengths of fabric. Old sheets give the best yield. Just snip and tear and the strips become the yarn.
Later that month I asked my sister if she had some old sheets she wanted to get rid of. Lucky me, she had a huge Spacebag full of old faded comforters in her basement ready to give me.
I started tearing the strips. It must have looked fun because mom started in on tearing strips too. By the end of the day we had a basketful of yarn.
Mom tearing sheets for rag rugs
I crochet a rug as I saw at the festival. I liked it okay but the crocheting was hard on the fingers. So I put the project away for a spell.
First Crocheted rag rug
Fast forward to November, I took a trip to Williamsburg, Virginia. In one of the gift shops I saw braided rag rugs. The strips were first braided then, zigzag stitched by machine into a finished rug. I liked them but the machine stitching turned me off.
I could do the braids then whipstitch the rug together with thread by hand and get a similar look but couldn’t it be done faster?
So the resulting experiment was a rug made by braiding the strips then using the same strips to whipstitch them together. Eureka! A nice, durable rag rug that is fast and simple to make. I have one in front of the kitchen sink and one at the patio entrance for now. We’ll see how long they hold up. So far so good.
I think I will use this technique again.
First whip stitched rag rug