Monday, March 24, 2014

AIR, oh, yes, need raw material

The weaving goes on, at home at the moment, since weaving takes a lot of raw material (you can reduce your yarn stash in no time by weaving a few bags), so I took some of the lovely spanish merino roving I got from the wool shop in Cape May ages ago, and dyed it using silk dyes from Dharma Traders, nice people to work with 

Just a note: I don't make anything from mentioning people and businesses, this not being a monetized blog, since I like to call my soul my own.  But I do like to give a shout out to people who are good to work with and sell nice product I'm glad to use.

Back to the drying of the dyeing.  This was done in the teeth and claw of opposition from my kitties, who objected to my putting the metal lid full of wet dyed yarn over the heat register in the upstairs room,  to dry gently, since they had planned to sleep right there.  I went up a couple of times and found wet yarn scattered about a bit, and the lid shoved off the register.

However, I persevered and have a nice little supply of roving to spin.  This involved finding my spindles, picking the middle size, and then realizing I'd forgotten how to begin.  Oh. off to YouTube to watch a few videos of people demonstrating how to spin with the spindle. 

A word here:  there are a lot of videos, some of them by skilled and famous spinners, and they are not necessarily the best teachers.  The reason for this is that the roving turns almost magically into even, fine yarn in their hands, and even when you watch and listen, you can't see how they did it.  They can't really slow it enough to teach.  

But less skilful spinners who are still pretty good can be excellent teachers, moving slowly enough, remembering what to explain and when and best of all, moving the camera where necessary so you can actually see what they're doing.

One wonderful, generous and very nice person in the textile world has the worst videos on earth, because her spinning is so rapid that most of the time her hands are off camera, and you see her chest and a line of yarn traveling somewhere with no clue as to what's going on!   It's all coming so naturally to her that she can't really remember back to when she hadn't a clue, either!

Anyway, I did manage to remember and created a spindle's worth of rather lumpy yarn, perfect for my tapestry purposes, but far from skilled thread.  I had to rest after that, to let my upper body recover from the stress of learning!  here and there I magically found I was creating a lovely fine yarn, rhythm of spinning and drafting and parking and all that working lovely.  Then it would go all funny again and try to unspin itself before my very eyes...but I shall persevere!  It's really lovely to handle nice roving, very meditative work.

So here's the output:  this will probably form part of the sisters' robes, at least that's the plan for now.  

And I made a bead weaving with paper beads yesterday, which I will finish so that it can be incorporated into the tapestry,too.

And spinning always reminds me to salute spinsters!  they were a vital part of the family food chain centuries ago, when the unmarried women of the family would spin all the fiber needed for every stitch the family wore. Highly skilled and very underrated importance in the family fabric, to corn a phrase.  Spinning was considered a skill requirement of any female, and you see people in old paintings and engravings holding up a spindle and working by the fireside.  

Wealthy women, too, did this, but more as a model of industry and skill than as a necessity for their families, since they could afford to hire spinsters, or import fabrics from other countries. Just a dull little historical note of the kind I love to inflict on people.


  1. you are being so productive and now weaving your own wool

  2. Your dye turned out to be such a lovely colour!


Thank you so much for commenting! it means a lot to me to know you're out there and reading and enjoying.