Wednesday, August 30, 2006

fiber days

I'm so close to finishing the wood/steel/glass piece that I've been working on for a few weeks, but have been neglecting it for the past few days to work on some fiber things. One of my students way back, um, last winter, finished her first piece in a jiffy (my only student ever to finish dressing her loom in one class period), then worked on her own time between classes to start setting up a wider project. She didn't actually make it to most of the classes, so we never discussed the second project. She ended up abandoning the half sleyed reed, so hating to waste yarn, I decided to finish sleying the reed and make it into something. I doubled the sett to 24 ends per inch, adding in a lighter contrasting yarn. Unfortunately, that made it 768 ends of thread which had to be individually threaded through the reed then through the heddles, a lot of work for a piece of cloth that is only 2 yards long. The warp threads she'd already sleyed went every which way, the ends weren't even and in summary, it was a huge pain setting up the loom.

I finally started weaving the shadow weave cloth only to find that the dark yarn I intended to use was nowhere to be found. After an initial deceptive bobbin, all I had were extra cut warp ends. Spent an afternoon tediously tieing the ends together and winding them on the bobbin. Verified the pattern does work and looks good. Then Monday I pulled out some of the new toys I got from a wonderful weaver/sewer whose daughter's wedding I played in June. She no longer weaves and gave me her books, yarn and other weaving equipment. So I finally have a ball winder and swift, and excitingly, a yardage counter. Wound off the 1440 yards of weft (only to realize after the fact that I only need half that amount), knitted it up on the knitting machine, then yesterday I dyed it with fiber reactive dyes to a slowly varigating green (is varigating a word?). Also dyed some flax roving in shades of purple, grey and muted greygreens--came out beautifully even though the dye didn't penetrate to the middle in some places. Dyed a silk cap for my secret pal with fiber reactive dyes, thought they weren't quite bright enough and overdyed it with acid dyes. And I did three new landscape-based dyeings of blue faced leiecester based on some photos of Carmel. I'm really pleased with how they all came out and I'm already eyeing one for myself. Long gloves or knee high socks?

I also finished plying and setting some more fine 3 ply yarn spun from Winner's fleece as well as some grey alpaca 2 ply yarn from the Vacaville alpaca. Knitted fingerless gloves on the knitting machine for my friend. Delivered them last night. I'll have to get some pics to send to the alpaca's owner.

I spent yesterday evening spinning one of the rovings for my secret pal. The yarn will be good for either socks or gloves; there are two similar balls, though they're not exactly the same size. Here's before and after pics.

Basically, the idea with this method of "landscape dying" is that I'm dyeing and spinning the roving to change gradually from one predominant color scheme to another so that when the yarn is knitted up, it evokes the landscape which inspired the yarn. This is a hat I did a while ago, as well as a tall sock.


Stickchicky said...

You have got to be one of the most talented fibre bloggers I have come across. I just spent at least an hour scouring through your blog. I could only dream of having the freedom and means to do all of the wonderful things you do. This blog is truly a treasure that I am so happy to have stumbled upon. Another to add to my must read daily list.

coffee beans said...

yeah,same's awesome(what you're doing).