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A whole lot of yarn photos
Spinning, weaving, darning . . .
It’s a post to the yarn side of this newsletter!
Even though I’ve been yarning a lot this year, I haven’t had much time to write for this section; I know most of my readers on this newsletter are here for writing and publishing advice,so that’s what I have tried to use my newsletter time for when I have some. But here are the yarn updates, because I’m really excited to share some of my projects with you.
I’ve been spinning a lot of yarn! I know there are some very technical spinners out there, but I mostly spin to relax.
These are all wool (though I think the green has some silk in it). There’s at least one more I spun, but it didn’t make it into this picture and I don’t feel like digging everything out to get another photo.
Lots of my yarns are destined to be yarn pets for a while. I very rarely spin with a final project in mind for it. But I think I’m going to knit something for a friend using the blue. It’s such a happy color.
I also asked my husband to help me making a blending board. (It’s easy enough that I could have done it myself but I like to make him feel included.) A person can buy a blending board, but it’s about half the price to buy a cutting board and the carding cloth and just . . . staple them together. (Here’s the video we used.)
Lots of folks who want to do a little fiber preparation use drum carders, hand carders, combs, and other tools. I liked the blending board primarily because I can get about an ounce of fiber onto it, it’s a whole lot cheaper than a drum carder, and it’s flat so I can pack it away when I’m not using it; and since I’m a full-time writer, not a full-time yarner, I only need to use my new toy occasionally.
The first thing I did with it was pull out a bunch of little bits of wool a friend sent me and layer the different colors on there. They juuust so happened to be NIGHTRENDER colors — danger pink. (I don’t think my friend knew this when she sent the wool!)
To get the fiber off the blending board, you can use a couple of thin dowel rods, pinch the bottom end of the fiber between them, and then roll them up into little fibery tubes.
I also knit this pair of rainbow socks for myself. They were supposed to be just regular crew socks, but I realized partway through the cuff that I wasn’t going to get to the red . . . and I wanted to have the whole rainbow, so I just kept going . . . and going. So now the cuffs are very long. I’ll have to fold them over when I wear them, but that’s fine. (They won’t go around the calf muscle so they can’t work as knee socks, unfortunately.)
I also decided it was time to mend a bunch of socks that have been sitting in a to-be-mended pile for . . . a while. There are lots of nice things about having hand-knit socks, and one of those is that they are fairly simple to mend. I usually darn them — which is basically weaving a patch over the hole. It’s not my favorite thing to do (hence why they sat there for so long), but it’s not hard and it is pretty fast. And it was very satisfying to knock out a bunch of mini-projects one after another.
And, finally, I am weaving a scarf! At least, I hope it will be long enough to be a scarf. I did math before I warped the loom, but I’ve never tried twill before and I seem to remember that having slightly different math rules than plain weave. But it’s coming along!
My loom is a rigid-heddle loom and it normally has two ways to control the warp threads: every other one goes up, or every other one goes down.
But for twill, at least the kind I’m doing, you need to control the warp threads in a different way. Imagining labeling the threads 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on across the warp. All the 1s get controlled together. All the 2s get controlled together. And so on. That gives me a bunch of different possible combinations of threads to lift, right?
So while making this type of fabric, I am lifting strings 1 & 2, then 2 & 3, then 3 & 4, and then 4 & 1. That gives me nice diagonal lines across the piece.
But my loom wasn’t built for that, so I had to add a few things. So right now on my loom, I have a second rigid heddle (my loom did come with space for a second one!), a string heddle (literally strings on a dowel that pick up the appropriate warp threads), and a pick-up stick (just what it sounds like — a smooth piece of wood that picks up whatever threads you want). So that gives me all four shafts I need to weave this 2/2 twill.
The warp is a wool I bought from a yarn store several years ago, and the weft is a sparkly handspun. I’m really proud of how this is turning out!
Here it is as of yesterday evening, just as a storm was rolling in; you can’t see the string heddle and pick-up stick (the rigid heddles are in the way), but I promise they are back there.
Okay, that’s it for this update! I have today off writing, so I’m planning to catch up with some friends, yarn, and stare at my emotional-support birds at the feeders. Oh, and read, of course, too. I need to choose a new audiobook to listen to.
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