As Planned – Some Spinning

I have been glued to my spinning wheel this week and the grey fleece (my major project) is nearing the end.  The little sample of white merino is finished, it was difficult to spin due to the short staple length – but I did learn alot.TdF Day9 plying2 TdF Day9 plying In fact this week has seen my spinning skills improve enormously.  Putting in the hours and watching a few Interweave DVDs has given me some great tips and a bit of confidence.

I am spinning on the smaller whorl now and I have modified my drafting to be a backwards draft with the forward hand providing tension only.  I’ve previously used a forward pinching draw which is pretty tiring on my hand and forearm.

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I’ll Be Spinning

I watch the Tour de France every year (even though this doping stuff pisses me off and tests my patience) and this year I’ll also be participating in the Tour de FLEECE at the same time!  This is a preview of what I’ll be spinning:

TDF Day 1 pliedGrey Wool for a woven sleeveless jacket.

TDF Day 1 previewReally, really fine merino with a really, really short staple. This one is tricky and sort of fun.  I only have 8g of this fibre so it is just a sample but I may also try out some other merino bits and bobs I have saved from my felt making days.  Merino is just a diversion though.  They grey wool is the main game 😀

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Grapevine Tea Towels

Some ‘finished’ photos:   Grape vine towels

I used a draft called 8 Thread Herringbone from A Handweaver’s Pattern Book by Marguerite P. Davison.  I used this draft on the little twill tape I made a few months ago and decided to revisit it on my floor loom… with interesting consequences:

Cloth 1, 2 and 3 – left to right in the group photo:

Cloth 1)GV 1

The weft is a dark brown cottolin. In the first cloth I followed the tie up and treadling as shown in Davison. It uses 8 treadles tied up as follows:

My first issue was that I couldn’t see treadling errors on the face of the cloth. Those single shaft treadles meant the weft nestled in really snuggly with it’s neighbour. I was feeling pretty unhappy about this and mentioned in the warped weavers forum on Ravelry. Bonnie Inouye very kindly shared some of her thoughts about this tie up (ie it’s strange) and suggested I try some different tie ups.

(While I’m talking about this fabric I’ll also note that it has a very heavy hand and is too firm to use as a tea towel. But I think it will sew up nicely into a pair of oven mitts)

Cloth 3)GV towel3

Weft is purple cottolin. I untied treadles 1,3,5,7 and had a very happy weaving experience. I treadled a diamond pattern in a 1/3 twill producing a cloth with a predominantly green face and purple back. I love this cloth, it is soft and cushy and will make a delightful teatowel.

Cloth 2) GV towel2

I untied treadles 2,4,6,8 and reinstated 1,3,5,7. This produced a 2/2 twill that I treadled as a straight herringbone. The weft is a blue swedish linen. The hand is thinner and ‘floppier’ and has a pleasant sheen after I gave it a ‘very hard press’.

Not pictured here (but fairly prominent in my last post) is a sample I wove at the end of the warp using 5/2 mercerised cotton in ORANGE. It is a gorgeous bit of cloth and I wish I’d woven a whole towel with it! I’ll be going for the purple/orange combo again very soon – stay tuned!

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Phew! I am sooooo glad that I’ve finished this warp, the problems at the start made it feel like the project was dragging on a little but too long.

The problems I was having did go away and the second two towels were quick and error free 🙂 I like the colours!


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Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds


I want to mark here, the death of my cat Lucy at 16 years of age.

I was still at university when I went to the South Hobart Cats Home with my flatmates to pick out a kitten.

I wanted a boy because they were cheaper to desex than girls, but this little thing just kept on jumping onto us and Margaret said we had to take her and that she would pay the extra amount (Note to young cat buyers; if you are baulking at paying an extra $20, then it could be a hint that you actually cannot afford a pet… veterinary care is expensive, special ‘old age’ cat food is expensive, boarding catteries are expensive…)

She had a long and interesting life with a lot of travel mostly back and forwards between Tasmania and Victoria when Chris and I lived apart.  Maybe I shouldn’t tell you about the time I decided she needed a toilet break in the centre of Melbourne… this was pre-Citylink and we were driving from the airport to Traralgon.  She was miowing constantly and I figured that she was busting.  But I was prepared! I had a piece of string or rope to attach to her collar and she was meant to meekly go off and do a pee and then jump back into the car to continue our journey like a good little dog ah, Cat.  Of course she went wild and immediately slipped her collar (which was elasticised for just this sort of situation) and she ran off.  We were in the median strip on Victoria Parade (or Royal parade I can’t remember).  I thought she was lost forever, but we found her huddling under a car that was parked on the side of the road.  It’s a wonder she survived so long with such a silly owner as me!

She also spent four years living with our friends Wendy and Kim; they were kind enough to take her when we moved to the Northern Territory and returned her too us (air freight!) when they moved to Western Australia.

She was a tiny, pretty and sweet natured cat. She was determined to sleep on me every single night and she would become very displeased if we were late getting the children to bed, the evenings were supposed to be all hers!  Ada was particularly enthusiastic about Lucy and she acted as her official doorman – opening and closing the sliding door at Lucy’s whim.  She would run around after Lucy saying ‘ucy, ‘ucy, ‘ucy! ( ‘ucy bye bye… forever now darlin’)

Lucy had an extremely annoying habit of miowing at the top of her lungs just after I had dropped off to sleep and this did become an issue during the time that I was breastfeeding Ada three times a night… ever since then her miows set me on edge and I was pretty bad tempered about it.  Sorry about that Lucy.

I had hoped that she would just die in her sleep one day and I would never have to make the hard decision.  Unfortunately an encounter with a dog on Saturday, her old age, her bad heart murmur… it was all just too much and we had to let her go.  I missed her last night; no cat to sleep on my back, bum or legs like a log all night long.  Farewell Lucille xxx

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Screaming Weaving

HerringboneThis was intended to be a quick little towel warp and I wanted to focus on fun stuff like treadle tie ups and adjustments. But with this loom, with this warp, with this project; I had problems with draw in and then I had problems with ends breaking… lots and lots of ends!

At great expense I mail ordered a temple (stretcher), and when I first used it I broke 8 ends all at once.  I wasn’t happy… oh no, I was not happy at all!

After replacing all the ends I realised I was headed for some annoying tension issues and cut about 3/4” off each side of the warp.  I cut out all the problem warp ends and started afresh.  The purple sides are skinnier than they were, but my sanity is restored.

With proper(ish) temple use the weaving has been progressing smoothly – thank goodness!

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