When the opportunity came up to learn to weave, my first thought was that I could weave cloth from which to make clothing. Very quickly, I decided the first such project would be wool for a coat, but of course, I needed to actually learn to weave first. Which meant cotton, because that’s easy. (We’ll forget the linen experiment for now.) I did try wool once at the very beginning, reading that it was a forgiving fiber, but there was no instruction how how to to treat it, and I hadn’t any experience weaving much of anything else yet, and there was no real advice on what kind of wool to buy, so that didn’t go well. The result was a stiff, brillo pad-like scarf-shaped thing. The next time was more recently – last September maybe? – but I did plainweave with Jaggerspun 8/2, and beat it a bit too aggressively still not understanding how that was supposed to work, so the result was a stiff, though softer cloth. I consulted with my weaver friend who works at Webs (I am SO LUCKY to live 4 miles from Webs!), and upon seeing the stiff, plainweave cloth, she immediately advised, “You can’t beat it like cotton! You have to squeeeeeeze the weft in place. Treat it gently – just kiss the little lamb with the beater!” I take her advice very seriously.
And so, this past Sunday, I decided to take a little break from cotton and wove another sample. This time with wool, in a bird’s eye twill with very careful beating:
The above pictures are from before fulling – this cloth was fresh off the loom. The purple is 100% wool (Jaggerspun 8/2 Heather), the lighter color (pale, dull pink) is 100% baby alpaca (Hatfield from Valley Yarns). The multi colored yarns are just some handspun bits that were kicking around. I quickly knotted some fringe and continued to the fulling process!
This fulled cloth is SO SOFT. You just want to squish it and hold it and squish it again. I wish it were blanket-sized! You can see after the yarns bloomed that the pattern is now a lot more subtle in the purple warp and weft – I’m not sure I like that. In any case, I think more experimentation is required. The end result will be a shawl for me, and perhaps a shawl or two to sell. Or more. I need to make a couple to test.
Last night I went to the local weaver’s guild meeting and became a card carrying member! (Well, I’m a member – I’m not sure if I get a card…) The benefits are many: a pretty extensive library I can borrow from pretty freely, people I can thrust my latest experiment at without signs of flinching away, wisdom from other weavers, and cookies once a month at meetings!
In other news, this morning I had to shovel a bit of the porch. There are icicles on the roof of the second floor that are dripping onto a section of the porch under which I park my car. Icicles were forming on the underside of the porch right over the car and that was worrying. So I shoveled a bit.
Since I couldn’t get out the back door to where the problem spot was, I had to go out the front door (which is normally not used in the winter) and shovel a path to around the corner.
We have a lot of snow right now.
Also, it’s going to be 40F today. And I hear 50+F on the weekend. It’s going to be a lot of water.
Also, Monday is a holiday for me, which means MORE WEAVING. I hope to have more cotton stuff woven (bathmats) and another wool sample, possibly a competed shawl. And rip out the 3″ of the cardigan I started knitting so I can do it up correctly. And knit up another hat so I can get that in the mail. And finally just fix J’s sweater so I can give it back to her. But also, housework should get done at some point, and sleeping should also happen, so we’ll see…