Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A little handspun for tapestry

I never thought I would consider handspun that I made my very self for tapestry. Heck, I never thought I would be a spinner. I avoided all things spinning for about a decade. I was too busy with the actual weaving. And honestly, I thought my tendency toward OCD would kick in big time with a task like spinning. It is kind of true as is evidenced by last week's five day spinning bonanza.

It turns out that spinning is a fantastic way to learn about fiber. I have learned more in the last six months about how different fibers act than in the rest of my fibery life.

I had a little time in the mountains last week. And I took my new Turkish spindle. I love it more than I ever thought possible. In fact, I did little else besides spin and play with these urchins.

This particular get-up was my favorite. The backpack was mandatory and she was the one who wanted the hat backwards. And her favorite sandals with socks of course.

My niece and I are making willow weavings. This first one was for her Mom. For three and a half, she did a great job with the knots.
We took a couple hikes. I was pretty impressed these littles could hike a couple miles. The youngest is 19 months!

I took the spindle on the hikes of course. How could I not?

I even finished these little weavings from our last backpacking trip in preparation for doing a mini-tapestry with the handspun.
As soon as I can find some time on the deck with a Hokett loom, I'll start!

After five days of spindle spinning, I can definitely say that I'm getting better. I had a lot more trouble spinning the CVM roving (the brown) than the unidentified Brown Sheep Mill end roving (the blue) I think because the staple length of the CVM was much shorter and I had more trouble controlling the drafting with it. But I'm getting better and soon I'll have a little brown and blue tapestry to show for it.
Spending time with kids is a good way to remember this. A piece of bark was never so exciting as through the eyes of a toddler.


  1. Your nieces are adorable. Isn't it fun teaching and passing on the craft to them. My granddaughter is 9 now and to my amazement she spent some time knitting and spinning with me yesterday, but truth be told, she is at that age where that kind of stuff is not as exciting as it was when she was 3 and 4 weaving on my table loom (she finished a scarf) and trying to learn to spin. However, as much as I want to spend time weaving and spinning with her, I tell myself the seed has been planted. Someday, if she chooses, she will at least know what spinning, weaving and knitting are about. It's not a lost art.

    1. Thanks Michele! I was wondering if the 3.5 year old was too young for my little floor loom (sold the table loom), but perhaps I should see if she is interested when she is here in a few weeks. I think she might be too short to do the treadles even standing though. She is really tiny for her age. Her sister wears her clothes... maybe I need a table loom after all. :-)

  2. I think a table loom fits the little ones better. However, a Cricket might be fun too and cheaper. I know Angelica wanted to press the treadles on my floor loom and she liked that, but when she was on my ashford (standing on a chair so she could reach the levers) she loved being able to do it all. I had her say "1 and 3 going down" then she'd push the shuttle through. Then, " 1 and 3 going up 2 and 4 coming down" etc. She didn't take to the Cricket loom as well, but then she hardly weaves any more. What can I say.

  3. I think Sarah Swett was a good influence on you. I love to weave with my handspun. I have a lot of little pieces left over from knitting projects, and they go in the weaving basket. Glad you are enjoying it.

    1. So true! Sarah was a great influence on me (for good or evil!) Now I have all these spinning projects I want to do as I learn how to do this new thing. Never enough time, but it isn't at all wasted. What fun it is!

  4. Don't you love the portability of a spindle?!.....I can't walk and knit, but I can walk and spin.
    We have a small cabin in the woods (northern Mi,) and spend about 1/4 to 1/3 of our time there since retiring. My friends all asked if I was going to take a loom and a wheel up there. Nope.....I take my Jenkins spindles (they fit really well into a single malt scotch box ;)..with some wool for padding). It's amazing how much spinning is accomplished in a week up there.....a few minutes on the porch steps in the morning, a little spindling while taking a little stroll, sitting in front of the campfire.
    Hmmm maybe I'll take the Hockett loom up there in the winter when the evenings are longer.....

  5. I am also new to spinning and I do love it no mater if it's the wheel or the spindle and the Turkish is my fav it's so much fun even when I have to chase a very large puppy for my fiber after he gets it in his mouth it's so funny to see him try to get rid of it fiber is kind of like giving a dog peanut-butter it takes some time to get it out of your mouth. I can't wait to take my handspun and use it in my tapestry. Right now I am using it in a small loom to do some twinning just sort of prof of concept that it could be a rug or a tapestry.


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