I gotta say… This process was not at all, what I expected. Usually, I take great measures not to felt my fiber. I’ve always been afraid of the dreaded accidental felting. I would let the raw wool sink on its own in the scour process, to avoid agitation. I actually bought a laser temperature gun to make sure the fiber I was transferring to a new tub of rinse water, it would be the same.
I was really careful. I know the mechanics of felting… agitation, temperature change, soap (change in pH). I have watched several videos on the internet showing both how not to felt and even more on how to felt.
I had my bubble wrap, mesh, pool noodle all set…
Imagine my surprise, when it took me hours and hours to felt a very thin layer of cobweb felt. No exaggeration, it took hours of full on abuse to finally get a result. I wasn’t even sure I had felted the piece when I stopped that days attempt, from pure exhaustion. I physically could not continue. I got on Facebook live to express my frustration and I said jokingly,
“Now I understand why people started violently throwing it at a certain point… because they really were pissed trying to make felt”
All the videos I had watched would say, ‘now is a good time to get out any pent up aggression’ and proceed to wad it up and slam it into their work surface. The only aggression I had was toward this scarf I was failing at felting.
Putting myself on pause was the best thing, even though I couldn’t have gone on if I wanted.
The next day, I went to check…
it was dry and damn if I wasn’t relieved, it was felted!!!
Let me just say wet cobweb felt does not feel felted. Or, maybe it does, but I just don’t have any clue what I’m looking for. I have to say I was really pleased with my result. It was light and airy and soft cobweb felt with teeswater locks dangling and silk integrated into the fabric.
Felt is the first ever cloth humans made. And I managed to make my own… barely. I didn’t know I had managed to create anything at the time, so there is still lots of learning to be done.
I really love the result. I didn’t expect it to be so soft and light. I’m into it… which is great news for all the wool waiting to be played with
It was bound to happen. I mean, this is everything fiber arts, right?
My husband bought me a Schacht Flip loom for my birthday… Wait for it..
2 years ago!
I kept putting it off because I had only ever heard how hard warping would be. In the long run, believing this, may have helped. This idea I had built up in my head, of how difficult this was going to be, that when I mustered up the courage to take on the massive job of warping, I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it actually is. I did have some help from the people in Fibery Goodness group on fb. They talked me through any troubles. If you don’t know about them they are a great community.
And Fibery Goodness Facebook group can be found on Facebook Here
I had never taken a class on weaving. Everything I learned about weaving had come from YouTube. But the questions I still had, I was given answers in the Fibery Goodness group! Such great resource and people and classes in Fibery Goodness. I still don’t know the proper terminology for weaving. But, it is so much easier than I thought. Although, I have a lot to learn.
For whatever reason I had these preconceived ideas which I have since learned are not true, for me.
I thought I’d share those with you.
The following are myths I believed and what I have learned.
Myth – Warping is really hard
I followed directions from a video for direct warping with a peg. I’ve learned that warping is really easy. Considering it was a first time, I found it was pretty straight forward. Cutting the string at the end once removing it from the peg, was the tiniest bit nerve wracking, but they were already safe in their slots. The next time I have to make this cut, I won’t think twice about it.
Myth – warping will take longer than the actual weaving
The warping process took me 45 minutes to an hour. I have been weaving a bit each day for a week and I’m still not halfway. The steps that take the longest are bringing the yarn through each slot to the warping peg, and then when I was finished with the warping peg removing all those loops held by that warping peg, and cutting them. Rolling the warp threads closer to the loom, then taking one of the two pieces of yarn in the slot and hooking it with a special tool through the hole. It’s not fast, it’s not difficult, once you thread the first few holes, you get into a groove. Stick your hook in the hole, grab one thread from the slot next to it, pull it through the hole, NEXT! It becomes a process of doing one after the other and before I knew it I was at my last slot/hole.
Myth – lots of adjustments tying it on make sure it’s tight
It doesn’t have to be tight, it has to be even. The second you need to roll it on, you have to release a latch that completely loosens everything, but it will be rolled to the other side and that can make it as tight as you want. That’s why being evenly tensioned is more important than tight. Initially, I kept tightening each group of threads but I realized that tightness can be dealt with by turning the warp beam. It’s making sure it’s even so that when it’s turned it all turns together.
As far as I remember, I didn’t have any misconceptions about the waste yarn. Although, I am glad I used separate pieces. At the end after taking it off the loom, when waste yarn is pulled out, if I had to unweave one long string that would have been a pain, vs pulling out short bits, one row at a time
I enjoyed adding the waste yarn because I could see the warp yarn align itself to its proper place with every beat. I’ve seen regular yarn used for this but I wanted something bigger thinking it would be easier to retrieve at the end. People use cardboard strips, or rolled up paper towels, strips of fabric, I used a yarn that I made from cut up cotton tank tops.
Myth-Weaving goes by quicker then the set up aka warping
I thought warping was pretty quick and easy. I varied the thickness of my weft threads. Some were lace weight and some was chunky. Obviously, the lace weight goes a lot slower. The above black lace weight weft was only 2 inches of weaving and took longer then the whole warping process.
Even when I switched to a thicker weft it still took longer for me. Which I am pleased to have discovered. Weaving is definitely the fun part. I got a good week almost two weeks of weaving time everyday.
I also discovered how many different colors actually go with green. Weaving allowed me lots of color play that I never experienced with crochet or knitting maybe because it blends the color evenly throughout. Being over and under every thread. Whereas, with knitting or crochet it’s more color blocks.
I played with different textures, as well. Leaving favorite bits of handspun out of the woven fabric. Switching from silk hanky and silk noil, to mohair, to wool and tencel blends. From lockspun, to thick and thin, to a traditionally spun smooth single. It all worked.
I did end up signing up for a weaving class and wow!! I’m so glad I did!! I learned a bunch of fun techniques from an online weaving class given by Stacey Budge-Kamison of
Urban Gypz website she teaches a lot of cool tricks for art weaving, using handspun and art yarns, but actually showcasing them. The class was very affordable definitely worth every cent. She gives both written and video. Plus has a group on Facebook that is private in case people may have questions or want to share. It’s not your average weaving class. It’s the fun stuff. It’s art weaving tricks. It tips on adding certain things to showcase anything that might be important to you. She gives so many ideas. One can use a small loom, add things to weaving I’ve never seen, weaving to wear, wall hangings, pictures, not just yarn in a woven piece (get creative) and add it. That class got me really excited about the possibilities. I’m filled with new ideas. The same way art yarns have add ins…
Weaving can too.
We have basic spinning that can be learned and art yarns that can be learned.
Well this is fun and showcases ways to use art yarns for those special one of a kind woven pieces.
So far my knitting and crochet have been pretty vanilla but I want my weaving to be as free as my art yarns. For wearing, for fabric for accent pieces, and wall hangings. I already feel like weaving gives me a kind of freedom.
Again this is something I didn’t do much with crochet and knitting. Weaving gave me a new outlet and I didn’t start thinking his way, weaving spoke to me. I felt different when I was weaving m, I felt more free. I did use the same black silk lace weight thread all the way through my project to somehow tie everything in from beginning to end. But I’m not convinced it did. And that’s ok too.
Myth-as long as you have even tension and you use that angle before you beat, you will have even edges.
Well I really tried to do exactly what was shown in several videos and got nothing close to even. Now to be fair, I haven’t washed it at this point, but the pictures show how my edges go in and out. I don’t know if this is truly a myth yet. I’m ok with my edges for now. Being a beginner, it’s a weaving right of passage to have wonky edges. I have a feeling, that using thicker yarns, then thinner, then thicker yarns may cause different widths in the fabric and thereby uneven edges. I need to weave more and find out how that works. I’ll learn with each piece if there is any truth to my thinking regarding this.
I love the way weaving can showcase yarns!
I really had no rhyme or reason to this project. I wanted to weave my first project and experience what it was, to weave. I didn’t worry about perfection.
I didn’t worry about anything except carrying that black lace thread in certain places, throughout the project, to tie in the beginning with the end. I found that as soon as the fabric was wound onto the beam and I couldn’t see it, even with pictures, I wasn’t sure what it looked like. I couldn’t remember how thick each section was before I used my black thread again. At the end, I know I was using the black thread less often.
Another thing I did, was have any lock tips only poke through one side. So the side facing me is fluffy, and has fluffy, lustrous locks and sweet little lamb tips coming out. On the opposite side it’s smooth.
The same is true for any bits left out of the weave. These things only happen on one side. Leaving the other side to look smooth and pretty straight forward.
This piece is kind of like a mullet. All business in front and party in the back.
As it turns out, one end has more crazy lockspun where the other end has more smooth handspun.
If worn as a scarf, depending on which end you have in front or in back, it can look more business or more party.
Myth- weaving uses up a lot of stash yarn quickly
THAT IS NOT A MYTH! This is so awesome for busting through stash. If you have a crap ton of yarn, and crochet and knit as slow as I do, this can overnight make you realize….you just might not be at SABLE, like you may have thought you were!!! I know any one thinking about the possibility they are at SABLE, if you are without a loom, I can’t suggest enough to give it a try.
They have many looms that are pricey. But even trying a smaller inexpensive loom to see if this might be fun. An ashford sampler loom, a Schacht cricket loom,
Not to mention many people destash their looms at great prices when they upgrade. Look for those. Some Lys like mine even rent looms out when classes are taught. If you were in the slightest bit interested see what’s available to you.
SABLE = stash acquired beyond life expectancy
A loom is a gift for you but it’s also a major gift to your stash!! This scarf used 14 skeins of yarn!!!
Fourteen skeins of yarns!!!
Think about that a scarf!
I get to continue spinning, crocheting, knitting, to my hearts content, and weaving took 14 skeins from my stash in under 2 weeks! Next. Project I will take pictures of all the skeins I went through I had no idea how much I would have used!! Stash people that don’t have a loom… You may love this. I don’t have the saori, I didn’t make the big investment until I knew I’d enjoy it. For now this works I want to make fun stuff.
Ok so… I got to the end of my warp. I cut the edge free and did half of a Damascus edge (just one way across), and tied groupings of warp threads into a sort of fringe.
I have yet to wash it. Full it, get it wet, or whatever.
It feels rough and looks kind of a mess. I’m hoping for the magic that happens with this step everyone talks about.
Here is the woven piece before fulling.
The fluffy side front
The smooth side back
Closer of the smooth side
Yea I don’t know how much fulling can/will help this much wonk but while I won’t expect much, I’m hopeful. 😊
All in all, weaving is pretty cool and my stash is thankful! And so am I for an awesome birthday gift from my husband!
I hope this will encourage people to try weaving. I know my first try at weaving isn’t a masterpiece by any means but have you seen my first handspun ?
Here she is in all her glory.
No it wasn’t meant to be art yarn
This was my trying to spin a normal yarn.
Those aren’t coils. That is so overspun it won’t straighten at all and it is a hard rock.. If I threw it at someone’s head, they would be concussed. It could cause damage to sheet rock if thrown at a wall.
Even weighted after a soak and thwack…. Nothing. It doesn’t straighten out, it’s not usable. Can you believe that’s just wool? It is wool.
Some people saw it and say look at those coils and other art yarn techniques I’d never heard of at the time. That was not what I was going for. I thought I was spinning something I’d use hahahaha
It’s hilarious. But I could only improve from there and it’s funny now. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a first handspun quite this bad. Especially when I was hoping for a regular usable yarn. It was a great starting point because I could only go up.
I hope the same with weaving and I hope others will join me. Especially new weavers or yes experienced weavers. Fibery goodness has been wonderful and also if you are interested check out the art weaving class I took listed above.
I’ll post the woven piece once it’s finished. It needs those finishing touches.
Handspun adventures 7/16/2014 Scrapbox Edition Water Lily
Namaste Farms ‘scrapbox’ edition posts will be seen, more than once,in different themes as my collection is growing….
These are such a treat…
So far, I have Scrapboxes in themes, California Goldrush, Woodstock, Coral Reef, Perfect, Tiffany Renessaince, Shanghai, and more coming….
So, bringin it back to the Namaste Farms Scrapbox in Lily.
Now, the “Scrapbox” name was actually inspired by, her adorable rescued dog Scrappy, and his cute face is pictured as part of the logo.
What comes in these scrapboxes is just that, very generous portions of scraps. A little bit of this and a little bit of that. Each scrapbox has it’s own personality and we get a teaser photo of colors, showing some of what one might find in these boxes.
Having more than a few of these, I’ve never been disappointed. This was the 1st one I spun up. I chose to start with the
Water lily inspired scrapbox.
It came with several different fibers, locks, rovings, beads, thread, novelty yarns, nepps, sparkle (both Angelina sparkle and firestar) and more. I used everything but the beads and didn’t use all of a pink pencil roving. Each box has different fibers, different add ins, and tons of inspiration.
These scrapboxes are like being given your cool friends stash for one hell of a deal. Because, in fact… They are being made from Namaste Farm, (Natalies) stash, which includes, the late, brilliant, Janice Rosemas, stash.
Both ladies, made high end yarns for personal use and sale.
I love other people’s stash, hee hee, and the stash that’s being shared here, is exceptional, and special. Truly, I have lots and lots of stash, no shame here, I love my stash, and I won’t apologize for any wool piggery, should I be accused. Having recently moved, my cleverly stashed away stash and it’s abundant size was more clearly revealed to me. It was contained and had a place, but I will say I hauled a lot of wool to the new pad.
When it comes to the scrapbox, it’s not like buying a braid or a batt. Though a scrapbox may contain scraps of each of those.
In terms of value, these boxes can’t be weighed in ounces (although the due to the variety of fibers, the add ins, that range from fancy feathers, to lamp work beads, long locks, etc etc)
I cant really list what is in each scrapbox as, it’s never the same, and feels more like a surprise, almost as if one was in a club. Opening the box, is sooooo fun. Everytime I get a new one, it’s like my birthday… Sure, I know the color theme I ordered, but what else comes, are extra surprises and plenty new to me, things to try.
If I collected each of these items in just one box separately…. I’d easily be a few hundred $$ in, and the boxes allow one, such as myself, to sample a hefty skein amount of different items. Scrapboxes currently seem to run in the $30-$40 range generally, this includes shipping in United States. Shipping to Canada is an extra fee.
I did purchase one in the $40 range(California Goldrush), that box had high end fibers, like cashmere, angora bunny, etc and addins like vintage beads and gold. Yes, real gold. Which, I never would have even thought to try, but gold leaf actually sticks to the fiber and just meshes in, wrapping around fibers perfectly….. Ok I’m getting off track, that’s another box for another handspun adventure… It just amazes me how creative people are when it comes to handspun! Ok, Back to talking the water lily scrapbox.
Seeing what others are doing with their scrapboxes and fibers have inspired me. I’m getting more fun out of spinning artisan yarns. At the very least I wanted a fun, fluffy spin. Because the fibers are dyed and ready to go, I decided to card them together, in a way so that it might create color stripes.
The lily scrapbox color theme had lots of color.
Different shades of pink, peaches, oranges, whites, deep golden rods to bright yellows,water lily pad leaf greens, a lighter pink novelty yarn, dark pink thread, pieces of a pink handspun made of something silky, different types and colors of sparkle that matched the wool.
I honestly could not say all the varieties of fiber included in the box, as there were many different types, some softer than others, some pencil roving, some lock form, some fine wools, medium and luster wools. There were beads that I decided not to use this time, and I added in with the Tiffany scrapbox to use later.
With lily, I decided to make a batt, and then turn that into a roving with most of the fiber. Each color in its special place, sparkles, nepps, Angelina, silks…. Etc I made specialty fiber addin in woolsandwiches, lastly, I painted on the carder with the locks to keep the curl, straight to the large drum, instead of at the licker in drum. Once that was finished, I took the batt off, the outside was beautiful, I peeled back a layer and inside it hid more treats of color for me.
I decided to strip the batt, just started at the top and split straight down, then gently drafted the batt strip into a roving exposing what the batt was hiding inside.
Once finished drafting my strip,I rolled it into tidy nests, ready to spin.
I used my Matchless spinning wheel, with the jumbo head and bobbin, to allow for more fluff to pass through the orifice. I tried a new to me method, pulling fiber left and right, keeping my best to stay at a 90° angle (aka, coreless core spinning). In the very beginning, I was slow with my hands and quick with my feet, overspinning, getting some unwanted kinks. I slowed my treadling, made some adjustments, and settled into the motions my hands were making.
This was my first ever try spinning nepps. These little felted wool balls, like cupcake sprinkles, except for a fibery treat, to my surprise… didn’t always stick. Some of them actually shot out like bee bees. As I spun, nepps, softly shot at my pups napping beside me…I didn’t expect that, and neither did they. After a few misfired nepps, the dogs got up to lay, safely, elsewhere hee hee.
As far as the nepps go, when they do stay in, they look really neat, especially, the nepps being in a different color then I was currently spinning. Nepps are going to take me some practice getting use to, but fun nonetheless. I wonder if my homemade nepps will be different since they aren’t yet the hard wool balls, but rather, the tiny soft curls.
Once plying, I started with the novelty yarn, wound in the ball. It literally had texture, that looked like a brain to me. That one ball of brain yarn was in the teaser photo for this scrapbox, as seen above, and I had to have it. Come on, brain yarn, everyone?! You have to understand my intrigue.
Once the brain yarn did it’s job, I switched to, the bright dark pink thread. Which landed in lighter parts of the single I was plying, making it really pop. I love thread plying. I love the way it looks, the way it makes the other single look more puffy, and how it can stack next to each other making a faux bead, plying with thread gives handspun a completely different look, that I love. I switched next, to another thread, that was pastels in pink blue and green, all the colors in my scrapbox. Until I reached the end of my plying.
I looked at my bobbin, and I wasn’t quite sure. Had I done the fiber justice? Was it a good yarn? Was it pretty? If one were to look under my ravelry.com account (trishys)
They would see, mostly two or three ply yarns, that I’ve tried my hardest to be consistent WPI. The whole artisan yarn, tailspun, lock spun, add ins, has always intrigued me, and in fact what started my spinning to begin with. Seeing yarns that were, more than yarn, it was art! Just gorgeous and fun and showed off the fiber. I wanted to do that. Learning to spin these years, handspun is an art form itself, and I have so much still to learn and experiment and try. I do consider myself a spinner, a real spinner, and a good spinner at that. Spinning a yarn like this… is very new to me and I am loving it.
I still love my regular (more commercial looking)handspun. It’s easy for me to make now or more natural. It’s relaxing, I can do it without thinking. But I needed to try the luster packed locks, those beautiful curls that flow exactly the way they do on the animal. Exactly, like they do on the dancing rock star, sporting some fringe!
So, I am not shy about the fact my yarns that tend to be more on the artsy side, may not be as up to par as I would like them to be….BUT
considering I’m on a new wheel, my matchless with the jumbo bobbin, and new mediums from nepps to gold to true long, and I mean long, teeswater locks, I’m giving myself a little break from the perfection I’d strived for making yarn those first years.
Truth be told, my first ever handspun, looked like art yarn only because it was so overspun, it coiled onto itself and even soaking, thwacking and weighting it while drying did NOTHING TO HELP STRAIGHTEN IT. I’m not sure I’ll ever use it, mainly due to how good it feels to see how far I’ve come.
In any case, my lily scrapbox handspun…
I always compare my handspun to others, I love other peoples handspun, no two the same. Some, simple, and new, some with purpose for a project, while others just spin with nothing in mind but letting the fiber decide what it’s going to do, some better then others, as it’s just intuitive, while others have to really work at it. I consider handspun to be a true art. Much easier to make with excellent fiber, but it’s all awesome.
I decided to let my finished yarn rest on the bobbin for a day, and when I took it off…..
I must say I was pretty dang pleased with myself. It was well balanced, it was light, airy, fluffy, and I can’t wait to spin the next scrapbox.
It’s so hard to choose what comes next, since I have a feeling that with each spin I’ll get better and I want to save the special favs for the last.
The other problem with that is…. Each scrapbox is a favorite.
I’m also right in the middle of a major move, guess what was the last thing packed, and the first unpacked… Of course, my fibery goodness, how else is one to keep there sanity.
A little about why you see so much of namaste farms…?
Plain and simple.
She knows good fiber, she doesn’t mess around with anything that is going to cause frustration, like excessive vegetable matter, felting (that wasn’t meant to be felting)cotting, she is honest to a fault, about her wares and she stands behind her product. If it doesn’t meet her standards, she refuses to sell it, taking the loss. She sets the bar high when it comes to fiber. There is a reason she sells out so quickly and has such a following who love her fiber!!
If someone is unhappy, then she takes it back, no problem. She is definitely a fiber favorite of mine, that’s no secret,
I have several other favorites, you will hear of them too.
I have the stash to prove it
lots of fiber vendors, dyers, and artists, I want to share. These scrapboxes are just so inspiring…