Sunday, March 18, 2018

Slogging Along

I began the year with a new project; to spin, weave, and sew a shirt from cotton to wear at Convergence 2018. Ambitious, but achievable, this is going to push me out of comfort zones, and allow me to finally accomplish a lifelong dream of making a shirt from scratch.
I am spinning Sally Fox's naturally colored cotton in green and brown and white. I purchased a pound of each from her years ago before I realized quite how much a lb of cotton will spin up.
As you can see, gorgeous colors of cotton and they will end up woven into a Tattersall plaid of  narrow lines of brown and green on white. I am excited for this. I have the pattern (my friend Sara recommended it).
 It is so much fun to spin and dream and think of the fabric I will be making and the next one and the next one. This fun, however, does not stick around and now I am at the point where the spinning is a slog. I still have about 2500 yards left to spin (of two ply) to reach the 8000 yards estimate I will need. The problem is, I am tired of spinning cotton and I am tired of spinning for this project. I know I will LOVE making and wearing a garment from scratch. I know the weaving will be fun because I always love seeing cloth build up on the loom. I know I am improving my cotton spinning, and spinning in general, because of the the time I am putting into this. All of those things are wonderful, but in the end, it has become work, a chore, a slog, to get through the spinning.

I think this is a good thing, however. Sometimes working through a project is not always fun, but putting in the time and the effort and pushing through when it gets difficult is what makes a project valuable. It will take me at least 100 hours to spin and ply the yarn for this shirt, and that surprised me. Even though, intellectually, I knew that it takes a great deal of time to make a garment I was surprised by what it FEELS like to put in that time. It makes me think of our ancestors who, until that last three centuries or so, would have had to make everything from cloth that was handspun. What a tremendous amount of time and effort went into every scrap of cloth and no wonder it was valuable, stored and displayed as wealth, carefully mended and patched and cut down and refitted and recycled and used until literally it fell apart or rotted. It is a valuable reminder to me, in this world of disposable fashion and cheap clothing, to step back and remind myself that while there may not be as many hours of work in a garment, there is still the work of people who are most likely being exploited, the resources that went into processing the fiber and dyeing it and transporting around the world the various parts that make up a garment. Textiles are so easy to take for granted, but the slog reminds me that they take work and resources.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Year end, year beginning.

It was an eventful 2017 and so far an eventful 2018. 
After my fall natural dyeing blitz I wove a scarf which as become my favorite piece of clothing 

I knit Mitts, of handspun naturally dyed wool, but need to knit more as these were both given away.

Had a fantastic trip to Germany where I got to see my great Aunt who taught me to knit socks.

And ended the year with a Flax spinning marathon (I love spinning flax!) 

2018 is not off to the GREATEST start as I wanted to weave with my linen singles, but did not size them enough.
Ending with a sad instance of Scissors on warp.

 I will try to rescue this warp, but in the meantime have been enjoying Luxury, spinning Abstract Fiber Yak/Silk in Alfalfa and another green on my matchless.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


I spin for team Spin Off this year and totalled 3660 yards by spinzilla calculations!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Color from nature!

This summer and fall I have been exploring natural dyes (as opposed to 'real dyes' as a dear friend calls commercial dyes) and i have been having the time of my life! All sort  of yarn and wool dyed with walnuts, natural indigo powder, japanese indigo from my garden, lichen, goldenrod, and buckthorn. I am so excited to use all of this and my first priority is spinning up some of the fleece for Spinzilla.
Indigo powder and lichen :

Local dyes from my garden and surroundings:

Friday, July 28, 2017

Thursday, January 19, 2017

New year

I keeping meaning to blog more often.
I was determined to get the Jacob twill off the loom in 2016 and I succeeded with one day to spare. This weekend I finished the fabric in the washing machine, and now I mean to make it into a Hapi or Hanten. My studio is chilly in the winter and it would be the perfect garment to keep me warm without overheating. The first photo is prefinishing and the second is post finishing. I love this fabric!

I am spinning up some more wool this month to get a warp on the loom. I dyed half of a batch of Corrie x something with greener shades in greens and blues, and left the rest grey. I aim to make a nice comfortable wrap or if I have enough, a pullover hoodie type thing. For February I have plans for spinning cotton and flax. I have declared it the month of cellulose fibers. If anyone wants to join me, I love hearing what you are doing!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Romney Love

Earlier this year, my dear friend Lynn got me a Romney fleece at Rhinebeck. I long to go there some year, but this was the next best thing. I have never worked with Romney fleece before, surprisingly,  and I wanted to explore one. Lynn has excellent taste and I was super excited to get the fleece in the mail. I washed it turning it from this
To this
It is absolutely gorgeous and I love it! I carded two rolags and spun them, but was not excited about the yarn, so I went for combing. I timed it and in half an hour I can get ten nests combed up. I have not weighed it yet. I am super excited for this yarn, but it will take a deal of time to do the combing. The combed top is so pretty, it makes it worth it.