Last year I participated in a challenge among some friends in September to get weaving. My personal challenge was to break out the tablets I had and work at tablet weaving, which I had not attempted in probably 20 years. I am contrary, and cheap, and so use handspun for pretty much every textile craft I do, and so I spun some beautifully luminous Shetland X Border Leicester fleece into a fine yarn, putting what I thought was enough twist in. I spun and plied this yarn from drum carded batts on my Lendrum. I ran off eight 100 yard skeins and handed them off to my dear friend Rebecca dyed the skeins up in a rainbow of colors.
I thought they would be perfect for weaving and laboriously measured, cut and threaded the cards. It took me a while to understand what I was doing and I wove with Candace Crockett’s book on my lap. I liked the result that I was getting, but after about a foot and a half the yarn had shed and pilled so very much that I could no longer open a shed. I cut the warp, tied the ends and put it away telling myself “Mission Accomplished”.
This year we are challenging ourselves again in September and I am going to revisit this yarn. I dug it out and am going to ply it again to add more plying twist. Then I hope to use it for Andean backstrap weaving, though I would also like to try some tablet weaving with it. We’ll see what I can get going. Over the year since I have been working on spinning Andean backstrap weaving yarn in the Andean manner and the yarn is very very different from what I produced last year. I spin this yarn directly from fleece and wind a two strand ball, which I then skein and dye or wash and then ply. It is much more twisted in singles and ply, harder wearing, and much smoother. I am interested to see how the two compare. I am glad that I experimented last year and got the bad result, as I LEARNED from this what I want weaving yarn to be.