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Weaving with handspun yarns

As I’ve been learning how to weave, I very quickly came across the axiom: “THEY say that you can’t weave with handspun yarn, but THEY are wrong.”

And instead of scoffing at THEM for being judgmental and stupid, I was immediately all, “Who are THEY and why do THEY say that?” For some reason, people don’t seem to like me much, lmao.

Through research, I learned the truth. Good for me.

In terms of personal weaving, you have basically three types of looms: Inkle, rigid heddle, and shaft, in order of complexity. All three of them work by putting vertical yarns (called the warp) under tension and weaving back and forth horizontally between them (the weft). With inkle and rigid heddle looms, you can definitely use handspun yarn for both the warp and the weft: if it can be tensioned, it can be used (side note for “sticky” sheds that I’m not getting into right now).

Now, I haven’t used a shaft loom — they are expensive, and I’m just a poor sod surviving in the midst of an economic crash/the end of the world. But, the word on the street is that they are quite harsh on the warp threads.

So, THEY were talking about shaft looms, where you are much more likely to break a warp yarn through friction. Heck, THEY even recommend using a humidifier when working with linen because it’s stronger when wet, and we’re not kidding around here.

And it’s rather disingenuous to act like the advice was intended for rigid heddle looms, purely for the sake of appearing smarter. Just sayin’.

Now we’re all enlightened.

byautumnrain.com

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Rigid Heddle loom project #2

I got some different yarns to experiment weaving with, which is turning into a huge amount of fun and I can totally quit whenever I want. #JustKiddingI’mAddicted

This one is mercerized cotton, which has been treated to have a shine.

Wait a second, and let’s backtrack.

I forgot to mention that I bought white yarn and dyed it a speckled peacock blue and hot pink. Basically, after soaking it in soda ash, I sprinkled the blue dye powder over one half of the skein, and the pink dye powder over the other, and let it set for a couple of days before washing.

On the loom, the mercerized cotton naturally wove with lots of spacious gaps between the yarn, so it almost looked like a type of netting. However, after I washed it, all of those gaps disappeared and I got a decently solid fabric:

Now I need to figure out what to do with it.

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Rigid Heddle

Back in January, I got an inkle loom for weaving straps, and fell madly in love with the whole process. A month ago, I got my hands on a rigid heddle loom.

I’ve been going through my stash of acrylic yarn on practicing, experimenting, and learning, and finally decided that I was up for using my handspun on the loom. The result is pictured above.

The kids have claimed all of my earlier pieces for themselves and their toys, so only heaven knows when I’ll see those again, ha ha. I guess they make some pretty good doll blankets and shawls.

Weaving actually has a therapeutic effect because of the repetitive motions of passing the shuttle from one hand to the other, combined with the feeling of accomplishment at making something. I like to joke that maybe it will help get me out of my massive feelings of disillusionment towards humanity, but really, it’s best to be honest with ourselves and accept the fact that the disillusionment is here to stay. The past couple of years have been playing out worse than I expected, and here I thought that I was a cynic before 2020 — now I realize that I had been an optimist.

I’m pretty heavy into the “just one more pass with the shuttle,” as an hour goes by. My husband once took the loom away from me so I would actually go eat. It draws me in, and I love it so much. Weaving makes me happy in a way that knitting and crochet never did — I’m even starting to make a sizeable dent in my yarn stash.

When I don’t have a bunch of small children running around, I’m probably going to end up with one of those big shaft looms.

Now I just need to figure out what to do with all the cloth I’m making.

About Me

Posture

I’ve dun gone and murdered my foot through slovenly treadling at my spinning wheel.

Okay, so it’s mostly fine, but every now and then I get a stabbing pain if I step wrong. That would be the tendons screaming at me.

As a Millennial, no one ever impressed the importance of posture on me during my childhood. Quite the opposite, actually, since I was told that I held myself unnaturally straight, and was therefore uncomfortable to be around. In an effort to “fit in,” I taught myself to slouch.

Now that I’ve realized the reasons why people historically cared about posture, I regret doing that. Unfortunately, childhood habits like that tend to creep in the moment I stop watching. I wish that just one person has said, “Good on you,” back when sitting straight was easy, so I wouldn’t have felt like a freak for it. Could’ve saved myself from a lot of pain.

Anyway, I wasn’t paying attention to my foot on the treadle of my spinning wheel, and now after a mere year and a half of using it, the bad practice has caught up to me. I need to correct my errant ways.

Though in my defense, my learning materials never mentioned anything about peddling with your entire foot.

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Fiber of the Month – April

Paradise Fibers’ fiber of the month club

Cherry Blossom

Tea and Crumpets

Yes, I am way behind.

For those who don’t know, I had a baby at the end of April, and this was the first yarn I’ve spun since. Honestly, it probably wasn’t the best choice to get me back into the swing of things, and I had a difficult time controlling the nepps and mixed fibers in the roving. It’s … um … very textured.

But, thankfully, I can always call the yarn ‘artistic’ and use it anyway.

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Fiber of the Month – March

Through Paradise Fibers

I’m moving pretty slow these days for some strange reason … XD

For March, Paradise Fibers sent out neon merino wool. All of my kids were just as excited about this one as I was, and we agreed that the colors were delicious enough to eat, lol.

So rainbowy and beautiful. 🙂