Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sheep To Shawl

By Leigh

For the past several years my guild has been doing a Sheep To Shawl at SAFF (Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair) at the WNC Ag Center in Asheville, NC. This year I was able to participate.

The Blue Barn at the WNC Ag Center

We had a great location and gorgeous autumn weather. Since this is a local event, most of our active guild members were volunteering in other aspects of the Fiber Fair, but we had four spinners and a weaver to demonstrate the process.

Folks were interested in the carding

We started with a donated, washed Border Leicester Fleece. Charlene, who coordinated the event, did the drum carding.

Barbara at her Lendrum
A lot of folks were interested in the entire process. This is Barbara, demonstrating spinning and answering questions.

Yours truly
Old fashioned wheel spinning.

Teena & her electric spinner helped the spinners stay ahead of the weavingTeena demonstrated on her electric spinner.

And she answered a lot of questions too.Ellen did the weaving.

Plain weave shawl in progress
The warp was a combination of 2-ply handspun and commercial wool yarn. There was a little alpaca thrown in as well. The singles we spun that day were used for the weft. The plan for the shawl is to raffle it with proceeds going toward the Blue Ridge Fiber Show.

The sheep to be sheared
In the afternoon, we had a shearing demonstration. This is Elspeth, a rescue sheep. She is a registered Shetland, who other than not having been sheared for at least two years, was healthy.

Tail end first
Paula, who owns Shetlands, did the shearing. She used a shearing stand and started at the tail.

Paula, shearing her way forward
As she sheared her way to the front, Elspeth's fleece was rolled up toward her head.

A gorgeous gray Shetland fleece
The fleece was in amazingly good condition, with very little cotting or felting. It weighted 11 pounds! Other than a break indicating the next year's growth, it was lovely. 

I'm sure Elsbeth felt better after that fleece was off
Elspeth got a massage after her ordeal. She wasn't too happy about being there, but calmed down considerably as the shearing progressed.

And the rest of the Fiber Fair?

SAFF 2009
It was bigger, better, and busier than ever, with more vendors, more classes, and more folks coming to look, buy, learn, and see.

My haul?

Rag rug shuttle
Just this, a 20.5 inch Schacht rag shuttle for the rag rug I plan to weave for our bedroom.

I didn't stay till the end because I had a pretty good drive home. It just felt good to get my wheel out and spin again. Hopefully this winter I can resume spinning as a daily activity. By the fire. Sounds good, doesn't it?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Little Quilting

By Leigh

What better thing to do on a drizzly, damp, chilly, dark day than sit by a cozy fire ...

I love our new woodstove
... and do a little sewing.

Thanks to our fireplace project, everything around here has been dusty and disorganized. With the new hardwood dining room floor to be put in next, the forecast is for more of the same, especially when we get to sanding it. So, weaving projects like living room draperies, and even sock knitting (I discovered that I can't find my needles) are on hold at the moment.

Still, I have to do something, which turned out to be an inspiration to make some pillow shams to match a comforter...

Color inspiration for some pillow shams
... which matches the green walls of our bedroom.

Initially, I had rag rugs in mind, so when I thought about sewing some pillow shams, I thought about making something that I could coordinate with a rag rug. I chose a very simple block pattern...
This color sequence will work well in polychrome weaving.
... and used a progressive color sequence which I can reproduce as a polychrome rag rug.

Quilting was my introduction to the world of fabric and textiles. Though it's been a long time since I've pieced any tops or done any quilting, I still very much appreciate the art.

At first I thought I'd do the quilting by hand. I used to have both a quilting frame and a quilting hoop, but I believe these were left behind along the way. I believe I still have some large embroidery hoops somewhere, but I'm really not sure where at the moment. So, I'm doing something I've never done before...

Machine quilting - a 1st for me!
... quilting by machine. I appreciate how quickly it's going though and this is meant to be a simple project after all.

I'm not really following a pattern, but I did find instructions to sew mitered corners, here. There's lots of other good stuff there too.

Related post:

Thursday, October 01, 2009

It Worked!

By Leigh

Remember these?

My 5 M's & O's dishtowels.
These are the red warp M's & O's dishtowels I wove awhile back. A way while back. I gave one away, and put the other four in my trunk of handwovens.

It wasn't until after I had problems with another red warp for a waffle weave sampler, that I became concerned about these. The red in that warp bled, (that post here). When I looked at my M's & O's dishtowels later I thought, "Oh gosh, I'll bet these will bleed too."

Actually, I got some good ideas in the comments to that waffle weave post, about various dye grabbing products, though I admit that I didn't try any of them. That is, not until I asked my new DIL about the colors for her kitchen and she mentioned red. I immediately thought of those M's & O's dishtowels and her upcoming birthday. Before I would give them away as a gift, however, I knew I needed to do something about any potential bleeding.

Well, I remembered your suggestions and bought this...

I popped one sheet into the wash with the dishtowels and....

.... it worked!

I will still tell my daughter-in-law to not wash these with anything they don't want to risk turning pink (definitely not my son's favorite color.)

Paula Burch has some really good information on bleeding dyes - here. Evidently the culprit is the direct dyes used by commercial dyers. Unfortunately I have a lot of commercially dyed weaving yarns, so this is something I'll have to keep in mind in the future. At least I have found help for it.