Friday, February 10, 2017


Because I don't have enough yarn.  Or things to do.  Or knowledge.

Sometimes I see or hear comments about not using hand spun for weaving.  Or, you can use it, but only plyed.  Which is completely contradictory to the historical record.

I have used both commercially and hand spun yarns for warp and weft.  Some yarns are more tender than others and may require sizing to add strength.  But yes, you can weave with hand spun singles.

After extensive consultation with a master spinner and multiple samples, I now have the yarn to make 'something' - in this case three scarves - one for the dyer, one for the spinner, one for me.  

The spinner and I drew on our respective personal database of knowledge, consulted extensively, then she set about making samples of the hand spun singles which I then wove.  Because that is how you find out if your extrapolations are correct - you sample.  Change one thing and everything can change.

People sometimes ask me if I sample any more.   The answer is, as so often, it depends.  I now have an extensive pool of knowledge to draw upon, and frequently I will not make a sample when I am working with known yarns using a known weave structure.

But when I get a new-to-me yarn, yes, I sample.  That is how I find out the limitations of the yarn, and the hidden beauty that may be revealed in the process...including wet finishing.

Working with other fibre workers with complementary skills means that we all benefit.  I don't have the technical skills to make such a consistent yarn (in thickness, in twists per inch), and she doesn't (yet) have my weaving skills.  The dyer contributed by making yarn colours to our taste and that means that all three scarves are different colours, not all natural white.  By working together we learn a lot more, a lot faster, than if we had each tried to do this exploration from beginning to end.

Curiosity.  Love it!


steelwool said...

loving the colors. Not that they are my usual but after a gray winter, color becomes a necessity. Seed catalogs can get you only so far.

KathyB. said...

I have read your blog for awhile now but am reluctant to comment because I am still a beginner weaver and feel I have little to offer or say. I have learned from your blog and am thankful for that.

I spin my own wool from the fleeces of my flock of sheep. I have used my handspun for warp and weft ( simple , plain weaving) and found it to be very satisfactory for me, plus durable for practical use. Would I exhibit my weaving in a show ? Never ! Do I sell it, yes . It sells, but to a far different market than such fine handwovens as your weaving commands. Your weaving is beautiful and refined. Maybe one day soon I can pursue this craft more extensively. Until then I read blogs like yours, and watch & re-watch youtube tutorials to learn more. Thank-you !

Laura Fry said...

We all start at the beginning. Any refinement my textiles exhibit came after many hours of practice, analysis, and trying again, changing this, changing that. But none of what I do is a secret. It can all be learned. Keep going!

Rhonda from Baddeck said...

That is some seriously beautiful yarn! The consistency, the fineness, the colours - absolutely gorgeous! Can't wait to see the finished product!