Thursday, 5 June 2008

You Can't Weave with Singles - NOT!

I've been spinning over the winter. Not alot to show for it in quantity but they are fine singles and there are several thousands yards - think I'm close to 3000 at least now in the few bobbins that I've spun. Yes, there are times I think it's very frustrating to not have to change a bobbin for several weeks at a time. However I am enjoying myself immensely and I'm so much better at this fine stuff now. So it's wrapping up at something about 45 wpi -
I took a skein to the Guelph Weaver's Resource Network (WREN), an informal gathering of weavers helping weavers. Everyone said I couldn't weave with singles this fine. I was told to ply or to get a commercial warp at least as just weaving with handspun singles wasn't possible.

I did look into the commercial warp -$64 lb - but was undecided at first as to what I wanted to do with this, so didn't bother ordering any. Finally, I decided that this was meant for smaller projects as I only have 1 lb of this Blue Faced Leicester and 1 lb of Merino that I'd earmarked for this lace weight experiment. Not enough for a gown or tunic, enough for a hoods, shawls etc.

Against all the good advice and dire warnings - which I thank people for as I know they're only trying to save me from myself, I sized my skeins in double strength gelatin on Monday. Cenini and some other resource, which I notice I've lost my notes on, mention sizing with hide glue. Gelatin is a close relative to hide glue and I know for certain it is easy to wash out. I let the skeins dry and wound them into centre pull balls. I got out the warping board and wound the warp Tuesday.

I got the warp on the loom yesterday- 260 threads for a narrow project - took no time at all! It was a short warp, only 2.5 yards, just in case all hell did break loose and my threads were breaking everywhere. They didn't snap while dressing the loom, nor did they snap while weaving off the first project. Today I am weaving project #2 - and if all works out, I'm hoping to find the space for a 3rd project. I may not have a sample for my book, but a 3rd complete project would mean far less waste. I'm all for less waste.

I'm quite happy with this project on the loom. I'll have to wait until after it's off to be certain. Yes, I factored in an amount for sampling sometimes.. you know how it goes, you just start and it all seems to work and you just keep going. Energizer bunny syndrome or something like that.

It's white - I don't really do white very well so I think a tad more research and I'll make it less white. Ellagic acid (walnuts most likely source) , iron mordants on wool versions - silk versions show yellows, yellow browns, indigos, orchil, madders. Something along this line has been found in Dublin, Jorvik and in all likelyhood Birka. A far reaching fashion -

It's a small weaving project but sometimes those can be lots of fun. There is indeed something to be said for immediate gratification once in a while.


Michael said...

Looks beautiful to me! I LOVE doing things that people tell me I can't do... I got a lot of that when I started in with my silk reeling.

Karen said...

Holy Warp Batwoman!

That's some beautiful weaving! What's the threadcount per inch? The Viking Era threadcount in cloth is quite high (and it's almost always singles) - you're definitely have to be close!


Now all ya gotta do is repeat the process on the warp-weighted loom. :)


Nina said...

Thanks Michael!

Karen - I warped at a sett of 24 threads per inch. That is getting close to medium grade Viking fabrics. The fact that it's almost always singles is why I can't understand why I keep getting told I can't do it.

W.W. Loom is coming. I believe that is one of the reasons I can't have my van today as it is being used for wood transportation.

CSJ said...

Lovely work and it is great that you just followed your muse and did the weaving your way!

Have you woven your fine singles on the warp weighted loom yet? that would be super fun!

I have a question about the gelatin sizing. Would you please let me know how you mix the gelatin sizing. I have not found any references as to how to mix, what proportions of water and gelatin.
Thanks for your help.

Nina said...

gelatin sizing
I use bulk gelatin as it is much cheaper than the packets.
For a 2 cup batch of sizing-
Take 4 tbsp of gelatin and put it in a pot. Add 1 cup of cold water. Stir - let sit for 5-10 minutes to soften. Stir again. Add a 2nd cup of water - keep stirring it while slowly bringing to a boil. Cook for a couple of minutes and make sure all the gelatin is dissolved.
Allow to cool to room temperature. Sometimes I find the mixture is a bit thick and I stir in another 1/4 cup of water.

Soak skeins - squeeze well or spin out all excess water. Put into room temp gelatin mixture. Allow to absorb gelatin - gently squeeze skeins in the mixture and then squeeze out as much excess gelatin as you can.
Hang skeins to dry with a bit of weight.

packets of gelatin have 2.5 tsp in them...

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Amanda Schaefer said...

Beautiful work, I love spinning lace and I would like to weave some super fine, airy, light shawls one day. What loom are you using and what is the DPI on your reed Thank you, Amanda