Friday, 26 September 2008

Madder, linen and cats, Oh My!

Last Sunday I was part of a Guelph Handweavers and Spinners Guild sheep to shawl team at the Drumbo Fall Fair. The guild fielded two teams. GHS team A came first while we came in 2nd, by only 1/2 point. The first place team scored 88.5 and we scored 88. We were pretty happy. The team is an amazing group of gals and it's so much fun to work with them. It was a great day and a really nice break.

Between scrubbing and packing extra stuff away, I actually got some more fun time in. I cut the madder dyed tabby woven fabric up. That was a pain as I didn't have quite enough for the pattern I'd wanted to use and had to set the pieces of a regular T-tunic several times before I could fit them on the fabric. I could have done an apron dress with ample fabric to spare, but it's too late now. It cut beautifully and I had almost nothing left over. I did save some of one selvedge edge as it is so nice and straight.
It's half sewn together already, however the cat has decided that he likes the madder dyed wool. I've put other wool pieces down for him, commercial wools, but he's having nothing to do with them, my cat of descerning tastes.
In between times, as the fairy tale goes, I've been spinning straw into gold or spinning flax. I've tried both line or flax strick and tow flax or flax top. Both required more spin than I'd expected. I wet spun them - don't use too much water, just dampen your fingers or you glue a whole fat bit together, which you don't want. Interestingly enough, I wasn't able to fill a bobbin as the flax doesn't spread out to fill gaps in the bobbin as wool does. It just piled on top of each thread, so I wound off at half a bobbin full. I got about 250yds - 360 yds per half bobbin, so that is pretty good. I have enough spun to use for the weft of a good sized tea towel. I'm out of flax fibre though and I want to spin more ... bwa ha ha ha ha... It's quite satisfying to spin flax that I can actually use for weaving more than a sample bit. The skeins are quite fine, pretty even and not many more little ends sticking out than the commercial linen singles I have. By the third bobbin, it was actually really nice.

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