Friday, 14 March 2014

Linsey Woolsey/ Wincey Planning

I've decided on doing some Linsey Woolsey yardage for my 75 hour project.  My rejigging my pattern design, I was able to reduce the hours needed to finish, enough to get close enough to 75 hours for me.    Linsey Woolsey is an old fabric, also called Wincey, which has originally a linen warp and a wool weft.  When it started being made in cotton growing areas in the U.S, the warp was often changed to cotton, depending on what you had on hand.   You can find examples in both tabby or plain weave and basic twills. 

  You can find examples of solid colours, lots of stripes and a few checked type patterns.   The wools were able to be easily dyed while the linen and cotton, were much harder.  Cellulose fibres require a different mordanting process, which I've not yet delved into.    I'm guessing that the checked warps were blends of scoured / not scoured patterning of linen but I've not gotten that far on my research yet.   To combine the linen and wool in the same warp would create inconsistencies in warp tension as the linen and wool threads would stretch at different rates.  However, there is plenty of evidence for horizontal stripes, meaning the wool was dyed.  Protein fibres dye easily with natural dyes, so it's a no brainer.  Look at some of the 17th C pictures and you see skirts/petticoats with stripes, most likely made from using a length of yardage, with the selvedges being used for the hem and at the waist. 

Linsey Woolsey seems to have been used for quilt backs, functional fabrics and for everyday clothing.   I'm making an apron.  It's a bit of a stretch for linsey woolsey as I think a work apron would have been cotton or linen, so it could be easily washed.  A fancy apron would have been silk or fine cotton.  However, I only have 75 hours and I can make a serviceable, if needing to be hand washed apron in that time.  The fabric would be period  correct and I'd use it.  Those are two of the major factors in any project I make... well the will I use it part, anyway.

 On Tuesday night, the guild had spinning night.  It was much fun and camaraderie.  It was good to get out and play with friends.  I took my smaller wheel, which fits in the truck between the jump seats and grabbed a handful of the wool that I wanted to use for the 75 hour project weft.   I was certain it was the fleece from a Shetland sheep called Kinread ... I'm sure I'm spelling that incorrectly.  Anyway, he's a whether sheep ( means he can't breed) with a decent,older style Shetland fleece.  He's not pure white, though his fleece cleans up much whiter than I expected, with just bits of brown and black in him.   I start happily spinning away, wondering why the fleece seemed a little on the coarse side.   In the past 3 days, I've spun 8 hours on the wool not to mention the time I've put in on spinning flax.  My handful of wool was done and I went to get more.  It was a bit that hadn't had all the lanolin washed out of it so I went hunting for the remaining bag of fleece which was in the sunporch, so I could wash up a bit more.  I was certain that it had been labelled, so when I couldn't find it, I grabbed the only bag of fleece which was what I thought, the right colour.  Except that I didn't remember Kinread's fleece being bi-coloured.  In fact, I was pretty certain the only bi-coloured fleece I had was a Romney/Icelandic X, which had some pretty defined colour shifts, from brown to light tan, rather than being truly bi-coloured. 

I started washing and realized that this was indeed the Romney X and not the Shetland.  A quick, more careful hunt, found that the bag marked Kinread, had fallen behind something and was a bit damp.  If I didn't wash it right away, it would be toast.  I've spent my day washing fleece.  Every flat surface with ventilation has been covered with screens and towels and of course, fleece.  I've still over half a bag of Kinread to wash.  As well, I've washed up more of the Romney X, in both the lighter and darker shades. In my first project draft, I was going to dye stripes but had to eliminate that due to time requirements.  Instead, I'll get my stripes naturally, with the fleece and only need the one fleece to boot.

What is the only drawback here?  The yarn on the niddy noddy is the Romney X wool singles.  The bag of skeins is the spun flax or linen singles.  Notice the colour?  Yep, where was my brain when I started this?  I'd wanted a change in spinning colour?  It won't happen until I get to the brown.   On the other hand, the linen will scour up to a much lighter colour and that will make for a pretty patterning on the fabric.

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