Friday, January 27, 2017

Silk Brick

I recently ordered Silk Bombyx brick so that I could learn how to spin it this year.  Last year I learned how to spin cotton, and I think what I learned last year has really helped me as I make my first attempts at silk.  You wouldn't think so, silk has really long fibers and cotton has really short fibers, but the trick is they both need a ton of twist.  Since silk is slippery, it drafts apart very easily until enough twist gets in there to hold it together.

Here is one brick in a glass vase my Son in law made me a few years ago.  It is as soft as it seems to be, even more really, and can you see the shine!
First faltering steps, I had to make some adjustments to my antique wheel to improve the uptake cause this silk likes to be spun over the fold, and you need a little extra umph when you want the thread to wind onto the bobbin.

This is as far as I have gotten on it this week, there have been a lot of catching up on unfinished projects going on here in the studio, and I have a few more yet to do.

My hope is to be able to spin fine enough 2 ply to weave with on my floor looms and also on the band looms as well.  I have started a silk project today with commercial silk thread and yarn, I posted about that over on the Tuesday Weavers blog, "Loomy Tunes".

I love learning new things, and expanding my horizons in the crafts that I already know. I am trying to figure out a way to be able to give all my favorite crafts the time they deserve.  If I come up with a good plan, I will let you know!

Until next time,  Happy Spinning and
Weaving, Tina

Friday, January 13, 2017

New to Me

Monday thru Wednesday this week was CRAZY!  LouAnn and I finally got to do the road trips we had scheduled for last week.  Monday we drove to Crossville, TN to meet a buyer for one of my wheels that I had decided needed a new home where it will be used more
Tuesday,  I drove to Elizabethton, TN to pick up a Great Wheel that has the accelerator head on it. (more on that later) I will be using it to spin cotton and probably silk.

Then on Wednesday, LouAnn and I made a trip to R&M yarns in Georgetown, TN.  They had a set of sectional rakes that I wanted to put on one of my looms.  We did the usual look at the yarns available and I might have purchased a some of that as well.  I will have to wait to put the rakes on the loom, until I finish the warp that is currently on the back beam, it is really going to make warping this loom easier.

The thing that made this Great Wheel so desirable was the accelerator head that increases the twist insertion per rotation of the drive wheel.  For example, on the wheel  that I got from LouAnn, that does not have the "speed it up" head, it would take up to 7 or 8 rotations of the drive wheel to make cotton yarn strong enough to wind onto the spindle.  With the new wheel, I can do a complete length in 4 rotations max, that is really good news!

Just a bit of cotton on the new wheel.

I promised LouAnn that I would still be using the Great Wheel I got from her to spin wool, an today I did a bunch of it!

In fact I did 2 whole spindles full, and I found a cone in the box of this same shetland wool that I had spun ages ago, so that once I spin up one more spindle full, I will have enough done to ply a good sized skein of soft yarn to use in some of my upcoming weaving projects.

You can never have too much yarn!

Until next time, keep on Crafting, Tina

Friday, January 6, 2017

Snow Day

I had big plans for today, LouAnn and I were going on a big "wheeling and dealing" road adventure, but  the weather forecast got in our way, we postponed the road trip, and as I look out the studio window, I am glad we did.  There are a couple of inches of the white stuff on the ground and the road looks quite slushy.  ( I would have been disappointed if we had called the trip off for nothing!)   Somehow unexpected time makes for a great studio day! 

This week, I have done many things that have been on my list for organizing for awhile.  I found a place for my Bosworth spindle collection,

I managed to get a fleece washed that had been hanging around since spring. (There are a couple more in bags and ready to wash. ) I also was able to sort through some of my fiber stash and pass on to others what did not make me smile.

 I have sold a spinning wheel that was not being used and I am in the process of buying a different kind of wheel that I think will be quite useful. (that postponed road trip!)

I have sold a rug loom  that needed more restoring than I am willing to do, (why do I do that to myself?)  and I am looking for a "ready to weave" rug loom. (I may have located it!)

Each year I try to learn something new.  Last year it was cotton spinning, this year it is going to be silk spinning.  With that in mind I  have found all the silk I had on hand, most of it was blended with wool, or even some silk mawata (hankies) and I have ordered a couple of different presentations of silk, some tussah roving which is a lovely honey colored silk, and I bought some hand dyed bombyx brick from a shop on Etsy.  There was another listing on Etsy that caught my eye several times but because of the price tag I hesitated to splurg.  Last month I had a birthday, and for that special day my son got me an Etsy gift card and my first thought was that listing that had caught my eye!

Yup, I did it, I ordered that kilo of bombyx brick straight from China.  As I eagerly tracked the package, it seemed like it was stuck on the dock in China for days, but I figured it hadn't been scanned when it left the dock.  Sure enough it showed up on my doorstep on Wednesday, and it is all I can do to not drop everything and dive right in!

 As promised there were 8 silk bricks in the package, more lovely than anything I have seen in the fiber world to date.

I have plenty to develop my silk spinning skills don't you think?

I have taken off just a tiny bit and spun it up on a supported spindle, but I am holding off on the rest until I finish up a few projects in the studio, because I know that once I get started on this silk, it is going to be difficult to stop!

This weeks weaving news will be posted on the Tuesday Weavers blog  "Loomy Tunes" that you can find on my blog list.

Happy snow day, Tina