Tagged: wool

Berber wool, half a sock, more Renata

Just back from a week in London and I managed to make it up Finsbury Park to go to the Handweavers Studio and Gallery, thank god I had limited time as otherwise I would have been pulled into a black hole of browsing. The rug wool that they have alone paralyzed me in my tracks with ideas. I had gone there knowing I wanted to buy some berber wool and linen rug warp which is harder to get in Canada, so I put my blinders on (how PAINFUL!) and didn’t look at the looms or the cottons or any of the tools and picked up some balls of berber wool which I am SO excited about. They also had a really amazing wool rug by Jason Collingwood (son of Peter Collingwood) on display which I was excited to see.

I got part way through a sock on the plane as well, I don’t know what’s going on with my sock knitting at the moment, I wanted to try out doing them differently but this one seems to have gone a bit weird, I think because I have been doing the Woodsman’s socks so much I had forgotten how to do regular ones.

And my wonderful friends who introduced me to Renata Bonfanti’s work gave me a catalogue, her work is blowing my mind, especially the pieces that are variations on a pointed twill, they are so inspiring.

New tool, new loom, secret shawl

I joined the Greater Vancouver Guild of Weavers and Spinners last spring and finally had time to make it to one of their meetings last week. I think it was one of the friendliest groups I’ve ever walked into not knowing a soul and their library is a TOTAL treasure. I am going to do some volunteering for them in the library as their collection is extensive and has been well maintained since the Guild’s early days (it was established in 1934). The best thing about the Guild so far seems to be the pipeline into equipment that is for sale, I came home with a ball winder for $30, which in tandem with my umbrella swift is pretty much my new favorite tool. I had to stop myself from balling every skein in the house, it’s so efficient.

I’ve just finished a really beautiful shawl out of the handspun wool from Germany, but it’s a gift so I won’t post pictures of it not wrapped till it makes it to it’s new owner. No matter how much washing I did of that wool beforehand it was still SO greasy when I got it on the loom, which gave the lifting of the harnesses some trouble. Once it was off the loom I washed it in Dr. Bronners and I think this is now the way forward, it came out really soft and seemed to remove most of the lanolin. I’m going to use Dr. Bronner’s from here on in with this wool, because it seems to work much better than regular dish soap, which from what I’ve read is generally suggested.

AND, I am going to be the owner of a Leclerc Mira this coming Monday (!!). I’m not ready to part with my Nilus, but I imagine once the Mira is put together I may have to reconsider keeping it around.

Summer Dyeing Part 3: Golden Rod and Black Walnut

Just behind us there was tonnes and tonnes of golden rod growing, so I had high hopes that it would give us a really saturated yellow


Summer Dyeing Part 2: Elderberry and Nettle

We set up our dyeing station outside, using a gas camping stove. We rigged a little wind barrier, as it was hard to get a simmer on a gas stove when the wind came along. Ripe elderberries were not hard to come by, I filled my bucket up quickly just behind the house where one bush in particular was full of berries. I mordanted two skeins of the B&L, using 20 grams of alum and 14 grams of cream of tartar to correspond to the approximately 200 grams of wool was I dyeing and the 400 grams of berries I had picked. I boiled the berries for over an hour and then left them in the dye bath over night. I simmered the wool for over an hour (all of our times were pretty approximate) and then left it in the dye bath for the rest of the day, then gently squeezed it out and put it to dry. It gave a very muted shade on the browner side of purple, we

Wool runners

Now that I’ve repaired my loom I spent the weekend making a wool runner for a table and a single place mat. I just wanted to make sure my loom was working completely properly and to my relief it is. The draft is a simple pointed twill. I used a pretty rough wool for the warp and then various shades of maroon to orange wool for the weft. I think they came out quite nicely. I’ve been looking a lot at weaving samples by Else Regensteiner, a Chicago-based weaver who studied with the Albers and at Black Mountain College,

The Vancouver Archives hold all the archival material of the Greater Vancouver Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers going back to the 1930s. I am going to spend some time there this week, just from the catalogue descriptions I think it is going to be a treasure trove of photographs, publications and samples. They have a few weaving and wool-related images digitized, these ones of Cowichan wool being hung out to dry are pretty amazing.