Thursday, June 12, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I am cleaning up my yarn room and offering various skeins or balls of yarn for sale at $2 per ounce. Shipping (from 43952) is extra, but if you buy two pounds or more, you get free shipping. The yarn is mostly handspun, some is dyed, some is natural colors (shades of brown, white, tan, gray). Almost all are composed of natural fibers--wools, mohairs, angora, silk, cotton, rayon, or blends, etc. There are a few that have novelty components--e.g. a strand of metallic, or some angelina, or some razzle-dazzle type novelty yarn. Some of the yarn is handspinners' or handpainters experiments, or left-overs from large custom orders or projects. So you get a variety of colors, textures, weights and fibers. Yardage ranges from about 25 yds. to over 200 yds. You can specify if you want natural colors, or dyed yarn, or a mixture of both. Here is a picture of some of the yarn I have skeined up. I will put up more pictures as I go through the room. I think I have at least 10 lbs of assorted yarns.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Again, today we did more work on our Navajo rug, well, not really a Navajo rug, but something much more primitive. After warping the loom with dark brown cotton at 6 ends per inch, and twenty nine inches in width, I remembered that I should have warped it out much further, because there is always a little draw-in, at least an inch on either side. I would think that the Navajo rug weavers had saddle blankets in mind, or blankets that would fit comfortably on a horse. That is why I chose twenty nine or thirty inches for the width of the Navajo rug. I also remembered that I should have double warped the heddles on the ends, as these take much stress, and invariably keep breaking. In any event, I started the weaving. As foreseen, the most difficult part is trying to get the weft packed in tight enough. The handspun yarn I used packs in really well. It is a single ply. I wonder if the Navajo rug weavers used a single or double ply yarn? It would be worthwhile to know. I pull at the warp by first pressing the beam against the weft and then on the other side, manually pull groups of five or six warp strings at a time. Unfortunately, the cotton warp is starting to snap. I may have to start all over! Someone suggested a warp with polyester. I suppose it is stronger, however, I hate polyester! I doubt that the Native American weavers and artisans would stoop to using polyester yarn in a Navajo rug. (to be continued)
Friday, June 6, 2008
At one time or another, you've probably seen and loved the beautiful Navajo rugs woven of wool, with earthy tones-- deep greens, rich reds, many shades of tan, mocha and sand-- that you can only get from natural colored fleeces or natural dyes. These Native Americans use an upright loom, very tightly warped. That's how they get the very tight, thick texture, needed for a strong Navajo rug. It must take them weeks, if not months to make a good rug, when you consider that they have spun the wool by hand, most likely on drop spindle, or something very primitive.
Inspired by a stash of fleeces from our sheep and goats, I have decided to try weaving a good woolen Navajo rug using handspun yarn. I'm using my rug loom--a simple, two harness contraption that I have used to make countless colonial style rag rugs over the last fifteen years. I've never tried a Navajo rug.
After some thought, I decided to use a dark brown cotton warp. I prefer wool, but most of my handspun is too soft, and my commercial yarns are either too thick, or too springy to make a good warp. My daughters and I warped the loom at six ends per inch, and decided to make it twenty-nine inches wide. As you might have guessed, we spent much time trying to get the warp on as tightly as possible. I'm afraid it is not as tight as an upright loom. I am sure the Navajo rug weavers would not approve. (To be continued)
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Here is a picture of some of the Blue face leicester locks I am offering at $20 per half pound plus shipping. These locks have been washed and are great for blending, spinning, dyeing, felting and next to the skin garments.