Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Little bit of This and a Little bit of That

I have been working on felt.  I think I have the basics going well, and just need to continue making it.  I love the feel of the yardage for jackets.  I wish I could take the time to sew some.

Here you can see the felt machine rolling away...but I got a little too much soap in the mix, too many suds.  It causes the machine to slip, the fibers inside to slip and more mess to clean up.  The next batch had too little soap and took longer to absorb into the fibers.  (I need just the right amount to break the surface tension and not soap up the garage.)  

This is how the batts come to me.  They are folded and separated with tissue paper.  I lay them out in even layers, I like to have two layers with the grain of the batts going perpendicular to each other for the fabric strength.

Here the batts are laid out about 45" wide and 4 yards long.  The is the longest I can lay them out, because I can only fit 4 tables in the garage!  The wool looks a little fuzzy, because it is covered with a sheet of netting so that I can wet down the wool and get it ready to roll up and put on the roller machine. 
This piece of felt (100% wool) worked out great and I sold it to be made into jackets.  I hope to have pictures of jackets sometime in the future.
Right now I have seven pieces of felt hanging around in the back yard to dry out completely and then measured, weighted and packed to mail out to the new owners.  There is a combination of heavy felt and light weight felt for jackets.  

Here are some slippers that I made out of the heavy weight felt.  I needle felted a pattern on the outside pieces then sewed the slippers together.  The pattern is free from Martha Stewart.  I though they would fit me (the smallest feet in the house) but I had to get my son to model them (the biggest feet in the house).  I will have to make another pair for me.  I have not decided what to do on the bottoms to make them non-skid.  I have seen several possibilities, but have not made a decision yet.  Do you have any suggestions?

I also tried some cobweb scarves.  Here they are on the felting mat.  The one on the left is wool and mohair on a silk scarf (It didn't work at all, there was no "bearding" through the silk).  The other two worked well.
First Scarf
This is actually the first scarf (before the ones above).  I just opened the roving and let it felt.  I didn't like the clumps of wool, maybe I should have spent more time getting the roving laid out better.

Here is the center scarf on the felting mat.  The fiber is a mix of merino wool and silk.  I love the way the silk ripples when it is felted.  This one was much more successful to me.  I spent more time laying it out and got a more uniform fabric.

And here is the other cobweb scarf for the three on the mat.  This one is wool and tencel.  The tencel does the same ripple thing the silk does.  I love the look of it.  Even though I like silk better than tencel, the tencel gives a shine that is hard to beat.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Hand-spun Yardage

I have not been doing what I want to do.  I am not even sure where the time has gone and what I have been doing.  I did not get any more of the Europe pictures done, because I have been working through "lightroom" to be able to do my pictures better...maybe.

I did finally get a warp on and do some thinking and weaving.  I had spun some pencil roving that was very bright colored.  I thought I could use it as a surface interest yarn, with a ground fabric woven at the same time.  I had done this with Summer & Winter threading in my class and I was sure that this would work for the jacket.

Here's the hand-spun, the Zephyr (silk/wool) for the ground cloth and the book I read about the structure.  These old Shuttlecraft bulletins are great sources for weaving information.  There are no great color pictures, just "meaty" information.  

Most of the drafts used both yarns in warp and weft, and I don't think this singles will stand up to that.  The last section has patterns with the novelty yarn just in the weft.  I threaded a one block S&W and wove it up expecting to test the sett of the ground warp.

I tried both of the variations, the singles method is on the top and the pairs is on the bottom.  There were so many disappointments with this sample.  The first is just the look, I hate the stripey look...but that should disappear when I weave the 40" width (this is only 6" wide).  The structure used too much of the hand-spun, I don't think I have enough to do a jacket (maybe the front and back, but not the sleeves).  The Zephyr (which is not an inexpensive yarn) does not show at all.  That is not good use of my money.  The fabric had the hand I wanted, and it would hold a structured jacket nicely.  I wanted a collarless jacket, like a "Channel" jacket but with a "V" neck.  I had even thought of making a nice braid to bind the edges with.  I had seen a jacket like that in a catalog and was excited to make me one.  But too many things did not work in this sample.

I gave up on that threading and went back to the book.  The threading under this one did not have an illustration next to it, but referred to the front of the book.  I liked the look and re-threaded the loom.  I used a straight 6 shaft threading and changed the tie-up.  It was threaded odd; 1,2,3,4,3,4.  I can thread faster on a straight draw.  The new threading gave a great piece.

The new sample still has the stripey problem, but I looked past that and found a softer fabric that could be used for a less structured jacket and a secondary fabric that could be used for the skirt.

New Structure
Now the novelty yarn is opened up.  There are 2 shots of ground between the pairs of pattern and 5 shots between the each pair, this way the yarn will go further.  I like the openness of the pattern, and now the expensive Zephyr shows off it's wonderful sheen.  I like the color of the ground, I think it looks good with the hand-spun, and now it is tied down every 6th end instead of every 4th so it "blooms" more.

I even like the structure without the hand-spun.

Without the Hand-spun, the fabric has a nice texture
I think I could use this fabric for a skirt.  After a couple of days of messing with yarn, I have a fabric that I am ready to weave.

Well, almost...  I figured I need a second cone of Zephyr to make both jacket and skirt fabric.  I called my order in and the color is back-ordered.  I guess this one will go in the queue for later.

I have a shawl that I need to get a design for, 8 shaft huck lace.  I guess I'll move on to that for now.  I have the yarn and a request from the spinner...yes it is time for it.  What could go wrong???