Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Warped, times two...

People know me as a 'yarn lady'. I don't know that that is a Good Thing, but it's a fact... So they give me yarn. Now, when it comes to my tapestries, I am VERY picky. I only use a certain cotton warp, and a certain wool weft. But I'm not so picky with my knitting, so I accept the gifts of yarn, stuff them in my knitting stash closet and think, 'maybe someday...'. My next-door neighbor once gave me 18 large black trashbags FULL of yarn. And it was good stuff - yarns she had collected in her travels all over the world. She was a knitter, so there is wool and mohair, very little synthetic, and enough of each yarn to actually produce a good sized sweater. I am still using yarn from that gift! (She was moving into a nursing facility, and has since passed on to that great yarn shop in the sky, where all is free, and only natural fibers.)

Anyway, I have been recently given yarns from two different friends that were in a large enough quantity that I decided to put them together and weave a twill afghan to donate to the silent auction for the benefit of our Honduras work. It has been years since I warped my four-harness loom! But I managed it, with uninvited help, as you can see above. The final picture in the sequence is of the fixed broken warps where my helper discovered he couldn't walk on warp. The first photos are of the KoolAid dyeing I did of the weft yarn, so it would go with the variegated purple warp. Several flavors (colors?) of cherries, pink lemonade, and grape. I think I'll call it the "Black Cherry" afghan.
I also tied the warp on the tapestry loom today and wove a header. Now I know another good reason to weave tapestries: cats cannot even try to walk on vertical warps!

I played a bit on Flicker while putting the photos together, and made this 'trading card'. Fun!


Mary Pace said...

I visited your blog after reading your comment on my daughter's (Margaret-Earthly Paradise)I blog. I enjoyed reading your posts--especially about your dreams of France. I am going there next month to visit tapestry sites--my idea of a pilgrimage. I wish you were coming! I could use a bit of your technical knowledge!

I have a question. Why do you use cotton warp--I notice that cotton has been replacing cotton in needlepoint canvas, as well. I had always thought that linen was preferable for its strength, lack of stretch, and durability--some of it for centuries. Any ideas?

K Spoering said...

Well, Mary, now you have made me consider a choice I made long ago!

I chose cotton originally for it's availability and it's strength. Linen actually stretches more on the loom, and it sheds dreadfully! I like the lovely smell of linen while you work with it, but it sheds a lot of lint, and I believe that I am allergic to it. It causes quite a bit of 'linen dust' in the studio. Plus, it really does stretch on the loom, so as to cause even tensioning to be a nightmare; much more so than either wool or cotton.

Here where I live, in the Southwest US, the actual choice for tapestry warp is between cotton and wool. The Navajo weavers spin a lovely, strong wool warp which some weavers are discovering they like a great deal. It is not as fine, though, as the cotton I use. What I use is a seine cotton, originally used as netting cotton for fishing nets. It lasts a long time, is exceedingly strong under tension, and doesn't stretch or shed at all.

I used linen once or twice, and that was really enough for me. Over time, it seems to wear and break with the continual beating, so if I were to use it, I would have to re-warp the loom for each tapestry. Cotton does not do that, so I can get by with warping only once a year for the length of several tapestries. As warping is a distasteful job for me, (as is sweeping the studio daily to rid it of linen dust) I will probably stick to cotton.

I would be interested to hear what the weaver's in France are using now.

I hope this is helpful to you. Have a wonderful trip. I am quite envious of your pilgrimage! But maybe someday I will get there as well...