Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mohair Scarf Workshop

I have loved mohair ever since I was a kid. When I was older I bought a mohair throw made in Scotland; now that I'm on the farther end of 'older', I still have that mohair throw. It still looks good.

I just haven't gotten around to spinning much mohair yet, but will before the winter is over. Now I can say that I have wove with mohair, in fact I have made a lovely wintry scarf. 5" wide by about 5'.

It's a beautiful teal blue and is genuine British mohair. Soft and with a lovely halo! The Oxford Weavers and Spinners Guild had a workshop on weaving with mohair taught by Barb Jones on Oct. 25, 2014. Linda Wallbank was very kind letting the Oxford Guild use her studio facilities since our room at the schoolhouse in Woodstock has been without heat.

Discussing mohair properties
Barb and Ann
Fringe being tied
Suzi hard at work on mohair scarf. Linda in background.
Teal Mohair Scarf finished.
I learned how to handle it and the special considerations to take when weaving with it. The scarf was completed and wet finished all in one day.

Cochineal Dyed Mohair
Barb was also very generous and shared some of her stash with us. Some mohair with wool blended.
I soaked it; put an alum mordant on it; and dyed it with some leftover cochineal dye. This was the third time I used that particular cochineal vat.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Woodstock Fleece Festival 2014

Oct 18, 2014 found us at the Woodstock Fleece Festival once again. This shot is taken just before the doors open and we're ready to begin after spending many weeks getting ready. Every year just gets better.

I participated in the longest thread challenge to raise money for the Alzheimers Society and placed third. Lisa Wallbank was first place and Ute Zell placed second.
3rd Prize in Longest Thread Challenge for Alzheimer
Cheryl Roberts of Fullin' Woolens, Cavan, ON generously donated this prize package of gorgeous rolags of Italian Merino, Tussah Silk, nylon, pulled sari silk, and angelina. It's sooo pretty! Can't wait to spin it and weave it. Thank you so much!

Shopping Time...
Romney Fleece from Willow Farm
Millends stuffed in bag from The Black Lamb
I did a little shopping and got a bag of superwash mill ends from The Black Lamb and a gorgeous silver Romney fleece from Willow Farm. At this very moment it is in the scouring process and half of it is about to spun out and put out to dry on this very windy day.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Spinning Hemp & Happy 2014 Thanksgiving

I have a stash of hemp sliver I have been saving for a couple of years. Now seems like the perfect time to bring it out.
Last evening I began the spinning using my Norwegian style wheel, which I love spinning on. I'm using the mid size whorl and it took a few adjustments before I managed to find the sweet spot with the drive band tension.

The hemp is beautifully fine, shorter stapled than I expected...and much more difficult to spin than flax. I had to experiment with different methods.
I resorted to pulling out one of my reference books-thank you Stephanie Gaustad for writing 'The Practical Spinner's Guide-Cotton, Flax and Hemp'. It really helped me to understand the fibre & just what was needed to spin it successfully.

The fibre has been sitting a couple of years and was compressed. If I wanted to spin an even single minus slubs, I would have to rework the already prepared fibre. This I did with my hand carders. I just drew the fibres over the teeth & laid them gently on my fingers with just minimal pressure to feed & hold in place.
I tried a rolag, but did not like spinning that way - the fibre was too slippery.

The other characteristic of hemp is that it does not stick to itself. There are no scales as wool has & no pectin as does flax. It is slippery. You must not compress it!

You have to get enough twist to hold the fibres together, but not too much as that would snap it in two.

This is a photo of the singles twisted back on itself.
Hemp plied back on itself
3.25 TPI
When spinning, change hooks frequently to prevent the spun thread from rolling into the valley.

I would love to blend some of this with some silk for a scarf (?).  If I had more of this it would be nice to plan a larger project.
I'm beginning to like the challenge of spinning hemp. Dyeing will be fun.