Saturday, 5 April 2008

Cotton spinning, inkle bands, and my loom.

Last weekend I went to a workshop on Cotton Spinning, organised by the Hallamshire Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers (based in Sheffield, England). Tutors were Carol and Peter Leonard. I already knew Carol a little as we are both members of the Online Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, and Carol has her own blog.

The Hallamshire Guild members were introducing themselves as soon as I walked in the door - what a wonderful community feeling there is in WSD guilds - and I soon enjoyed the feeling of being among new friends.

The cotton spinning was fun too! We used cotton sliver, and soon found it is easier to spin from if rotated between two closely held hands to open it up. We started with akha spindles, and once we had the hand of drafting the fibre and putting in plenty of twist for strength, then we moved on to long draft and supported spindles / takhli.

The beautiful akha spindle I used for the workshop was one made by Michael Williams (of Sheffield, who was actually there particpating in the workshop!). The takli was like those sold by Scottish Fibres, and PM Woolcraft. The support dishes were wood or ceramic. We found that the wood dishes seemed easier to use, because of the slight friction between the spindle and the wood.

In the afternoon, we applied the long draw technique to spinning with a charka or on a spinning wheel.

At the end of the day, I went home with a couple of new Bosworth Spindles, one in Zebra wood, weighing 14 grammes, which I am using to spin cotton, the other a heavier 35 gramme spindle in Pau Amarillo wood on which I am spinning wool.

Meanwhile, as regards weaving, I have just finished a twill sample (more on that another time) and once again have been using the thrums for inkle weaving. For the weft, I use a thicker dk cotton knitting yarn.

I find it difficult keeping the weaving looking even, as you can see in the photo, below. For some reason it gets easier towards the end of the band, I don't know if this is because I get into practice, or if there is some other reason. Any thoughts?
Before I put another warp on my loom, there is a problem to solve. Remember my new loom aprons? For the aprons rods I used slats from the hardware shop, sold for one of those old fashioned airing racks that hangs from the ceiling (we used to call it "the pulley" when I was a child, but now they are sold as the "sheila maid" and people seem to use that name). The slats seem to be of rubberwood, or similar, and they bend. I have tried to solve this problem before, without total success, see below.

This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, at the end of weaving my twill sampler.

After a chat to my boyfriend, he went off to his workshop with a plank of beech wood, and came back with these:

They are larger section, and beech is a much stronger wood. I will be putting another sample warp on the loom soon and let you know how I get on.

1 comment:

Peg in South Carolina said...

Can I have your boyfriend?! (Grin!) Welcome back. I've missed your blogging.