I had an absolute ton of fun during the music festival and reenactment demonstration event I attended last weekend. We were set up in the loom room which has two counter balance looms, one of which happens to be a Union 36, which is the same kind of loom I was gifted with. They also have one Huge old barn loom, that is also a counter balance loom, with four shafts. The warp on the barn loom is an old rotting boucle yarn that will probably need to be taken off before someone can realistically weave on the loom. With quite a bit of help, we managed to get the loom to a point where some weaving could occur. The holes drilled in the bottom shafts of the heddle frames were not in the correct spots so that if the heddle frames were lined up properly the treadles were overlapping eachother. Due to this problem actually weaving with the loom was slightly problematic, but a ton of fun. As the co-president of the guild pointed out, it is not a loom for a short woman. Surprisingly enough I also managed to finish weaving my cotton scarf during that day in the loom room, the fringe will need to be twisted and the entire thing washed thoroughly before photos.
Thanks to the Union loom needing to be warped for the class visitations to come, I was able to obtain a very good idea of how the loom should look properly assembled, as well as assisting with the warping. I then used this knowledge to assemble my loom on Monday while waiting for the oil company to perform their annual tune-up and cleaning. This gave me the perfect amount of time to polish, assemble, and test my Union Loom. I am so very excited for my warp to arrive so I can get started working with this loom. Below Please find a picture that I found on letgo of the kind of loom I own.
I also heard from my handyman that after a really bad reaction to a steroid his doctor put him on for his back, apparently hallucinations played a part, he will be back this week to work on finishing the paneling in my studio space. He knows of people that can use almost all of the debris left in the space, so hopefully by next weekend I will have a clear area that I can begin designing as my studio.
Regarding my studio, I already have two floor looms, a plant stand that should be good for dyeing, a heavy duty storage rack that should be good for storage, two rolling little craft carts, two little rugs for my wheel and other coverage, as well as an amazing rolling chair that should be good for most of my sitting needs. I am still running an internal debate over whether I am going to move my kitchen table out to the garage and put my 16 shaft loom there, purchase a new table and use the 16 shaft on that, or just keep that loom in the house. Part of the decision making process is going to depend on how much room there will be left once I have 2 floor looms, a storage rack, and a dye center set up in the garage. Already the grey water from my rain barrel has come in handy washing my hands after hauling my garbage cans around.
Until next time remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!
I enrolled in Rebecca Mezoff’s Little Looms course, and then had to obtain a little loom to take advantage of the course, lol. I tried to order a Hokett Loom from Woolery but ran into stock problems, one 10 day wait I can handle but when the items from the first wait came in they were sold out of something else in my order and wanted me to wait another 10 days! That wasn’t going to work for me so I cancelled the entire order and picked up a Stash Blaster from another source.
I decided to warp this with some soft cotton twine I had lying around to see what it would do, unfortunately with the yarn I decided to use the results are closer to a balanced weave than a tapestry weave. Oh well, it is really pretty and a good first try so I will finish my mug rug and try for a tapestry next time.
The linten spindel by Babe’s Fiber Garden is just phenomenal. Easy to put together, and once you get along with its quirks, it is very easy to use. As you might remember I was hoping to use this as a bobbin winder and it isn’t a great bobbin winder if you just put the bobbins on the knitting needle that makes up the spinning tip. Babe’s Fiber Garden does sell extra spindles in groups of three at a $60 cost, which is still half the price of a bobbin winder but since the Spindel already cost over $100 I am spending a fortune to save a bit. I did find out while trying my hand at spinning cotton (I’m not good yet) that once I managed to spin an itty bitty cop I had enough fiber on the spindle that I could jam two different sizes of bobbins down and be able to wind onto the bobbins. Essentially the bobbins need to stay still on the spindle so that they twist when the spindle twists which is how the fiber winds onto the bobbins. The third brand of bobbin just seems a bit too large for this device, but I will try a few other options. Of course now I’m afraid to spin any more cotton lest I lose my proper sized cop, lol. I am using my iPad with heavy cover, it’s five years old do a much heavier version, to weigh down the wheel since I am quite enthusiastic in my spinning.
Since I wrote this post yesterday, I couldn’t resist spinning more cotton. I watched the Building Blocks of Spinning Part 2 with Sarah Anderson and she mentioned mentioned 8 ply cabled cotton makes good wicks, so now I am interested in making a bit of cotton and cabling it before Spinzilla starts Monday Morning. To my way of thinking if I get this spun and cabled between today and tomorrow I can start my cotton fresh to create a cop to hold my bobbins for spinning. I must admit if I make even half of the yarns I have pictured then I will have accomplished quite a bit this upcoming week.
I was watching “Get More Spun: Part 1” by Abby Franquemont on CraftDaily.com video subscription service when Abby mentioned storing singles on several bobbins to ply from later. She stated that storing singles on several different bobbins and mixing them up before plying will help to even out some uneven spinning. I saw the bobbins she was storing them on and it clicked, those are shuttle bobbins not spinning wheel bobbins! I will admit to still having some apprehension about how many joins might be needed for these yarns, but my excitement is far outweighing any misgivings.
This did bring about another potential sticking point, I do not have a bobbin winder. I picked up an attachment for my cordless drill but between my underpowered drill and my inability to get the bobbin far enough down the shaft so that I feel comfortable putting pressure to wind a nice tight yarn onto the bobbin, my winder is not going to cut it. I looked at bobbin winders, over $100 each! Fiber tools are so very expensive, and often for something that can only be used for a single purpose. As Alton Brown would say, “Unitaskers!”
I sighed, pouted, and decided to see if any of the sites online (Ebay, facebook fiber tools groups, etc) had a bobbin winder that I could get at a price I was willing to pay. In my travels I looked at the charkha a tool used for spinning cotton that Ghandi popularized in India to help free his people (it really is a fascinating subject that I intend to dedicate at least one post to in the near future). The Ashford version looked sort of like an amped up bobbin winder, but at almost $400 it would be an even sillier investment than the Unitasker!. However, there was another option a Babe Linten Spindel Charkha Wheel. At $150 it is not less expensive than buying a bobbin winder, and it could be argued I could get a book Charkha and a bobbin winder for about the same price, I am very happy with my purchases.
Babe’s Fiber Garden was amazing at helping me figure out if using their wheel as a bobbin winder would be a reality or not. They even offered to send me some bands that are used for animal castration thinking that these will be a good size to keep my bobbins on their spindle. I really look forward to playing with my new Mulit-Tasker as soon as it gets here! I have some cotton left over from last year when the Cotton Clouds kit was on clearance from Woolery, but this playing might have to wait until Spinzilla is over!
I may even get time over the next year to tell Babe’s Fiber Garden that their new Garden loom looks like it would be good for Sprang!