Sunday, 10 November 2013

Spinning log book

I've been keeping track of spinning, plying and yarn management time. Two big batts of carded wool, about 60 grams, make one bobbin of singles and takes me about 6 hours to spin. When I have three bobbins spun, I ply them together making yarn which is 13 wraps per inch. One skein of three-ply is about 225 metres of yarn.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Spinning has begun

Here it all is! I got all the clean, carded ryeland fleece out from under the stairs in its pillowcases. The spinning wheel is oiled and ready and moved into the living room. This week I have begun to spin the yarn needed for the new jacket: three ply of the light grey on the spinning wheel; and two ply of the brown on the drop spindle. I'll try to keep track of the hours and skeins. I have no idea how long it will take me to spin a whole fleece!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

New sample to apply all I learned

Step one warped
The plain weave section shrinks about 20% and the tapestry section hardly shrinks at all. I decided to try weaving and shrinking the plain weave section before adding the tapestry section. I designed two charts: one for step one at the larger size and one for step two after the first step has shrunk. The result was very pleasing and I am planning to do the whole jacket this way.
Step one after weaving

Step one after shrinking

Chart for step two

Step two warped

The finished sample

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Woven samples

The samples I wove allowed me to test a number of things: the method for joining the tapestry section to the plain weave section; various methods for weaving the buttonholes; and how the finished fabric responds to fulling. The graph paper squares are what I used to chart the pin positions. The coloured sections show the amount of shrinkage after fulling.

Saturday, 23 February 2013


With a little bit of the Ryeland wool spun to the thickness I want, I made a sample to test the sett, the colours and the way the two kinds of weave work together. The sample shows the even weave which will be used for the main fabric of the jacket; and tapestry weave to be used for the thicker sections like the front facings and the collar. It worked well to use three ply for the warp of the whole fabric, three ply for the weft of the main fabric and two ply for the weft of the tapestry sections (woven over two warp threads). There are two colours in the fleece.  I'll use the lighter tawny wool for the main fabric since there is a lot more of it and the slightly softer, variable brown for the thicker sections.

After weaving the sample, I checked how it shrinks by throwing it in the washing machine with a load of clothes on the low temperature easy-care cycle. The highlighted area on the pin-weaving chart shows the amount of width and height that has been lost through shrinkage. The even weave shrank more than the tapestry section. I can see that I will only be able to hand-wash this garment very carefully!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Finished weaving the doll's jacket

This was a fun test! I purposely used delightful colours to make the process enjoyable. To explore the structure, I represented different sections with different colours, warping the body of the jacket in teal, the sleeves in dark blue and the shaping wedges in purple. Then I did all the weaving with a bright pink. That way, the finished jacket shows really clearly where all the threads travel. The sleeve warps go all over the place on the jacket body, some of them forming warp threads down the sides, some of them making stripes across the yoke, and the rest becoming the weft threads on the shoulders. You can clearly see the shaping wedges at the sides. 
The tops of the sleeves have two rows of blue grey. When I started I thought these rows would be temporary and that I would replace them with weft threads travelling around from the yoke. But in the actual weaving, this didn't work the way I thought so I just left the "temporary" threads in place. I'm not exactly sure how this will work in the full sized jacket, but I think (hope) it will become clear as I chart the warp and weft on the final pattern pieces.
after the sleeves have been added to the warp
and the weaving of the body has begun
I learned that all the warp threads must be very carefully planned before starting to warp. This I will attempt to do by colour-coding the grid on the pattern pieces. The places where I skimped on planning and left it to figure out on the fly while warping were the places where I had problems weaving. The place where the sleeves join the body and any shaping wedges will need to be very carefully thought out and marked in the final project. 
I intend to have a collar on the final full-sized jacket, but I haven't solved the warping problems for that yet, so this doll's jacket is collarless so far. My knitting friend Caroline will help me figure out how to make a knitted one. Maybe I will pick up stitches and knit it right on the jacket, or knit it separately and stitch it on.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Testing the weaving form concept

I intend to use a sewing pattern as the basis of the weaving form, so I decided to test this method at a smaller scale. I found a sewing pattern for a doll's jacket and scaled it to fit the doll I have and sewed a sample to see how it fits. 
Then I planned the adjustments I want in the woven jacket and marked them on the pattern (see the green marks on the pattern). 
Finally I traced the pieces on graph paper and used them to create the cardboard form. The graph paper aided me in planning the pin positions. I added 10% to the length to make up for stretch and take-up.

Another sample of thick and thin weaving

Embroidery stitches over an even weave base:
Top - cross stitch
Bottom - cross stitch and bargello stitch.

This created a firm, stable, thicker section and was quite quick to do, but the appearance of the stitched surface doesn't look good with the even weave. I don't think I would use this for the jacket.