A place to come to see what's new at Heritage Spinning & Weaving – Lake Orion, MI

Archive for November, 2007

When I was supposed to be ( _________ )

Do you have projects that just scream at you, “It’s time to finish me! Please, play with me. Come, have fun!”? I think my problem is I have too many of them. Yesterday I was captured by three of them. Two weaving, one spinning. I think that’s too much for one day!!!!

I did, however, have a learning-filled day! The first project was the bamboo baby blanket I’ve got on the Octado. As you can see from the image, I’ve got some work to do on my consistency. The problem arose when I decided the selvedges were drawing in too much and I should use a temple. Well, maybe I shouldn’t. Or, perhaps I just need to practice more. I’ll work on it more this evening and see what I come up with! My guess is that the fiber is so slippery that it will all come out “in the wash.” Worst case is, Luke has a baby blanket. Best case is I can send the sample off for a friend and she’s going to kit it. Troubleshooting will continue!

The next project up was a deflected doubleweave (sort of) scarf I have been noodling over for a very long time. It started when a student brought a sample scarf that that she bought in China in to show me. Then I found a similar scarf at Convergence. Now I am trying to figure out how to make it for myself. The structure simply fascinates me. It was fun reverse engineering and making it fit the loom I have. The sample is over fulled because I got sidetracked reteaching a young man to knit a scarf for his (grounded) girlfriend. He’s off and knitting, but my swatch suffered. I also decided that I will stick with a one color scarf.  Now I’m ready to weave “for real.” Fun stuff!

 

Then I went home and some handspun called me to it. I’ve been working on these spinner’s socks for a while. They are to be totally whimsical. This one is coming along – hopefully they’ll be done soon. I’m having too much fun with them to stop!

Welcome, Baby Luke!

 

Over the weekend, I joined the club. The Grandma Club! It is a wonderful club, too. Great cuddles, much more relaxing than parenthood (not my problem . . . dirty diapers . . . 2 a.m. feedings . . . ) and just generally pretty cool. It is also very nice to see your child as a parent. Even better to know that he’ll do just fine.

Peter called us on Friday and said they were going to the hospital on Saturday morning to induce labor because the baby was growing quite big. I was teaching Saturday morning so knew I couldn’t leave right away, plus we had the 7th anniversary sale going on, so Mariah and I finally left about 1:30 p.m. Michigan time bound for the far side of Chicago. Turns out we got there simultaneous to his birth and was in the waiting room when Peter came out to announce the birth. We saw Luke a bit later and Jeannine shortly there after. The photo above shows Luke less than 2 hours old, and the one below was taken his first morning.

Baby Statistics:

Luke Thomas Husby

11/17/07 at 7:33 p.m.

8 lb. 15 oz. and 21″ long.

Did I mention very cute?

Welcome, Luke!

WIP (Work is Progress)

Conversation on Knitting Daily recently centered on UFO – unfinished objects. Well, I’ve got my own fair share. Thought I’d share the spinning and weaving ones with you this week.

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I learned my lesson at SOAR this year: don’t leave your project for the gallery until the last minute. You might not be happy with what you get. I did and I wasn’t! This time around I am starting early. This is the beginning of a shawl. The yarn will be sport weight when it is done. The fiber I began with is merino 60 and bamboo 40 – really quite scrumptious. It is Bonkers fiber that I purchased at Michigan Fiber Fest last summer. Yes, I loved the colors, but I also was intrigued by the fiber content. So, I purchased two four oz. hanks. One hank is on the bobbin, the other is almost half spun. I’m making good progress. Only been at this one for a little over a week – which, of course, means everything else has come to a stand still. That’s my only spinning project, really. Oh, there’s some “demo” roving hanging around, but that doesn’t count. That’s the roving I grab when I spin in public – like at the Tiger game, or whatever. It never looks really nice when it is done and I never have plans for it. Some day, maybe, it will turn into something. In the meantime, it doesn’t count: it’s value is in the demo-ing!

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Just off the Baby Wolf  is this piece of fabric. It is a color and weave project that I played with using 10/2 cotton (solid purple) and our handpainted silk (2,000 ypp).  I allowed myself to have fun and play with the tie up and treadling. It is ultimately bound to be needle cases, or perhaps eyeglass cases. Maybe even Christmas presents (sshhhh! don’t tell anybody!).

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On the big loom in the living room – the 72″ Cranbrook – I have a very special project. It is a doubleweave blanket that is from wool from a Corriedale ewe Mariah “mothered” at Mt. Bruce Station when she was in elementary school. We purchased Melanie’s wool for two years and I had it spun at Stonehedge Fiber Mill, well, a while back. I first started putting this project on the loom two years ago. I have all the errors worked out of the threading, figured out how to tie up a countermarche loom and I’m ready to go. Just like I’ve been for at least six months! If I took two days, I could have it done. Done and I wouldn’t have to look at it every time I walk past and Mariah would be happy. She’s starting to take it personally! Maybe after I finish the spinning I’ll get back to this.

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Another loom at home still has the farkle bag project on it. Enough for two more bags. The bags that were finished (like the one above), were in Handwoven in the Sept/Oct issue, which means that loom has been sitting there staring at me since July. I just haven’t been able to waste the warp (as much as I want to some days), so there it sits. That’s an afternoon’s work. Could happen soon too.

The last loom with a project on it is in my office. It’s got a baby blanket on it that is just about ready to weave. I should be able to finish it up over the weekend or maybe even before. The warp is Bambu 7 and it weaves beautifully. Just beautifully. The first project on the same warp was cut off today. It was a shawl woven in a waffle weave. Now I will resley the reed and make a denser fabric for a baby blanket working with the point twill threading. I’m looking forward to playing around on the computer tonight to come up with a plan for finishing it. Fun stuff!!

 Okay, so, I’ve confessed. No dogs to cut off, just a bit of work to be done. Good thing I’m not allergic to it. I’ll show you the projects when they are done! Sooner rather than later.

Connecting to our (Weaving & Knitting) Past at Greenfield Village

     

It is always fun to go behind the scenes and twice in the last few months I’ve been honored to do just that at Greenfield Village. Local weaving couple Chris and Richard Jeryan have been volunteering at the Village for the last several years. Richard retired from Ford (where he worked across the road from the museum complex) last year and they both upped their volunteer time to help make a dream come true: to get more of the looms working, especially the Jacquard loom. Slowly this is becoming a reality. Since their involvement, the weavers have been doing more weaving on textiles for use around the Village, including rugs and toweling. Interpreters are currently making “bed rugs” aka rectangular wool shawls at the Daggett House, a pre-revolutionary homestead at the sound end of the village. Research is underway to find and make a historically correct rug for the Firestone House. But, while all this is well and good, their real passion is the Jacquard. It was first thought that the Jacquard loom was brought by Henry Ford to the Village, but Chris found blueprints for it and learned that it was commissioned by Henry Ford and built by his workers. They also built a card punching machine to support it. In addition to the Jacquard, there are many two and four shaft looms, a spinning jenny, a twenty-four shaft power loom and a room devoted to knitting machines, both flat and hose type knitters.

In the early days of the Village school children learned to weave on a small rigid heddle looms specially built for them and high schoolers apprenticed to a commercial weaving venture where textiles were produced for sale. We visited the Benson Ford Research Center (part of The Henry Ford Complex along with Greenfield Village, the Henry Ford Museum, and the Rouge Plant Tour) and were able to see textiles from this commercial weaving venture. My dream is to resurrect the patterns for these textiles and make them available to modern day weavers.

Following are photos from my first visit in August with Christel and Mariah and my second visit with Anne Field earlier this week. 

 

The head of the Jacquard loom as seen on the second floor of the weaving shop.  Pictured L to R, Chris Jeryan, Anne Field, Richard Jeryan.

The Jacquard Loom viewed from the “draw boy’s” perspective. It is partially threaded for weaving a pattern – the plastic bags at the top are holding yet-to-be-threaded linen draw cords that will allow the pattern to develop as the weaving is done. This is a 600 head Jacquard, meaning that 600 different threads can be manipulated individually. Look waaay down on the lower level and you can see the warp on the loom ready to be threaded.

The head viewed from above. Can you count to 600?

The punched cards lined up and ready to weave . . . or they were the last time the loom was used many years ago!

This is the card punch machine that makes the pattern cards used for weaving. Each of the holes in the card tell a group of threads to do something. That “something” ultimately turns into the pattern in the fabric.

Cubbies full of little looms once used to teach elementary students to weave.

This is one of the working looms on the first floor, public area of the weaving shop. It is a “barn loom,” so called because the construction is like that used to build a barn! This loom is equipped with a fly shuttle mechanism – that’s what the handle attached to the rope in the middle of the picture is. A linen pattern was being woven.

 

The mystery loom that’s hidden away in the carding mill attic. My theory is that it is a converted small 4-shaft loom trying to grow up to be a draw loom of some sort.

  

Some pattern notes are well recorded, others aren’t. These are for the woven bands pictured on the right. The following are just a few samples of the woven cloth in the archives.

  

  

Finally, once upon a time I studied photography and I still like to play around with the camera. These are some of my fun shots from my two visits. Mulberry trees in the Village and a spinning jenny (6-head) in the weaving shop.

 

 We’ll keep you posted on the progress. In the meantime, do get out to the museum complex and spend some time. If you haven’t been there in a long time, you’ll be surprised at how great it looks and what you’ll learn.

Anne Field Comes to Town

Anne Field is a New Zealand-based fiber person who is known around the world, thanks to books she’s authored including The Ashford Book of Spinning, The Ashford Book of Four Shaft Weaving, and Spinning Wool Beyond the Basics. Coming in the spring are two new books, one for weavers called Collapse Weave and one for knitters and weavers on Devoré (a technique where a portion of a fabric is chemically “burned” away). Beyond all the book writing and research, Anne is a wonderful spinner, production weaver and, more importantly, a good friend. It is always a pleasure to have her here.

Anne’s coming coincided with Halloween and a party at our house. What a hoot! The kids had a noisy good time, but they were quite polite, no matter, I’m glad that’s over for another year! We took a photo of Anne with them as they don’t celebrate Halloween in New Zealand like they do here. She told the kids she’d show the photo to her grand kids and tell them that this was what American teens really look like! That’s my daughter with the pink pigtails.

This morning it was off to work for Anne. No more sitting around visiting around the table at the shop or relaxing in a comfy chair with a good book. Her first two-day class is Spinning Wool Beyond the Basics and the second class this weekend is in Collapse Weave. Here she’s getting warmed up:

 

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