The yarn my friend gave me, all 9 kilometres of it (!) is kind of fun to learn with. The yarn would be classified as vintage I think, the label is yellowed and the colour invokes the ’70’s.
Using this stuff has been extremely helpful in learning a few things, with little investment of money or having to use my “good stuff” from the stash. The name of the yarn is La – Mieux Rustique, so I presume it is from Quebec. It is labelled “pure virgin wool,” “laine canadienne” (canadian wool) and each cone has 8 ounces of singles on it. It is a singles, highly twisted as you can see from the fringes after washing, and kind of indestructible. I worried it might be weak and prone to breaking as a singles. Nope, this stuff has withstood everything thrown at it. When washed, the odour reminds me of some kind of petrochemical, it is kind of awful, but thankfully this goes away after it dries. I may not want to know what it is coated with, the label just says “moth proof”. Those were the days. Better living through chemicals! Still good for experimenting and learning.
On the four shaft loaner loom I did a length of rose path, using some lace weight merino as weft, warped at 18 ends per inch. Somehow, a good wash and steam blocking it three times with the iron softened this piece immensely. It is almost next to skin soft. As the other pieces did not soften so much the weft seems to have been a big contributing factor.
The loaner loom had a very small weaving area and I discovered that off the loom there is a line that clearly shows where I advanced the warp. Hmm. That’s good to know about. The tension differences showed up very clearly and it doesn’t look like anything I do in terms of blocking and steaming will change that. Still, it made a pretty piece of cloth, and it demonstrates an area to be mindful of in the future.
Now this was the 3/1 lace done on the rigid heddle loom, with two heddles making the warp 15 ends per inch. I used the same yarn for the weft and it is pretty rough to the touch. It fulled together a fair bit too, so the open lace effect is pretty much gone. It has left the fabric with an interesting texture however. (Gah, the colour, it is giving me flashbacks to high school!)
The last piece is kind of fun. I again used the rigid heddle and did this piece Saori style. The warp was 7.5 ends per inch and I used a combination of leftover embroidery floss doubled as the weft. I wanted to achieve the sense of waves, after some recent trips to Galiano and Vancouver Island. The fabric was forcefully beaten up after it was off the loom – washed, agitated, into hot and cold water and a bit of time in the dryer. It needed to firm up as the initial fabric was loose and “sleazy” (see, the terminology is just tripping off my lips. I guess I am becoming a weaver.) This piece is going to have some surface embellishment, but I am not sure yet on what that will be – so far, the cat is the surface embellishment of choice.
Just try to block anything in this house – knitting or weaving. It comes with cat hair for some strange reason.
So lots of information for me to process in these pieces. I hope to use these fabrics in some way too, having purchased some simple sewing patterns that could be adapted to hand-woven fabric. (Another bit of learning on the horizon. A couple of the patterns have curves in them – moving on from sewing straight lines. Whoo hoo.) One yarn giving lessons in warp tension, how the fabric changes with fulling, working with cotton and wool together, creating movement. This has been a very fruitful series of weaving for this beginner.