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Apr 13

Weaving with Handspun

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From our Spring Quarantine Spin Along 2020. You can read blog post #1 here and post #2 here.

As Deb has been spinning up a storm with our Colorful Colorado Spring braids, she has been passing them off to me for weaving experiments. I felt so lucky to get the chance to play with the yarn that she worked so hard to spin for us. I have never woven with handspun yarn before and I have to tell you that it was quite a delight! Read on and please share what you’ve been making with your handspun yarn on Ravelry, Instagram, and Facebook. #springquarantinespin

  1. Zoom Loom

The Zoom Loom is such an ideal tool for weaving swatches, testing yarns, and getting a sense for color, drape, and hand. I took the Zoom Loom with me to the playground while my daughter played, and then when the playgrounds closed, I took it with us to play at the creek. As a parent who is homeschooling a six-year-old while working from home, I really appreciate the way the Zoom Loom fits into my busy life!

I made two swatches on the Zoom Loom.

My first swatch was with the BFL that Deb spun with combination drafting. This yarn has so much flavor and variety. The colors wove up into a lovely speckled pattern with blues, greens, and yellows interspersed. This yarn had a great mix of slightly fuller and slightly thinner yarn. The result of this combination was a square that comes out balanced but still has fantastic texture and variety.

 

 

The second swatch I made was with the MSB yarn that Deb spun with chain plying technique. This yarn is very evenly spun and the color shifts are subtle. The resulting swatch is balanced, simple, and sophisticated in its subtlety. As I was weaving the MSB, I noticed that the yarn was strong and sturdy. So I decided to take a chance and put this on the Wolf Pup LT.

 

  1. Wolf Pup LT

I wound 1.5 yards and 50 ends of MSB handspun on the warping mill. I sleyed the reed at 10 EPI. Although I had initially planned to do a plainweave, I found this fabulous Crackle Weave Twill in A Handweaver’s Pattern Book by Marguerite P. Davison.

Before and during this process, I read several articles on warping with handspun. Highlights:

  • Make sure the yarn is sturdy.
  • Keep the handspun under less tension, which is easier on a rigid heddle loom than a floor loom. However, I felt that the MSB was sturdy enough.
  • Keep tension even when winding on and tying the warp. Uneven tension would put too much stress on some threads, which could have caused breakage.

Keeping the tension on the looser side, I experimented with pattern weave and plainweave. The bobbins of MSB were so lovely to work with.

 

The MSB yarn with its subtle color shifts became a striped warp when it was wound. The weft was also MSB and it wove color gradients on top of the stripes.

 

The MSB used for warp and weft made a thick cloth that was soft, with the feel of a pillow or blanket. However, when I switched to a rug warp as my weft and used a much more soft beat, I was able to weave an open, delicate, rustic cloth.
I absolutely loved the uniqueness of each inch of handspun and the way this affected the weaving result. I’m looking forward to weaving with handspun again soon!