Friday, December 15, 2006

After that great spinning class, I've been inspired to spin, spin, spin. I even asked for a niddy-noddy for Xmas... yeah, I'm sure my mother-in-law will harrass me on that one for the next decade...

Anyway, I spun up some really great wool that was dyed a burgundy with sections of green and plied it with wool that was long sections of straight green and red--a marl with a self-striping, basically. The end result was great, though I had some overspun sections of the singles.

It'll make a nice gift for my sister-in-law, who was the one that originally dyed the wool. Note to her by the way, she forgot to set the dye and it got all over my khakis. I rinsed the finished wool a couple of times and threw a little vinegar in the final rinse.

This weekend will be spent working on the vest--hopefully with the help of my old tailoring teacher. The current copy of Threads magazine has an article about making jackets out of boucle fabric, which is pretty close to what I'm doing. The writer promises some faster techniques, particularly for bagging it out.

My client picked out a big, big mother of pearl button for it, so I'm going to try to match up a silvery dupioni silk for the lining and the edge binding. I'm very tempted to try my hand at some marbling techniquest on the silk that would just show up on the inside as a little "surprise" touch. In particular I'm interested in using the "shaving cream" technique. We'll see!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Fantastic workshop this weekend

The spinning workshop(s) were terrific. I got a little coaching on my technique, which wasn't too terribly off and got some practice with some other techniques. I tend to do a modified long draw, but my short draw isn't bad. We learned the Mabel Ross true longdraw, spinning from the fold, and even did some kind of spinning with raw mohair locks that made beautiful fuzzy yarn.

I'm pretty sure we got to spin every conceivable type of fiber in the store, plus some of the other spinners that have fiber animals/plants brought in some green organic cotton, some longwools, mohair and some llama to try out. The only thing I had problems with was the flax--not very fun to spin, so of course I'm now obsessed with it...

In the second workshop we did a lot of wool preparation--drum carders, combs, blending, dizzing, etc. Also did a good amount of work with fiber blending. I only wish there had been more time to spin. We gave Navajo plying a try, but most of the stuff I had spun up as singles was too fat when 3-plied. I later spun some plan wool at home and did a nice Navajo ply with it. Lovely.

At some point, I think my head exploded... right around the Mabel Ross bit on calculations and twists per inch and ratios. I'll dive back into that later--it was just a long day, but I'm very interested in learning how to spin to a specification. AND to be consistent from one batch of yarn to another.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Spinning up a storm.

Read Diane Varney's Spinning Designer Yarns--great little book, btw, and getting through Deb Menz's Spinning in Color. Between reads, I've been spinning up a storm. I've been practicing my long draw technique which is fun and a little dramatic, and of course we love a little drama no matter what we're doing. The downside is that it doesn't seem to put enough twist in the yarn, or better said, the twist angle is really steep, so I add additional twist as I'm letting it wind on.

I also fitted my client with the muslin and it was right on the money. We needed a few alterations for the shoulder area--she has one higher than the other I think, and there was some gapping. I'm also going to give it just a little more ease across the bust so that it lays perfectly. Well, this step is down and now on to executing it in real fabric. I'm concerned about the bulk and how to eliminate all of the extra pieces...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I have an intermediate and an advanced spinning class this weekend. One just to expose me to more fiber types and spinning techniques and the other to make designer yarns with different plying techniques. Should be a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to getting somewhere with my spinning technique, right now it's all lumpy and overtwisted.

I told C. last night that I really need a studio buddy. It's pretty lonely up there by my self. Even though I probably get way more done if I don't have distractions, it would be nice to have someone around to bounce ideas off of and actually get me up there without pulling teeth.

Of course, once I'm actually there, I enjoy it. It's peaceful and there's nothing I'd really rather be doing...
Okay, so I've been commissioned to make a vest for a client from my handwovens. The original pattern she requested is unavailable, so I purchased a commercial pattern and was going to modify it. I forget how complex women's patterns are with darts and weird shaped pieces. I made the sample up in muslin, but I'm concerned about being able to execute it in handwoven. I need to make it simpler with fewer pieces. I think I can work out the iss with the back, but it alone is 4 pieces--as is the front. Instead of 8 pieces I think it could be done with a full back, two side pieces and two front pieces. AND no darts. I looked at ways to pivot out the darts and eliminate them at the side seam, but this really only works if the side seams are straight.

I'm going to have to go back to my old tailoring teacher and get some advise. Really don't want to risk cutting up some expensive handwoven, just to find out it won't really work out.

Anyone have any advice on fixing/eliminating darts in a complex piece?