Woven Material

After two days of snow the storm winds have blown in a warm front from the Pacific Ocean bringing torrential rains. The sound of water penetrates every moment. I can hear the creek roaring 2 blocks away. Our front yard is flooded despite the sump pump with a drain hose extending across the property to the drain ditch. Ed  walked around this end of town looking at the water levels and talking with neighbors. Our neighbors to the west have several inches of water in their basement so Ed took a length of pipe to extend their pump line towards the back of their property.

June was also a wet month, the month I set forth on a spinning and weaving path with the end goal of a light vest for Ed. The yarn on the big bobbins above was spun from Sweet Grass Wool Top comprised of 50% Targee, 25% Bamboo, 25% Silk, colorway: Black n Blue. A real joy to spin. (A quick glance through Patty’s website didn’t bring up this particular combo, sadly it seems no longer available.)

The small bobbins contain the two shades of blue linen, and the grey cottolin which were used for the 15″ wide warp, sett at 18epi.  The Linen was also alternated with the 497 yards of handspun in the weft. I started out throwing the four shuttles alternating between wool and linen: one pick aqua blue linen, pick wool, pick grey, pick wool, pick med blue, pick wool, and so forth. Three inches of woven web proved the grey cottolin too dominant. Unweaving those inches I commenced using three shuttles with the two blue linens and the handspun.

Linsey-woolsey (known as wincey in Scotland, and used several times in the Anne of Green Gable books) is a material that dates back through the ages. The warp is made with linen with wool used as the weft, thus Linsey-woolsey. In the American colonial days this was a very common material, with cotton often substituted for the linen in the South. Many considered it an inferior, cheap, ugly material and despised wearing it. How perceptions change.  I’m not forced to wear a dress or two made from this material day in and day out for lack of any other choice,  thus Lindsey-woolsey is appealing.

Since July, bouts of weaving interspersed with longer bouts of the loom sitting idle. With must-do-now projects completed and a new year beginning I resolved to weave every day until it the warp was all used complete. When planning material for a specific purpose I tend to only warp enough for that one project rather than putting on lots of yardage. Many weavers will put on as much as a loom can handle and thus weave a dozen or more yards from one warp, occasionally changing the weft, tie-up and treadling thus ending up with materials for a variety of uses. Someday I should do that and see what I end up with.  I put 160 inches of warp on the loom and wove until there was little space left for the shuttle to pass: 137″ inches of woven web, 13.5″ wide.
(Close-up before washing)

After taking it off the loom Saturday it was soaked in hot sudsy water then pummeled by hand for about five minutes followed by two warm rinses and thrown in the dryer for about 15 minutes then hung to finish drying. Going over the material and snipping the little bits of ends sticking up here and there I wasn’t completely happy with the somewhat stiff hand so I tossed it in the washer with a couple of towels and gave it a proper washing to help soften the linen. Not a fan of hand washing, I prefer to weave items that can handle the abuse of a washer. Taking the cloth out of the dryer before it was completely dry I then ironed it on the hottest setting while pressing down hard to bring out the best in the linen.
I’m pleased at how well the handspun blends with the linen and yet shows of the variations within the Black n Blue colorway. Now to track down a simple-to-sew dress vest pattern.

Author: Wanda J

I never dreamed my life would be entangled with fiber and the tools used to produce fibery items. When I bought a boat shuttle used in weaving Ed looked at it, decided to make a better one and the rest is history. For a decade he made shuttles, crochet hooks, knitting needles, until his spindles became so popular that he had to devote his time to making them, as well as Walking Wheels. Free time is spent reading, trying to coax food from the ground, and playing in the creek near our place. I love long walks and camping far from crowds. Playing a fiddle beside a stream or with good friends brings sweetness to my soul. Sundays are set aside for worshiping God with our small, Scotts Mills Friends Meeting where I am the preacher. A challenge that God uses to stretch me beyond what I think is possible!

13 thoughts on “Woven Material”

  1. Such gorgeous fabric you have created! I don’t like to sew and have had no urge to weave, so am even more impressed. Blessed be the man you married. 🙂

  2. Just awesome!
    I am going to share this with some weaving friends!
    We are getting rain, but the ground is so dry, and it has been for
    ever-so-long, that we would need years of this before we started construction on the ark!
    Thank you for the great photos!

  3. What a gorgeous fabric! Seeing it makes me want to finally (finally!) call the person who’s offered to teach me how to set up my poor neglected loom. I have a feeling I’d love linsey-woolsey material too…

  4. So beautiful!
    I’d love to have a loom (and the room for it)… and your post reminds me of using my Rigid Heddle again soon.

  5. Weaving is amazing! I love the idea of linen and wool woven together. And of course, being a lover of blue, I think the color is marvelous!

  6. I love the colour too! Just a question (from someone who really doesn’t know anything about weaving, sorry) how does your finished fabric not shrink when you wash and dry it? Also, does Ed get to choose his vest pattern? I hope your weather improves soon.

  7. Beautiful colours and weaving. I loved heating about linsey-woolsey – I’d heard the term but not known what it meant. I was interested in your comment about finishing the cloth – using both washer and dryer – I gather this was because of the linen or would you often use this method?

  8. oh how lovely that looks, makes me want to dust off my loom…

    I can’t wait to see what that beautiful fabric becomes!

    Hope you stay dry and your neighbours


  9. I am a lover of all things blue and you have done a beautiful job on your yardage. I too need to get back to my weaving as right now I’m still working on a knit sweater left over from before Christmas knitting took over my life. Your lovely piece has jump started my want to finish up this sweater and get a warp on my loom. Have a great week-end you have rain and we are cold here in Missouri.

  10. Totally stunning, I love it all the spinning the weaving and the colour: I look forward to seeing what you make with this gorgeous fabric.
    Hope your weather settles down soon ,it seems the weather world wide is so extreme these days.
    Oh and thank you so very much for your comforting e-mails I can’t tell you how much I appreciated them

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