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.