Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tatting Tea Tuesday, um Wednesday, um... I tatted, here's a photo.

On the advice of some very wise tatters, I tried another sample of the Tatted Mask.

I'm much happier with how it is coming out.

This is still sample yarn/thread to get the hang of the pattern. I'm now focusing more on tension and keeping the knots all the same size. I'm looking forward to trying this pattern in some 'good' thread.

As for tea, I had some ginger and cinnamon tea yesterday.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 - The End

This is the first time I have compleated the Tour de Fleece. To be honest, I didn't think I would do it. But I had loads of support from my team mates on teams: Hopelessly Over committed, Raw Power, Climbers, and Sprinters. Thank you everyone.

I began the tour by spinning some silk tatting thread (not shown in the photo), then washed, combed and worsted spun a Shetland fleece at 36+wpi, wove a sample from the Shetland, I spun some samples, experimenting with different fibre prep methods, washed some Romney and to top it off, spun sock yarn from my prize fibre (also Shetland) donated to the Tour by Waterloo Wools.

For my final day of the Tour, I cast on a pair of socks with my TdF sock yarn. That's right, two socks at once on Double Point needles to boot. Woot! I had forgotten how fun this technique is.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 - loose ends

I've been tidying up loose ends with my spinning

I plied and blocked the rest of my sock yarn and photographed it on a bed of recently washed Romney.

I had actually washed this batch of Romney a few years ago, but when I took it out to spin, it felt tacky. It was in my early days of washing wool, but I remember that the water was plenty hot enough. I think what happened is that I used Laundry detergent instead of a soap to clean the fibre and it left a residue which, as it aged, grew sticky. This time I've washed it in Orvus paste and it came out quite acceptable.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 - 2 days left

I didn't get my sock yarn finished yesterday as planed. But that's okay. Here is a photo of the roving, the singles on the bobbin waiting to be plied, and the finished sock yarn, Navajo plied.

The fibre is Shetland from Waterloo Wools who kindly donated it as a prize for the Tour de Fleece.

I'm actually looking forward to the end of the Tour de Fleece. It has really taken a lot out of me this year. What with getting up early (the tour started at 3:30am local time yesterday) to watch the tour and staying up late with insomnia. I've never gotten this far in the Tour and I have enjoyed it. I've met lots of fibre friends on Ravelry. But I'm ready for it to end now.

To be completely honest dedicating this much time to one craft leaves the other projects feeling left out. My knitting - a sweater, two pairs of socks and another set of socks, these ones knee high - are crying in the corner, my tatting throws a tantrum whenever I so much as look at it, and my weaving sits in the middle of the living room getting in everyone's' way.

There are only two days left until the end. It's been a fantastic adventure and I am very glad to participate.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 - sock yarn

I finished the first half of the Shetland fibre, kindly donated to be my Waterloo Wools as my Tour de Fleece prize.
It's Navajo ply and absolutely perfect. I love spinning Shetland.

Anyone have any extra Shetland fleeces lying around?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tatting Tea Tuesday - frustration

Up until now, I think I've been blessed when it comes to tatting. Somehow, what I create with thread and shuttles comes out looking very like what I wanted it to look like.... not today.

The pattern I am trying to create is Tatted Mask, and the part I just tatted is suppose to be the inner round, around the eye. In a word, it is suppose to be somewhat eye shaped. It isn't.

See? I even drew a scribble of the shape I think it is suppose to be. I'm only missing one chain to complete the round (I forgot to join the last ring) and I don't see how it will fit together and still be the right shape.

I've seen this tatted a couple of other places on line and they have turned out fine. So either there is something wrong with my technique or there is something wrong with how I'm reading the pattern.


ps. Earl Grey today. Nice and strong. I'm going to need it for when I try again.

Tour de Fleece 2010 -peloton

I'm rewarding myself by spinning my prize.

I think socks. I've divided the roving in half lengthwise and will spin each half, N-ply it and then instead of making just one ball of yarn, I will make two.

As I am spinning this, one sock knitting technique keeps coming to mind. An old method that allows one to knit two socks at one time. I did this some years ago and finally wore out those socks this winter. It's time to try again and I think this yarn will be perfect.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 - weaving

This morning, happy me. I finished spinning my Shetland fleece.

Here, also is my weaving sample. I like how the fabric 'collapse' and even though it's the most simple two shed weave, it makes a lovely texture.

I expected the fabric to bias because it is woven with high-twist singles. But it didn't. I think the twist in the warp balanced out the twist in the weft. The warp didn't fuzz or break. It needs no additive.

In other news, I also tried my hand at weaving a basket. My first basket. Please don't laugh.

Apparently learning how to weave baskets from a short article found in an old magazine is more difficult than expected. But then again, my first yarn looked about the same - art yarn, art basket - I'll try again later.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 - let there be prizes

A few days back, I won a prize for the Tour de Fleece.

This prize was provided by Waterloo Wools. I've seen the name around and am fascinated with their products, but haven't yet had a chance to try any. Now I can. It arrived in the post yesterday.

I tell you, Canada post must be having an excelent week, because I've never had a parcel arrive from Ontario in under two weeks, it's usually more than three. It's a big country.

It arrived before the end of the Tour de Fleece, so I can spin it as a reward for completing my Shetland Fleece. This braid is Shetland as well, colourway, Rooftop View. It has a lovely texture and the colours, well, I just cannot capture them with the camera. There is a lovely depth of colour. I knew as soon as I opened the package that this was going to be a wonderful pair of socks.

Thank you Waterloo Wools.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Handspun singles cannot be used as warp (fact?)

Here's a link I'm enjoying right now. It's about handspun singles being used as warp. Have a read if you like.

Tour de Fleece 2010 - sizing, I hate it.

Okay everyone, here is my opinion of my first attempt to apply sizing. I hate it.

I hate it, I hate it, I hate it, I hate it, and did I mention that I hate it.

It is horrid.

The yarn is all glued together and impossible to separate. I've put the yarn to soak to try to get some of the sizing out, but even if I succeed, it's no use weaving with this as it is no longer an accurate representation of how the yarn will act. Thank goodness this is only sampling. If I had glued the warp for my large project, I would be in tears right now.

I'm certain I did something wrong with the sizing. I haven't found any good instructions except to say 'here is how to make some sizing' and 'it makes yarn stronger'. But, I think it will be quite some time before I try it again.

So today, I plan to wind a new warp from my Tour de Fleece Shetland singles, and without sizing it, dress my loom.

Tour de Fleece 2010 - gone for a dip

I woke up a good hour before the Tour de France started this morning, and a good 45 minutes before even the roosters began to greet the day. I don't know why so early, it's just one of those things. I should at least get a nice lot of spinning done before I have to begin the day in earnest.

Last night, as the rest of the household was getting ready for bed, I stood at the stove, cooking up a concoction. The recipe is from Alden Amos' book, The Big Book of Handspinning and what I made is sizing.

Sizing is like a glue that you apply to your warp threads to make them stronger. At least, that's what books tell me.

For some reason, my Shetland singles that I'm spinning for the Tour de Fleece, don't feel as strong after they have been washed as they did before. I don't know why this is.

However, yesterday I took a bit of this yarn and wound a sample warp. Then, in what may be an act of folly, I made the sizing and dipped the warp in it.

I'm not entirely certain if I'm happy about this. It came out looking like a drowned cat. Worse. Like a cat drowned in wet plaster. I hung it to dry outside, and it looks just as bad this morning. I hope it will be dry by lunch so I can get going on this sample. But maybe it will be wonderful once it's on the loom... maybe... it's worth a try, I suppose. And that is why I'm sampling the method and the yarn rather than jumping in and winding a warp for the 4 yards of fabric I want.

Next time, if I choose to do this again, I'll add more water to the final stage and turn this concoction from a paste to more of a dipping sauce.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 - can I wear yellow now?

My main challenge for the Tour de Fleece, my impossible challenge, is to wash, comb and spin a Shetland fleece.

I admit, I've never completed a Tour de Fleece before. The first year, my wheel and I got into an argument with a car door. Typical for a yarn sport that is based on cycling, don't you think? The second year, I don't really remember. I think heat, illness, and exhaustion got to me. I just sort of petered out.

This year, touch wood, I'm doing better than ever before.

I completed my secondary goal of spinning tatting thread, which will head off into the mail today, and I'm almost finished my primary goal which is, the Shetland.

In the photo, clockwise from left top: Combed top, washed locks, spun wool singles at around 36-40wip. Take a good look at those locks, there's about half a dozen there. More importantly, that's all I have left to comb. I have a small box full of little birds nests (top) still to spin, and a great deal more yarn on the wheel. But the end is in sight, and early too. The Tour goes until July 25th, that's ten days from now.

In my defence, a great deal of the fleece is unmanageable. About 1/3rd of the fleece was felted on the sheep, sun damaged, or overloaded with vegi-matter. I lost another 2/3rds of the weight of the fleece to the combs - I am being perfectionist here and it really isn't an easy fleece to work with.

But all in all, I am ecstatic with my progress.

So, if I do in fact finish my main goal, I will still spin every day the Tour rides, but I won't pressure myself. I'll just coast to the finish.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 - fibre prep

Again, I've been sampling. These are all spun on the same spindle, using the same drafting method, and finished the same way. They are all Romney, from the same part of the same fleece. The sheep itself is from somewhere on Salt Spring Island.

I think these are gorgeous. I wish I could send a little sample to each and every one of you so that you could feel how soft they all are.

The one on the far left is 2ply the other two are singles. The far left and centre yarn are both combed fibre, spun worsted. The yarn on the right is spun from the comb waste and has a delightful texture.

I love the hand of the combed singles. It is so smooth and fine. Almost silky. The fibre wants to spin up finer than my Shetland does, which is saying something.

This isn't a project I'll do for the Tour de Fleece, at least not this year, but what I would like to do is to spin up some of these combed singles and comb-waste singles and try weaving with them (the smooth combed singles as warp, the textured yarn as weft).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 - rest day

I spun for a few short moments today. It's a good thing it's a rest day today because the stars were against me. I managed to spin about three feet of yarn and most of that ended in slubs or tangles. Not to mention I spun it the wrong way. I wanted a counter-clockwise twist (S) but spun it regular old clockwise (Z) instead.

I did however make a considerable start on the rug for the back bedroom. It's weft face with simple old cotton for the warp and Briggs Little Regal for the weft (colours, forest brown and light brown). I'll make two panels, 44" each and then I have to learn how to sew them together. This is only panel one and being weft faced, it takes forever to weave.

Tatting Tea Tuesday - well Monday actually.

Tatting comes to this blog early this week. It's a rest day for the Tour de France and likewise for the Tour de Fleece. I have plenty of other activities to keep me busy: weeding, weaving, napping, knitting, tatting, cooking dinner... it's a long list.

Here is my very first TARDIS (pdf), finally completed.

It's not as awesome as the original, but I love it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 - Romney

While washing up the remainder of my Shetland, I found some grey Romney that I had washed some time ago. I've been meaning to comb it and since I already had the combs out for the Shetland, I thought why not spin up some Romney samples.

The Romney broke open with great ease. It's a wonderful fleece with amazing depth of colour. In some light it appears almost bright blue. In others, dark grey, or brown. It will make an amazing fabric.

In the photo, there are the combed tops, some uncombed locks and on the spindle is a sampling of the comb-waste. I love the texture of the comb waste and perhaps, I could make a blanket or coat by using worsted singles from the combed tops for warp and worsted-draft textured singles from the comb-waste for weft.

As if I need another project. This is just a bit of fun today to have a break from spinning brown. Perhaps a project to begin after the fall fair?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 - end of week one

It's the end of the first week of the Tour de France, which means it is also the end of the first week of the Tour de Fleece. Time to reassess my goals for the tour.

  1. Spin every day the Tour de France rides - so far so good.
  2. Spin and ply at least 100yds of silk tatting thread - done, blocked and ready to send. All I need is the address.
  3. Comb and spin an entire Shetland fleece. - I'm approaching the half way point on this challenge. Considering I have two more weeks left to go, I'm feeling pretty good about this. So I have a choice, do I slow down my spinning or add another challenge? I'll take the latter, like I don't have enough to do already.
  4. Spin White - A friend of mine is preparing an Indigo dye bath and will invite some of us over for a dip party. We all bring something to dye and dip it in the indigo vat. Pretty cool eh? I hope to spin up some fine silk, two ply, one ply bombyx and one ply tussah. They each take the colour differently so it should create a beautiful finished fabric. Also, for a weft, I would like some cotton singles spun on my Charkha. This isn't a mandatory, must get done part of the Tour de Fleece challenge. It's more an extra credit kind of thing.

Today, I wound off my second bobbin of Shetland singles, hand combed and worsted spun.

Instead of using my Nid, I transformed my warping mill into a yarn blocker. It's a bit hard on the back, but far easier than the Niddy Noddy. The yardage, nay mileage, of this yarn is extraordinary. It took about 25 minutes to wind off the yarn going at full speed. I'm very happy with how it it turning out.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 - slow

Not much spinning accomplished today. I stayed in the peloton.

Here is more of the Shetland fleece. I love spinning it. I've finished the shoulders and the yolk, and am now working on the sides of the fleece. There is a definite second coat in this part of the fleece, much lighter and slightly more brittle than the main fleece. I like the way it makes the colour change as I spin and I'm curious to see how it will hold up to weaving.

Yesterday I found out that I won a prize for the Tour de Fleece. Thank you random number generator. And thank you to my team mates who encouraged me to take on this challenge. I've been in contact with Waterloo Wools who are one of the wonderful shops that have donated prizes for this yarn sport. They will be sending a braid of hand dyed Shetland fibre. I figured since I won the stage spinning Shetland, it is only fitting.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 - Diz

My wool combs, my beautiful, five pitch combs came with a crappy diz.

So, dad bought me a better one.

My old diz, a device used to draft/remove the combed wool from the combs, was simply a section plastic pipe with a rather large slit in it. It was functional but ineloquent. This new diz is a happy little thing, hand turned wood with five holes to choose from. Believe it or not, it makes a far superior wool top and somehow, using the smaller holes helps to remove the noils and vegi-mater.

In other news, I did very little spinning today, only managing a bit of Shetland this morning while watching the Tour de France. I took my spindle to spinning group today, but only managed about 6 inches of silk thread. I'm too hot to do anything. I too hot to even tell you about the great prize I won, so I'll have to tell you about that tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 - hot day today

Summer arrived today. Eeek. I don't like it so hot and it's only going to get hotter.

I finished my first bobbin of Shetland singles. It averages 35 wpi (wraps per inch) and one bobbin (edit: worth) weighs 150g.

Do you think I could weave it at a set of 15epi at a balanced weave?

Even though I've finished my silk tatting thread, I am still playing with silk. This time with my spindle in a park and draft kind of way to see if I can perfect the silk thread thing. Too hot to say more. Going to go drink homemade ice tea.

Tour de Fleece 2010 - bees and busy

What shall I write about today?

Well, yesterday I got stung by a bee for the first time. It a good thing because now I know I'm not deathly allergic. My toe got all big and red, but nothing serious and it's starting to go down now (24 hours later). So, now I know that I can keep bees.

This winter's task will be to beg, borrow, steal, or make an apiary (bee house) or two. There are lots of things for them to enjoy around here. Yesterday I counted an average of 1 honey bee per square foot on our clover 'lawn' which covers over an acer. That with the fruit trees and vegetables, I think they should have enough to make a bit of honey.

I finally finished the silk tatting thread this morning. All I have to do is block it. Now I can finally focus on spinning Shetland. Well, once I've done some sewing and weaving and chores around the farm.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Tatting Tea Tuesday and The Tour de Fleece

It's Tatting Tea Tuesday again and since I'm also well into the Tour de Fleece, today's post will be about handspun tatting thread.

I am absolutely fascinated with this idea.

You think about it now, we don't trust things we make ourselves. Take food for example. It's not just convenience that causes most people to not make their own cheese, bake our own bread, smoke their own salmon, or ferment their own pickles. It's something more. We are afraid. We don't have the skills or the knowledge. On the whole, we feel that we cannot feed ourselves as safely as a huge factory can.

We have given away something to the companies that provide for us: Not just trust in our own accomplishments, but we have also lost pride in what we can create. This is very sad to me.

I'm afraid the same has happened with yarn. We don't weave with handspun warp very often because of the convenience, consistency (a word that, perhaps, is held in too high esteem), and a belief in the strength of the factory constructed. I am often petrified with the fear that I don't know enough to spin for a difficult project. I read and read, searching for the perfect technique to avoid making the most common mistakes. There is so much to read, what with the internet and all the books on the topic. It's no wonder I've taken so long to attempt the 'impossible' when there is a world of literature telling me that it is impossible.

This fear of failure prevents me from trying new things and learning from my own mistakes. Instead, I am Hamlet. I think and read and consider the possibilities while nothing actually gets accomplished.

Handspun yarn is not the same as the commercially made stuff. Certainly, you can produce a yarn by hand that matches a commercial yarn. But there is so much more to spinning than that.

One of the beauties of handspun yarn is the minute differences in the yarn as you move along its length. This handspun tatting thread has this quality and needs to be treated accordingly. It is strong, it is smooth, it is not as stiff as commercial cotton thread (but then again, this is made from silk), and it has slight variation one inch to the next. Not big changes or bumps. Just slightly thicker here and slightly thinner there. For that reason, especially if shuttle tatting, one needs to not pull the knots quite so tight if one wants the ring to close.

As you see, it is gorgeous to tat with handspun silk thread. It's Navajo ply (3 ply), Bombyx silk. The pattern is Chantilly.

At first I was so delicate with the thread, expecting it to shatter if I breathed too hard. But as I was tired, I kept making mistakes. Forgetting to flip knots, stuff like that. So I had to untat this and untat that - until I was treating this thread with as much vigour as I would any factory made thread.

I hope to experiment more with spinning tatting thread as the summer progresses. I want to try different fibre preparations, different fibres, and different methods of plying. I'll keep notes and perhaps, if I can get my confidence up, will see about writing an article for my spinning guild's newsletter. That is is anyone wanted to read it.

The nice thing about spinning for tatting is that it takes such a small amount of fibre and spinning to create a sizeable sample of tatting. The unfortunate thing about this, is that spinning silk thread is exceptionally hard on the arthritis.

I have 75 yds spun up and need to create at least that much again this week. So, my Earl Grey tea, my wheel and I are off to sit in the sunlight with the ducklings and see if I cannot get the rest of the silk spun up into singles today for plying later in the week. Then, I can get back to my main Tour de Fleece challenge: combing and spinning Shetland wool.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 - woollen v. worsted

Have a look at this photo for me.

Can you tell the difference?

Both of these yarns are spun on the same spindle, useing the same method, are from the same part of the same sheep, are finished the same way, and in all but one important aspect, are identical.

Can you tell the difference yet?

The yarn on the left is, well, how do you put it? It is less organized. There is vegi-matter and noils showing. Overall the yarn on the left is less consistent.

The yarn on the right is smooth, almost to the point of being glossy. It is more orderly. It has a soft hand and, take my word for it, it is stronger.

So what's the difference? It's not my spinning skill. I wasn't a beginner or having a bad spinning day when I did the left yarn. It has nothing to do with the spinner, the tools, the finishing or the fibre used to make these yarns. They both took the same amount of time to spin for the same weight of fibre. So, what's the one difference?

I think you've guessed it.

The difference is in how the fibres were prepared. The yarn on the right was combed and the yarn on the (edit: the other right) left was carded.

Such a simple thing, and yet such a world of difference.

How the fibre is organized has more influence on the yarn than any other aspect of spinning. It's more important than the spinner. Sorry. The more I spin the more I realize that fibre prep. is a vital part of the yarn making process and should be considered a part of the act of spinning itself.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 - combing and rain

Today, I spun with the peloton.

I woke up early to chase wayward roosters and watch the Tour de France. Somehow I missed the dog running into the peloton, but caught it on the day's recap they have on the main page.

I spun up some more silk, to be plied into tatting thread later on. After that came combing Shetland wool.

What great big teeth you have there.

All the better to comb you with my dear.

They are five pitch (rows of teeth) combs and what you are seeing there is not the handle, it's the holder used to keep one comb stationary while the other one moves in a great, threatening arc.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 - day one and tatting

Yesterday, I had some help from the ducklings sorting out the rest of the Shetland fleece.

Today the Tour de France began. It was time trials, a thing I find incredibly boring. As if the commentators needed another excuse to talk about Lance. Lance this and Lance that. Even if he is still a good rider, he always seems so angry to me and I would much rather hear about some of the other riders from time to time. There's almost 200 riders, why do we always have to hear about one American.

Oh, goodness. I sound like a Canadian.

The Tour de Fleece for me, began very well. I had a few moments spinning wool (the brown tops in the photo) to warm up, then I spun up a couple of samples of silk tatting thread. The silk is glowing white and I love it. It's Navajo ply, and much finer than anything I've tatted with before. If I was the kind of person to use the expression, I heart ...., I would totally heart this silk thread I made today.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Tour De Fleece 2010 - eve

Here it is, the eve of the Tour de Fleece 2010.

The Tour de France begins tomorrow at around 8am local time (or so the TV says) and that is the time I start spinning.

The challenge is to spin every day the Tour de France rides, which is most of the month of June. On top of that we set personal challenges for ourselves. I hope to spin an entire Shetland fleece during the tour. The plan is to spin it as a true worsted (which involves hand combing the fibre as part of the prep) singles which will one day be used for weaving. Perhaps even as warp.

Singles for warp?!? Gasp.

On top of that, I have recently agreed to spin some silk thread for tatting. Note, that's thread, not yarn. I just need to do two or three hundred yards of the stuff, but it is three ply. I am wondering if I can get away with Navajo plying it. That would make my life so much easier. This needs to be accomplished in the next week or less, so let's add that to my Tour de France challenge.

Since we can join more than one team, I joined Team Sprinters, Team Climbers, and Team Hopelessly Over Committed. I've also joined Team Raw Power which is a team where the participants process and spin at least one pound of raw fibre for the tour. I have 4.5 lb. and that's not including the parts of the fleece I don't want.

I suspect I won't win any of the prizes as I am not spinning any of the vibrant coloured fibres that photograph so well. But that's not why I'm doing this. I'm spinning because I have so much fibre insulating the house that I really need to get my fleece stash under control. This is great motivation.

So, on the eve of the Tour de Fleece, I wish good luck to all you spinners out there who are participating. And good luck to the riders on the Tour de France.

Shake, raddle and warp

I made a raddle yesterday. (Is that the right spelling? Raddle? The spell check says no, but when I Goggle 'weaving raddle', it says yes.)

A raddle is a very simple device that helps you dress a loom. You spread your warp threads on it and it helps stop them from tangling up. Among other things.

I got a piece of wood from my dad, marked 1/2 inch intervals, hammered some nails into it, and presto! A wonderful handspun silk warp.

This is that project I talked about earlier. The one that is giving me the bad dreams. As you can see from the photos, it is obviously handspun. I've already woven it and am getting it ready to wash. I've been very nervous at every stage of the project - expecting it to fall apart if I breath on it. But, the warp proved itself strong, if a bit fuzzy in places.

More and more as I work on it, I suspect that this will not be the fin... EEEEK! A MOTH! DIE! ...okay, moth is dead, that was scary. I hope it wasn't a wool eating moth...... I suspect that this will not be the project that I enter into the fair. I'll have to take what I learn from this one and make a better one. I just feel that something will go wrong. Even at 15epi, the fabric is very open and not what I hoped for. It might just be a learning project, but even so, I feel glad that I got the confidence up to weave with handspun warp.

Silk and cotton

Ever since I conceived of this project for the Fall Fair, I've had this dream.

The dream is that I've entered it into the fair, very happy with the finished project but not expecting to win, and the judges disallow the entry because they say it's not handpsun.

Instead of being flattered like I would be in real life, in my dream, I get enraged.

I'm upset because of all the work I put into it, but most of all I'm angry because the judges don't believe I have the skill to create something that well made.

It's a very short dream but very intense. I've had it several nights in a row now.

When I get up in the morning I look at the project and I can tell that it's obviously handspun yarn. It's not a worry I'm going to have in real life, so why am I having it in my dream?

I think it is because ancient arts like weaving and spinning come with their own legends and mythologies. Not all of these myths are old either. More and more these days, unintentionally, we are taught things like singles are not strong, you need to turn them into plied yarn. Handspun yarn is best left for weft and should not be used for warp unless you are an expert at both handpsinning and weaving. Even then, you will be spending half your time fixing broken warp threads. And, never even think about using singles for warp.

I don't think people mean to teach us this, but it has seeped into our yarn culture somewhere along the line.

But I know these myths are not true. Most of history people have used handspun yarn for warp. Most of that yarn was not plied. It can be done and it has been done. Then why don't we have confidence in our own abilities as weaver and spinners? Why do we always fall back on commercial yarn for support?

I think that is what is is, we don't have confidence. We don't have confidence in our yarn because we are always comparing it to commercial yarns.

But I know I can spin to reproduce just about any commercial yarn (given the right materials), so why can't I spin for weaving?

I don't see a reason why not.

So those people in my dream, those judges, perhaps they are simply a representation of this modern mythology that I've subscribed to. The only way to subdue these unconscious voices is to keep making new things, to keep trying new techniques and see what works for me and where my actual limits are instead of subscribing to these unvoiced superstitions.

In other news, how exactly does one finish very fine, high twist, handspun cotton singles so they can be used for warp?