Posts Tagged ‘spinning wheel’


I waited and waited and then a knock at the door and the box and the packaging and fitting it together. Its a Rose by Majacraft all the way from New Zealand. It is so pretty. The wood feels warm, the wheel turns so smoothly. At first I just produced twisty harsh overspun wire, which was disappointing as I had become quite efficient on my antique wheel. I restrained myself from using the smaller whorls with high ratios and found that the 6.1 and 8.1 were fine for my early stages. It is such a pleasure to spin with it, though I have much to learn about the ratios and speeds. This was one of my reasons for choosing this wheel and for investing in another wheel at all. I have something which will challenge me and inspire me for years to come.

Here she is…

And another picture ……..though this was Day 1 and I was finding my feet (or hands might be more appropriate )

This is opening up another creative door to me. I  am falling asleep at night imagining things to knit and projects to weave. The downside is that spinning is quite a slow process and it will take me weeks to produce enough yarn to make anything

 A real advantage to the Rose over my old wheel is its silence. I was unable to sit and spin in the evening as it was accompanied by squeaks and rattles. and now I can use evening time to accumulate the raw materials of fabric production.

I have enjoyed my Christmas present spinning books and want to put techniques into practice. One of my projects is a beautiful lace and cable knitted cardigan from” Lace Style” by Pam Allen and Ann Budd.  It uses Sports weight which I think is the equivalent of a light double knitting wool. So I have just spun 200gr of 11 wpi . It could be more even but I am pleased as a starter. I may buy some ready dyed Merino Tops for this project though as it will not need all the carding which is not my favourite task

  My first Rose spun skein weighs 200 grms.The cardigan needs about 800 grms of shop spun yarn. I don’t really know how handspun compares, though I think yardage is probably more crucial.

I am unsure whether to buy ready made yarn  or make my own at the moment, but its a great situation to be in. So many choices.

I am quite happy just to pick the skein up and feel it at the moment!! It is spun from a long stapled lustrous fleece that a friend gave me. I recently bought a Shetland fleece which I was trying to spin last night. It is really difficult. A bit like cotton wool its so soft!

In my weaving career, all of nearly 2 years I have never woven a wool warp or used a plain tabby threading. I have been  carried away by twills and intricate patterns. Spinning will be pointless if I am unable to weave woolen cloth. My longterm goal has always been to weave yardage to make clothes. The use of wool and the amount required for the warp has inhibited me and I have stuck to smaller projects, scarves, towels and cushion covers. Inspired by Rose I selected the homespun made and dyed with garden plants last year. I was  going to knit it, but it is rather too thick for two colour work. It. was my first spinning attempt and the variation in diameter and twists is erratic. 

So I made the decision to weave it.

This is just a reminder of the yarn. It was dyed with onion skins, golden rod, lichen (from fallen trees), some naturel brown fleece and heather. It varied quite a bit in diameter and evenness, but overall was about 11wpi. It is a 2ply.

My next task was to work out what I could actually make with it. I weighed it and and found I had 600grms.  I weighed 25grms and measured the length. This gave me 43 mtrs /25grms, though overall this may not be a consistent amount. Calculations are not my strong point but I reckoned I had about 1032 mtrs to play with.

I have never used the full width of my loom before either. It is 24″ (61 cms) I decided to weave a full width shawl. Here are the calculations.

Warp width.   24″ (Apologies for mixing metric and Imperial but the loom is old and only understands old-fashioned measurments. Like me)

EPI  11. I only have a 12 and a 15 dent reed. Settled for sett of 6 because the maths was easier!

I decided to use a plain weave as the handspun did not need a pattern to show it off and plain weave will use less yarn than a twill.

24 x 6=144 ends

Warp   3.00 mtrs   including take-up, fringes and shrinkage.

I wound the warp using random stripes. Some colours were in short supply, particularly the onion skin orange and the natural brown so I used them in the warp and left some pale yellow and light brown for the weft.

I had been nervous of using wool due to stretching . I must thank Dot here http://fibre2fabric.blogspot.com/  who reassured me in her post and actually gave me the confidence to continue warping. I also used her tension making method hanging milk containers half full with water on the warp as its beamed!!! It works and I will definitely use it again as I have never had such a perfect warp before !


Then I started weaving!  5ppi gave me a loose plain weave, but I presumed there would be a fair amount of shrinkage and I wanted a soft shawl. Compared to all the fiddly things I have woven before this was so fast and within 24 hours it was finished!! I used two shuttles alternately mixing the colours so that i could absorb a random mix in the weft.

I had just enough yarn at the end though I was literally searching for lengths on the floor and hidden away in plastic bags!!! I had considered using a dummy warp as I realise this saves precious handspun, but I am afraid I didn’t have the patience to try it. I have wasted a fair amount but I have the shawl I planned so I can live with the waste.

When  the shawl first came off the loom I was pleased with it though it was quite loosely woven and harsh.


I handwashed it, rinsed it in conditioner (we have hard water in Hampshire)  and spun it in the machine. The weather was OK  and I dried it outside. I steam pressed it and was delighted with the finished product.

The finished shawl is 21″/54cms. I lost3″/8cms through shrinkage and draw-in.

It is 82″ long plus 5″ fringes..

 I have completed a  soft handspun, handwoven shawl (hand dyed as well!!)

 However I think  the most important thing me is that I have learnt that I am able to weave handspun and wool  and now I can really design some yardage for dressmaking. Possibly not a tailored jacket to start with but a loose unfitted jacket in a weave with a closer sett which I can cut and sew.

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