The Skein

The clock read 5:09 AM. I was awake and thinking about a single skein of yarn. I’m reading your mind – you think I’m very disturbed!

This is the story. Back in December of last year my guild, the Etobicoke Handweavers and Spinners Guild had a challenge – bring a skein of yarn from your stash and choose one donated by another member. The challenge? Weave a project using that skein and ONLY yarn from my stash and present the finished project at our June meeting, the last meeting of the year.

So far so good except, as you can see, the wee skein is still a skein and the months and days have flown by. I have three weeks to do this.

As the birds woke up I pondered my stash and thought the perfect yarns to complement this skein are probably living among my hand dyed and hand spun yarns.

I’ve pulled together a selection that could work: 2 skeins of hand spun wool and mohair in a heathered pink, 2 skeins of hand spun brown Shetland wool that I over dyed with cochineal ( I also over spun it to create a bouclé yarn) and 2 skeins of commercially spun yarn dyed with logwood.

The Palette

I like this palette but will wait until tomorrow night to wind the warp ~ This evening I’m off to the Japan Foundation to enjoy “Kigami and Kami-ito: A slide lecture and paper thread-making demonstration by Hiroko Karuno”

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I ventured out to High Park in hopes of seeing the cherry blossoms in full bloom. It seems mother nature did a real job on the trees this winter. The extra cold temperatures mean there are fewer blossoms, instead the trees are developing leaves. That must be survival mode.

The park was full of people enjoying the warmest day yet. We are craving sun, heat and the rebirth that comes with spring. Rather than stay with the crowds I took a path less travelled to explore the marshland along the pond.

Mama swan let me get very closeShe showed me her eggs

Before long I came upon a swans nest with mama sitting proudly upon her eggs. She let me get quite close and I stayed very still and quiet. I guess she decided I was no threat because she stood up and showed me her eggs! There were three very large greyish, blue/green eggs in the bottom of the nest.

She left her eggs to work on the nest

I thought she would sit back down but no, it was time for housework. She started foraging for choice reeds to pull into the nest. As she worked she gradually slid out of the nest entirely and swam freely in the water. It was really remarkable to see her select a perfect reed, yank it out and place it in the nest.

As she worked the daddy swan glided over. Before long he was hard at work by her side. I have to confess that I was a little worried that he might not like me being so close to the nest but I might as well have been wearing the cloak of invisibility. He took absolutely no notice of me!

Daddy swan returnsConstruction work for two

And then it was mom’s turn for a break while dad did some household chores and watched the kids (to be).

It's dads turn to stay homeOff goes mama for some R&R

I get so much inspiration from nature.

It was the perfect time to weave the last bit of linen warp on the table loom. Linen is notorious for not playing nicely… unless you know what it likes! Two things I keep in mind: linen has no stretch and it loves water. So I opened the windows wide to the spring rain and glorious smell of green things growing and wove away!

Aside from an awkward grouping of threads in the middle of the warp, all is good!

These are hot off the loom and will transform with finishing into lovely little mats.

 

Aside from an awkward grouping of threads in the middle of the warp, all is good!

It was just a small warp – 3 yards, to test if I truly learned what was taught at a recent linen weaving workshop. Jette Vandermeiden is my all time favourite weaving teacher. She offered a 3 day intensive workshop on linen. She stressed that it was process oriented, don’t worry if you only weave a few inches. The only problem was that I was coming down with something and my brain turned to mush. Try as I might, I created one mistake after another and created an ungodly mess!

By mid-morning on day three, exhausted and feverish, I felt the rush of tears as I saw my warp dissolve into a pile of linen spaghetti. NOooooo…

Jette, The Weaving Fairy, came to my rescue. I went outside to visit the sheep. In the end I was able to successfully weave my sampler but I wondered, could I do it again?

Now I know the answer is a resounding YES!

These are hot off the loom and will transform with finishing into lovely little mats.

I finally did it, started a blog… today! It took a while to come to the realization that I have a lot to say about the making of slow cloth. Yes, it is a thing. I don’t purport to be an expert but you may enjoy reading along as I explore the creative process. I may be knitting, weaving, spinning my own yarn and dying the yarns I create. Or maybe I’ll explore some slow cooking in the kitchen, if the spirit moves me. Come join me as I explore slow cloth!