Friday, February 19, 2010

Second Verse

Same as the first?
mandala bag side 2

It was fully my intention to weave both sides the same for this spindle bag. But. When it came to actually weaving the second side, I just could not get motivated. I designed a few options, using the same motifs arranged differently: still no spark. I finally just gave in: the second side is related in theme and color, but is wholly new.

I like it :), and had fun weaving it this week.


new spindles

A few new spindles. I bought these new donut beads specifically with spindles in mind. They are Jasper and Amazonite, and the carved ones have built in notches which neatly catch the yarn. The two smaller ones weigh less than an ounce each, the Peridot Jasper is heavier, for plying.

I tried them out with some bombyx silk on the smaller ones and some wool on the larger. They spin forever!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I've seen the spindles for sale made from bead whorls and chopsticks. Some are quite beautiful, but they seem pricey. I had a few semi-precious gemstone donuts in the bead stash, so I made a set:

spindles close

These are three 40mm donuts and one 50mm donut. I purchased the grommets and chopsticks, but had the wire to make the hooks: I think a bit of better glue might be in order, but for this trial I used craft glue. The finished spindles all weigh less than an ounce: most are .7 of an ounce, much within my current preferred weight range.

I tried them out with bleached tussah, and they are all good spinners. The 50 mm seems to spin the best: I don't know if it's the size of the donut, or something about the relationship of the whorl to the shaft. Should I just happen to be in a bead store soon, I will stick to 50 mm donuts should I just happen to purchase any more......

spindles Feb 10

These are about $6 each to make. The spindles for sale online have much prettier stone whorls, so I will probably be haunting bead stores again, looking. There are some beautiful options at online bead shops too. Always fun to have a particular quest when shopping..... :)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Much The Same

Still spinning, still knitting, still weaving. The progress this week is not remarkable, even though there is another skein to add to the pile of silk:

spindle silk 3 skeins

There is a penny for scale this time, because when Lindsey saw the skeins she said: "I thought they would be bigger!" Nope. Small. But Mighty! About 150 yards per skein.

I am also spinning some wool/mohair blend for the next spindle bag:

spindle wool

Also on spindles, this time on the Viking Santas:

spindle wool viking santas

A few weeks ago I mentioned in this post about stranded yarns for pile, and Phreadde asked about Paternayan yarns. The yarns were developed in NYC in the early 1900's, by two brothers from Turkey, Harry and Karnick Paternayan. They were carpet repairmen, and needed a durable wool yarn in a wide range of colors. They used New Zealand wool (this was Phreadde's exact question: what breed of wool), and since NZ has an abundance of Romney sheep, I'd place a bet that is the wool in Paternayan yarns. The yarns are spun worsted, making them more durable, and as I mentioned in the previous blog post are stranded, in over 400 colors, making matching colors an easy task using either a color as is, or separating out the strands and mixing various values and hues to get an exact match.

Repairing carpets is an interesting topic: there is repair, restoration and conservation. Conservation is simply holding off further degradation. Whole carpets, as well as scraps and fragments, are often cleaned and either stored properly or perhaps sewn to a backing, preserving as much as possible the textile as it is presented. Museums do much of the conservation work, and most people don't have conserved textiles in their collections, they have repaired textiles (if not whole cloth !).

Repair is most common, and involves trying to fix and stabilize, as well as replace missing and worn areas. Since most workshop carpets sold for the last hundred-plus years have been woven of commercial wool, repair shops most often need commercial wool to do their work. This is where Paternayan yarn is valuable. I was introduced to it by the man I learned knotted pile from: he used Paternayan as his pile yarn to weave over 20 carpets in 20 years. The yarn has held up well: his first carpet shows no more wear than the most recent, and they have been on the floor and used for 20+ years.

Restoration involves returning a carpet to as-close-as-possible original condition. This is best done on valuable carpets, historically significant works, or, sometimes, by people with lots of money and no real concern for the ultimate worth of the carpet: they just want it restored. This is the most specialized of work, and often involves spinning wool to match the existing in grist, twist and breed, dyeing to match and making the most invisible of repairs which are expected to age along with the balance of the restored carpet.

As a spinner, when I started weaving knotted pile, I experimented with spinning yarns for my work. I used Paternayan as the model, and branched off in several directions, at first on the advice of lots of interested and some knowledgeable people. I have come back to the original stranded-model, as the previous post mentions, for many good and fun reasons.

So the yarn for the next spindle bag will also be stranded. I'm spinning both white and grey as the base yarns, and they will be dyed and sorted into color piles, and then woven held as one, I'm thinking two strands together, for a rich blend and depth of color not possible with just one strand.

This is the current spindle bag progress as of now:

spindle bag cricket

See the glow of the shiny mohair yarns?

There is progress, but it all takes time. It moves slowly. So, eh, the current work indeed looks much the same as it did last week.