September 11, 2010

NEXT MEETING: Sept. 29, 2010, 7:30 PM

We are at the new location at Thurman Casey Library. See the August 26th post below for all the info. If you haven't been to the meeting room at this library before: as you drive into the parking lot, turn to your left and drive towards the back. There is a separate door to the meeting room towards the back of the building.

At the August meeting, all these spinners exchanged a 4 oz stash for someone else's. In a blind pick, we all hopefully came away with ideas of what to do and what to make from our bag of lovely stash. There are no rules: spin it, blend it, felt it. Just have it ready for the big Show & Tell at the January meeting.

Some of the lovely fibers that were in the exchange.


[Also, at the August meeting, Nancy brought in this beautiful pillow, and i asked her to write up a little information about it for our blog]

This needlepoint pillow was stitched with hand-spun, hand-dyed wool—except for the black silk outline.
The design is from Phillipa Turnbull of the Crewel Work Company and is a hand-painted canvas produced with special permission from The Laird of Traquair House in Scotland. It is an exact replica from a panel of slips from the 16th Century.
The wool was dyed with cochineal, indigo, onion skins and turmeric. The only commercial dye I used was Landscape Dyes from Australia for the azure background.
If anyone is interested in spinning and dyeing their own needlepoint or crewel yarn, please e-mail me at:
It is very easy and I had the time of my life doing this project!!!
Nancy Van Tassel


Any of you who were at my house for Monday Spinning a couple of weeks ago, may have seen this loom in the early stages of reconstruction.

With lots of help from Will and Carol C., many of the unknowns about how it went together became more clear. Always ask a friend for help! This photo shows the loom from the side.

This loom came to me from my sister-in-law, Irena, who's boyfriend at the time, built it for her while they were in a refugee camp in Germany during the mid to late 40's. They are both Lithuanian and this loom is specifically for weaving sashes, which are so important as part of the Lithuanian National Dress [men and women], and are also used in many other ways for ceremonial and special occasions.

Before emigrating to the U.S. in 1948 or so, Irena's Dad took it apart and stored all the pieces in a box. That's what came to us, just a box full of bits and pieces of wood that had been stored for 60 years in an attic. With no idea of how it went together, my husband and I began to look for clues on the wood itself: worn areas, cut areas that fit together, etc. I know looms, but I didn't have much of an idea of how a jacquard loom threads up, so it was really working from almost no knowledge. For awhile, we had the base part upside down! Once we finally figured that out, and with Will and Carol also studying the puzzle pieces, it has mostly come together. The loom is a little warped, but we're hoping that once all the pieces are cleaned and refinished, I can actually get it to weave.

At left is a woven sash from Lithuania, probably woven on a Jacquard. I saw a couple small floor models when we were there. A Jacquard loom makes its patterning with the aid of the cardboard strips you see in the photo above. Each strip represents one pass of the weft thread, each strip tells the loom which harnesses go up for that particular shot. There are two back beams, one to carry the base fabric threads [the plain weave, cream colored threads in the photo here] and another that carries all the "pattern" threads. The Jacquard head allows you to weave at a fairly rapid rate, fairly complicated designs without doing any hand manipulation of the warp threads.

I know that we are primarily a spinners guild, but we have wooed many of you to the dark side of looms and weaving. The latest to come over is Judy E. who has lately purchased a rigid-heddle loom. Yes, you can weave up that stash of handspun a lot faster than you can knit it!