TDF results and fiber Trekking in Provincetown

Good morning and happy Saturday!

How did you do in the Tour de Fleece? I managed to finish all of my spinning and even started plying my Razzle Berries before the start of last weekend. It’s a good thing we were given a little extra time after the tour was over to finish up our plying too, as I was away last weekend, but more about that later.

My Razzle Berries merino and silk blend became a 2 ply yarn measuring 714 yards and weighing 3.5 ounces. There was about half an ounce of “plying waste” which is what I end up winding off one of the storage bobbins to keep the color sections as lined up as possible. Sometimes I save what I remove and wind it onto another small storage bobbin. These get added to a collection of other miscellaneous leftovers from other spinning projects for making “crazy skens.” I didn’t do that this time, though. My collection of leftovers has grown large enough. Continue reading “TDF results and fiber Trekking in Provincetown”

The 2017 Tour de Fleece Begins!

Good morning and happy Saturday! It’s the first of July and the first day of the Tour de France and the Tour de Fleece.

The merino and silk blend from Susan is a delight to spin so far. I am waffling between the 20:1 ratio and the 25:1 ratio in double drive. There is such a small size difference between the 25:1 pulley and the small pulley on one end of a standard Kromski bobbin. Getting the right takeup without making treadling feel sticky is tough. I think I am willing to sacrifice five twists per treadle for treadling comfort, and will stick with the 20:1 in double drive. Continue reading “The 2017 Tour de Fleece Begins!”

Are you ready for the Tour de Fleece?

Good morning, and happy Sunday! Yep, Sunday. I haven’t done a significant amount of spinning since long before the Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat. The rainbow colored fiber from Mad Color Fiber Arts that I finished in March was probably the last wheel spun yarn I made. Since then I have done a little bit of supported spindle spinning, mostly at the retreat. We have had quite a busy spring in this house, and I have been spending a lot of my time on other non fiber related projects.

My rigid heddle loom has been getting some use lately though. I warped it with some beautiful yellow sock yarn that I got at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in NYC back in February, and the weft is a beautiful yellow and orange variegated sock yarn from Raggedy Cat . Continue reading “Are you ready for the Tour de Fleece?”

It’s book review time! – Handwoven Home: Weaving Techniques, Tips, and Projects for the Rigid Heddle Loom

I love my rigid heddle loom. It’s small, portable, easy to setup, easy to use, and easy for people new to weaving to learn. Many people may start on a rigid heddle loom when learning to weave, and move on to looms with four or more harnesses capable of more complex weave structures, finer and wider fabrics, or more yardage. Rigid heddle looms do have their limitations, and some snobby weavers will turn their noses up at them because of those limitations, and even go so far as to say that it’s not real weaving, or that a new weaver will be much happier on a real loom. However, the rigid heddle loom doesn’t have to be just a step on a weaver’s journey. Yes, it is a simple loom, but despite that simplicity they are incredibly versatile.

One of the huge advantages of the rigid heddle loom is that it is incredibly easy to set up and put a warp on. A rigid heddle loom with a second heddle option will allow you to double your sett (warp ends per inch), weave twice the width of your loom, and more. With pickup sticks, you can manipulate warp threads even further for more versatility in pattern and structure. This manipulation of warp threads is a more manual process, and that does make weaving more complex patterns and structures much slower than other styles of looms.

In general, weaving on a rigid heddle loom is slower than most larger multi-shaft floor looms. That along with the limited length of warp you can put onto a rigid heddle loom are, in my humble opinion, its biggest limitations. If your need as a weaver is to produce a lot of fabric really efficiently, a rigid heddle loom is likely not for you. But their ease of warping, small size, light weight, and portability are huge advantages.


Continue reading “It’s book review time! – Handwoven Home: Weaving Techniques, Tips, and Projects for the Rigid Heddle Loom”

Ten Years of the Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat

Good morning and happy Saturday!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the tenth Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat. I missed the first two in 2008 and 2009, so it was my eighth spring retreat. Being the tenth year, it was a bit more of a special event than it usually is for all of the guys who attend, including myself. There was a full 44 guys attending the retreat this year, with a good mix of retreat veterans, first timers, and even a couple of guys who are new to knitting.

Continue reading “Ten Years of the Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat”