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Homespun Living in a New England

More weaving with handspun, raw fleece, and some other odds and ends

Friday, July 18, 2014

As promised, I am here to share some more weaving projects from my very obsessive past few days. Weaving in such a simple format like this is so satisfying; compared to using a massive floor loom, this process is so much more experimental and free form. I totally understand now how craftspeople in the 1960s and  70s fiber arts explosion got so caught up in this kind of work! The possibilities for color, pattern and texture are much more open than you would think, even given the limitations built into the process. It's elemental - plain weave is the basis, but from there materials take center stage. 

Wall hanging by Romeo Reyna; 1960s, California. Source
And so, here are the three weavings I've completed in the last week! The first one is fairly small, about 14 by 20 for the frame. There is BFL roving, Lincoln fleece, raw flax fiber and, of course, some of my handspun. The hot pink is nylon twine.

This one is the same size, and uses similar materials. The primary difference is that I added in some bright red nylon pom poms. I quite like how those came out.

And here's the largest piece, about the size of small entryway rug. I like the look of these weavings still in the frames/looms. It sets them off nicely. This piece features fleece and handspun, in a wide variety of color and material. 

And now, some close ups of texture!

Off topic, but not really - experiments in wood turning

My stepfather, Bob, is a very talented woodworker. He has made musical instruments, lovely wood turned bowls, and many other pieces. Lately, he's been spending a lot of time on making pens on the lathe. While I was in Philly a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get a quick tutorial on this process. 

We used a small piece of buckeye burl, which has a mix of gray and blue-ish threads running through it. The woodturning process smooths and polishes the wood down so that you end up seeing the natural detail in the wood much more than you do looking at the raw materials. 

Buckeye burl, in a much larger format. Source.

This video shows a bit of the process, starting with the wood in two blocks, and gradually smoothing it down with chisels. Once the shape is achieved, you switch to progressive grades of sandpaper to get it mirror smooth. Pardon my nosy questions in the background of the video.

And here's the finished piece, sanded, lacquered and drying - look at how beautiful the wood looks after being smoothed down! The last step in this process is adding the pen hardware. 

I'm so grateful that there are a million different tools and techniques to make stuff, in the world. I'm never, ever going to run out of new stuff to learn about and try. 

Getting on the weaving bandwagon

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I've noticed that there are an awful lot of rustic weavings/wall hangings showing up in the blogs I follow, lately. For instance, check out this abundantly helpful tutorial at A Beautiful Mess.

This internet-y influence coalesced for me when I discovered a cheap kid's toy at the Goodwill by the pound - a small, fully functional peg loom. And so! It was decided. I've been playing around with tassels, fringes, rya knots and, most excitingly for me, the use of unspun and raw wool locks!

Stay tuned for a much bigger project in the near future, with a janky but effective handmade loom. 

A Little Piece of Good Advice

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I choose to believe that this is referring to a spinning wheel.