8H Weaving Practice = Holiday Greeting Cards

Photo of Greeting Cards with Fabric Inserts Handwoven by Joanne Littler, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio

Handwoven Greeting Cards – 2012

These greeting cards are the result of a self-directed learning spree – a hands-on, trial & error, teach-myself excursion into the unknown.  In this case the unknown was weaving with an 8-shaft loom.

2012 is the third year in a row I’ve made greeting cards using pieces of fabric from one of these binge-on-a-whim experiments.

In 2010, my first handmade cards came from practice mixing dye colors.

Photo of Greeting Card with  hand dyed fabric insert by Joanne Littler, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio, Fairfax, VT.

Hand Dyed Greeting Card 2010

One young friend asked if I’d woven the fabric (which I had not), so the following year I decided to weave fabric for cards as “practice”.

Practice weaving a specific shape – 6.5 inches x 4.5 inches with an area of interest approximately 4.5 inches x 3 inches.
(I use cards from Photographer’s Edge)
And practice weaving stripes.

Photo of red and green striped fabric for Holiday Cards on the loom - woven by Joanne Littler, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio, Fairfax, VT , 2011n 2011

Striped fabric for holiday cards – 2011

No surprise.  I learned a lot.

A lot of important stuff.  Like why I prefer putting stripes in the warp rather than the weft.  (It’s easier.)  And why I’ll think twice before choosing to weave  weft-faced stripes.  Especially if the yarn I want to use is 8/2 cotton. (It takes forever).

On the other hand, I also (now) know that I love the look of weft-faced stripes in 8/2 cotton.

Tough call.  But good to know.
The kind of knowing that comes from doing.
A fine tuning of personal preference.

Fabric for greeting cards is a perfect project for practice.

And now one of my “go-to” projects when I want/need to psyche myself out.
(Or up).

When the best way to get answers to my questions is to try, re-try, do, redo, repeat, adjust, and try again.
When information gathering is part of the plan.
And when I need a way to get past that gag-me-with-a-spoon reaction I have toward making samples.

Photo of striped fabric greeting card by Joanne Littler, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio, Fairfax, VT

Just for fun stripes

The prospect of working on anything that resembles a “put-it-in-a-notebook-and forget-about-it” weaving sample leaves me totally uninspired.

Wholehearted, enthusiastic exploration of possibilities is much more likely to occur when the process is exciting and the results
hold meaning.

Weaving is most meaningful to me when I’m working on something I can use.

That’s why, when I started thinking about switching my Leclerc Colonial loom from 4 to 8-shafts, I knew I had to find a way to make the weaving worthwhile – as in, “this absolutely has to be something I can have fun with and use”.

The problem was (is?) – nothing I want to weave requires 8 harnesses.

So I went to my back issues of Handwoven Magazine  – starting with the most recent. Paging through this vast collection of weaving wisdom usually moves  me.  But I knew what I was looking for – and none of the projects requiring 8 shafts were “it”.

Maybe this says something about how far behind I am, compared to rest of the weaving world.

Nothing resonated.
Until I got back to 2001.

Sure enough, in a magazine published 11 years ago, (pages 48 – 50 in the September/October 2001  issue of Handwoven ) I found the perfect project.

Designed by Sarah Saulson – specifically aimed at and written for 8 harness “newbies” (part of her “Now we are Eight” series of articles), – and intended as a “how-to” for weavers interested in creating plain weave selvedges along the edges of a woven pattern, it was exactly what I was looking for.

The project was for mug rugs.  Small, simple and manageable.  These little gems – (also known as coasters) – have never been on any of my weaving “to do” lists.   Remember when I mentioned the “need to weave” something I would use?

But – what if?  What if they were just a little bit narrower and each piece woven a little bit longer?  What if the fabric could be woven to fit in the window of a greeting card?

There it was.  The project that inspired questions suitable for a “spree”.  Thanks to Sarah Saulson and Handwoven Magazine,  I was ready to find out what would happen “if” with 8 shafts.

It was late October when I started weaving – not soon enough for people to see during Fall Open Studio Weekend, – and perhaps overly optimistic of me to imagine weaving off, finishing and sending out  few Happy Thanksgiving cards. But the autumn-y brown and gold colors I chose for warp made an excellent foundation for a whole slew of color combinations to try in the weft.

Every one was different (and  a couple of them were really different).

Photo of different color combinations made by changing weft colors on a brown and gold warp.  Handwven by Joanne Littler, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio, Fairfax, VT.

Changes in weft colors on a brown and gold warp.

But exactly the kind of “see and do” thing that could keep me interested. Interested enough to make me want to repeat the process.

As soon as I finished the first warp, tweaked the weaving plan and made adjustments based on my notes, – I started all over again.  Different warp colors and another whole slew of color combinations to try in the weft.

So maybe three times really is the charm.  Because after 3 separate warps, I was feeling a lot less beleaguered by those additional shafts and treadles.

Baby steps, to be sure – but enormously satisfying.  And with lots of cards to give as gifts or  send in greeting – the experience fit perfectly into my idea of worthwhile.

Worthwhile enough to make me stick with 8?   No – I’m just not there.  Too many other things to do.

The Colonial is back to normal – which for me, means a 4-harness counter-balance loom with an overhead beater.   And with several exciting prospects on my “things to weave” list, – I probably won’t need to dig through my back issues of Handwoven Magazine for at least another 6 months.

In the meantime, since I had to resort to giving someone one of my weaving IOU’s instead of an actual gift this year –

I gotta go weave.

Joanne's blog signature, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio

Nearly 30 Years of Weaving And I Still Don’t Know “Jack”

We’re not total strangers, jack and I.  We’ve crossed paths.  Met briefly at a couple of workshops, and at a friend’s house.

I’ve read several descriptions.  And seen a lot of pictures.

But we’ve only ever had a passing acquaintance.  We’re certainly not good friends.  And the thought of spending any real time together?
It never crossed my mind.

Not until recently, that is.

Maybe because my first loom – a counter-balance loom  – seems like the perfect loom.  Small and sturdy.  Exactly the right loom for me.

I  learned  to love weaving with a counter-balance loom.

Photo of 27" Leclerc Counter-Balance loom

My first and favorite loom – a 27″ Leclerc “Fanny”

Maybe that’s why my second loom is also a counter-balance loom.

Photo of 36" Leclerc Counter-Balance Loom

My second loom – a 36″ Leclerc “Fanny”

And my third.

Photo of 45" Leclerc Colonial Counter-Balance Loom

My third counter-balance loom, a 45″ Leclerc Colonial

To me, these looms represent everything good about weaving.
Easy, effortless and enjoyable.

I’m happy weaving with these  looms  – and have great long  lists of  “what to weave next” – projects perfectly suited to weaving with a counter-balance loom.

So even though the 45″ (older) Leclerc Colonial is convertible – (and not just from counter-balance to jack, – I have the kit to add 4 more harnesses), – even though I could switch it over to a jack loom, – I’ve never been particularly interested in giving it a try.

Any discussion of counter-balance vs. jack  fell by the wayside.
Into the category:  “It doesn’t matter, it’s not important, and I don’t care”.

Until recently, that is.

Because recently I’ve had several conversations about looms.  Conversations with people in my Learning to Weave classes; conversations with weavers thinking about getting a different/smaller loom; conversations with people visiting during Open Studio Weekend; conversations about choosing the “right” loom, and which loom is the “best” loom.

And I’ve started thinking about how limited my weaving is.

When a question comes up about jack looms, all  I can say is:
“I don’t know”.

(For the record, I think “I don’t know” is a perfectly good answer.)

But all that thinking and not-knowing made  me curious.  Not just about why I was choosing not to know.  (Although that may be the more interesting question.)  I started to get curious about “jack”.

How would (my) weaving be different if I used a jack loom?

The Leclerc Looms  website  has good  information about the mechanical differences between counter-balance,  jack and countermarche looms – along with the advantages and disadvantages of each system.

But I wanted to know what it meant to me.
What did it have to do with the kind of things I like to make – or  the kind of fabric I like to weave?

Would having a jack loom change how I felt about weaving?  Could I, would I, should I – weave differently – or explore different things  if I had a different type of loom?  Was there something in particular I wanted to try, but couldn’t accomplish with a counter-balance loom?’

And the “ifs” turned into “then”  and “when”.
If I was considering converting the Colonial to a jack loom,  then I might as well set it up with all 8 harnesses.  And if  I was going to look for a learning project, then I might as well look for one  that  let me experiment with multiple harnesses.
When I found the right project I decided to give it a try.

Photo of Leclerc Colonial Loom as 8 harness jack loom

My Colonial Loom with 8 harnesses.

After 2 months and three warps, I’m surprised and pleased.    The nearly completed project was a perfect introduction to “jack”.   And even though it represented just a little bit of time – (in weaver time) – it feels like time well spent.
Most of all, this experience  helped clarify something the Home Economist (Consumer Scientist?) in me suspected – something the Weaver in me needed to know for sure.

It’s not just about the loom.

Our personalities, values,  lifestyle choices,  likes and dislikes,  dreams, aspirations, goals –  all of those things deserve our attention.

The first loom you use may not be either “right” or “best”.  But if it gets you weaving, it’s a still a good choice.  It’s important to notice what feels like fun – and what doesn’t.

Keep weaving.  And pay attention. Weaving can show you things.
Whatever loom you use.

Your preferences will show up in the fabric.

Photo of various colors used in 8H weaving.

Changing weft colors made this an adventure!

I’ll tell you why this was such a great project in my next post.

Right now, with another 20 inches or so left on this (last) warp –
 I gotta go weave.

Joanne's blog signature, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio

Fall Open Studio Weekend

The Vermont Crafts Council is presenting the second Fall Open Studio Weekend, October 6 & 7.

As a participant –  in  addition to having my space open to the public with spinning and weaving demonstrations – I’m also having a sale.

You can preview the items included by going to www.joannelittler.com.
As of this moment, the list is not complete. But now that I’ve done the mailing  I can start setting things up.
Image of the postcard sent from Pine Ledge Fiber Studio

If you get this postcard from me about Open Studio Weekend, and have questions about any of the items listed for sale, you can email me.
And you can reserve an item you’d like to buy by sending me a message to that effect.

If you didn’t get a card and would like to receive future actual in-the-mail mailings – you can do that,  too – by sending me a message.  (The first 10 people who give me their names and snail mail addresses will receive a hand-dyed fabric greeting card as a thank-you.)  U.S. and Canada only please.

You can also ask to be removed from the mailing list – same place, send a message.

Someday soon I’ll start an email list.  For now it’s strictly snail mail.

And I know there are easier, more elegant ways of handling communications and signing up for things on-line.   I’m getting there. Slowly.

I also know it’s no small thing to give your name and address to a virtual stranger.  But if you’re already on my list, you know that I rarely send out a mailing of any kind – email or otherwise.  So don’t even imagine you’ll be inundated with scads of junk mail or spammy stuff.  We all have better things to do.

A few of you might have gotten a handwoven Christmas Card. ( If you didn’t and might like to get one, you can send me a message saying you’d like to sign up for snail mail and include your name and address.   (I’m planning to make at least 5 extras this year so your name will go into a hat for a random drawing.)

I have to admit,  contacting people who might be interested in hearing from me  has never been at the top of my to-do list – for a variety of reasons – most of which are pretty lame.

So as part of my program to recover from lame-ness, I’ll be building a new website and learning how to stay in touch.

In the meantime, thanks for your patience.

I gotta go work on a display for Open Studio Weekend.

Joanne's blog signature, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio

Weavers: Do You Ever Want To Just Tie One On?

Not a dozen.
Not 4.
Not a complete “set” of anything.
No extras for friends, or gifts to give.
Not enough to donate or sell.
Do you ever choose to warp your loom for just one thing?

It sounds simple enough.
But it might not be all that easy – especially if it’s not what you usually do.

If you usually try to make the most of your weaving plan by making multiples, warping for just one thing seem might seem like a waste.

Why does it feel like one is not enough?

Maybe because your time is valuable.  And as a resource, it keeps dwindling.
When we’re short on time, but passionate about weaving  – we may feel the need to maximize our efforts.

It’s an economy of scale thing.
Warping a loom – getting ready to weave – requires a lot of preparation.  Measuring, sleying, threading, tying on, winding on…

Photo loom harnesses and heddles being threaded

One part of the warping process – threading heddles.

Whatever order you choose to do it in, –  it all has to happen – whether it’s to make one thing or to make many.

Each additional thing you plan to weave adds more length and uses more yarn.
But measuring and winding on only take a little bit longer.

Most other parts of the process stay the same.

So you’re actually saving time by making multiples – by not having to repeat all the steps.

Clearly, it’s more efficient to make more than one.

But … Are two enough? Are 6 too many?
When a TV ad posed those questions several years ago, the answer was obvious – because with prunes you really can ‘trust your gut’ to get it right.

When you’re planning a weaving project – sometimes it’s hard to see why more is not (necessarily) better.

Rigid Heddle weavers may have an advantage here.  Limitations imposed by the equipment prevent over-reaching.
My RH loom comfortably holds about 4 yards of warp.   I’m not tempted to set it up for 24 towels – because I can’t.

On my floor looms, weaving 2 dozen towels from one warp is definitely possible.  (But if you think this might be a good thing –  and if you  know you have a short attention span, and/or are easily bored, please – pause and consider –  by #7  the weaving starts to get old.  The next 17?  Not a lot of fun.  Trust me.)

How you feel about the warping process can make a big difference.

Especially if  you think of it as an ordeal.
Do you find it excruciating?  Or merely off-putting?
Does it seem like it takes forever?
Do some parts of the process feel awkward and uncomfortable?
Is it complicated and confusing?
Does warping your loom feel like a major undertaking?
Do you warp for more than one so you can avoid having to do it more often?

Do you wish you could warp less and weave more?

For a lot of weavers,  the work of setting up a loom isn’t the fun part – and that becomes a problem when there isn’t  a lot of time to spare.

But if we pay attention to what’s fun and what’s not fun – if we consider what we might do differently – we can find ways to make the not so much fun experience more satisfying and less of a problem.

Warping is part of weaving.  A big part.  One thing has to happen in order to “get”  to do the other.  (And those next 17 towels do have to be woven off before I get to warp for something else.)

So how do you feel about warping for (and weaving off) just one small thing?
Does the prospect make you happy and excited?
Or does it sound like a waste (of time and materials)?

What if you enjoyed warping as much (or more) than the actual weaving?

What if the time it took to set up your loom was just – time?  What if it was good time? Special, satisfying and rewarding time?

What would it take for you to feel you were making the most of it?

If you feel the need to make multiples of a project – is it because your weaving dreams include lots of things?

Or is there some other compelling ‘ought to, have to, must do’,  – driving your choice?

If the reason you’re hesitant to warp your loom for just one thing is because you’re uncomfortable with the process – if it feels confusing, if  it takes too long, – if  you need someone right there with you to help you, and you feel intimidated by all the steps involved:

Warping more and weaving less might solve the problem.

Sometimes it makes sense to tie one on.
Just one thing.

And weave it off.
Then do it again.
And again.
And keep doing it.

Try warping your loom for one thing at a time.
Practice the part of the process that (for many people) is problematic.
Give yourself a gift (of time) that allows for practice.  Lots of practice.

It won’t make you perfect.  But I’m pretty sure it will make you feel capable, comfortable and competent – with your own version of  ‘warp speed’.

You might find that you enjoy how slow you go.
Maybe even find it exquisitely slow.

I gotta go weave.

Joanne's blog signature, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio

Why I Never Weave Samples (And What I Choose To Do Instead)

Some weavers enjoy it.
Most will say it’s a good thing to do.
And all of their reasons why make perfect, practical sense.

Photo of practice fabric for a card insert

This is not a sample. (It’s fabric for a greeting card). Really.

But for me to weave a sample?  I just can’t.
I mean it.
I can’t. I won’t. (“And you can’t make me” says the stubborn child within .)
What that really means is:  I refuse.

The concept is one I embrace – as it applies to other things.
But weaving samples?  No way.
That’s not gonna happen.
I refuse.

So what do I have against weaving samples?

Maybe you’ve  noticed.
Funny things happen when you spend time with your loom.
Weaving time, quiet time, alone time – time spent with and by yourself – that kind of time lends itself to self-reflection.  Introspection.  An opportunity to examine one’s thoughts.

Here’s what I think  – I think I have issues.
And one of them manifests as a strong feeling of resistance to any suggestion prefaced with the words “you should”, “you must”, “you ought to”, “you need to”, or “you have to”.

Have you noticed how often those words appear right before “weave a sample“?

This does not inspire me.
Instead of feeling encouraged and excited – I feel dread and disappointment.
Instead of feeling helped with what I want to learn, I feel thwarted, frustrated and impatient.
Instead of feeling open to the possibility of  success, I feel threatened with failure if I don’t ‘comply’.

I just want to weave – not feel bad when I don’t do it the way someone else thinks I ‘ought’.

And another thing –

What are you supposed to DO with a sample once you’ve gleaned whatever information you wanted/needed it to provide?
It’s just a sample.
I don’t a want sample, I want an actual thing.

If you weave – you know.
Setting up a loom is no small task.
Taking the time, making the effort to weave something to keep in a notebook for reference doesn’t thrill me. 

Cloth.
Useable fabric.
Made by hand.
Regularly finding its place in my own (or someone else’s) hands.

That’s what thrills me.
Not some specimen, some bit-of-a-piece-of-a-thing.

What I’m telling myself

(if I choose to believe my thoughts)
– sounds something like this: “don’t bother, it’s not worth it, you won’t like it, you won’t do it right, it’s a waste of time”.

And that message leads to not weaving.

In other areas of my life, I might go along with that kind of thinking.
But, not weaving?

Not weaving is unacceptable.

No matter how many reasons I come up with for why the idea of weaving a sample irks me – what really matters is:  how to stop the irksome-ness  and get on with the weaving.

As it turns out – there’s a simple fix. (OK, maybe not easy – but definitely simple).

Whenever things show up on my own, personal, “need to know” list – questions I have about a fabric I want to make – I start looking for ways to incorporate the reason for a sample into something I know I will enjoy weaving.   Because the reason is the important part – it’s about gathering information that will help make future projects more successful.

So instead of  weaving a sample –

I make practice pieces.  
Bookmarks, greeting card inserts, mug rugs,  coasters, scarves, towels, table mats, runners, shawls – anything I can think of as a reasonable alternative – a way of gathering the same information a sample would provide.

Instead of irksome, a practice piece is something I’m willing and happy to weave.
More than a reference tool, often imperfect, exciting to plan, thrilling to witness as it takes shape, full of possibility –  leading to more weaving.

And yes, it’s absolutely all in my mind and how I choose to think about it.

Whatever you want to call it, however you manage to accomplish it – it’s all about the same thing: practice.
The value of continued practice.

Engaging in the practice 

Finding meaning.
Feeling positive about what there is to learn.
Enjoying the process.
And having fun with it.

That’s how weaving “works” for me.  A space opens up when I’m involved with  yarn.   A space where crowded thoughts move apart, drift past, and eventually float away.  Where the irksome becomes just another piece of lint  – under the treadles, beneath the loom.

I gotta go weave.

Joanne's blog signature, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio

Taking Leave

Photo of daffodils & study tools

Restful Study Flowers

It’s official.
For the 2012 season – this summer market season –  I’m off.
My market experience will be as a customer this year.

Technically, I’m on sabbatical – with a booth space reserved for 2013.  And (no surprise) the current relationship I have with Webster’s Dictionary compelled me to look that word up.

Webster tells me sabbatical is an extended leave – for “rest or study”.
I intend to do both.

Rug making, rep weave, and  log cabin designs have my attention at the moment.

Several new-to-me yarns from Henry’s Attic are making their way into project plans.

Ashland Bay has new fiber I’m eager to spin and weave – especially the new colors in their merino-silk blend  –  likely additions to my line of shawls and scarves.

And with warmer weather on the way I’ll be moving outside with dyes: trying out a few new techniques and applications;  fine tuning some of the color combinations I like best; and practicing on my handwoven fabric.

At the same time I’m continuing to review, renew, re-write, re-weave, and re-work several Rigid Heddle projects – hoping to give students in my Beginning Weaving class some additional choices and offer some of these new projects to a larger audience of RH weavers.

I’m also trying to develop a better working knowledge of how to use and maintain a website/blog.

As for vending at the Burlington Farmer’s Market, it means I’m not.
Not this summer.
And not having to wake up at 4:15 Saturday mornings?  That’s part of the “rest”.

This summer I’m looking forward to shopping there.
More than a quick dash away from my booth.
An actual jaunt.
Maybe even a saunter.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the new ‘footprint’ of the market works for both customers and sellers.  This larger space includes a section of St. Paul St.-  closed to traffic – with vendors lining both sides of the street.

More space means more vendors – 90 this year!   Vermonters selling what they grow and make – fresh produce, meats, cheeses, beverages, prepared foods and handmade crafts.  The market keeps growing – changing, improving and expanding – bringing more good things into the mix.

Better and better.  Every day  in every way.

And that sentiment is guiding my choice as I take my leave this year.
It’s time for me to look forward and include more good things in my spinning, weaving and dyeing – things I can share with an incredible group of individuals who enjoy, encourage and support the work.

I appreciate the opportunity.
And promise to post my progress.

Joanne's blog signature, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio

What’s In Your (Handspun) Stash?

If you’re considering weaving with your handspun yarn –
If  you think weaving might be a good way to use up some of the growing collection of yarns  in your stash –
You might also be wondering which (if any) of your handspun yarns are suitable for weaving.

So how do you find out?
You could grab a few skeins, start weaving and see what happens.
And choosing an impromptu, spontaneous approach might work for you – it might even lead to some unbelievably fabulous fabric.

But if you’re familiar with weaving, you’ll probably agree:  It takes a considerable amount of time to prepare.

And it’s not just about getting the loom ready.

Choosing the right yarn for the project and calculating how much yarn you need are significant steps in the process.

When you decide you want to try weaving with your handspun yarn – you need to know what you have.  Take a good look at what’s in your stash.  You may want to begin by sorting and analyzing – matching colors and characteristics but I think there’s something else to take care of first.

Pick up a skein of your handspun yarn.  Can you look at it and immediately say without question what type of fiber it is and how many yards of it you have?

If not, no matter how soft or strong, thin or thick,  no matter how beautiful (or ugly) you think your handspun is, – if you don’t know what it is and how much you have, the yarn isn’t ready.  Not ready to choose (or sort, or determine whether or not it’s suitable) – and not ready to use.

My advice – if you’re not doing this already – start labeling your skeins.

Photo of handspun yarn skeins using string tags as temporary labels

Some of my handspun yarn labeled and ready. Next stop: a storage bin labeled "Handspun Yarns for Weaving"

Whether you’re weaving with yarn strictly from your stash or you’re willing and able to augment your supply from another source, it’s in your best interest to have a way of recognizing what you have – before you try to figure out what to do with it.

Sometimes you can alter the project to ‘fit’ the yarn.  Sometimes you can make more yarn to fit the project.  But either way, you need to start where you are – and part of that is knowing (and understanding) what you have to work with.

If you don’t (yet) have a way to attach important information to your skeins of handspun yarn consider this: every time to handle those skeins, every time you consider whether or not it’s ‘suitable’ for a project, the same question comes up – what (exactly) is it, and how much of it do you have?

Why not eliminate that question and move past wondering?

It doesn’t have to be a big deal.  If you’re looking for a quick and easy, inexpensive way to label your skeins, try these:

Photo of string tags used to label handspun yarn skeins

String tags are an easy and inexpensive way to label your skeins of handspun yarn.

String tags are your friends.  Buy some or make your own.

I use string tags on all my handspun skeins.   And because I only attach one of these tags after the skein is finished – (wetted or washed, twist set, skein dried and yardage re-measured) the presence of a string tag on one of my skeins is like a big (or little) white flag that says “ready”.

Ready to use, ready to label for sale, or ready to save/store for later.

The information on these tags might only include yardage after finishing, dry weight and fiber type – but that’s enough for me to compare what I have, to what I need, for what I want to weave.  Any other information I choose to keep is recorded  in a separate spinning notebook.

Labeling deserves a place in your spinning routine, however you plan to use your yarn.

Think of it as a gift to yourself.  Having the information you need – right at your fingertips – can save you time in the long run.
Time you might rather spend spinning and weaving.

So – How do you know what’s in your handspun stash?

Joanne's blog signature, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio

Weaving With Handspun Yarn – What’s Your Approach?

Do you have a stash of yarn you’ve spun and wonder how you can use it in a weaving project?
Or, do you have a project in mind and wonder how to spin the yarn so you can use it for weaving?

There are different challenges and rewards depending on which approach you choose to take.

If you start with yarn you’ve already spun – the yarn determines the project.

Photo of a variety of handspun yarns, different sizes, different colors, different weights.

What can I weave with these?

If you decide to start spinning specifically for a project – the project determines the yarn.

Photo of yarn spun specifically for weaving

Handspun yarn for a handwoven scarf

I think the second route is easier and more satisfying.

Maybe it’s because it’s easier for me to start with a picture in my mind of the kind of fabric I want to make – and then go do that.

Maybe it’s because I think it’s more satisfying to spin to a standard rather than just hope I have it right – and end up disappointed with the results.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t come up with the ideal project for all (any?) of the yarns I made before I learned how to control my spinning.

What about you? What’s your approach to weaving with handspun yarn?
Are you wondering where to start?

In upcoming posts, I’ll be sharing some of the things I’ve learned about weaving with my own yarns, and offering some tips about how you can start weaving with yours.  Let me know what you think.  What works for you?  What would you like to know before you start warping your loom for handspun handwoven fabric?

Joanne's blog signature, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio

Yes – to Market Tomorrow

But who knows after that?

October can be a wicked month – like April can be cruel.

A few years ago, we had a significant snowfall around this time – enough to close the Notch early.  (Several YouTube videos show people driving this tricky, twisted mountain road, – take your pick, but I like this one).

The Fall Foliage ‘peak’ is later than usual this year – good news for everyone able to take advantage of the sunshine and warm weather we’ll have for the next several days.

And that makes it sound like this week-end we’re in for a treat – even if our fingers need mittens in the mornings as we scrape frost off the windshield.

So come to the Burlington Farmers’ Market tomorrow (or visit the farmers’ market nearest you).  Enjoy these beautiful fall days and support the people who grow your food.

I intend to scoot out of my booth long enough to do a bit of pre-holiday shopping – stocking up on some of the things that make great additions to a ‘Made in Vermont’ gift basket.

Since the weather forecast I’ve seen only extends to next Wednesday – who knows – by next weekend there could be snow.

Joanne's blog signature, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio

P.S. I promised several customers that I would post my intentions each week (to let them know whether or not I would be at Farmer’s Market).  It’s been a good practice – helping me get into the habit of writing something – anything, on a regular schedule.  But now that the season is winding down, my focus will be on actual spinning, weaving and dyeing – rather than me obsessing about the weather.  First up will be some posts about weaving with handspun yarn.

Slow Down and Pay Attention

Sometimes it seems like moments just whiz by.

Photo of red leaves along roadside in Vermont

On the verge - Fairfax, VT

Maybe it’s because it’s easy to let the intention to “be present”  get lost in a kerfuffle of  stuff – all the things we have going on – either ahead of us, or behind us.  What we think is important.

Maybe we forget it takes practice to learn how to pause, observe and enjoy what is.

photo of tree with bright red leaves

A brief peak

This week I was reminded about over-doing and getting ahead of myself.

The way I see it now – digging up rocks and breaking up clay to make room for daffodils –  and then using heavier weights when I exercised – those two things might not have been the straws that injured this camel’s back, (although maybe they contributed).

I believe it was my state of mind – my not paying attention – not being present  – being ‘off’ somewhere in my head – fretting – and hurrying to finish what I was doing in order to take care of something else –

I think that’s what clenched the deal.
(And yes, I meant to spell it with an ‘e’).

Anyway, that’s my long way of saying I won’t be at Farmer’s Market tomorrow, regardless of the weather.

It’s  also my way of saying I’m sloooowly figuring out how to get (and be) better and better every day in every way.

– With great expectations for being present at Market next Saturday.

In the meantime, I hope you take advantage of a very special ‘good for a limited time only’ opportunity to participate in the annual event called leaf peeping.

Photo of red leaves on maple tree

Near peak

You might find yourself wanting to slow down and pay attention.  (Most other folks out on the road will understand – especially if your license plate is from out of state.)

photo of cow at the side of the road

Cow on the verge, Fairfax, VT

Look around.  Be the peeper.

Because the leaves are putting on quite a show.
“Real purty” as some might say.
(Just like that flower bed is gonna be, come Spring.)

Joanne's blog signature, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio