Someday saori spaces experiment 27/1/14

Just recently I’ve been re-examining my interest in Saori weaving. My last post talked a little about this, where I had been using my rainbow slub wool to show off a little texture and colour in the weave. Since then I’ve moved on to trying out a few other new things that may prove interesting to others venturing into this art.

I’d like to point out that I’m no expert in this type of weaving. I’m really just making it up as I go along, which I think is completely the best way for this type of weaving. Even though I haven’t really read anything in the how to’s of saori I have looked at other people’s weaving and made one or two educated guesses. The people I really love doing this are Woolwench and Saori Santa Cruz .
I love these guys so go check them out but really, if you just put saori into any search engine you will get some beautiful stuff.

So onto the experiment. I had seen in lots of people’s weaving gaps into which other fibres had been woven or surface texture had been added, or even just left to form loopy warp texture all by itself. This experiment may seem quite obvious once it’s explained but it feels really awkward and wrong to people trying to achieve a nice straight weave.
Here’s what I did:

For the entire weave I chose to use a plain tabby weave. This means the weave doesn’t detract from the rest of what you are doing. I’m not going to talk about the setting up of the warp here, just do what ever feels best with whatever reed suits the yarn you chose. I’ve used a million different kinds of threads here but you could use just one kind and let the weft do all the magic.

Right now we can weave.. just absolutely normally as you would do but don’t beat it into place

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As the picture shows you don’t want to do this for your very first row of weaving, you need a few plain weave rows just to secure everything at the beginning.
The next bit may seems a bit alien but trust me it works. You don’t beat the row of weaving down to the last one, you could move it around a little with the beater but remember we are after spaces. Just simply change to the next shed and carry on.
Now you can either repeat the last bit and have a load of gaps or add in some more plain tabby weave.

If you want to carry on in normal weaving be careful not to loose the space you have made by shoving the next line down to hard. This line probably won’t be straight either but will eventually straighten up, and you should have a few nice extra spaces to play around with.

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So now what? Well absolutely anything goes. There are no mistakes in saori. The most obvious thing for me was to kind of darn the spaces with some contrasting fibres.

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Don’t feel tied to just using wool though, I’ve also threaded some ribbon and a piece of cut up fabric into a space.

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I then thought why not add some unspun roving? As I was weaving it through some of the roving got knotted on itself… which I think looks great so I purposefully repeated it right the way along. Voila beautiful textured surface detail !

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There’s loads of different things you can do. I decided to leave a few rows empty to end up with an open loopy effect, but just go with what you feel.
I hope this has been helpful. Like I said I’m no expert but there are loads of other resources out there if you want to read more. One in particular is an article in the latest issue of The Wheel, Ashford’s magazine. This can be purchased from the lovely Sheila over at handspinner.co.uk .

Take care and happy crafting till next time xx

Saori weaving

The majority of the time I am a very serious weaver. I calculate everything down to the last thread ( even though I mostly get it wrong) , then sit for hours working on complicated pattern repeats.

Then sometimes …..

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If you had been wondering what happened to some of those multicoloured bits of rainbow roving, then here’s your answer. Quite a bit of it was spun into lovely even 2 ply but some definitely had to end up as thick and thin slub in my saori project. It really seems to show off the rainbow gradient too.

For those that are new to saori then it is a kind of free form weaving originating in Japan.You can make absolutely no mistakes as every little broken thread or missed pick is used in the lovely free flowing art of it. Check out this ravelry group for more beautiful examples.

Apologies for not posting as regularly as I had hoped but lots of things have been happening to bring you all brilliant tutorials, Sunday experiments , and new patterns in the coming months. If you have a look in the mini tutorials section then you will notice there’s some new stuff there and the shop is pretty much minutes away from being open!

So many new things I can’t wait to share with you in 2014! Till then happy crafting xxx

Someday Experiment 2014 or spinning cotton from the seed

Welcome to the first post of 2014! Happy New Year dear people!

The year has certainly started with a bang in Wales, or a storm perhaps with high winds and even higher tides. So having ensured all my coastal friends are safe and dry, its definitely time for indoor preparation work. Any attempts at outdoor dye work have swiftly been blown away.

Still it means that lots of the jobs that sometimes build up have been started, like cleaning fleeces ready to card and spin, blocking weaving, or actually mordanting wool for a decent length of time rather than deciding last minute to do some dyeing and realizing nothing is ready.

I’ve decided to add a page describing how to do some of those jobs, starting with washing raw fleece, as these are the jobs I found most daunting when I first started doing all this. So look out for that in the near future.

On to the slightly delayed Sunday experiment. I did actually do this yesterday but left it so late there was no time to write it up. So here for now is the Someday Experiment or spinning cotton from the seed.

Again this idea came from a short video tutorial I watched. It looked so simple I had to try it, as all previous attempts at spinning cotton had been a bit of a nightmare. Last year I purchased myself a tahkli spindle through a forum on Ravelry. It’s absolutely beautiful as its hand made from an old penny for the whorl, but sadly I wasn’t instantly perfect at using it. That coupled with cotton being a really fiddly short stapled fiber, it got put aside for a while.

Shortly after my lovely Husband thought he would add a bit of encouragement to this endeavor by buying me a whole box full of the raw cotton bolls.

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I assumed I would need to sort through the mass of  bits on each boll, removing each little seed as i went. But no, there is a far simpler way and if you are like me, and have had difficulties spinning cotton in the past then I really suggest you try this way. This doesn’t mean I’ve given up on my tahkli at all. I got the hang of it now, and all the little extra bits off of the cotton boll get saved for spinning with the tahkli.

Here though is what I did for spinning from the seed.

Firstly you need to remove one of the little seeds with the fiber around it.

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Next, with the seed held in the center, I gently pulled the fiber out from the center to make a flat disc shape. You are not trying to pull the fiber off of the seed, just tease it out slightly.

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As you can see from the picture the ends of the cotton fiber are still quite tangled. So to further prepare the cotton for spinning, I used my flick carder, and just really gently combed out the fiber at the edges. Again you are really not trying to remove any fiber from the seed, so do this stage gently.

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And there you have a lovely fluffy seed ready for spinning.

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It’s worth making a few of these before you sit down to spin.

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Now I can move all this to the spinning wheel where some setting up is required. Due to the really short staple length of cotton fiber you want a minimum amount of draw in, as it will brake very easily, and a high amount of twist. Also I found that its best to not treadle to fast as this also helps to break the spinning easily.

So once you are set up take your nicely prepared seed and draft up a little bit of fiber, just as you would normally. I hold the seed in my right hand at the back and draft with my left. My hands are also  held very close together. Slowly continue drafting, working around the seed. Voila! you’re spinning cotton! This is a really gentle process, remember at all times that cotton is not a long fiber, it likes to break and wind you up whilst you are learning. Just have faith and gently work your way around the seed.

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Once you have all the fiber off you can just start a new seed and start the process over.

I hope this has been helpful. I will look for the video i learned this from and leave a link here, as i realize some people learn more easily from someone showing them rather than written instructions.

Until then Happy New Year and happy spinning xxx