Category Archives: Netherlands

Spinning workshop preparation; Nova Scotia tartan off the loom

May 14, 2013

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If you were on my list for taking a spinning workshop this weekend, this is the email I’d be sending to you. It occurred to me, that you might want to be included in the communication about our activities on a spinning weekend coming up. It is a pleasure to share this art with others,  and the weekend of spinning is fun for each of us.

<I’m thinking ahead to the weekend and getting things ready for you.  A few items…

If you have any spinning or fiber prep. equipment, by all means bring them: spinning wheel, drop spindle, or whatever. That includes fiber you may have saved from brushing your fluffy dog or cat, or roving from anywhere.

If you have any special food preferences, let us know, so we can be ready. Dirk enjoys baking challenges–such as a gluten-free weekend, which we’ve needed to do a couple times. He’s learned a couple new recipes just for that eventuality.

If there is any particular goal you have for the weekend, let me know Sat. at breakfast, so I can plan to cover that with you.

If you want to take a field trip to a farm where there’s roving available, and many lambs, let me know. Lynn Michaels’ farm is only about 5 min. away, and if she knows we’re coming, she’ll be glad to have us. Another neat farm to visit is Elaina Kenyon’s in Efland, which is an hour away…  I’ve done this once on a workshop weekend, but it does clip a couple hr. from Sat. afternoon. She has around 50 angora rabbits, Angora goats and kids, and Shetland sheep and lambs–really neat place to visit. She has roving from all those animals, also, of course.

If you’re available, this Thurs. is our 3rd Thurs. guild meeting in Raleigh at the Thompson Crafts Center on the NCSU campus. If you’d like info. about this meeting, you can either go to Yahoo Groups and join “Twisted Threads Fiber Arts Guild” and check the recent emails, or ask me, and I’ll gladly send you the summary Jane sent out–a talk about spinning wheels and their challenges, and how to tinker with and fix them. She’s asked people to bring their wheels, so you may get to try several if you ask nicely 🙂  It’s a “bonding thing,” people and their wheels. Everyone likes their certain one(s) for whatever reason, but it just comes down to personal preference. People are usually fine with letting you spin on their wheel for a few minutes. Later in the year we’ll have our “round robin,” where there will be at least a dozen wheels, and everyone goes around, 5 min. for each wheel–that’s fun!

I’ll look forward to meeting you on Sat. morning at 8:30 for breakfast. We finish up about 4 p.m. both days. I’ll have the dye pot on while we eat breakfast, so we’ll be ready for the dying demo early, then get to spinning more challenging fibers Sunday, and hopefully you’ll rotate to different wheels to try them on Sunday.

If you have any questions, let me know, and until then, enjoy this lovely weather,>

By the way, I finished the table runner in the Nova Scotia tartan that I started on a rainy night last week. Here’s a picture of it, not yet blocked, but fresh off the loom. I need the space for spinning wheels this weekend, so wanted to complete this project. Each time I look at the tartan, it reminds me of lovely vacations on Cape Breton Highlands, Cheticamp, Mabou, Badeck on the Bras d’Or Lake, Antigonish… ah, summer!

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Filed under community, Dutch loom, Friendship, Homespun yarn, Netherlands, Nova Scotia tartan, sheep, spinning, spinning workshops, Weaving

Weaving outdoors on antique Dutch loom

May 8, 2013

I had no idea I’d let this blog lapse for so long! This is due to receiving my mother-in-law’s mother’s loom, a rigid-heddle style from the Netherlands, which her mother had woven scarves on during WW II to help support the family during Hitler’s occupation of Holland. I won’t go into all that. You can read up on the “War Resistor’s Museum” in Amsterdam, and get an accurate picture of what their lives were like during those years of hunger and fear.

The loom occupies my mind. I’ve searched for pictures and instructions on how to use this loom from European search sites, and found nearly nothing. I found one picture that vaguely resembled my loom, but no instructions, no helpful You-Tube videos, to my sorrow. My friend, Louise, who learned to spin in a workshop here last winter, helped me get it set up and warped, and has given me further suggestions and web links along the way. She also suggested I begin to attend the Triangle Weavers in Chapel Hill, which is an inspiring group of  talented weavers.

This evening I decided I was going to follow through on something I’ve wanted to try since I first received the loom: use my own home-spun yarn to warp the loom and make a Nova Scotia tartan table runner for myself. I knew it would take up considerable space to warp the loom, so decided to put the card table outside (thanks, Dirk, for moving the table for me) and used the railing on the deck ramp as my warping peg. That worked out well for two hours, until my back was breaking, and the mosquitoes had come out, and weren’t responding to the Permanone. I came in to turn on water to make tea, picked up my camera, and as I opened the door to return to the deck I heard raindrops falling! I grabbed the big yellow raincoat we use to splash down to the barn to feed the sheep in nasty weather, and draped the card table and loom with it, moving the table right against the railing, covering that, too. I came back in, poured the tea, and heard thunder! Went out again with my beach umbrella furled, bungee-corded it to the railing, tipped it for maximum coverage, and ran back in.

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I had no idea weaving called for such fortitude. Spinning is so relaxing–just lean back and wool flows to the bobbin with little effort. Weaving is another story. I played Nova Scotia jigs and reels of Natalie & Buddy MacMaster and Kendra MacGillivray as I warped the loom, walking back and forth, back and forth, taking a few dance steps from long-ago classes in Irish folk dancing. I pulled out long lengths of yarn to reach around the “warp peg” and back, and got tangled in the rose bush, which is heavily leaved out and budding now. Yarn got hooked in the buckle of my Birkinstock, dog ran by a few times, cats stayed inside the house, simplifying things greatly. Cardinals, wrens, woodpeckers, nuthatches came for their evening meal, while I walked back and forth. As I trimmed the knots to an even length, I tossed the ends into the rose bush for the birds to weave nests with. When it got dark, the birds disappeared. And an hour later, I gave up, too.

I’ll attach pictures of this evening’s adventure, and another picture of a small project I completed recently. I am using a great deal of my handspun yarn, and old sock yarn, also, as I find patterns I can make on this old loom, a treasure, indeed.

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Filed under Birds, cats, dogs and cats, Dutch loom, Family, Gaelic music, Homespun yarn, Netherlands, spinning workshops, Weather, Weaving