Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fourth part of the Viking Weaving Saga

Then there were other ‘authenticity’ decisions to be made. Although I absolutely love to spin on drop spindles it really isn’t practical when you have a project on the go which has a time-limit (even if the due-date is 3 months down the road) - according to my calculations I had to spin a little over 5 kilometers of yarn - 5000 meters - I like to look at the number as 5 kilometers that way I don’t get intimidated by all the zeros following the 5.

Family visit to Fyrkat, trying out a dropspindle with the kids. A re-enactment viking village in Denmark which we visited in 2002

For effectiveness and time saving I chose to use a spinning wheel to spin the yarns.

I used my Colbeck wheel for the warp. This wheel has a nice smooth motion and the twist ratio is good, this means that the size difference in the little flyer wheel and the big driving wheel is just perfect for the amount of twist I wanted to add to the warp yarns so they would be strong enough to withstand abrasion from the heddles and the reed even when woven as singles.

I spun many, 16 spools of tog on my Colbeck spinning wheel and when I got to the end of the tog pile I had to switch wheels, since the Colbeck was getting tired and needed a tune up. I was in a hurry and in need of a change of pace.

The weft was spun on a double treadle traditional Ashford which has served me well for many years and through many projects.
The twist ration is a little less, which made this the perfect fit for the weft since I wanted the weft to be slightly looser so I wouldn't end up with a piece of cloth with the feel of a piece of stiff cardboard.
I spun about 25 spools of weft for the two curtains.

And as I was spinning and spinning and spinning the fluff piles around me shrank and shriveled, much to my family's delight since I was occupying the living room with all the electrical gadgets, helping keep other parts of my brain occupied with visions and listening experiences while my hands were busily pulling and extenuating fibres to just the right thickness and my feet were treadling along at a rapid clip to achieve the right twist.

Next time: Setting up the loom and weaving the sample!


  1. Oooh I would so much like to lears this!!
    I love, love the smell of fresh wool!
    Shall we come on a holliday to Nova Scotia?
    It looks so beatufull, these lovely thatched houses.
    Bye and take care


  2. Hello Danielle, am glad you feel excited and inspired to learn when you read my blog. I do teach both spinning and weaving and will post the dates on the blog when it happens next, then you can see if it fits into your schedule for a summer vacation to Nova Scotia and the East Coast.
    The picture of the thatched houses are from a family trip to Denmark several years ago when we visited a re-enactment viking settlement. Pia