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!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Third part of the Viking Weaving Saga

So the decision was made and I separated the tog (hair) from the thel (undercoat) by gently pulling it apart to spin the two fibres separately .

Clean tog in a tangle - after a bath                                             

                                                    Unwashed delicious soft and greasy thel

The tog was greasy and sticky with lanolin and it needed to be spun fairly thin, thus I chose to gently wash it in a bit of dish detergent to get the worst of the lanolin out. It was soaked in warm water, rinsed very gently in water the same temperature and then I put it in a pillow cover and gave it a quick spin in the washer - no tumbling, only spinning to get the excess water out.
The rest of the drying happened in a net hanging above the wood stove for expedient evaporation. I was starting to get impatient.

Since I had chosen not to use these to get the wool straightened out with these guys

These are my combs, 12 cm long very sharp tines - original viking combs only had one row of tines.

I approached the drum carder instead

Tog on the way into the drum carder                                              

And tog getting lifted off the drumcarder

I cranked the handle round and round to achieve the desired fibre state before starting to spin the warp.

Bat of tog taken of the drum carder, light, fluffy, all most every 'hair' in order and ready to spin!

Next time: Choice of spinning method.