Our February program was our annual
Spinners’ and Weavers’ Challenge. Each participant receives randomly selected “cards” (five for weavers and four for spinners). The “suit” of the card is an attribute of the project (e.g. draft, color, material). Each card contains a specification for that attribute. Each participant may eliminate one card. The resulting set of cards specifies the challenge.
Each artist created very attractive and interesting yarns and woven items in response. Each thoroughly engaged the interest of the audience with their descriptions of how they planned and then created their yarns and woven items.
Donna’s card challenged her to spin a botanical fiber (flax, hemp, nettle, rose fiber, etc.) and create a texture in the yarn without adding new fiber. On the left she is holding pineapple fiber yarn she spun and on the right, rose fiber or hemp yarn. She concluded that flax and hemp yarns were relatively rough and easy to add texture to while rose fiber was very slippery and fine, making it hard to add texture . Pineapple fiber was intermediate, soft and smooth and able to hold texture. She was most impressed with the texture and interest of yarn in which she spun all the fibers together.
Leah drew two cards that challenged her to spin mohair as thinly as she possibly could and to dye the fiber before or after spinning it. In the photo on the left, Leah is holding her lovely, impressively thin, 2 ply mohair yarn. She began with mohair locks, spun two very thin yarns which she then plied together and dyed. In the photo on the right is a skein of mohair yarn she spun to show how using different techniques with mohair can create very different types of yarn. For this yarn she first dyed the locks and teased them apart and then spun them around a core yarn. The result is a beautiful, soft and slubby yarn.
Sharon was challenged to fractal spin a multicolor hand-dyed braid, worsted weight. She divided the braid of roving into lengthwise sections of different thicknesses, spun the sections individually, and then plied them together to create her lovely yarn. Fractal spinning made the color changes more gradual and subtle along the length of her yarn compared to the color changes that would have resulted had she used a simpler spinning technique.
Chris’s card challenged her to spin a 3 ply yarn using silk as a ply. She used her own hand-dyed wool when she spun two individual yarns in a clockwise direction. Next she plied them together in a counterclockwise direction to make a 2 ply wool yarn. For the third ply, Chris spun silk into yarn in a counterclockwise direction. Finally, to produce her very attractive cabled yarn, she spun the 2 ply wool yarn together with the single ply silk yarn in a clockwise direction.
Margaret’s cards specified weave a piece with beading, in undulating twill, warp-faced, add a novelty and use two dye lots of the same color. Margaret eliminated “warp-faced” and wove three shawls in an undulating twill. In the photos above is her elegant undulating twill shawl that has beads on the fringe, the novelty of metallic gold weft, and two slightly different shades of gold in the weft that are discernible in the photos if you look closely.
Margaret’s other two undulating twill shawls are shown above. On the left with a variegated weft and on the right with a 5/2 cotton warp and slubby cotton weft.
Rebecca drew cards that specified that she use weft yarn from her stash, Ms and Os, sett no less than 20epi, with small geometric shapes, and analogous colors of the same value. This was her first opportunity to do a weaving of her own since opening Three Moons, and to meet her challenges, she wove this very attractive scarf in a honeycomb variant of Ms and Os weave that produces small circles and ovals. Rebecca’s 8/2 variegated cotton weft yarn was from her stash and contained a purple that was analogous to, and close in value to, her rich red violet warp which she set at 22epi.
Mandy’s cards challenged her to weave using yarn from the yellow 1/3 of the color wheel, with not less than 20 ends per inch, striped, mixed warp profile and overshot on opposites. She eliminated “overshot on opposites” and chose to use a mixed weft . The very handsomely patterned striped towels and sample above were Mandy’s first 8-shaft projects. The sample she is holding and two of the towels are in shades of yellow and related colors in her mixed weft. She wove them all with with 8/2 cotton warp at 22 epi and used 8/2 cotton and bamboo in her weft.
Shelby’s challenge was to weave using a 12 dent reed, with alternate colors, borders and a stretchy texture, and in the form of a gamp or four weaves. She met her challenges with the four very attractive towels in the photo above. Their alternating colors and borders are obvious from a distance. To appreciate the four twill patterns that are in each towel, zoom in if you can. (Combining different twill weaves in a single piece can be very tricky.) Shelby also demonstrated that the towels were slightly stretchy (when pulled on their bias :-).
Thanks for taking the photos Sue!