Bobbins of handspunAlways wanting to try something new, I read about a plying technique called cabling.  It’s really very simple to do with what you already know, assuming you know how to spin two singles and then ply them together.  First you spin four singles in the same direction.  I do mine with a Z twist.  Then you ply two of the singles together in the opposite direction, so S twist for my plying.  Do this again for the other two singles, so you now have two standard plied bobbins. I used two colours only, two of each colour, but you could be really adventurous and use four if you like, or only one.  Whatever takes your fancy.  Now here’s where the cabling comes in.  You now ply the two plied bobbins together in the same direction as you did your singles, so for me that’s Z twist again.  And voila!  A cabled yarn.


Woman’s World

Woman's World WeavingCheck this one out, ladies.  I have no idea how old it is, but it must be pre 1965 looking at the price.  Threepence!  Is that a bargain?  I have no idea. The journal gives plenty of delightful ideas on how to use your wondrous woven fabric which you have made during your precious few spare moments of the day.

Woman's World WeavingAccording to my research, Women’s World was published in the 1940s and 1950s, possibly longer to keep women informed, and to give women instruction on how to be good at everything housewifeish, or at least better.  There were a number of titles with the same name which makes it difficult to determine if I have the correct one, so sorry if I’m wrong.

Woman's World WeavingThe weaving instructions are so detailed that it makes them a little confusing to me.  Then again, I’m not a weaver so perhaps that’s how all weaving patterns are explained. Thank goodness we now have youtube and don’t have to bother with all that reading.

Woman's World WeavingSo off I go to google a recipe for dinner, like a good, modern little housewife.

Margaret and the Big Loom

Margaret warping the big loomMargaret has just started warping up the big loom.  There is still a long way to go before any actual weaving is done.  Margaret plans to make a knotted rug. Knotted rugs are made using the supplementary weft technique, where a design is created by adding extra weft yarns (in this case, knotted yarns), without disturbing the structure of the weave.   We look forward to seeing Margaret’s design as it takes form.

Multicoloured skeins

Naomi's skeins

These skeins are Naomi’s latest experiment.  First, washed fleece was dyed in three colours – red, blue and yellow.  Then, the wool was carded randomly.  Some batts were carded only once to keep much of the original colours.  Others were carded twice or three times to combine the colours more.  The spun singles were multicoloured, many with mainly one or two colours being mostly visible in varying shades.  The singles were then plied to create very multicoloured yarn. The above three yarns were all spun from the same batch of dyed fleece.  Very happy with the result.

Leaf Green

Green dye

The challenge here was to attempt to replicate an exact match of colour with a sample leaf.  Naomi’s considerable experience in working with food colouring as a wool dye managed to quickly reproduce a very credible match on alpaca.  An attempt at home using merino produced a slightly lighter colour, but still within the same tone. The yarn on the left side of the leaf was the alpaca we dyed at the cottage, and on the right the merino I dyed at home using the same ratio.  By Debbie.

Weave a Film

Debbie's woven video tape

How do you weave a film, I hear you ask?  As a part of her experimental foray into video tape, Debbie wove this test piece.  She used commercial yarn for the warp, and then the video tape was used for the weft.  The result is a lovely smooth and shiny cloth that feels wonderful to touch. I think it would make great place mats and they would be easy to wipe clean.  Now that’s creative.

Plenty of Purple

Bev spinning purple alpaca

Bev is spinning a mountain of purple alpaca for her niece’s 60th birthday.  Once all the alpaca is spun, Bev is going to ply it with wool to create a more stable yarn, then knit a hat and scarf which will be lusciously soft and warm.  What a beautiful and personal gift.

An Amazing Table Runner

Debbie's knitted videotape Debbie has done an exciting experiment with video tape.  This table runner is knitted out of old video tape and looks amazing.  It is so unusual and would be a great talking piece on any table.  Awesome knitting, Debbie.

Dyeing Day


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We did a spot of wool and alpaca dyeing on Tuesday.  A few of the ladies wanted to see how microwave dyeing with food colouring is done, so Naomi did a short demonstration for those interested.  We started off by weighing our fibre.  Each batch was 50g which we put aside in a container of water from the tap to soak. Marianne wanted to dye some of her commercial wool so we added that to one of the containers. We then decided upon colours.  Each dyelot has water, dye and vinegar (as a fixative) added, then into the microwave it goes.  After cooling down, the water left in the container should be clear.  Once the fibre is rinsed, it is then squeezed lightly and spread out to dry.  Voila!  We now have beautiful hand-dyed fibre to spin.  More photos and a tutorial to come so watch this post.