I have reconditioned some of my fibre craft equipment, and it is so nice to get back to handwork of this sort. I have been a spinner and weaver for over a decade, although I have never graduated to owning the Big Loom – mostly from lack of space and a loom’s inherent untransportablity!
Spinning and weaving were the traditional home crafts of crofters in the Shetland and Hebrides islands, as well as in many areas of the Highlands:
This is a croft in the Shetlands, circa 1900.
A friend sent me some very nice roving – that’s wool and fibre that has been washed, carded and drawn into long ropes of loose strands, to be spun by hand. I oiled and balance my old Quebec wheel, and started to spin this morning. The roving feels like a mixture of alpaca and Shetland. That is a natural grey colour.
The wool has a wonderful “hand” – it glides through the fingers very easily. It is spinning very quickly.
I have started on a small weaving project, just to get some practice. I took the warp-ends off my rigid heddle loom, and used them to set a warp on the inkle loom. An inkle loom is a small loom used traditionally for straps, belts, animal collars and leads, or even bootlaces.
I had this bag of lopi-type yarn, which is bulky and works up fast, but this odd raspberry colour wasn’t anything I would use for myself, and is too coarse for a little girl. I decided to see how it would look on this warp. It is very pretty. I’m thinking it will make a good collar to hold a sheep bell.
I need more practice; it’s been a few years since I had time to weave. Spinning came back to me as if I had done it just yesterday.