Thursday, March 20, 2014

March Madness…...

We've had a very busy month here at MSW…….partly, I think, because every is going stir crazy from the length and severity of our winter. It seems that a useful antidote to going off the deep end, is to take refuge with other like minded souls, immerse oneself in color and textures, eat good food, share some laughs and make beautiful textiles. While the temperature hovered at zero and below for weeks and weeks, the energy in the barn was warm and full of excitement . No new students braved the weather this month so it was just our solid group of regulars - Stevie, Sandra, Susan, Sarah, Ginny, Pat, Justin and Lynnette.  We had two overshot projects going this month….Pat wove a narrow warp of a small pattern for pillowcovers and Susan and Stevie worked on a joint warp for rugs in the Orange Peel pattern.  They were all very pleased with the end results and we may now add overshot rugs to our repetoire of classes.  Taylore Gyrmonnt came back from a long haitus to weave some gorgeous throws out of Jagger Spun and it is always a treat to see how she puts colors together.  Sarah worked on a fine warp of 2/20 worsted for a piece of clothing and both of our Vermont Folklife Grantees - Rose and Joann -were here to work on their projects.
There were no birthday's to celebrate this month but we had a great St. Patrick's day theme lunch for our regular potluck.
Stay tuned for what new adventures keep us busy as we await the coming of spring and April!

Detail of Pat's overshot fabric for pillows.

The "crew" giving Pat feedback on her overshot warp.

Joann Darling, VT Folklife Grantee, weaving M's & O's with the linen that she grew, processed and spun
in Barre, VT.

Detail of Joann's linen.

Rose Diamond, another VT. Folklife grantee, picking a Welsh Mountain Fleece to spin
for her Scottish Tweed Project.

Ginny Kern winding a skein with Rhea's help.

Close-up detail of Joann's M's & O's towel.

St. Patrick's Day lunch…..

Irish soda bread, Chocolate Fudge cake…..Yum, Yum!

Justin and Taylore with her finished throw warp.

Detail of Taylore's throw.

The finished overshot rug warp.

Stevie wove her rug with a navy pattern weft.

Susan and Stevie with their finished rugs.

Sarah Barron weaving 2/20 worsted for a wool tunic.

Close-up of Sarah's stripe.

Susan's rug of multi-stranded rug yarn.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Spinning with Norman…...

This winter, since Norman is here in Vermont instead of in the warmer climates, we have decided to take advantage of his presence to do some small spinning projects. Our neighbor, Marilyn Magnus, from Peacham was keen to learn to use her big wheel to spin some of her own Border Leicester sheep so she came over one morning and had Norman give her a hand. By the end of the morning she had mastered the making of carded rolls and was happily creating a very usable yarn on the big wheel. Our grant funded student, Ada, also decided that she wanted to weave with the wool from her parents flock of Icelandic sheep so Norman taught her the basics of sorting, scouring and picking and carding. In the case of this breed of sheep there is both guard hair and under fleece which must be separated and spun separately. Ada was wanting her yarn to be the weft for a single bed blanket so she opted for the softer under fleece. Norman spun some of the guard hair which would have been used by the Vikings in their day to weave sails. Fascinating! On the flax front, Justin is slowing working away at spinning the weft for a pair of linen sheets to be woven this summer and our other grantee, Joann, has finally spun enough of her home grown flax to begin weaving a warp for towels. More on this in another blog!
Norman working with Marilyn on carding her wool.

Marilyn trying out her carded rolls on the big wheel.

Norman demonstrating some of the finer points of spinning with roving.

Justin spinning flax for weaving his own sheets.

Close-up of the almost full bobbin.

Flax on the distaff.

Ada's Icelandic fleece.

Norman showing Ada how to scour her fleece.

Ada's fleece hanging up to dry.
Norman showing Ada how to spin carded rolls on a spindle.  Ada's borther, Ezra, looking on!

Norman starting Ada on the spinning wheel by learning to ply.

Ada trying out her new plying skills.