Do you Remember………..

Do you remember the very lovely Shetland I was spinning? I was able to spin it very fine, almost to the thickness of sewing thread.

After approximately 12 hours work it is now on the loom. To say it was a tedious job to warp, thread and sley this thickness of yarn would be an understatement. Not to mention the hours spent spinning! There are 300 separate threads across the 10 inch width and the warp is 3 metres long.

It was really an experiment in using ‘singles’ yarn. That is yarn that has not been plied or twisted with another fibre. There is evidence for yarns of this type in grave finds nationally and internationally. Some use differently Z and S spun singles in warp and weft to emphasise patterns and others have been found with a Z spun warp and an S spun weft, or vice versa. What do I mean by Z and S spun? A Z spun yarn is twisted in an anti clockwise direction and an S spun yarn is twisted in a clockwise direction. I will try to cover the details of differently spun yarn and plying in another post.

My singles for this project are all spun in the S direction with a high degree of twist to make it a strong and durable warp and I’m using the same yarn in both warp and weft in a 2/2 twill. You can see from the photos that it is not all plain sailing.

Although the warp threads were highly twisted, they still remained extremely ‘furry’, making for a very sticky warp. Every time the heddles are moved and the shed changed, the fibres stick together and require me to manually ‘unstick’ them with a weaving stick or my hand. Fortunately, the fabric is a maximum of 10 inches wide so I can get my hand in without too much trouble. Doing this on a wider warp or on a warp weighted loom would be a rather tedious affair. However, this was all part of the experiment as these finer yarns were once woven on warp weighted looms and the weavers must have encountered the same problems. This fine cloth would have been a very expensive item. Despite the problems, I’m liking the way it is turning out.

You may want to read : An 11 th -Century 2/2 Twill from a Burial in Shekshovo in Russia