decorated drop spindle

Most Ashford products often come in 'natural finish' which is a nice way to say that the wood needs finishing somehow, stain, oil, wax, varnish, the choice is yours. Some things come lacquered or have a lacquered option.

But the great thing about the natural finish is that it gives you the chance to get your creative mojo on.

Drop Spindle Spinning

If you're a knitter or just curious about spinning, then this free eBook is for you!

It contains excerpts from well-established books from Lee Raven, Maggie Casey, Amy Clarke Moore and others. You can learn how to make a spindle for yourself and spin & ply your first yarn!

The free download requires you to give your email address to SpinningDaily, but their regular emails are often interesting and worthwhile.

Read more.

Weaving with a harness loom - 6 things I've learned

I've been doing more weaving recently, and with a bathroom redecoration 'looming', this article has inspired me to make a pair of curtains for the smallest room.

It also contains some good easy-to-follow guidance about calculating yardage needed for warp and weft.

Much experimentation with yarns and patterns has yielded some results I really like. The ideal colour came from handspun made from my gold-ish 'fairy wings' blend in merino and silk (warp is cream cottolin). For the main part of the curtains it's going to be this herringbone weave, and check out the 'waffle' weave! That will make a great decorative border!

One really nice surprise is that the work is translucent! Light behind this sample brings out the patterns and the gold colour.

That surprise has inspired a matching lampshade too!

(Yes, you guessed - that second picture is cropped because the edges looked really untidy!)

Here's the promised list of lessons learned along the way:

1. Warping takes time and is intricate work, and when you want to weave a different pattern it generally means threading up differently. But with a little application and a good audiobook, it's relaxing and enjoyable.

2. Care taken when threading can save lots of time re-threading.

3. Once warped, the weaving process is very quick and rewarding

4. Weaving with singles is perfectly good and the work doesn't bias as knitting can.

5. There are many permutations of similar or different warp and weft (colour and thickness) giving a wide variety of fabrics.

6. Repairing broken warp threads is possible but it's a bit of a pain and far better to take care and not break them in the first place.

So - a secondhand four-shaft loom of a suitable width has been procured - pencil is in hand to calculate my number of ends and yardages, and then it's carding, spinning and warping. Most interesting redecoration I've ever done!