Monday, April 25, 2022

Linen and Lace Workshop


Ombre stripes in linen singles

When we think of linen cloth it congers up many different visions.  It is associated with ancient history. Egyptian mummies had linen wrappings.  Linen production was instrumental in the rise and fall of textile based economies in Europe.  Linen clothing is romantically linked to adventure in warm and exotic locations.  The damask linen table cloth was the hight of elegant dining in the early 1900's.  Even today linen is associated with eco friendly cultivation, excellent moisture management and timeless elegance.

linen allsorts

Linen weaving yarn comes in many different forms.  Tow linen is spun from short fibers, with a high amount of twist.  Depending on the grade it can be coarse almost wire-like and relatively dull in appearance.  Line linen is spun from longer fibres, is smoother and has a sheen.  Wet spun line linen is the smoothest form.

Linen yarn can be plyed but often comes as a "singles" that is very fine and very strong.  All linen is non-elastic and has a tendency to be "lively".  Those properties make it difficult to work with. 

Linen is a wonderful yarn for elegant table linens.  The smooth yarn and the lovely sheen that improves with age, make it a natural partner for weaving one of the loom controlled laces, Bronson, Huck, Swedish or even Canvas weave.  So what better way to learn about linen and in a workshop on Linen and Lace.

linen runner

There are many tricks to successful weaving with linen starting with the importance of getting an even tension on the warp, and how to tame the linen weft with good tension on the bobbin and a little moisture.

But perhaps the most important lesson comes with the finishing of a linen piece.  There are a lot of finishing steps before you produce a runner like the one in the photo.

What you see on the loom is far from the finished piece.  The threads in the patterned areas will move to create spaces when wet finished and the fabric will become softer.

sample just off the loom

If you want your linen piece to have that lovely sheen and a smooth flat surface you are in for an upper body work out.  Linen needs to be pressed hard.  The traditional finish would involve the use of a mangle but since most of us don't have a mangle in the closet a rolling pin and a marble pastry block will work quite well.

pastry chef or linen mangler

Below are sheila's washed samples pre mangling.

washed samples

Now take a look at her final samples 

finished lace samples


Saturday, April 2, 2022


sarah's crochet hat

 Hats are a great small project that can be made without a big investment in materials or time.  Everyone can use a hat so it is not a problem if you get on a roll and make too many.  You can wear different hats to suit your mood.  You can give them as gifts or donate them.  Or if you really made too many you can sell them at a craft fair.

Styles, construction methods and materials vary.  The hat in the photo was crocheted.  It is a composite of bits and bobs of wool and wool/mix yarns.  The stitching forms expanding rows of blobs.  The ear flaps and ties are hidden underneath.

tam with beads

The second hat uses the same theme of expanding circles using different yarns.  In some places beads have been incorporated into the kniting.  This one takes the form of a "tam".  It is a good example of using up those tiny bits of yarn that you can't throw out.  Sort them into a colour scheme, pick one and just knit until it runs out then add another at random until the hat is big enough.

Sylvia's stash busting hat

With a little more yarn you can make a classic toque with cables.  If Sylvia's stash busting hat is more your style, you can learn how to knit in the round and produce something similar by taking one of our knitting workshps.  Check out "workshops".

For a practical hat that is stylish, warm and almost water proof you can't beat a wool hat that has been felted.  

Sylvia's felted knit hats
The picture to the left show four knitted hats that have been wet finished to felt them then they were shaped to create different styles.  The elegant red/green hat was created directly from dyed wool that was layered then wet felted and shaped to form a cloche.  

David's wet felted wool hat

Tam and scarf of hand spun wool

If you are a spinner you will appreciate the work involved in the tam with matching scarf.  Look carefully at the photo and you can see the slight variation that suggests the yarn was hand-spun.  The yarn and stitching are quite fine.

Mary's hat sewn from cloth scraps

You don't have to be a knitter to create a unique hat.  The cap in the photo was sewn from scraps of hand-woven fabric.  The different scraps were woven from fine wool yarns that share colour families so they work together to create an interesting combination.

making a statement hat

And finally we have the "make a statement" hat or the I've got yarn and a crochet hook and an imagination.  It looks warm too.