All tied up

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I can spin cotton yarn on my charkha loom.

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It’s a magical process as the thread draws out of the handful of cotton. That little oil can holds lanolin, sold in large cans as a lubricant. Now I am trying to gather enough for a weaving project. I ply (twist to yarns together) on my drop spindle.

Tablet weaving is progressing swimmingly. That’s where I use cards with 4 holes in them as my loom. I have been wearing my new belt for several weeks.

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I found a zinc washer to work as a buckle and my pants haven’t fallen down yet. I tie my backstrap loom to the crank on the hoist clothes line. The spinning clothes line was invented in Australia and it’s a marvel. On windy days, it twirls with the wind and clothes dry in an hour!

I am working on a second strap – belt, camera strap – with the cards, in wool. Pretty.

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I have also figured out how to inkle weave on a backstrap loom thanks to a fabulous website, published by an Australian woman who lives and weaves in Bolivia.

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This ties me to the coffee table leg. I also turn the table on its side and use it as a warping board to measure and organize the warp threads.

Ravelry then put me in touch with another Australian woman who has lived and traveled in Asia to study weaving techniques. And, she’s teaching a course in October in the States, and I’m attending!

So much to do, so little time.

Tim corralled me for the road gang yesterday, gang of me and him, to clear the ditches and culverts on the lighthouse road. It brought back physical memories of the last time we did it. He’s been on his own there for a while so it’s time for me to chip in. I think I cleared 100 yards an hour. Hoo boy.

And my garden grows. Maybe, just maybe, we’re at the end of the tomatoes. I cooked up another batch of sauce a couple of days ago and had soup yesterday.

We are eating arugula, silverbeet, green beans, radishes, beets and carrots. Broccoli and cabbage is coming along but not quite ready to harvest. I seem to be winning my battle with the aphids and rats.

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These are some of my hopefuls. I have planted cauliflower , broccoli, cabbage, spinach, carrots, green beans, peas, broad beans, beets, and lettuce. Oh yes, and…TOMATOES! I just hope the little seedlings take hold. Beans are doing well, just like Jack and the Beanstalk. The others are slower.

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And here’s where I get to prepare our delicious meals. Nice view!

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Fiber interlude on Deal Island

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This is really a post about fiber so for those of you not interested, here’s the photo of the day.

We’ re here in the autumn and there’s no central heat. It shouldn’t get too cold but both bathroom windows are permanently open with louvers. There’s a portable oil electric heater in a pinch. The old gas heater in the living room doesn’t seem to work. I knew this ahead of time and bought a kit for a merino, mohair blanket from the Elegant Ewe in New Hampshire with yarn from Mountain Colors. I started it after we left home, worked on it in New Jersey, Tasmania and Finished it on Deal Island. It’s lovely: soft, light and warm.

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My hair is a bit, ahem, unruly. Especially in the winds we have here. So I knit another calorimetry headband with yarn leftover from the blanket. It keeps my hair in check and my head and ears warm.

I brought a charkha loom with me to spin cotton. I hadn’t been able to use it successfully at home but with time, patience and great instructions from urbanspinner, I made thread. I spent several Hours and literally made a spool of thread. But it’s my thread and I was able to put it straight to work.

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I am knitting a Shetland shawl with miles of cobweb yarn, which I wound into balls before I left home. It begins with a provisional cast on and I used my new thread to crochet a chain to use as my starting point. I love the loom for all it’s gadgets. There’s even a skein winder. I wound the skeins on to paper quills and then plied them together using clothes pins to create a tensioned lazy kate. So cute and it all folds up into a little box shaped box.

Finally I need a belt and a pair of slippers. There’s too much Cape Barren Geese poo to wear my crocs inside and out. So I found an easy pattern I’ll make sometime. For a belt, I brought my cards for tablet weaving and some mercerized cotton. I also brought 3 spools of thread if I decide to make ribbons with sewing thread. Or if my spun thread is strong enough, which I highly doubt, I could use that. It may be possible because I brought some silk (empty of their larvae) cocoons and if I can figure out how to spin silk from them, the thread should be very strong.

So anyway, I needed to create a loom on the go. There are c-clamps in the workshop but then I’d have to weave indoors and it is too beautiful for that. I saw an old article in TWIST which showed an interesting tensioning device. It used to pieces of wood that the warp wraps around an holds itself tight. So found a scrap of wood, cut it I two and drilled a couple of holes. A scrap piece of wire holds the whole thing together and laces through two belt buckles on my jeans. So it works like a backstrap device without the back.

Just trying to have fun.

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