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Textiles & Tea Interviews me 4/9/2024

Like most of us, I seem to be wondering how I got to this age.  Often, I feel like I just sit and spin my wheels getting nowhere, Ha Ha Ha.  

However Tuesday, April 9th, 2024, I am honored to be featured on HGAs Textiles and Tea online program. Here are four ways to watch it. It is free for all.  is the live presentation on Tuesday, April 9th, at 4 pm EDT if you want to watch and ask a question.  Later it will be available shortly after the one hour interview on:

I'm still excited, after all these years that I was able to teach and participate in guilds for 40 years of teaching, while we lived in various parts of the country.

    Brandon, SD, 1973-1975 Sioux Falls, where I learned to weave

    Rapid City, SD, 1976-1982 Rapid City where I learned to spin

    Greeley, CO, 1982-1989, Fort Collins, Northern Colorado Weavers 

    Ellettsville, IN, 1989-2002, Bloomington Spinners & Weavers Guild

    Elk Grove Village, IL, 2002-2014, Illinois Prairie Spinners

    and now in Silver Spring, MD, 2014, Weavers Guild of Greater Baltimore

More Mobius Vests

Mobius vests have fascinated me for most of my weaving career.  Since we moved a great deal, I'm pretty sure my first mobius vest was created while we lived in Rapid City, SD, on my rigid heddle loom.  I've now created four mobius style vests.  Mobius is actually a term for a connected strip with one twist, giving it an endless edge.

As a vest it refers to shaping that comes from one twist on each shoulder.  This removes the usual boxy shape from woven vests and creates an interesting visual of a collar in the front and no collar when viewed from the back.



This red/blue/green vest was woven as a longer vest and the second photo shows how I treated the cut edge

The vest contruction information is below the photos in the November 2022 blog.  After contructing the vest  I folded the fabric in half to find my cutting line.  There I stitched two small zag-zag rows on the edge with my sewing machine. You don't want to make the zig-zag tight you want it to look like lots of w's.

After cutting between them, I use a fine yarn and a lashing stitch to go back and forth between the two selvedges center back and on both sides..  Next, using a fine turquoise yarn I did a basic blanket stitch all around the cut edge taller than the zig-zag stitches.   Then to cover the machine stitches I used the same navy (looks dark grey) weft yarn and big eye needle to needle weave three rows using the blanket stitches like a warp.  I did this on the inside and the outside for a smooth finish. 

This mobius was made for the Convergence Fashion Show  1996, I had a dress made of the same chinelle and gold thread fabric.  

This vest was machine sewn tfrom left over pieces of fabric and I used a thin product called "Seams Great" to protect the edges of the cut fabric.

The various pieces allowed me to make a notched collar and tuxedo tails in back.  It has a typical folded hem plus a small side insert as the leftover pieces were not quite wide enough for ease. 

The small side panels should also be considered when you need more width in the body of the vest but that size would make the collar way too large and floppy.

It was dramatic and appropriate for my first and only Convergence Fashion Show runway outfit. 

I have now created four different but similar mobius vests.  Be sure to check each out if you have missed any of them. 

Nov 2022 has the first two a long dark one and a short gray one.

Oct 2017 has the one I call my orgami mobius vest since it has four folds, and includes small pockets.

This one Jan 2024 explains my favorite edging on the first long vest and has my tuxedo style mobius vest.







How did I Come to be a Spinner - 1981 Part 4 - Treadling My Biggest Challenge

Back at home, with the NEW Tradional Ashford, I tried remember what went on at our evening get togethers, but I had been weaving and chatting.  

Spinning was difficult!  

Treadling was difficult!  

Very difficult!  

None of this was going well.  I couldn’t keep my wheel going in one direction. 

My husband sat down and showed me that if I just thought of tapping my foot, like to music in 3/4 time, one, two, three, it would be easy.  But music rhythm did not come easy to me either, even with years of accordian lessons, back in the Lawarence Welk days..

I snapped, “Get off my wheel and don’t touch it again.”  Not my best moment.  A very gloomy start.  Okay, I thought, I need to get this, it's kind of like riding a bike, also not my specialty. I did know that managing the rotation of the wheel was going to be my first big challenge, hand and finger fine moter coordination seemed so much easier.  

I started in earnest, treadling so the wheel went slow enough but didn't reverse directions.  I treadled while watching TV.  I treadled while reading magazines or bedtime stories to my children.  I understood I needed to get beyond thinking about the treadling but to a place where I could just trust my foot and leg to know how hard to push so I got a full rotation and how often so the flyer would go at a reasonable speed as I learned to spin.  

I even attached a kid's block with rubber bands to make

 the footman come to the top.    

I practiced treadling while I taught myself how to hand card.  At one point I was amongst a large group of hand spinners treadling and carding, but not yet spinning.  Everyone there was worried, not because I was so slow in learning, but because a local newspaper reporter was going to visit with a photographer for a human-interest story.  They made me promise to get up and go into the kitchen the whole time the reporter was there, as surely it would be 

            a photo of me being so effiecent "carding and treadling" at the same time 

that it would land in the newspaper, confusing the public on how you could card and spin at the same time.

Finally, after a full month of treadling I could finally trust my foot to do what needed to be done.  I actually began to spin.  

So don’t despair if treadling and keeping the rotation smooth is difficult.  If I could learn this, so can you.  Just practice the rhythm of treadling, going for slow and smooth, the faster your foot goes the faster your hands will have to move to keep up.

Fixing a yarn that has been washed and set.

 Q - Can you change a yarn even though it is already spun, plied, washed and set?

A - Above is a video of the most important part of correcting a yarn 
Here below is a step by step how to that you can read and work your way through. 

Starting with the pink and blue silk yarns that I had hoped to use together but after I started crocheting, I realized that I had spun the blueish one softer and with larger slubs that showed up during the plying.  The two were not going to work together.  

Changing a yarn isn't fast, nor is it guaranteed but if the fiber is precious or expensive like silk, it may well be worth your time. 

To change or fix a yarn you need to realize your options:
A - You can relax tight plying by removing some of the plying twist.
B - You can unply a plied yarn to use as a single or reply with more plies or a different yarn. 
C - You can unply the yarn and draft the single thinner, you CANNOT DRAFT IT THICKER  
D - You can remove some twist from a single that was overspun, which may allow the yarn to puff up more andlook thicker, but that is difficult to do evenly.  

Since this was a small ball of plied silk I choose to remedy the yarn with option C.  

First, I treadle the yarn onto a bobbin with the flyer going Z to remove the S-ply and passing it in when just as it looks like the ply has been removed. I started with the folded end since it had been plied as a ball and I didn't want to cut it.

Second, while still on the flyer and hanging out the orifice, I split the plys and wound one end on each hand, starting around two fingers . When it starts to build I add a third finger and wind more, then I can  remove a finger to keep it from getting too tight.  It's an odd little hand dance, that will end with two small balls still connected.  

If it had been a larger yarn I have used a second spinning wheel with a tight takeup to wind one ply and use a ball winder for the other.  Or my preference when I can lock up all cats, dogs and toddlers, I have simply pulled the plys apart and let them fall in a puddle one on each side of my chair.  As long as nobody messes with each puddle the ends will be on top.  If it was plied from a large ball you will be better off breaking the two sections apart, so you don't disturb the puddles.

As you are pulling it apart there will be areas where you probably went too far with the Z twist, or didn't quite do enough, but with the yarn still in the flyer you should be able to turn the flyer a few times to remedy those situations.

Third, now you need to correct your original problem.  My problem was too soft twist and too large slubs.  

My set up

  1. I set up my mini spinner on a slow Z speed but a slightly stronger takeup since I only needed a bit more twist. 
  2. I put the yarn balls into a zip bag mostly closed so they would not be rolling around the floor to be chased by a kitty. 
  3. After joining the end of the yarn to leader I sat about 4 feet away.  The extra space allowed me to see a slub coming and to work it out before it got the extra twist. 
Reducing slubs: I watched as the yarn went though my hands and if I saw a slub coming I placed my hands more than a fiber length apart at the slub.  Quickly, both hands were reversing the orignal Z twist until I saw untwisted fibers then I drafted just enough to smooth down the slub.  A quick release of the held back twist and I could move the yarn into the orifice and watch for the next slub. 

All that remained was to re-ply the yarn and re-set the twist.  Now I think the yarns will crochet well together to make narrow neck scarf to match this lovely square woven silk shawl that the yarns are sitting on.  Stay tuned for the finished scarf.

This shawl was a precious buy when we visited relatives in  Germany in 1989.  The cousin's wife took me to a weavers studio and where I admired all of her work, but we had a hugh language barrier.  The cousin bought a silk shawl for herself.  After we were back at her house, her husband was able to expain how much it had cost.  "Oh my! Please", I said, "Can you take me back as I also need to buy one."  I have loved it ever since. 


How Do You Wash/Scour Yarn Without Tangling - Part 2

If you have wound your skein on your niddy-noddy, be sure to tie it on several sides.  After your skein is tied in at least 3 if not 4 places, slip the skein off the niddy-noddy.  


How Do You Wash/Scour Yarn Without Tangling - Part 1

No matter how much you spend, a niddy-noddy is the best tool for preparing a skein for washing without tangling. 

Throw-back Thursday, WOW!

A few years back, I had a curious pm on my Facebook page.  
Did I live in Plentywood, MT in the 70s? 
Did I teach 1st grade?  I think you were my teacher.  

How Did I Come to be a Spinner - 1981 Part 3

Clearly I was a seamstress and a weaver, but spinning did not intrigue me in the least.  What I didn’t understand was my husband's point of view.  He knew 

1) nothing would keep me from attending this group.

How Did I Come to be a Spinner - 1981 Part 2

 After my husband Rich had finished his seminary degree, we moved to his first ELCA Lutheran parish in Brandon, South Dakota, 1973. 

I took a rigid heddle weaving class in nearby Sioux Falls. 
As an accomplished seamtress, weaving was nothing short of amazing!  That I could create cloth, unbelievable!  This colorful little mat was my first night’s weaving, I was only to do an inch, instead I couldn't stop and had to re-warp the loom before next week's class.