Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Shuttle, shuttle

Diversity, purpose and personal style define shuttle types

Sally Orgren's shuttles and shuttle holder at top center
Once a weaver has a few shuttles in his or her toolkit, what more is there to know? A lot, as Sally Orgren proved in the September program "Boost Your Weaving Skills: All About Shuttles," for the New York Guild of Handweavers

Targeted to weavers at all levels of experience, Sally used her personal collection of shuttles and a handout with images to demonstrate different shuttle types and characteristics, as well as proper bobbin/pirn/quill winding, and shuttle handling. 

Match the shuttle type to the loom (shed), the yarn, and personal working styles to improve the weaving experience and the end product, she advises weavers. Consider not only the type of shuttle--stick, boat, ski, rag, etc.--but the unique features of the shuttle. Considerations include:
Sally Orgren winding on a stick shuttle

  • Height of the shuttle. Match height to the shed depth on the loom, which is dependent on the loom.
  • Length of the shuttle. Match length to the width of the project on the loom.
  • Length of the side opening for the weft feed. In most cases, the longer the opening, the more even the feed.
  • Type of weft yarn. Bulky, fine, sticky, smooth.
  • Shape of the nose: Sharp or blunt? Again, important to the loom type and shed size.
  • Open or closed bottom. Mostly personal preference, but heavily loaded bobbins/pirns/quills will drag.
  • Handling the shuttle. Very personal. How does the shuttle feel in the hand when you hold the shuttle to throw it? 
Considering buying a new shuttle? Borrow one from a friend and try it before buying it, she suggests.

The yarn goes on

Sally Orgren demonstrates winding a quill
Obviously, winding the weft yarn onto the shuttle depends on the type of shuttle. Sally demonstrated some winding operations. One was loading a stick shuttle using a figure-eight wind-on to load as much as possible yet keep a low profile shuttle. 

She also demonstrated how to make a paper quill, tips to stabilize bobbins on the bobbin winder, and how to wind on bobbins, pirns and quills. (Want to watch someone do it? Check out The Woolery's videos.)

Invitation to learning

Join the South Jersey Guild of Spinners and Handweavers meeting Oct. 1 for "Warp to Weave," a program on how to get started--or how to improve--reading a draft and warping a loom. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The show goes, no matter the weather

Garden State Sheep and Fiber Festival 2016

Winter's Past Farm, Shelterwood Farm, & Filamenti Co-op 
It was hot, as in, HOT! Saturday morning the temperature was mid-90's and the humidity, absolutely stifling. I don't think I've ever been so hot--not even in the jungles of the Amazon.

I was hot, but certainly not miserable. I shared space with Kris at Winter's Past Farm and Robin at Shelterwood Farm. Serious, fiber-minded people showed up on Saturday morning, but by noon, the shoppers were gone. That left the sheep, who weren't buying. t suppose that was a blessing as I didn't have to move much.

Metis' 3D printer
As always, it was a fun two days, mainly because of fiber friends. Among them were Kae, Pat, Marsha, and Karen who stopped by to chat and catch up. Another highlight was meeting people I've been working with virtually, but have never met in person--especially Elizabeth A. and Pat H. (Check out our work on next summer's MidAtlantic Fiber Association's biennial conference.)

The Skein Competition, which is run by North Country Spinners, is always a big deal, too, if for no other reason than to keep me humble. Very humble. What a high degree of competency these spinners have! Very impressive. My only wish is that names were associated with the entries. I'm sure I know some of the spinners and I'd like to congratulate them.

Metis Industry owners with their printer
And, like fiber festivals everywhere, meeting other fiber-crazy people and seeing new things is what it's about. The title of unique vendor of this year's festival goes to Metis Industries, who make,  among other things, drop spindles with 3D printed decorative top whorls. 

I must confess. I got pretty excited because I have been looking for someone to 3D print some small plastic parts to a small knitting device that is no longer manufactured.

Over the years, a couple of its plastic parts have gone  missing and it's a shame not to have all of the parts. The Metis folks assure me they can print the missing parts--and make the classic machine whole again.

I'm looking forward to putting the device together and sharing this odd piece of recent history with other knitters. You'll see it here first.
Handspun skein competition: Best of Show...obviously (L) and cotton (R)