- Fiber Arts (this post).
- Editing ancient issues of Idunna for republication (not terribly interesting if you're not in the project, really)
- Exploring whole grains and baking sourdough bread.
I suppose, taken together, it's a real high fiber diet...
Of late, I have undertaken rudimentary studies in several fiber arts that were of interest in Northern and Western Europe Back in the Day--especially if I could pack it up and take it on one of my trips. Here's a quick run-through...
Spinning on a Drop Spindle
I got quite a bit done during the Atenveldt Beltane Coronation in May, only to realize in June that I'd laid it up less-than-intelligently on the spindle, making it difficult to wind onto the niddy-noddy--or, in fact, anywhere else. It's been laid aside until I'm less snarly about it.
However, while visiting the home of the just-stepped-down King of Atenveldt, I was given an ounce of winter undercoat from his pet wolf, so at least I have something to aim for...
Two further attempts to teach me this have come to pass--once in Tucson, on the same pleasant occasion where I got the wolf fluff, and again at Sirius Rising with the redoubtable, nigh-legendary, groa. These have, between them, very nearly taken, so much so that as soon as I clasp hands on the book groa was brandishing at me, I shall have the trick of it. On both occasions, I fear, the enemy was that conversations nearby were simply too exciting to miss...
In between trips, one of the local yarn stores threw a thing called Oakland Fiber Fest--to which site, Gentle Reader, I shall not link, for it is a Flash-ridden horror that should be held up to all who pass as an example of How Not To Design a Site. Still, they had many people demonstrating many fine things, and I got a good price (I thought) on some books and smooth cotton yarn.
So armed, I took all this and a backstrap loom setup with me to Brushwood, set up two poles ten feet apart, and took out a cone of cotton.
Which had, with deliberate precision, a crinkly slub every foot and a half.
I was livid--but this was the only thing I'd brought that I had in sufficient quantity, so I warped it nonetheless, and sure enough, it left little hwarfs in my weaving as I wove. Still, it sufficed for the exercise, which was to re-familiarize myself with the technique, learn to thread a two-color continuous warp, and practice a bit in changing designs as I wove. I wove a bit under two meters/yards before getting disgusted with the several complications, but once I see my way clear to getting a few small spools of 3/2 cotton from some enablers down south in Solvang, I can contemplate setting up an actual project.
This, Gentle Reader, is a craft wherein one plaits and twines two layers of warp with nary a weft in sight. One can assemble a decent frame out of bits and bobs from the art supply and hardware stores for less than $20, and it will take any smooth, sturdy, moderately elastic yarn and turn it into a stretchy rectangle of fabric. One may elaborate with further attached rectangles and make garments. If I want to workshop this, one can make an octagonal frame, suitable for the beginner and very light, out of wire and a couple bits of wood--and if I can bend coat hanger to my whim in this, the cost will be quite nominal indeed.
We have European sprang artifacts dating from the Bronze Age, found in bog burials, which makes this the oldest fiber art for which we have a European archeological record--there are older crafts, to be sure, but their artifacts are all found in climates that are kinder to fiber than Europe.
Not to say that sprang is only European--artifacts of it have been found, or are known by someone-or-other's grandparent, literally all over the world.
So I've started to tackle it, with the aforementioned frame and working from stash. It makes fun, stretchy stuff, and I should have something-or-other to show off at Hrafnar--the frame in progress, if nothing else.
dpaxson and I are fixing to build a warp-weighted loom, having found a couple sets of plans on these here Intert00bs. While the excuse we're starting off with is "we need a prop for another in her series of tutelary rituals", it's not like it won't be useful for other things, or like we won't learn a thing or two while constructing it. It shouldn't be harder than the Viking A-Frame tents we've done in the past.
It's rather fallen by the wayside, I'm afraid--I realized that I had become temporarily Bored of Socks, and have chosen instead to take up a project in honor of Elizabeth Zimmermann's 100th birthday tomorrow. Perhaps a Pi Shawl.
There. Next, a few notes about the baking, brewing, and other food things of late.