Understanding Your Wheel To Get The Yarn You Want

Have you ever wanted to spin a certain type of yarn, but didn’t know how to adjust your wheel to get there? Your treadling speed, whorl size, choice of tension system, and the amount of tension all contribute to spinning different fibers into a wide variety of yarns – the possibilities truly are endless.

There are three main types of tension systems: Scotch tension, Irish tension and double drive. We will be talking in depth about Scotch tension and double drive, but will also touch on Irish tension. In Scotch tension, the tension on the bobbin and the tension on the flyer are independent of one another: the brake band is on the bobbin and the drive band is on the flyer whorl. For double drive, the tension of the bobbin and the flyer are in direct relationship to each other. Using Irish tension, the tension of the bobbin and the tension of the flyer are independent of one another, with the brake band on the flyer whorl and the drive band on the bobbin. This system is ideal for larger yarns and production-style spinning because of the stronger intake of the yarn.

Scotch Tension

Scotch Tension on the Sidekick Spinning Wheel

Scotch Tension on the Sidekick.

When spinning in Scotch tension, there is a string that goes over the large flange of the bobbin which is attached to a spring that allows for looser or tighter tension (on the bobbin) controlled by a tension peg. This tension peg enables you to elongate or compress the spring. With the spring stretched, there is more tension on the bobbin which provides a stronger pull on the yarn to draw onto the bobbin. When the spring is compressed, the take-up will be less and more twist will build up in the yarn before the bobbin draws on the yarn. If your yarn is drifting apart, you want more twist (less tension). If it is getting kinked, you want less twist (more tension). In Scotch tension, the spring must elongate more and more (adding more tension) as the bobbin fills with more yarn. This only requires small increases in tension. I usually give the knob about a 16th inch turn after I fill a layer of yarn on the bobbin and continue doing this every layer until the bobbin is filled. This helps to keep a similar tension throughout the bobbin.

chart

This graph shows the general relationship between the weight of the bobbin as you spin and the amount of tension necessary while in Scotch tension.

 

Double Drive      

double-drive

Double Drive on the Schacht-Reeves

In double drive, your drive band goes around your drive wheel twice, with one loop over the flyer whorl and one loop over the small flange of the bobbin. You can find the tension sweet spot and it will stay consistent throughout the spinning of the whole bobbin. The adjustments are a little different than Scotch tension.

For the Matchless, start with the flyer parallel to the mother-of-all (the horizontal piece of wood under the bobbin) and tie a new drive band with the band in the groove of the whorl you would like to use and the groove in the small end of the bobbin. To attain more draw-in, turn the drive band tension knob (the mushroom shaped knob on top of the castle) clockwise. This will raise the back of the flyer and put more tension on the bobbin for a quicker take-up. For less draw-in, turn the drive band tension knob counter clockwise so it drops the back of the flyer down, putting less tension on the bobbin.

The Schacht-Reeves drive band tension adjuster screw comes out the end of the table. It screws the whole mother-of-all away from the wheel or towards the wheel to put more or less tension on the drive band. To be able to turn this adjuster screw, you must first loosen the wooden nut on the bottom of the table that holds the whole assembly in place. Turn the tension knob clockwise for more tension and counter clockwise for less, and tighten the nut on the bottom of the table when the tension is good.

The Ladybug tension adjuster for the drive band, is located to the side of the flyer assembly with a handle facing the front. Put the drive band in the groove of the tension wheel and with the handle, move the wheel out for more tension and in towards the wheel for less tension.

The Flatiron has a black knob that is attached at one end to the front face of the leg and the other end goes to the bottom of the mother-of-all. This bolt adjusts the angle of the mother-of-all (MOA). When the MOA is tilting away from the wheel, the tension is greater and when it is closer to the wheel, the tension is less.

A simple guide to making the yarn you want

Large yarn: Everything is larger. Since there are so many fibers in the width of a fat yarn in one linear inch, less twist is required to hold the fibers together. To achieve a larger yarn, use a larger whorl (slow or extra slow speed), make the spring larger (longer) by stretching it (for Scotch tension) or turn the tension knob clockwise (for double drive) creating a larger amount of tension, treadle slower (a larger amount of time between each treadle), and feed a larger amount of yarn in the orifice.

Small yarn: Everything is smaller. In a linear inch of really thin yarn, you might have just a few fibers as the width of the yarn. In order to hold those few fibers together, a lot of twist is needed. To achieve a smaller yarn, use a smaller whorl (high or super high speed), make the spring smaller (less stretched) or turn the tension knob counter clockwise for a smaller amount of tension, treadle faster (a smaller amount of time between each treadle), and feed smaller amounts of fiber into the orifice.

These are the two extremes on the spectrum of yarn, but hopefully, learning what to do to make extreme yarns will help with decisions about everything in between. I encourage you to explore your wheel to get the yarn you want.

Denise Renee Grace spins, weaves, sews, and felts. She is our customer service specialist at Schacht.

 

Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Three Easy Woven Brooklyn Tweed Projects Perfect for This Fall

 

Earlier this year, We e-mailed the team at Brooklyn Tweed to see if they wanted to participate in one of our collaborations for 2016. I was thrilled when I heard that Jared Flood, Founder and Creative Director of Brooklyn Tweed, wanted to see what we could do. Not only were they game for a collaboration, they mentioned that they were releasing a new yarn in the fall that would be ideal for weaving.

Be still my beating heart.

I have been following Brooklyn Tweed since before they carried yarn, when they were primarily a knitting pattern powerhouse, so this opportunity was one I could not pass up. After talking to the team here at Schacht, and the team at Brooklyn Tweed, we decided to do a 3-piece woven collection focusing on their new yarn, Arbor. This series includes a zoom loom hat, a modern poncho, and a lovely fringed pillow. These projects are primarily made out of Arbor, but two of them also utilize Quarry, Brooklyn Tweed’s chunky weight yarn.

Before planning anything, we played around on the Zoom Loom weaving swatches with all of Brooklyn Tweed’s main yarn lines, Loft, Shelter, Quarry, and now Arbor. All of these yarns (except for Quarry) wove up easily on the Zoom Loom, and never was I concerned about the lofty-spun yarns separating. I did find a work-around for Quarry on the Zoom Loom which will be featured in a how-to on weaving bulky yarns on the Zoom Loom in the future.

 

Zoom Loom Plaid Redux Hat – Benjamin Krudwig

bt-hat

 

Difficulty Level: Easy

Equipment: Schacht Zoom Loom, weaving needle.

Yarn: Arbor from Brooklyn Tweed – DK weight in Alizarin – 1 skein 145 yards per skein

Quarry from Brooklyn Tweed – Bulky Weight in Moonstone – 20 yards (200 yards per skein)

Weaving: Weave 17 squares with Alizarin. While each square is still on the loom, weave 4 supplementary rows in a contrasting yarn, Quarry (bulky weight) in color Moonstone. Weave these accents randomly so there is little repetition from square to square, windowpane fashion. I call this pattern “Plaid Redux”. Use caution when pulling the bulky Quarry yarn through the woven fabric.

Assembly: Create two strips of 8 squares. Sew the ends of each strip together to create two loops of 8 squares. Offset these two loops by half a square and sew the loops together (see diagram below).

Take the final square and sew each side to every other square along the top of the upper loop (see diagram below). There will be 4 squares on the upper loop that won’t be attached to the crown square, take some excess yarn and weave through the top edge, then cinch it tight to close the holes. Stitch the holes shut if necessary.

assembly-of-the-hat

Finishing: heavily full the hat until felted; stop when you reach a good fit for your head.

Optional: AFTER felting the hat, create a large pompom out of Quarry and sew it to the top using a length of Arbor.

 

Pale Blue Fringed Pillow – Jane Patrick

 

pale-blue-pillow

Difficulty Level: Easy

Equipment: Schacht 15” Cricket Loom Kit, 1 15” stick shuttle.

Warp Yarn: Arbor from Brooklyn Tweed DK weight in Treehouse, 2 skeins, 145 yards per skein.

Weft Yarn: Arbor from Brooklyn Tweed DK weight, 1 skein each of Dorado and Rainier, 145 yards, per skein.

Warp length: 56” which includes take-up and 18” loom waste.

Width in reed: 15”

E.P.I.: 8

Total warp ends: 118

Total yardage needed: 185 yards

PPI: 8 (1 skein is perfect for this project, if you beat more than 8 ppi or weave longer, you’ll need another skein of Dorado.

Weaving: Use Dorado for the plain weave. Use Rainier doubled for the ghiordes knots. Weave 1” of plain weave. Tie the first row of ghiordes knots. It is important to begin at the correct place, as this first row of knots sets up the remainder of the rows. Using the key, make a row of knots following pattern A, weave 4 rows of plain weave, and then make a row of knots following pattern B. Weave 4 rows of plain weave and repeat.

 

Key to ghiordes knots rows.

ghiordes-knot-key

Note: Alternate rows A and B checking to be sure that the rows of knots alternate and line up. Working right to left, work in this way: count over 9 warps and then tie two ghiordes knots (each ghiordes knot is tied over 2 warps, so 2 knots require 4 warp ends [XXXX] on the diagram), skip 12 warp threads and tie another set of knots, and so on.

Measure weaving off tension until the pattern is square. Weave the backing in plain weave for 20”.

Finishing: Remove the fabric from the loom and secure the ends. Wash by hand in hot water with mild agitation. If the fabric is not fulled sufficiently, place in hot dryer for a few minutes, watching carefully. Lay flat to dry and then steam press.

Assembly: Zigzag and straight stitch between all cutting lines. Cut three pieces: the front leaving a ½” seam allowance at either end, cut the two pieces for the back which includes a flap closing–1 piece 8” long and another piece 9” long.

Sew a 1” hem in the longest piece and then attach the hook side of a 2” piece of a hook side of Velcro (the Velcro will stick to the wool fabric) and sew this to the hem on the wrong side. Turn under 1/2″ along the long edge of the other back piece and stitch.

Place the pillow front (fringe) side up (I used lengths of masking tape and temporarily taped the fringe to the inside to make sure it would not interfere with stitching). Place the back pillow piece with the Velcro facing up on top of the pillow front, and finally, overlap the short back flap piece on top of the Velcro piece. Sew around all sides. Press and turn right sides out.

Fill with your own pillow form or make your own with fiberfill and scrap fabric and insert in to your pillow. Enjoy!

 

Windowpane Poncho – Denise Renee Grace

rolled-collar

Difficulty Level: Easy

Equipment: 20” Flip loom with an 8-dent reed, tapestry needle for sewing.

Warp yarn: Arbor from Brooklyn Tweed DK weight in “Cobbler” 2.8 skeins, 145 yards per skein – 408 yards total.

Weft Yarn: Arbor from Brooklyn Tweed DK weight in “Cobbler” 1.2 skeins, 145 yards per skein – 174 yards total.

Quarry from Brooklyn Tweed Bulky weight in “Sulphur” 1 skein, 200 yards per skein

Warp length: 92” which includes take-up and loom waste.

Width in reed: 20”

EPI: 8

Total warp ends: 160

PPI: 6-8, this may need adjusting since you are using two weights of yarn.

Weaving: Hemstitch at the beginning.

fabric-detail

Weave plain weave through out. Weave Arbor for 1″ then, alternate between Arbor and Quarry every other pick. Be sure to weave a balanced plain weave so the picks of Quarry look square. Weave to the end of your warp, ending with 1″ of Arbor like in the beginning. Hemstitch at the end.

Assembly: Lay length of fabric down in a straight line. Bring one end down to a point. Bring the other end to a point overlapping the other end. With a 10 yard length of arbor, sew a square with a whip stitch where these points overlap.

Finishing: Hand wash, dry flat. Once dry, put in the dryer on medium heat for about 10 minutes until sufficiently fulled, checking often.

We hope you enjoy these fun and versatile projects. We hope you will be inspired to try these great projects and would love to see them. Be sure to tag your social media posts #schachtspindle, and #weavingwithbt so we can see them and share them!

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Jane Patrick

Jane Patrick is Creative Director of Schacht Spindle Company. She is an author, lecturer, and teacher. You can find her class: Creative Weaving Techniques on the Rigid Heddle Loom, on Craftsy.

Three Easy Weaving Projects for the 20″ Flip Loom – Mountain Meadow Wools Collaboration

For this month’s yarn collaboration, we worked with Mountain Meadow Yarns. Their rustic, American grown and milled yarn paired perfectly with the Schacht Flip Loom. All three of the following projects can be made with the 20″ model of Flip. The rise of small looms continues, and you can create stunning woven pieces in very little time, with nothing more than plain weave and some stunning yarn. If you make any of these projects or other woven projects with Mountain Meadow Yarns, tag them on Instagram with the hashtag #MountainMeadowWeaves.

Houndstooth Pillow

Houndstooth Piullow

Equipment: 20″ Flip Loom with a 5-dent reed

Yarn: 2 skeins of Sheridan in Medium Grey (102 yards per skein) and 2 skeins of Sheridan in Geranium (102 yards per skein)

Other Notions: 16″ pillow form

Warp: 2 yards long, 18″ wide in reed

Warping: Using the direct, peg warping method, alternate colors in each slot while warping. That is, sley all of the Grey yarns first, threading a slot, skipping a slot and so on. After all of the Grey yarns are threaded, fill in the empty slots with Geranium. Wind the warp onto the back beam and then thread the adjacent holes. Your color order will be 2 Grey, 2 Geranium, repeat.

Weaving: Alternate 2 ends of Grey and 2 ends of Geranium, repeat, just as you did in the warp. Weave a balanced weave which means that you will see a square space (not a rectangle space or lack of space) between the intersection of the warp and weft threads. This will ensure that the houndstooth pattern will be balanced warp-wise and weft-wise.

Finishing: To secure the weft for washing, knot the warp yarns in groups of 4 on both ends of the weaving. Wash in hot water with soap, rinse  in cool water with a 1/2 cup of vinegar, and then rinse in clean water for 15 minute each. Put the fabric in the dryer with a few towels on medium heat for 15 minutes, checking frequently. Lay flat to dry.

To make the pillow: Wrap the fabric around the 16”x16” square pillow form. To measure, start with a knotted end and place it in the middle of the pillow. Then wrap the fabric all the way around the pillow form, past the knotted end and to the edge of the pillow form (like an envelope). Mark this end at the edge of the pillow and sew a couple of zigzag lines across at this point. (You can also serge this line.) Turn over the zigzag end and hand sew a 1/2″ hem. Lay the fabric flat with the right wide up (hem down) and fold it in an envelope with the knotted side first and the right side of the hem meeting the edge of the pillow. Single crochet or stitch up the sides and turn right side out.

 

Forest Wrap

green wrap

 

Equipment: 20″ Flip with a 5-dent reed.

Yarn: Laramie, 1 skein of Forest variegated and 1 skein- of Grass semi solid.

Warp: 130″ of Forest variegated, 20″ wide.

Warping: Using the direct peg warping method, sley some slots and leave others open in a random manner in this way: s2 o3 s1 o2 s2 o3 s1 o1 s1 o2 s2 o3 s1 o1 s1 o2 s2 o3 s2 o2 s1 o1 s1 o2 s2 o2 s1 o2 s2. Note: s= sley, o=open, as in s2= sley two slots, o3=leave 3 slots unthreaded, and so on.

swatch
This has been rotated to the warp is vertical and the weft is horizontal.

Weaving: Using Grass weave 8 picks of balanced weave, then leave one inch open or unwoven (you can use a thin cardboard as a spacer across the warp if you find that helpful, removing it after the next 8 picks are woven). Alternate in this manner for the entire length of the warp.

Finishing: Remove from the loom and secure the ends by tying the warp threads in groups of 4. Wash the fabric in the washing machine with detergent on warm with on a short cycle, checking often so as to not over full. Place the fabric in the dryer with a bath towel for 30 minutes on medium heat, checking the fabric every 5 minutes or so. Tighten any loose knots and cut off the excess warp near the knot.

 

Salmon Scarf

salmon scarf

 

Equipment: 20” Flip with an 8-dent reed

Yarn: Salem, 2 skeins of scarlet.

Warp: 103″ long, 18 1/2″ wide.

Warping: Using the direct peg warping method, thread the first 2 slots then thereafter skip every other slot in the reed with ending with 2 threaded slots on the other edge.

Weaving: Weave in loosely in plain weave at about 6 picks per inch.

salmon swatch

Finishing: Remove the fabric from the loom and secure the ends by tying groups of 4 warp threads. Wash the fabric on a warm, short cycle with detergent, checking the fabric often. Place the fabric in the dryer with a towel and dry on medium for about 30 minutes, checking often.

Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

7 Ways to Weave With Textured Yarns

Art yarn, whether you spin it yourself or purchase it readymade, is a catalyst for creative woven fabrics.

Art yarn spinning techniques are so much fun to do and make such beautiful and unique yarns. What follows often, though, is the question, “what do I do with it?” Due to the stitch structure of knitting and crochet, the irregular gauge that art yarns tend to produce uneven results. Weaving, however, is the perfect technique to turn textured yarn into interesting, fun fabric. For those who don’t spin, but would like to experiment with weaving textured yarn, I also experimented with some commercially-available yarn in my explorations to good effect (I’ve cited the companies below).

Using art yarn in the weft is an obvious choice because you can use just about anything in the weft, but it can also be exquisite used in the warp, as well as in both warp and weft.

I like using rigid heddle looms for my art yarn projects because there is less loom waste, as well as less abrasion than on a floor loom. You can also get away with using less warp tension on a rigid heddle loom.

I wove plain weave on my Cricket or Flip loom for all of the fabrics shown here, except for one twill weave structure, which I wove on my Wolf Pup LT. The variable dent reed is another great tool to consider when working with irregular or art yarns.

I think most of us have our go-to projects that we like to create. Mine happens to be bags. I have found that art yarn makes superb bags, but it can also be used for other items, such as pillows, scarves, vests, or even a table runner for modern centerpiece.

 

Thick and Thin Used in Warp

Turmeric thick and thin

Thick and thin is one of my favorite spinning techniques and probably the easiest of the art yarns to spin. I love showcasing the yarn by putting it in the warp and crossing it with a thin weft. Sometimes, I even use sewing thread in the weft if the warp yarn has a lot of color movement, allowing the warp be the star of the piece. I can see this fabric used vertically for a vest or coat. To see if your yarn is suitable for warp, check that it will fit through the slots and holes in your heddle and give it a strength test. To do this, pull on a length of yarn, if it comes a part with a snapping sound, it should be strong enough. If the yarn pulls apart noiselessly, you might question its warp worthiness.

 

Warp: Hand spun merino top spun thick and thin in both singles, then plied for a 2-ply yarn (7 wraps per inch), dyed with eucalyptus and turmeric.

Weft: 8/2 unmercerized cotton in grey.

Weave: Plain weave, 5-dent reed with 5 picks per inch, woven into a skinny scarf.

 

Art Yarn in Warp and Weft (Plaid Color Effect)

Bright plaid

Lively hand-dyed, hand-spun yarn wove up to be a beautifully bright and unconventional plaid. Using art yarn in the warp and weft, made a thick, fluffy fabric, perfect for bag making. Surprisingly, the fabric is soft enough that it could even be a cowl. The color, texture, pattern, and sparkle create movement and true joy for the eyes. For this project, I did not pull the locks of mohair out while weaving, so there are only small bubbles of it here and there. Two similar colorways and fibers, created by the same maker, give the fabric a cohesive feel.

Warp: Spinning Wheel Studio Thread, plied yarn using a large single of hand-dyed merino top, mulberry silk, sari silk thread, mohair locks, and firestar plied with a thin metallic thread (5 wraps per inch).

Weft: Spinning Wheel Studio corespun single hand-dyed merino top, mohair locks, firestar, angelina, mulberry silk, and sari thread (7 wraps per inch).

Weave: Plain weave, 5-dent reed with 5 picks per inch, fabric to be used for an envelope satchel or cowl.

 

 Locks and Sari Silk for a Textured Surface

Locks and sari silk

Tail spun yarn makes for a pleasingly tactile yarn. I pulled the locks out while I wove so they would float on the surface of the fabric. This would make such a fun little clutch purse.

Warp: Frabjous Fibers Recycled Silk Yarn-handspun by women’s cooperatives from silk weaving mill waste (8 wraps per inch).

Weft: Fancy Fibers tail spun locks.

Weave: Plain weave, 5-dent reed with 3 picks per inch, could be made into a purse or an accent pillow.

 

Silk extravaganza: Art Yarn in the Weft

Silk extravaganza

Continuing with more silk, I felt I could enhance the texture of silk further by alternating recycled silk yarn with sari ribbon, alternating every other one in the weft with a cotton warp. This fabric has an amazing hand without compromising any structural integrity.

Warp: cotton carpet warp in navy.

Weft: Frabjous Fibers Recycled Silk Yarn in “sea,” Frabjous Fibers Sari Ribbon in “teal” and “emerald.” These colors are hand-picked from silk weaving-mill waste and the silk fibers of similar color are spun together into one yarn, while the ribbon is sewn into yarn.

Weave: Plain weave, 10-dent reed with about 6 picks per inch. Since the fabric is so pliable and durable, it could be used for many things.

 

Maximum Weft Texture

Bubble gum

This is probably one of my favorite fabric results of my art yarn explorations. It really shows off the yarn with maximum texture. The color, texture, and a hint of sparkle make this bag fabric irresistible.

Warp: Knit Collage Maharani Silk in “firework.”

Weft: Knit Collage Pixie Dust in “azalea bloom.” Knit Collage yarn is hand spun by women in India.

Weave: Plain weave, 8-dent reed with varying picks per inch (due to thick and thin nature of the yarn).

 

Manipulating a Commercial Yarn

Flower power

Although I love plain weave, mostly because I am truly interested in color and texture, I wanted to try at least one twill sample. Yarn with inserted objects works well with twill due to its longer weft floats. I manipulated the flowers as I wove by lifting them up to the surface of the fabric. I beat this fairly firmly because I wanted it to be a rather large tote bag, which required a rather stiff and sturdy fabric.

Warp: Knit Collage Maharani Silk in “key lime pie.”

Weft: Knit Collage Gypsy Garden in “emerald forest.”

Weave: 4-shaft point twill, 8-dent reed with about 6 picks per inch.

 

Weft Emphasis Fabric

Bright coils

One of the most impressive samples that came from this study was the use of  my handspun coil-spun yarn. This, more than most art yarns, would be difficult to crochet or knit, but it wove up like a dream. Using a 20/2 cotton in the warp, it disappeared and all that was left were the scrumptious coils.

Warp:  20/2 mercerized cotton in a bright orange color.

Weft: Spinning Wheel Studio Hand-dyed Falkland Wool Top super coiled.

Weave: Plain weave, 10-dent reed with about 5 picks per inch. This will become a lovely spindle bag.

 

Through this exercise, I (re)learned that it is important to try new things, to have fun and play with yarns on the fringe. I would advise starting with art yarn in the weft and using smaller, smooth yarns in the warp. There are no hard and fast rules about sett when it comes to art yarn, so intuition and bravery are key to adventures with textured yarns.​ I hope that this has inspired you to try out your own art yarn in weaving, as well as to try some of those novelties that you love but don’t know how to use.

 

Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Fish are Jumpin’ and the Cotton is High….

Though I know summer is just around the corner, it is still chilly here and has been wet (which is actually lovely for this time of year), but soon it will be nice and warm hot. In anticipation for summer, I have been drawn to working with cotton. It is such a different experience to work with cotton fiber instead of something like wool. Cotton’s staple length (average length of the individual fibers) is much shorter compared to most animal fibers. The first time I spun cotton, I felt like I had to learn how to spin all over again!

Now that I have practiced spinning cotton and understand that cotton needs a lot of twist to hold it together as a yarn, I love it! Because there is so much to learn, we are going to feature cotton this week and into next week. Cotton is available in many forms: organic, naturally colored, long staple pima, fluffy white acala, easy-to-dye and Easy-to-Spin Sliver; the list goes on.

So what are the basic spin-able forms of cotton on the market? I have found the main ones to be bolls, seed cotton, ginned cotton, puni, and sliver. You can find a selection of spinning cotton here. Bolls are great to learn how to spin cotton. It is the original form that comes right off of the plant with husk, seeds, and all. Bolls are also excellent for educational purposes and giving spinning demonstrations (check out our YouTube channel later this week for a video.)  How many people have actually seen a real cotton boll?

Photo courtesy of Cotton Clouds

Seed cotton is cotton that has been separated from the boll huskbut the seeds are still embedded in the fibers. This seed cotton is long staple pima; note that the seeds in the picture are “naked” (no fuzzy fibers adhering to them). The advantages of spinning “off the seed” is that the fibers have not been mechanically compromised in a gin.

Photo courtesy of Cotton Clouds

Ginned cotton just has the seed taken out. The fibers are not arranged in any particular way and can easily be hand fluffed or carded to spin. You will notice that ginned pima cotton has a creamy color, longer staple fiber and is easier to spin. Acala cotton has a whiter color ideal for dyeing, a shorter stable but is fluffier and needs little or no hand carding.

Photo courtesy of Cotton Clouds

Punis are carded cotton, rolled (with a dowel) into a cylindrical shape similar to a wool rolag. While these are traditionally handmade in India, you can make your own! Punis are the best fiber preparation for spinning on a supported Tahkli spindle.

Photo Courtesy of Cotton Clouds

Sliver is cotton that has been mechanically formed into a long continuous formation. Combed sliver has all the fibers parallel while carded cotton does not.  Beginners should start with carded sliver. Combed sliver should be spun with the worsted method by experienced cotton spinners.  The resulting yarn is soft and silky. Sliver cottons are idea for clothing and towels.

Photo courtesy of Cotton Clouds

Cotton sliver loves to be dyed into a rainbow of colors that is fun to spin as you see subtle color changes form as you spin. This hand-dyed cotton sliver is from Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks. This is an ideal fiber preparation to spin for multicolored socks. We will explore more of these applications this week and into next week.

Photo Courtesy of Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks

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Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Irene Schmoller

Irene Schmoller, owner and blogger of Cotton Clouds, is one of the leading experts on cotton. Irene has been passionately involved in textile arts for over 40 years. When she’s not at home in Arizona, she’s livin’ her dream at the beach in Florida.

Gingham Heirloom Bag Collaboration

Photo courtesy of Fancy Tiger Crafts

We love a challenge here at Schacht, so when we opened a package from Fancy Tiger Crafts full of their Heirloom Yarn, fabric and some webbing, we were excited! Denise and I have done a couple of collaborations before, but this one is perhaps our favorite.

Heirloom is the “house” yarn from Fancy Tiger Crafts; 100% Romney wool, grown, milled, and dyed in the U.S. Being a hardy, rustic wool, both Denise and I thought “bag.” Since over-sized gingham is a fashion trend this year, we decided that would be an easy pattern to create on a rigid heddle loom.

This bag has a clever construction, one long piece of fabric is sewn up the middle with no cutting required. The fabric lays on the bias when the bag is finished, adding just one more element of excitement. The finished piece is an over-sized bag that reminds us a bit of the 70’s. Funky fringe (so in this year) and beautiful buttons make it an awesome fashion accessory.

Photo courtesy of Fancy Tiger Crafts

Supplies: 2 skeins each of Heirloom in the colors Fava Bean and Butternut, 1 yard of cotton fabric, 2 yards of cotton webbing, or other strap material. 15″ Cricket Loom, 8-dent reed, and 5 buttons. Optional: fringe twister.

Fava Bean and Butternut
Photo courtesy of Fancy Tiger Crafts

Warping: warp length 3.5 yards. In an 8-dent reed, thread 12 ends of Fava Bean and 12 ends of Butternut, alternating stripes across the full weaving width of your loom. 120 total ends; 10 stripes making up the warp.

Weaving: Plain weave structure, alternating 12 picks of Fava Bean, and 12 picks of Butternut. Weave a balanced weave (same picks per inch as warps per inch), or to square the pattern. Hemstitch at the beginning, weave the whole length of your warp, and end with hemstitching.

Felt the fabric to create a dense yet soft fabric. We put the fabric in the washing machine on a full hot cycle with soap and threw it in the dryer for around 30 min. on high (you could hand-felt the fabric as well). We advise monitoring the fulling process. You do not want to over felt. You can always do more but never less.

Photo courtesy of Fancy Tiger Crafts

Construction:

1: Fold the finished fabric in half.

2: Hand sew up one side using a whip stitch. Try to line up your stripes in this process.

3: Open the folded piece up, flattening the corner at the bottom.

4: Take the top right edge of the fabric and bring it down so the right edge lines up with    the top of the triangular portion, whip stitch along this seam.

5: Turn over. Fold the flap down.

6: For the strap, poke two holes in each corner of the bag and pass the end of the webbing through the holes. Fold the raw end back onto the strap. Wrap the strap around the raw end and sew into place hiding the end in the strap.


7: Fringe twist the ends in groups of 4, to create 3 tassels in each stripe.

8: Using the cotton fabric, sew a liner a little smaller than the bag itself. Leave enough room at the top to fold down leaving the raw edge between the liner and the bag. Whip stitch along the top edge of the bag to set the liner in place.

9: For added decoration, take some buttons and sew them along the top of the bag following the middle seam of the fabric.

Photo courtesy of Fancy Tiger Crafts

This project is extremely versatile, and can be customized to suit your needs. Different widths and lengths of fabric will make differently shaped bags. The strap could be attached somewhere else with another technique and be made a different length. Make your own bag and share them with us on our social media!

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Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Georgia On my Mind – Denise Renee Grace

 

Recently Rebecca Mezoff and I went sheep shearing. This is one of my favorite times of year. The coats of the sheep are big and fluffy around their pregnant bellies. They get sheared before lambing to make it easier on everyone. After the ewes are sheared, they tend to want to have their lambs in the warmth of the barn instead of in the cold field. Shearing always inspires me to dig into fleece. I love the smell and feel of it. I love everything about it!

One of the sheep that got sheared was named Georgia. I took a pound of her CVM fleece and got brave enough to try washing it in the washer. I put the wool in lingerie bags, filled the washer with HOT soapy water. (To make sure it was really hot, I added a kettle full of boiling water). I gently put the bags into the water making sure they were submersed in the water with a wooden spoon. I followed with another soapy wash, one rinse with vinegar, and one with just plain hot water, not agitating at all, only going through a soak and spin cycle. It worked!

Usually, I use a drum carder, but I wanted to try the method of holding a 72 psi carder on my lap, taking a lock of hair, “flicking” it, and then spinning one right after the other. It was an interesting experience. I thought this would be a shorter process than drum carding. Now writing that, I realize that it might have been an unrealistic expectation, but I had the crazy idea that it would be quicker. It was not. Also, it didn’t homogenize the color, so it had patches of darker spots. I did like that look for this project. In the end I had spun about 3ounces of fiber into 195 yards of a two ply DK weight yarn, using my Schacht Matchless to spin, and my Ladybug to ply.

I like the circular nature of crochet hats, but love the ease and flexibility of a knitted rim. So I thought, why not do both? I used the appropriate size crochet hook for the yarn (I love my Addi Swing hooks), then I switched to knitting needles picking up stitches around the edge of the crocheted portion. I gradually went down a few sizes to make the brim fit tighter.

The warmth of the fleece paired with the open-knit fabric makes this the perfect spring or fall hat! Thanks Georgia!

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Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Sashiko Posh Plum – Denise Renee Grace

I am often pleasantly surprised with “happy accidents” in my creative process, and this scarf is one of those gifts. I set out to do something like the “Posh Plum” scarf from the book Woven Scarves. Even though I planned to double the warp every inch or so, when it came to warping, I went on auto pilot and totally forgot. Still wanting the striped effect, Sashiko seemed to be the perfect answer to my “accident”.Recently, I have been exploring a Japanese-style embroidery technique that uses basic running stitches and I thought it would be great to add stripes to the fabric of my scarf.

Handspun yarn adds delicious texture to any handwoven piece

One of the many things I love about hand-made items is seeing the progress. Each step feels like a mini victory, but when the end product is done, it takes on a life of it’s own. This is the yarn from my default challenge: handspun from merino/silk roving in Garden colorway and For Better or Worsted Yarn in Grace colorway, both from Anzula.

The project was woven on my 10″ Cricket handweaving loom using an 8-dent heddle with For Better or Worsted in the full width of the heddle. I set the warping peg about 84″ from the rear apron bar. Using the handspun as the weft, the project was simple, but has a subtle and elegant beauty. The running Sashiko stitched stripes were done about an inch apart. These stitches cause the fabric to have a different look and feel, giving a slightly gathered depth to the scarf. The fringe just wanted to be twisted for the perfect finishing touch!

Did you get inspired by one of the scarves in the Woven Scarves book? Please share pictures with us! We love to see the endless possibilities of woven creations!
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Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

The Dublin Poncho – Denise Renee Grace

I was thrilled when we came out with the 30″ Flip. I wanted to get something on it right away, but as life goes, I had other projects to finish. I finally got the chance to work with the new wider loom, and I love it. I filled the width to test its full capacity, and I did a rather large project to push the limits.

Universal Yarn was the perfect yarn for this project. It is affordable high quality yarn. The grey yarn is Deluxe DK Superwash in “Sweatshirt Grey,” and the gorgeous green yarn is Deluxe Worsted 100% Wool in “Shamrock.” I love the heather in the Shamrock yarn. It gives the finished fabric depth with hints of surprise colors every now and then! I ended up using about 6 balls of the Sweatshirt Grey and 3 skeins of the Shamrock.

Since I was doing a project of this scale, I actually sampled. I guess Jane influenced me in that regard. I put a solid grey warp on my 10″ Cricket and wove three sections. Starting from the left picture below; grey was used in the weft, the middle picture shows my sample alternating grey and green weft threads, and to the right is green in the weft. I ended up really liking the middle one.

Swatches showing the 3 different combinations of warp/weft

I decided on an 8 dent reed, full 30″ width and I set my warping pegs about 120″ away. This seemed like a lot. I set it up so the pegs were on one side of the counter and the threads that were closest to the peg were laying on the counter before going to the loom on the stand I set up in the living room. So the warp threads were supported by the counter a little. I found this to be really helpful in the warping process. I warped the loom with the Sweatshirt Grey all the way across the loom. While weaving, I loaded 2 shuttles, one with the grey and one with the Shamrock and alternated back and forth between the two colors. I beat evenly making a balanced weave until I couldn’t weave anymore, and then tied off the knots in groups of 4.

I used a serger to separate the pieces for the Poncho Pattern. You could also use a zig zag stitch on your regular sewing machine or even Liquid Stitch. If you are applying the Liquid Stitch, I would recommend putting a half inch strip all the way down your fabric, letting it dry and then cutting in the middle of that half inch strip. I cut 2 pieces that were 40″ from either side of the woven piece of fabric so that there would be 2 large pieces with fringe (keeping as much fringe as possible to work with later), along with a third piece in the middle. From that middle piece, I cut a piece that measured 15″ X 24″ (the width of the fabric) that became the hood.

Assembling the poncho:
Take one of the long strips of fabric and lay it vertically, measure 14″ down the right side of the vertical strip, and place the short end of the identical strip perpendicular to the first. Stitch these together along the dotted line.

Assembly of the Body of the Poncho

Measuring 14″ from the seam, identify point B along the top of the horizontal strip. Match points B to B and A to A. Seam the length of A to B (dotted lines). The seams holding the main body together are a tight elongated whip stitch with the fabric overlapped (pictured below). I continued down the single serged edge with this stitch for a decorative finish. The 14″ unseamed corner creates the neck-hole of the poncho.

Detail of the stitching along the seams

To create the hood, fold the set-aside fabric in half, and seam along the top, round the corner, and side. Fold back about an inch of fabric at the front of the hood and tack that in place. Fold the hood to be right side out after trimming any extra fabric along the curve.

Assembly of the hood

To attach the hood, center the poncho on your body and find the center front. Pin the front edges of the hood on either side of this center mark and whip stitch the hood onto the poncho. Around the face of the hood, the edge is rolled back in a 1″ hem to add a finishing touch.

To complete the poncho, fringe twist the ends in groups of four (twist two groups of two in one direction, and then twist those back on each other the opposite way).  Mine ended up being 5″ fringe after twisting and knotting the ends. Wash and lay flat to dry. Wear often to stay warm and comfy!


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Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Denise’s Guide on Choosing a Schacht Wheel

This post is about how each wheel performs from Denise’s perspective. For a list of specifications and additional information, check out our website! With a personal account of each wheel, the comparison chart, and talking with your dealer, you should be able to choose a wheel with ease!

On the heels of Spinzilla, I still have spinning going around in my head!  I have all four Schacht Spinning Wheels and I use each of them. This was apparent during the week of Spinzilla: I have a Schacht wheel for almost any purpose.

I set my Matchless up first at 5 am on Monday morning. When I couldn’t sleep, I took it as a sign to dig in and start spinning. This wheel is so smooth I could virtually sleep while spinning. Set up on double drive with a new drive band, I can literally spin for miles. On my Matchless, I spin everything from wooly fleeces to delicate exotics, lace weight to chunky art yarn–and everything in between. They don’t call it the Matchless for nothing! This wheel can be set up in Irish tension, double drive, or Scotch tension. For further explanations of these tension styles, check out this post.

I like a castle style wheel because I can draft with either hand and the orifice is right in front of me. Switching hands really helped me spin a lot of yardage and not be fatigued. The Matchless wheel comes with a collapsible, tensioned lazy kate, 4 wood bobbins, 2 cotton drive bands, threading hook, carrying strap, medium and fast speed whorls. Four additional whorls are available, including extra slow (good for art yarn and beginners who treadle fast), slow (great for beginners and making thicker yarn), high speed (made for people who would like to make smaller yarn), super fast (this should be a standard Spinzilla whorl as it helps spin super fine yarn super quick). High speed bobbins can be purchased for use with the high and super high speed whorls when spinning in double drive (high speed bobbins are not required when spinning in Scotch tension). The Spinning Wheel Cart can be added to help with transportation. The Bulky Plyer Flyer package is a great add on for plying and/or art yarn.

My Sidekick usually lives at work. Sometimes during lunch I just want to zone out a bit on spinning, so I take my Sidekick outside for a spin. During Spinzilla, my Sidekick was my constant companion at work. To move it around the factory grounds, I just picked it up with the strap, treadles unfolded, and carted it around. This is a stable travel wheel due to the ingenuity of the design.

When we went to the Denver Art Museum for our mass spin-in on the last day of Spinzilla, I folded the treadles up and put it in our new Sidekick Bag for travel. The padded bag was especially helpful that day because it was a little rainy.  The Sidekick is set up as a Scotch tension wheel. It comes with medium and fast whorls, threading hook, carrying strap, 3 travel bobbins and a poly drive band. The new Sidekick Bag in olive green and burnt orange is now available. Additional options include: the Bulky Plyer Flyer package, Collapsible Lazy Kate, and the four extra whorls I mentioned above (extra slow, slow, high, and super high). I used the super high speed whorl on the Sidekick during Spinzilla with great results!

It was exciting that plying was allowed in the contest this year! So after spinning a bit, I plied on my Ladybug. I always leave this wheel set up with the Bulky Plyer Flyer package for plying and the occasional art yarn. I recently got the on-board Lazy Kate and it makes plying on the Ladybug a dream. This is a wheel that is easy to use for beginners (my first wheel), but it grows with you as your skills improve allowing for a wide variety of yarns to be made. This wheel is able to do all three tension modes: Irish, Scotch, and double drive, but it really shines in Scotch tension.

Coming with medium and fast whorls and threading hook, it also includes a poly band as well as a cotton band, and 3 travel bobbins. The wheel has 3 convenient built in handles, instead of a carrying strap. The Ladybug is a reasonably priced and a simple way to jump into spinning.

I must admit that spinning on the Schacht Reeves took some time to learn. I really bonded with it during Spinzilla and learned to appreciate the superb nature of the wheel. This wheel is FAST. If you want a wheel that makes worsted to lace weight yarn at an extremely fast rate, this is the wheel for you.

It comes with 3 bobbins, a lazy kate, and a medium and fast speed whorl. In addition there are 3 more whorls available. A slow speed whorl that is great to start out, and high and super high speed whorls that are fantastic for very fine yarn. The Schacht Reeves is available in several options: cherry or ash wood, single treadle or double treadle, flyer on the left or right, and a choice of a 24” or 30” drive wheels. The 30” drive wheel really gains momentum and adds to the speed of spinning. Flyer on the right is usually for people who are left handed and vice versa. However, which one you choose really comes down to preference.

I honestly can’t say which wheel is my favorite. In the matter of choosing a Schacht Spinning Wheel, I will have to quote the wise Maggie Casey……. “It depends.” It depends on the space you have available in your house, your budget, the yarn you like to make, if you would like to travel with your wheel, your aesthetic, the list goes on and on. We have a Schacht wheel for everyone!  To talk with someone about which wheel is right for you, visit your local dealer.

Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Ooo It’s a Ghost!

I don’t usually create frivolous décor, but for some reason, I thought making a ghost would be fun and easy.  Judy had a skein of Lamb’s Pride that I thought would work well for this process.  Even though this is a worsted weight yarn which would usually be woven with an 8-dent reed, Jane suggested to use the 5-dent. Since I was going to felt it, the yarn needed room to be able to shrink. The 5-dent reed created an open weave that allowed plenty of space for felting.

Basically, the ghost can be made by starting with a square of any size. Mine was 15” X 15” on the loom and shrunk to about 13 ½” X 13 ½” off the loom.  To secure the raw warp ends, I tied warp threads in groups of 4 and cut the fringe to 3/4”. To get the dome effect of the ghost, I fluffed cotton balls to make the “head.”  I took a separate piece of the same yarn and sewed a large running stitch around the head, and did some French knots for the eyes in a different color.

Ghost before felting

Before the ghost went in the washer, I removed the cotton stuffing. I threw the ghost in the washer on hot with a dash of detergent for a short wash cycle, felting in that process. However, I still wanted it to be a little more felted, so I stuck it in the dryer. After about 5 min in the dryer, I put the cotton back in for the shape of the head and made a spider web with yarn between the head and the rest of the body to hold the cotton in place. I then dried it until it was completely dry (about 25 minutes).

It is a cute simple project that is out of the ordinary for me, but sometimes out of the ordinary can be good (or spooky). Every ghost needs a name, so I named this one Copernicus.

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Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Sequined Shawl – Universal Yarns

As I was sampling for an upcoming project, I took a detour with a long color change yarn… yummy.
My intent was to sample Universal Yarn’s Deluxe DK Superwash as a warp in an 8 dent reed (I happened to have Classic Pink). I had hoped to use another colorway in the same yarn for the weft, but the one I had chosen didn’t look quite right. I went into my stash and found Classic Shades Sequin Lite in the colorway “Lucky Rose” (also from Universal Yarn), and I thought, why not?

It is a very captivating look, and I learned something interesting about working with the color changes. I found this out the hard way. When I got to the end of my first bobbin, the color was different from the start of my next bobbin. I took the last part of the yarn on the bobbin that was running out and some of the new bobbin and alternated them so they would blend, but it was obvious that strategy was not going to create a flow in color. I wondered how to introduce the grace of the color changes of the yarn into my weaving.

Then I realized that when winding a bobbin for the weft yarn, I was reversing the direction of the color run. If I transferred the yarn from that bobbin to another bobbin, I could right the direction of the color change. If I did that for all of my bobbins, the yarn would flow in my weaving the exact way it did in the skein. (I wound bobbins for my boat shuttle, but the same process would apply to stick shuttles).

I rewound every bobbin after that and it created the color change below. Seamless… you can’t even tell where I switched bobbins.

This blew my mind a bit – something as simple as rewinding bobbins made such a profound difference! This didn’t give me the information that I needed for my next project, but I learned a valuable lesson for long color changes.
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Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Let’s Talk About Tension

A guide to fine-tuning your tension to make the yarn you want.

Your treadle speed, your drive ratio, and your tension all contribute to being able to spin different fibers into different yarns – the possibilities truly are endless. Today we’ll talk a bit about using tension in support of spinning the yarn you envision. As Spinzilla nears ever closer, this is a great guide for getting your wheel ready for the marathon week.

There are three main types of tension systems: Scotch tension, Irish tension and double drive. We will be talking in depth about Scotch tension and double drive, but will touch on Irish tension.In Scotch tension, the tension of the bobbin, and the tension of the flyer are independent of one another, with the brake band on the bobbin, and the drive band on the flyer whorl. In double drive, the tension of the bobbin and the flyer are in direct relation to each other.

In Irish tension, the tension of the bobbin, and the tension of the flyer are independent of one another, with the brake band on the flyer whorl, and the drive band on the bobbin. This system is ideal for larger yarns and production-style spinning because of the stronger intake of the yarn.

Scotch Tension on the Sidekick.

Scotch tension works generally the same on most wheels. There is a string that goes over the large flange of the bobbin attached to a spring that allows for looser or tighter tension controlled by a tension peg. This tension peg enables you to elongate or compress the spring. With the spring stretched there is more tension on the bobbin which provides a stronger pull on the yarn to draw on the bobbin. When the spring is compressed, the take-up will be less and more twist will build up before the bobbin draws on the yarn. If your yarn is drifting apart, you want more twist. If it is getting kinked, you want less twist. Elongate the spring more and more (adding more tension) as the bobbin fills with more yarn. This helps to keep a similar tension throughout the bobbin. This only requires small increases in tension. I usually give the knob a little turn each time I get to the last hook on my flyer.

This graph shows the general relationship between the weight of the bobbin as you spin, and the amount of tension necessary while in Scotch Tension

For double drive, your drive band goes around your drive wheel twice, with one loop over the whorl/pulley, and one over the small flange of the bobbin. You can find the tension sweet spot and it will stay consistent during the spinning of the whole bobbin of fiber. The adjustments are a little different than Scotch tension. For the Matchless, start with the flyer parallel to the Mother-of-all (the horizontal piece of wood under the bobbin) and tie a new drive band with the band in the groove of the whorl you would like to use and the groove in the small end of the bobbin. To attain more draw in, turn the drive band tension knob (the mushroom shaped knob on top of the castle) clockwise.  This will raise the back of the flyer and put more tension on the bobbin for a quicker take-up. For less draw-in, turn the drive band tension knob counter clockwise so it drops the back of the flyer down, putting less tension on the bobbin.

The Schacht-Reeves drive band tension adjuster screw comes out the end of the table. It screws the whole Mother-of-all away from the wheel or towards the wheel to put more or less tension on the drive band. To be able to turn this adjuster screw, you must first loosen the wooden nut on the bottom of the table that holds the whole assembly in place. Turn the tension knob clockwise for more tension and counter clockwise for less.

The Ladybug tension adjuster for the drive band, is located to the side of the flyer assembly with a handle facing the front. Put the drive band in the groove of the tension wheel and with the handle, move the wheel out for more tension and in towards the wheel for less tension.

Double Drive on the Schacht-Reeves.

Large yarn: Everything is larger.Since there are so many fibers in the width of a fat yarn in one linear inch, less twist is required to hold the fibers together. To achieve a larger yarn, use a larger whorl (slow or extra slow speed), make the spring larger (longer) by stretching it (for Scotch tension) or turn the tension knob clockwise (for double drive) creating a larger amount of tension, treadle slower (a larger amount of time between each treadle), and feed a larger amount of yarn in the orifice.

Small yarn: Everything is smaller.In a linear inch of really thin yarn, you might have just a few fibers as the width of the yarn. In order to hold those few fibers together, a lot of twist is needed. To achieve a smaller yarn, use a smaller whorl (high or super high speed), make the spring smaller (less stretched) or turn the tension knob counter clockwise for a smaller amount of tension, treadle faster (a smaller amount of time between each treadle), and feed smaller amounts of fiber into the orifice.  These are the two extremes on the spectrum of yarn, but hopefully, learning what to do to make extreme yarns will help with decisions about everything in between. What kind of yarn do you like to make? Do you have any other questions? Leave a comment or question below!

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Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Back to School – Pencil Case

When I have warp left over from another project, I try something new, or re-do an old favorite, just to use up all of the yarn. The woven fabric for this bag came from the end of a warp, and the weave pattern quickly became one of my favorites.

The yarns: The warp is Anzula Dreamy in the colorway “Kale.”  In the weft I used the same Dreamy yarn alternating every other pick with handspun for the other picks. The handspun is also Anzula, an Organic Merino in the colorway “Forest.” Approximately a 2 ply sport weight similar to the weight of the Dreamy yarn. This pattern creates a background of the “Kale” yarn with little squares of the handspun. This showcases the texture and the color of the handspun beautifully!

The Project: I have given in to the fact that I LOVE making bags. So when we were brainstorming about ‘back to school’ projects, I knew a pencil bag would be the perfect project for me! I have found when I am using handwoven fabric, construction of the bag is relative, and I tend to make it up as I go along.

As for the size of this project, it is entirely up to your plans, and what kind of fabric you have lying around. The size of my pencil case ended up being 6″ by 10.5″. Make sure you buy a zipper that is similar to the size of what you want your finished project to be.

I started by putting tabs on my zipper in a coordinating fun fabric, tucking in the raw edges. I cut out a piece of the fun fabric the size of my woven fabric. The woven fabric was serged, but zig zag stitch would work too. With right sides together, sew the top of the woven and fun fabric together sandwiching the zipper in between.

On one end, I stopped short of the tab so I could leave that sticking out for a pull tab. Repeating it on the other side, I started with the same end because the woven fabric stretches when sewing.  This way, the excess woven fabric ends up on the same side. (see right side in picture below)

Optional: Add a small pocket into the interior of the bag before sewing to the woven fabric.

Top stitching the zipper seemed like the best option so it wouldn’t catch on the fabric. Sewing up the sides, started from the end that was not folded and just eased in the woven fabric as I went along, to be even when reaching the fold. A handle was inserted on the opposite side of the pull tab and it was done!



If you make your own bag, share the pictures with us! Find us at the following places!

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Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Default Yarn Challenge – Denise Renee Grace

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Spinning is probably my favorite fiber art. That is a pretty big statement for me, as I love all of the fiber arts tremendously. Although spinning is free and flowing, it still gives me an avenue of utmost control. It is the best of both worlds! Exploring everything from crazy textured yarn to 6-ply lace weight is just pure joy for me, but honestly, the structure of my default yarn is a little boring. I use a modified short forward draw when I just want to zone out. When everything is spun and plied, I end up with a fine fingering weight. Although the structure of the yarn isn’t that exciting, I use fibers that are exciting to offset (what I consider) the mundane nature of the yarn. I spin with color!

Anzula is one of my favorite dyers.  I use a lot of their dyed (and natural) roving. From the time I saw the braid of Tussah Silk and Merino blend in the Garden colorway, I knew I had to have it!  I split the braid in half and blissed out in my default spinning. I spun on my Sidekick, so I could spin during breaks at work and in front of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman at home. I plied it on my Ladybug with our Bulky Plyer Flyer, wound it, washed it, balled it, and stood back to admire the yarn cake.  With silk, even if the colors are vibrant in the braid, they mellow out quite a bit when spun.

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Anzula roving (Garden, left) with “For Better or for Worsted” (Grace, right)

Using handspun in weaving can be daunting because it takes a lot of yarn and some is even wasted, so I often weave beautiful multi-colored handspun as weft with semi solid commercial yarn in the warp. I will pair the Garden roving with a springy “For Better or Worsted” yarn in the Grace colorway, also from Anzula. I am thinking chunky cowl, but I never really know until it is done.

Another thing that is a “default” for me in my spinning is the amount spun.  I spin A LOT.  So I thought I would share a lot of yarn.

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Yarn conceived and spun by Denise

This is a three-ply fingering weight made of three different fibers; Organic Merino, Blue Faced Leicester, and Tussah Silk, all in the same “Earth” colorway, also from Anzula. For this yarn, I chose my Matchless, the luxury car of my fleet of wheels; the phrase “like buttah” really applies in this case. The silk in the three-ply gives it a little bit of shimmer and all the colors were so beautiful on the Niddy Noddy, I couldn’t take the skein off. I plan to pair this with a Cashmere Silk Merino commercial blend called “Dreamy” (the yarn lives up to its name) in a Teal colorway, again from Anzula.  Oh so yummy! I would like to weave some sort of shirt, shell, or vest with this, but the creative process always surprises me.

 

Denise’s yarn (on Niddy Noddy) with Anuzla “Dreamy” (Teal, front)

To find Anzula roving and yarn, preferably check out your local yarn shop, or you can shop online.  If your yarn shop doesn’t carry roving, they can order several different blends in colorways Earth, Fire, Ocean, Garden, and Forest. They try to visit almost all of their dealers once a year, so chances are, there could be a trunk show near you!default_drg3

Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Simple Guide for your Rigid Heddle Reeds

Let’s talk rigid heddle reeds! There are 5-, 8-, 10-, and 12- dent reeds available for the Cricket and Flip Looms, in addition to Variable Dent Reeds.

5 dent reed: Bulky!

Contrary to some people’s belief, bulky yarn is great as a warp yarn, especially with a fingering in the weft. It shows off the warp nicely, so thick and thin handspun or hand dyed chunky yarns shine. It is also great for beginners because it goes fast.

Denise’s Thanksgiving Scarf

8 dent reed: Worsted

The Cricket looms come with 8 dent reeds because worsted weight is the most common yarn for beginner weavers.  To create a balanced weave, use a worsted weight in the weft as well and beat lightly.  Remember, when the tension is taken off the fabric, the spaces in between the yarn will fill in a bit, and when washed, the yarn will “bloom” and the spaces will fill in even more.  Make sure to give it enough space by just “kissing” the yarn in place with the beater instead of pounding it in place.  An 8 dent reed is perfect for a blanket, and even blankets can be made with the rigid heddle loom by sewing strips together.

Yearning to Weave, Issue 11

10 dent reed: Sport

This reed allows us to start to get into the finer gauges of knitting yarn.  Sport weight can have a nice drape to it if “kissing” rule (above) is followed.  You should be able to see squares in between the threads while the fabric is still on the loom.  Sampling is important to see what kind of fabric each yarn combination of fiber and color can make.  Some yarns shrink at different rates and others won’t shrink.  Variegated yarn tends to pool for a beautiful faux ikat pattern.  Using a solid or semi-solid in the weft with a variegated in the warp gives fabulous results.

Fibonacci Scarf

12 dent reed: Fingering

I know there are probably loads of sock yarn stashes out there just waiting to get used.  Those few skeins make great lightweight scarves for friends and family! Pick-up patterns with the fine weight yarn are delicious.

Meditation Scarf

There are also spacing techniques which can add visual interest.

From the Schacht Winter 2014 newsletter

Variable dent reed:
There are so many things you can do with this, the sky really is the limit! Our sales team members challenged each other to come up with a new project for the Variable Dent Reeds, and the results were varied and fabulous. We have found that some of the projects, like the plaid scarf below, turn out to be really subtle when all is washed and done.  What would you do with a VDR?

 

Yearning to Weave, Issue 38

We’d love to see what you do with your reeds!  Share below.

 

Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Cotton Candy Purse – Denise Renee Grace


I love working with color and texture in simple form, and art yarn lends itself well to this formula. Knit Collage has some great yarns with amazing color and texture! It is handspun by women in India so it also supports a great cause. For this bag, I chose Pixie Dust in Azalea Boom for the weft, which is a core spun thick and thin with glitz, and Maharani silk in Firework for the warp and the strap. It is bright, luscious, and happy.

Warping the loom: Warp the full width of an 8 dent reed on a 10” Cricket loom (80 ends). Using the warp yarn, weave a 1 1/2″ hem, then move on to the thick and thin using a firm beat. End the piece with another 1 1/2″ hem. Including the hems, the finished length is about 30” making the measured warp about 60” long – this accounts for loom waste and take-up.

Detail of the thick and thin weft

The strap of the bag is an inkle band woven with the Maharani Silk in Firework for both the warp and weft. The set-up is 35 warp threads, starting and ending with heddled warp threads. The finished band measures approximately 3.5 feet long.

Detail of the inkle band strap.

Construction of the bag: Fold the hems in twice and tack the edge down with a whip stitch in a coordinating color of sewing thread. Fold the bottom edge up about 7.5″ and whip stitch along the sides to join. Using some fabric, sew a small liner to fit inside this newly formed cavity. Whip stitch the fabric to the woven piece.

Detail of front of bag attachment of the strap  Detail of back of bag attachment of the strap

To attach the inkle strap, fold the raw end of the strap under itself, and line up the folded edge with the flap of the purse. Position this strap approximately 1″ away from the side edge of the flap. Sew this strap down by stitching the sides down into the woven fabric, again with a whip stitch. Where the strap meets the top of the flap, straight stitch three lines to help secure and fortify the connection. The other end of the strap can be attached about inch down on the back side of the purse using three rows of straight stitch.

This bag is the perfect size for your Zoom Loom!

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Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Weaving Around the World – Floral Cashmere Shawl

Weaving Around the World – Floral Cashmere Shawl

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of working with some beautiful hand spun cashmere yarn from Afghanistan. From the Mountain is a great company working with folks overseas to bring viable hand made products to the United States to help support those artisans. The yarn was spun by women in Fayzabad, Afghanistan, and offers an alternative method of income in a primarily opium-based economy. This is the softest yarn I have ever felt and so evenly spun, it is a dream to weave!

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I got all four colors in worsted weight, 3 skeins of gray, and one of each of dark brown, light brown, and natural white. Using the full width of my 20″ Flip, I chose the variable dent reed with 5 and 8 dent sections (in this order 8,8,5,5,8,8,8,8). Since I love the direct warping method, I rotated 3 of the colors in each dent starting with dark brown, light brown, then off white and ending with dark brown again on the other side of the shawl. I just carried the yarn over as I warped along to get the striped effect.

The woven shawl wanted some embellishment, so I got out my Zoom Loom. Flowers and leaves are easy to make with a single square. (See our last blog post to learn how to make them.) The flowers and leaves were made before the squares were washed. I felted them a little bit by agitating slightly during the washing process and putting them in the dryer for 5-10 min, watching them to make sure they didn’t felt too much.

Before attaching the flowers and leaves, I crocheted a swirly vine directly onto the fabric with a ‘G’ hook. I worked the crochet in the 5-dent sections where the weave was a little looser. This made it easy to get the hook in between the woven web. You may find it helpful to use an invisible marker to trace your path before starting to crochet. Sew on the flower and leaves, weave in ends, hand wash, and lay flat to dry.

This is one of my favorite creations so far. The drape is amazing and it feels so luxurious. I was also pleased with result of the embellishment. It added just the right touch to make this a smashing success!

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Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Default Yarn Challenge – Paul

Default Yarn Challenge – Paul

Paul’s barber pole yarn.

This article comes from Denise, who has been a wonderful spinning mentor for Paul.

After Spinzilla last year, Paul, who is our master molder and Cranbrook Loom builder, joined the ranks of the
spinning enthusiasts here at Schacht. He then took Maggie Casey’s spinning class where she teaches how to process and spin from fleece, and then dye the yarn using acid and natural dyes.

After the class, Paul was hooked on spinning and jumped in with both feet and bought a 30″ Schacht Reeves. As a new spinner, the office staff had recommended he buy a Ladybug–which he got too!

Since Paul really took to spinning from fleece, I introduced him to my local shepherdess and we picked out a fleece together. We decided on Agatha, a beautiful chocolate fleece with hints of grey, white, and black.

Paul and I also got into carding together. We had a bunch of dyed Louet Corriedale fiber in a range of colors, and we came up with a blend of French Blue and Silver Grey with a touch of Snowflake.  This made a fantastic turquoise color that reminds us of sipping umbrella drinks on a white sandy beach while looking out at the rich saturated hues of the ocean.

Colors clockwise from the top left: French Blue, Silver Grey, Snowflake.

Paul and Denise card the three colors together.

Blended batt.

Since Paul simply adores his Schacht-Reeves, his Ladybug doesn’t get much attention. He’s decided to give his “other wheel” more of a work out and started bringing it to work where he spins on his lunch hour and breaks.

Paul Spinning his “Agatha”.

After spinning both Agatha and the ocean yarn, he decided to ply them together in a barber pole yarn. We all like the way it turned out! We look forward to see what he comes up with next as he progresses.

Close up of finished yarn.

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Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Schacht Office Inkle Challenge – Weave-asana Yoga Mat Caddy

Weave-asana Yoga Mat Caddy – Denise Renee Grace

My favorite projects are the simple ones.

I love plain weave, color, and easy techniques that make a subtle but distinct statement. So when Kate (our computer systems guru) said she wanted a yoga mat strap, I knew that was the inkle project for me! She loves purple, so I got a rich shade of purple and mixed it with a royal blue and a luscious green. Staying with the simple theme, I chose a striped pattern for a continuous loop band that would hug the yoga mat. This was the first inkle band I made where my selvedges were somewhat decent because I watched Jane’s inkle video, Inkle Weaving A to Z before diving into the project. Just because I work with Jane, doesn’t mean I just learn everything by osmosis. It helps to see the gems of wisdom she has to offer in an organized platform like video, and I have learned so much. Thanks, Jane!

Materials: Inkle Loom, 5/2 pearl cotton, 37 heddles (74 total ends).

Warp: 8.5 feet (full warping path on Inkle Loom)

Yarn: 5/2 Pearl cotton in purple, navy and green

Weft: 5/2 Pearl cotton in purple

Detail of threading

Threading Pattern: X 12 HP N G P O P N G P

Weaving and Finishing: Weave the whole length of the warp until you can no longer weave. Using your own body as measure, test fit the strap until it rests comfortably. Cut off any excess and then sew the two ends together with a 1.5″ – 2″ overlap to form a loop. Wash and lay flat to dry.

View from the back

View from the side

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Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Variable Dent Challenge – Beguiling Beaded Bodice

We are lucky to have a company such as Natural Fiber Producers in the fiber world. Their mission includes supporting farmers and providing quality Certified Sorted® yarn for shops. The benefit of Certified Sorted® is two-fold. The farmers are able to sell the whole fleece and Natural Fiber Producers sorts it and sells it. The consumer benefits because they get a consistent quality of yarn tailor-made for their chosen project. See the Natural Fiber Producers website for more information on Certified Sorted® Guidelines.The yarn I chose for the body of this vest is a worsted spun yarn with long fibers that are more aligned to get a crisper look to the yarn. Since it is 80% Alpaca (grade 2- meaning 20-22.9 microns) and 20% Soy silk, the resulting fabric is soft and has great drape.

Back of the bodice with wrapped details

Supplies: 10″ Cricket Loom, 10″ Variable Dent Reed, Various beads

Yarn: Natural Fiber Producers Superfine Airy fingering weight in Sandstorm, 800 yds, supplementary threads in various colors. 2 of the 4 yard lengths of carpet warp to go in the spaces on either side of the 8 dent section.  Use a coordinating or contrasting color as desired.

Reed Set up: 12 D, 8 D, 10 D, 12 D

Warp: 4 yard warp, using the full width of loom.

String the beads on the 2 lengths of carpet warp. Insert the carpet warp into the slots on either side of the 8D reed section. Tie the carpet warp onto the front apron rod and then attach a weight to each length to hang off the back. The weight should be heavy enough to match the tension on the rest of the warp. The lengths of carpet warp are not wound onto the back beam.
Weft: Same yarn as warp at 12 ppi.

Weaving: Weave plain weave for 5 inches. Slide beads forward to the fell line through the reed  randomly for the next eight inches. If your beads are larger than the slots, you can ease the variable dent reed sections apart to bring the beads through the slot, then push the sections back together. Weave plain weave for the remainder of the warp.

Detail of the beads

Finishing: Prevent the ends of the fabric from raveling by serging or hemstitching. Hand wash the fabric, lay flat to dry.Cut the fabric into two 32″ sections (one of these sections has the beads) and one 24″ section. Finish the ends of  each section before proceeding. With the two 32″ pieces lay them side by side with the ends even. One of  the sections has the beads towards the bottom. Sew the edges together up about 12 inches. Find the center of the long side of the 24″ section. Attach the free ends of the 32″ sections to the long side of the 24″ piece. This leaves a 4″ section on either side of the 24″ piece.
Fold the piece at the 24″ mark along the long side and sew the end tabs of the 24″ piece to the sides of the 36″ pieces approximately 2 -3 inches along the top.


(Pictures not to scale)

Crochet a decorative edge on the bottom of the bodice, both on the front and back.

Front detail of the crocheted edge

Back detail of the crocheted edge

Wrap yarn around the gathered sections of the straps to add a bit more pop of color on the top of the piece.

Weave a few supplementary threads throughout the bodice, making the whole piece a cohesive look.

Detail of the red supplementary thread

Get creative with your crocheted edging, and share your projects with us on our Facebook and Pinterest.
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Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Felicia Lo’s “Spinning Dyed Fiber” Craftsy Class Reviewed

I’m giving the blog over to Denise and Judy—two of our passionate fiber enthusiasts here in our Schacht office. I hope you’ll enjoy Denise and Judy’s enthusiastic explorations. -Jane

While Jane was on vacation (more about this in a future post), the Schacht girls decided to do something fun, so we took Felicia Lo’s Craftsy class “Spinning Dyed Fiber”.  We had a blast!  I was hooked at the introduction. I loved listening to how she got started in the craft, her fascination with art, learning all she could, and then teaching it to others.

Felicia is one of our dealers, so I have had the privilege of getting to know her both through business as well as on a personal level.  I especially love how Felicia blends logic and intuition. You can see it in her web site (sweetgeorgiayarns.com), in her fiber dying, and now in her Craftsy class.

In “Spinning Dyed Fiber”, Felicia lays things out logically so concepts are easy to understand while catering to the intuitive spinner in all (or most ?) of us. In her class, she gives a great overview and refresher of spinning styles, fiber preparation, and color theory. It is not the same old color theory I learned in art class, she puts a hip and trendy spin on it (another gift of hers).

Felicia is a master of beautiful color!  She gives more than a half a dozen awesome ways to mix color, to keep them crisp or subdued, depending on your desired outcome. Plus, she offers bonus ways of working with color that are great! Of course I had to try it all immediately!

We were curious how the our spun samples would weave up compared to knitted, so I wove up some swatches and Judy got her needles flying. –Denise Renee Grace: Schacht customer service go-to fix it gal

“Passionate. Relentless. Unapologetic colour.”
–Felicia Lo

These words sucked me in a few years back when I discovered Felicia Lo’s SweetGeorgia website. I LOVE these descriptions that speak of the power of color.

Color has been one of the common denominators in my education, work, and interests and I have approached it with a fair amount of confidence.  As a somewhat new spinner – not so much. The guidance and techniques featured in the Craftsy Class, “Spinning Dyed Fibers”, are a game changer for me.

Beginning with the color wheel as it translates to fiber, to the many ways to achieve a desired yarn, this class has made me an inspired spinner. Although most of my fiber-loving history has revolved around knitting, I’m most eager to use my future handspun in weaving, particularly as a warp yarn with “presevered” color. Weaving on the Cricket allows me to play with color in a way I have never done with knitting. Sometimes I’m planning my next exploration in color before I’ve even begun the current one. Thanks to Felicia, I’m now armed with the knowledge (I’ll work on the skills) to pursue color in spinning and I will take on that challenge with enjoyment. Sign me up for a bump of yellow, magenta and cyan…and a carder! Think how different those early school days in art could had been if we had been given those pure colors instead of yellow, red, and blue.

Knowing the color wheel can be a powerful thing – enhancing the experiences with color with clear direction and reasoning. It’s nice to know how it all works and why. Felicia does a great job addressing color definitions and harmonies in her lessons as she demonstrates so many different techniques to create desired yarns. Translating these skills and knowledge to the basics of colored fiber for spinning is truly inspiring and empowering!
–Judy Pagels: Sales and Service manager with special super powers

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We tried 4 different techniques.  The colored roving is Mountain Colors “Firestorm” from Shuttles Spindles and Skeins. For the woven swatches, Denise used an Alpaca yarn from Natural Fiber Producers for the warp.  This provided a nice neutral color for the warp so it would showcase the colored weft yarn. You can tell that the neutral warp muted the colors in comparison to the knitted swatches which were pure color.  Weaving would also provide another opportunity to explore: mixing warp and weft colors.  Using two of Felicia’s color techniques, one in the warp and one in the weft could be stunning.  Oh, the possibilities seem endless, and with the Cricket, it is oh so easy and fast!

On the far right, we tried the long color change technique. It turned out pure and beautiful, not much difference between the knitting and weaving. The next one over is the short color change technique.  For some reason, there seemed to be more of a difference between the look of the knitting and weaving. The saturation of color pops a lot more in the knitted samples in this one, as well as the other two remaining sample couples. The other sample in the middle is created with fractal spinning. Of course we had to try that!  It was a favorite, without a doubt.  We loved how the color manifested itself in the weaving. The last one (furthest left) is the most subtle. Here, we split the fiber several times, took two strips, flipped one around and spun them together. This muted the colors quite a bit. Both of us like the subtle “muddy” look, so we were pleased with this one, although we love the passionate, relentless, unapologetic color too!

We know this may seem like a bold statement, but we think that this has completely changed the future of spinning for the Schacht girls!  The class has been eye opening and surprisingly liberating, a true joy!  It was our own little vacation at the office.  Craftsy has done such a wonderful job with their classes, and this one was a hit here!  Although it is totally worth the full price, you can take this class at a discount with this link-it’s a great deal!

Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Jane Patrick

Jane Patrick is Creative Director of Schacht Spindle Company. She is an author, lecturer, and teacher. You can find her class: Creative Weaving Techniques on the Rigid Heddle Loom, on Craftsy.

Judy Pagels

Judy Pagels comes to Schacht from a varied background in printing, graphic design, and flower arranging. Hired initially as our shipping manager, Judy shortly afterwards was promoted to sales and service manager where she is in charge of new accounts, as well as sales and service. Judy is first a knitter, but also weaves and spins—always with a keen eye to great design.