I wanted to make a shawl for myself from my handspun Bulky Art Yarn. Everything recently has been made to put in the shop. This shawl was for me….
Here she is, and we don’t know her name yet. I got a new to me, Singer 31-15 Treadle Sewing Machine from 1926. She needs to be cleaned up, cleaned out and the cabinet cleaned, but everything works as is right now even without the polish.
I bought it from a lady in Grand Rapids, MI who bought it from her husband’s uncle in the 1950’s when she first got married. She told me that she took tailor and sewing classes and used it for years. Her husband’s uncle bought it new from Singer in 1926 and he had a tailor shop on Plainfield in Grand Rapids making suits. She belongs to me now.
I always wanted to learn to sew as a child but even though my family did sew, it did not make sense to me. I remember taking one class with my mother and grandmother at the local high school and we had to make a blouse that had buttons down the front, a ruffled removable placket for the front, collar, cuffs, and was fitted. I found it next to impossible. I wasn’t able to sew straight lines, had to rip and tear out and redo so many times the end result was holes in the fabric everywhere….and worse yet it caused me to hate sewing and be terrified of sewing machines. The machines went too fast and no amount of ridicule from my family made it any better for me.
Fast forward about 35 years and I am stuck with many of my designs with my weaving of wearable art into too boxy of shapes and need something more fitted and tailored. I decided to get a treadle sewing machine so that I can learn to sew slower speed and get past this childhood fear.
I remember that patterns did not make sense to me, cutting them out was hard on my hands even as a child, how they went together made zero sense and the instructions were even more gibberish to me. None of these things were taught to me. None of this was explained. I was made to feel horrible, useless and stupid because I couldn’t “get” it.
I have decided that I don’t need patterns, don’t need electricity and don’t need speed. I can learn to sew without all that my own way and be able to design what I want and how I want. I can sew my hand spun, hand woven and felted fabrics together, put them on a backing, make quilts, bags and other assorted things without patterns if I so desire. I may decide in time to give some simple patterns a try again, but this time I know I will succeed because my husband, Charlie does understand patterns and used to help his Mam make dresses on her treadle sewing machine. He also has something I have never encountered before…..patience with my mind blocks that don’t make any logical sense. So I know that he can teach me what I can’t figure out myself without giving me another complex for the next 35 years of my life.
As promised, here is my Module Seven Yarn photos. I spun these several weeks ago and just managed to get some photos taken this week. Also of note, is that I spun Module Six in the morning and Module Seven in the evening. Two totally different and unique yarns which required two widely different styles of spinning and plying techniques. Make sure you see Mod 6 yarns as well.
I used the same 15.5 Micron Merino commercially prepared combed top in white. I spun one ply a bit finer than usual with a bit more twist and evenness than usual. I spun the other ply with throwing it at the wheel. I spun slubs, thin bits, thick bits….anything I could to make the texture wild and crazy. I plyed the thick slubby wild single spirally around the thin even tightly controlled one to get a lovely slub flame spiral yarn. This is super soft and a very comforting sort of yarn but still has strength due to the tight controlled spun single.
This completes the spinning portion of my course with seven stunning yarns all created from the same 15.5 micron Merino commercial prepared combed top in white.
My focus in this course was creating the seven yarns using the same prep and wool in the same white color while creating 7 obviously unique and different textured yarns due to the ply structure and spinning technique only. It was a challenge that I set for myself and I think I achieved it.
Now for the preparation that will be Module 8 and constructing a final project that will use some of all seven yarns in the final item. Stay tuned because I have a fantastic final project planned. It will involve circular weaving, rigid heddle weaving, wet felting, free form crochet and a lot of creativity.
I got my Fibery Goodness Module One Yarn done quite a while ago but never managed to post it or photos up here. I used a 15.5 micron combed top of white merino. I have it for sale in the shop in 2, 4, 8 and 16 ounce lots. I included a link above directly to the 8 ounce listing. It was a pure dream to spin and I have not allowed myself to spin it until this course.
I enjoyed it so much that I decided to spin all the modules using the same combed prepared top and see how it goes doing 7 different yarns with the same fiber and prep. I am going out of my comfort zone on this particular course to spin with direction and precision and learn new techniques rather than spin my easy go to yarns.
Having said all that, the first module’s task was to spin your “go to yarn,” so I did. For me that “go to yarn” is a 2 ply that has some thick and thin qualities but is mostly balanced. I pre draft the combed top into manageable lengths and widths by separating the combed top. I spin it in a short forward draw on my Majacraft Little Gem 1. I don’t ply too heavily with my Country Spinner 2 and still managed to give it some woolen characteristics instead of it being a straight worsted yarn. The prep is worsted and supposedly short forward draw is a worsted spinning technique but my yarn always comes out semi woolen. I have no idea how I do it but there you go.
The resulting yarn is very soft, squishy and a joy to touch. I think that I will be weaving a scarf, hat and maybe shawl for myself out of these module yarns as I no longer have anything that is pure white. Everything I made from white fiber in the past has sold in the shop.