Tuesday, January 5, 2010

In The Beginning

People that come to the village to visit have commented that some of the hand made pieces that they see in the gift shop seem expensive. Though I can't speak for all the artisans at the village, I'm sure many of them will agree that many hours of labor go into each piece before you see the finished item.
I wanted to share with you the steps, and time that go into one of the pieces that you might see at the village.
The project that I've selected is a hand woven shawl, made from hand spun yarn.
The materials that I have chosen for this project are wool and cotton.

When I purchased this wool it had only been sheared off the sheep. The wool smelled like a sheep and was dirty and greasy from all the lanolin that coats the wool to keep the sheep dry and warm.
So step #1 I needed to wash the wool by hand and let it dry. Time 1-2 hours.
As you can see in the picture the wool is in a tangled mess. I can't spin the wool in this condition,

Step #2 Carding. This tool is called a drum carder. It's function is to brush and line up the fiber for spinning. For this wool I needed to run it through the carder 3-4 times, before it was smooth enough to spin. I will need about 14oz. Time, 4hours.

The wool is now ready to spin. I did spin this wool on my spinning wheel. I needed to spin a fine yarn for the shawl which takes longer to do than thicker yarns. I can spin 4 ounces of yarn on one of my bobbins. Total yardage on one bobbin is about 1200 yards. It takes me about 6 hours to spin one bobbin, I spun up three. After the yarn is spun I need to ply the yarn into a two ply yarn. That takes about another 2 hours per bobbin. Total time to spin and ply the yarn 24 hours.

The yarn is now ready. I will be using this yarn for the weft in the shawl. I chose to purchase a beautiful pearl cotton (hot red) for the warp. Total time so far for this shawl 30 hours, and I've not even begun to weave yet.

Tomorrow I start preparing the loom.


  1. Showing the steps is a really cool idea!! Thanks!

  2. Funny how artisan work is marked too expensive. You make beautiful things. I wish I could have learned more from you while I was at the park.