On the one hand, I don’t have ton of things on my calendar this year as far as teaching, so come and see me! I’ll be at the History Unwound retreat Next week and all of my classes still have space. I’ll also be at Fiber Week at Olds College in Canada in June. Those are the only two places to see me so far. So, have you signed up yet?

On the other hand, I have so many things going on that I need to be at home for. There’s a book that I’m writing. It’s almost done. I have a really hard time writing while I’m traveling so I have to be at home to get writing work done. There are a few articles in the works. And I also have a few things I want to make. Two of the projects are at home projects. The other is a knitting project but I’m not done spinning the yarn yet. So.

One of the at home projects is, of course the bobbin lace I’ve been practicing. It’s hard to travel with that pillow.

The other project is the handspun, handwoven skirt project I’ve talked about before back in January of 2014. Then i got busy with other things. So the open space on my calendar means time for making things that are bigger than sample skeins and 4X4 swatches.

I started with Cheviot and made a few samples but I’m not sure about the fabric. I want something very resilient so that when i sit down in the skirt it doesn’t hold the shape of my butt when I stand up. So Cheviot will be one skirt and the other will be Columbia.

I’ve been spinning the Columbia over the past couple of weeks every time I have a minute to sit at my wheel.


It’s a white Columbia roving from Imperial Ranch.


Columbia is an American Breed developed in the western United States in idaho. It’s extremely soft, It has a high crimp and the staple length is long enough that you can avoid a lot of pilling if you add enough twist while it still maintains its softness. It’s a wool I prefer to spin over Merino and it has a similar micron count.



I spun four bobbins of singles and then thought to myself that I hadn’t used my Hansen E spinner in a  while so I plied the forst two bobbins on the Hansen with the Woolie Winder.  Things didn’t go as planned. The Hansen isn’t fast enough for me and with the Woollie Winder if I turn up the speed, the motor doesn’t like it. So the yarn didn’t have enough twist.

So, I wound the bobbin off onto my niddy noddy, put the new skein on the swift next to my chair and ran it through the Matchless with the small whorl.


That’s the twist I was looking for.


And that is the unwashed skeins. The second two bobbins I just plied on the Matchless and all is well.


Here is the washed yarn. There are about 1518 yards there. The yarn is 13 wraps per inch.

The plan is to make a 4 gore skirt and use the same pattern for both breeds (Cheviot and Columbia).

I think I want the bottom edge of the skirt to measure  about 126 inches. That means I will use my Mighty Wolf which has a 36″ weaving width. 126″ / 4 = 31.5″ and I need seam allowance and I also know there will be some draw in so I’ll thread the loom to be 35″. If I want my skirt to be about 24inches in length I’ll need 96 inches of yardage plus loom waste and sampling space so I’ll add another 24″ to give me a total warp length of 120″ or 3.33 yards. Let’s round up to 3.5 yards.

For a balanced plain weave you usually sett the yarn at wpi/2. My yarn is about 13 wpi so I would sett it at about 7 epi for a balanced weave. But I’ve learned some things from my friend Sara Lamb who weaves for clothing all the time,  so I’m going to do a closer sett. Probably about 12 or 15 epi. I’ll do a sample first and make sure.

So let’s imagine that 15 epi is what I want and I need 3.5 yards. I’ll need 1838 yards for the warp and about the same amount of weft. Now my friend Barbara DiJeannene recommended I try a thinner yarnas my weft and possibly just use singles which is awesome and I have bg plans for trying it.

I’m about 350 yards short for warp and have no weft spun at all but I have plenty of white Columbia so I will get back to work. I’ll let youo know when I start winding.

In the mean time, if any of you weavers have advice, please don’t hesitate to comment.

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