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From the very start

My first blog post on this site. What better than to share with you some insight of the process of creating a piece from start to finish? 

This week I tired to make a small weaving from my own handspun yarn. I've used handspun yarn previously in my works, like this wool chabu, and this silk chabu, but this is the first time even the warp have been made by handspun yarn. 

Another unusual aspect of this small weaving is the material of the fibers. The warp is made from handspun wool, but the weft is made from handspun dogs hair. My sister owns a big furry samoyed dog, and the hairs came from brushing her once. 

I've been wanting to try out my handspun yarn for warps for a while now, but I've never dared to do so, fearing it might break. Well, it worked. Kind of. A few warp threads did break. Rather than fixing them like I normally would, I let them be. I think they just added something to this very special piece. The warp was made from a lush wool fiber, while the weft was, as I mentioned in the introduction made from dogs hair. The dog hair proved a little difficicult to spin in the beginning, with a lot shorter fibers than what I'm used to. After a while though, I grew used to it, and it worked out fine on my drop spindle. 

 

 

The piece, before and after the dye bath

After I had cut the piece of the loom I prepared a dye bath for it. Made out of used tea leaves from my previous tea sessions. A good mix of pu'er and oolongs went into the pot with water and salt. I boiled the tea for about an hour, then strained it, and boiled it slightly with the woven piece submerged. Part of this was because I wanted a slight filted effect. Then I turned off the heat and let the woven piece submerge in the tea dye over night. The next morning I rinsed it in running water and hung it to dry. I'm used to using mixed fibers, and I know that different fibers react differently to dye. Especially if you mix protein based fibers like wool with cotton. However, since both of these was (kind of) a kind of wool, I thought they might yeld about the same colour. It turned out that the dog hair was less affected than the wool by the dye. In one way, I think it adds to the piece. Making the texture even more visable with the different hues.