Swatching with Cotton Fine: A woven Sampler in Plain-Weave
Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-14.jpg
 

Swatching with Cotton Fine

A woven Sampler in Plain-Weave

With the recent introduction of Cotton Fine to the Loom & Spindle yarn range, we’ve been excited to explore our new yarn.

Our first swatch is a woven sampler in plain-weave, woven at a sett of 40ends/10cm (10epi) on a rigid heddle loom.

Our aim was to explore the fabric’s hand-feel, interaction of colour and the effect of using a finishing technique to full the fabric and set the fibres.

We’ve detailed the project below to offer insight into our planning and methodology, and our thoughts on the resulting fabric. This recipe is a great starting point if you want to have a go at swatching for your next weaving project!

 
Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-16.jpg
 

PROJECT

A woven sampler in plain-weave, woven at 40ends/10cm (10epi), using Cotton Fine By Brown Sheep Co.

Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-3.jpg

AIM

Weave a plain-weave fabric in Cotton Fine to explore:

  • The fabric’s hand-feel at a sett of 40ends/10cm (10epi)

  • The interaction of colour when using three shades; and

  • The effect of using a finishing technique to full the fabric / set the fibre.

 SKILLS

  • Calculating yardage

  • Warping a rigid heddle loom

  • Preparing the warp for weaving

  • Hem stitching, to secure the warp and weft

  • Balanced plain-weave

 TOOLS

 MATERIALS

PLANNING

As the materials and tools were pre-established, planning was limited to determining an appropriate size for the sample, approximating the metreage required, and defining colour placement. 

SIZE

It was determined that a sample size of 30cm x 45cm (12"x 18") would be sufficient to examine hand-feel, colour interaction and allow for any shrinkage that may occur during finishing.

METREAGE REQUIRED FOR WARP

  • Length of piece, 45cm + extra length for warping, 60cm (30cm each end)
    Total warp length, 105cm

  • Warp width, 30cm X No. warp ends at 40ends/10cm
    Total no. warp ends, 120

  • Metreage required for warp:

= No. warp ends x Total warp length
= 120 x 1.05m
= 12600cm or 126m

METREAGE REQUIRED FOR WEFT 

  • At 40ends/10cm, No. weft passes over 45cm = 180

  • Metreage required for weft:

= No. weft passes x Warp width
= 180 x 30cm
= 5400cm or 54m

TOTAL METREAGE

  • Total metreage required

= Warp + Weft
= 126m + 54m
= 180m

COLOUR PLACEMENT

  • The placement of colour was kept simple, the three colours being divided in blocks evenly across both warp and weft.

  • Warp, 40 ends per colour

  • Weft, 60 ends per colour (or 15cm of length, per colour)

 NOTES

  • These calculations tell us that at 196m per skein, one ball of Cotton Fine would be enough to make a sample of this size. 

  • As the plan was to use three colours in equal quantities in this piece, we divided the total metreage by three to determine the amount for each colour, 180m divided by 3 = 60m per colour.

METHOD

STEP 1

The rigid heddle loom was warped and colours placed as per the planning notes.

Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-9.jpeg
Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-8.jpeg

 STEP 2

3cm of ground weave was woven with leftover Cotton Fine to help evenly space and tension the warp.

STEP 3

Weaving began using the first colour in the sequence,.

Once the fabric was established, a row of hem-stitch was used to secure warp and weft at the beginning of the piece. 

Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-4.jpg

STEP 4

Weaving continued, changing colours as required until each colour section was completed. 

Once complete, a row of hem-stitch was used to secure warp and weft before cutting the piece from the loom. 

Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-5.jpg

FINISHING

The sample was finished by undergoing a full wash cycle in a washing machine and dried in a tumble dryer using a regular heat setting.

This treatment contradicts the recommended care instructions for Cotton Fine, but we thought this experiment was warranted to help set the weave and allow the fibres to bloom.

INSIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES 

THE FABRIC

The resulting fabric has a great lightness and after finishing is quite soft to the touch. 

At this sett, the fabric feels smooth and has excellent drape. 

Though it’s not a firm weave, the fabric feels like it would be somewhat hard-wearing and have some longevity when used in pieces that will see some wear-and-tear. 

THE COLOUR

The effect of the bold colour blocking produces a homey fabric and in the chosen colour palette has a somewhat vintage feel. 

Working with three colours allows for endless permutations that can be used to influence the look and feel of the fabric.

APPLICATIONS

From our results we think the fabric would be best suited to household napery and table linens.

The drape suggests that with a bit of fine tuning there is scope to work the fabric into garments, maybe simple summer tees and tunics. 

We would like to experiment next by working the yarn up at a finer gauge with the aim of creating a denser fabric that could be used for towelling applications in the home – washcloths, tea towels, etc.

 
 
Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-15.jpg

Thank you for reading!

To learn more about Cotton Fine please click HERE.

 
 
 
 

Let’s Get Started…

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Introducing Cotton Fine by Brown Sheep Co.

Introducing Cotton Fine

By Brown Sheep Co.

We’re proud to introduce the latest line-up in the Loom & Spindle Yarn + Fibre range - Cotton Fine by Brown Sheep Co..

This sumptuous blend of pima cotton and merino wool delivers a light and resilient yarn ideal for summer wardrobe staples and textiles for the home.

The long stapled pima cotton guarantees pieces will be smooth and soft to the touch, while offering resistance to pilling, wrinkling and fading. 

The addition of merino wool adds strength and memory, ensuring your projects will have longevity to be enjoyed for years to come.

In a palette of 12 wearable hues, Cotton Fine will suit a range of hand worked garments and textile pieces. 


Colourways Available

The Yarn

FIBRE CONTENT: 80% Pima Cotton, 20% Merino Wool
YARN WEIGHT EQUIVALENT: Fingering/4ply 
NET WEIGHT: 50g (1.75oz) 
APPROX. YARDAGE: 196m (215yd)
CONSTRUCTION: 12 ply, light twist
ORIGIN: USA
CARE: Cold hand wash (see notes below)

GAUGE SUGGESTIONS

The gauge information given below are suggestions to provide guidance when planning your projects. We always recommend that you swatch prior to starting to determine a configuration that results in the ideal fabric and hand feel for your project.

KNITTING

26 stitches over 10cm, using 2.75mm needles (6 ½ stitches per inch, US size 2 needles).

CROCHET

21 - 32 stitches over 10cm, using 2.25 - 3.5mm hook (5 – 8 stitches per inch, US size B-1 to E-4 hook).

WEAVING For Yardage

10 epi (40 ends / 10cm) – For fabrics with drape and a light hand feel.
12 epi (50 ends / 10cm) – For hard wearing fabrics that require a tight, firm weave.

Two samples in cotton fine.

Two samples in cotton fine.

FINISHING

For hand knit and crochet projects we recommend that you follow the washing instructions provided by Brown Sheep Co. (see notes below). 

Weaving projects may require a more vigorous finishing technique to full the fabric. For sturdy plain weave fabrics we suggest a machine wash and tumble dry. For delicate weaves, we suggest a cool hand wash with or without agitation.

Notes from Brown Sheep CO.

Brown Sheep Co. recommends hand washing Cotton Fine in cool water using a mild detergent or wool wash and 30ml of white vinegar. Then rinsing thoroughly, adding another 30ml of white vinegar to the last clear rinse. Roll gently in a towel to remove excess water, do not twist or wring. Lay flat to dry. Press with a cool iron if needed.

Brown Sheep advise that some migration of colour is normal and can be expected during the first wash of Cotton Fine. It is suggested that for projects consisting of two or more colours that they be swatched and test-washed before beginning.

About Brown Sheep

Brown Sheep Company, Inc. is a family owned and operated yarn spinning mill. They proudly support U.S. wool growers, manufacturing their yarns in the heart of the U.S.A. They’re determined to produce high quality yarns along with providing a livelihood for their hardworking employees. Brown Sheep yarns are dyed with 85% recycled water — read more about their sustainable water practices here.

 
 
 
 

LET’S GET STARTED…

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Shop Origin Story
Loom & Spindle - New Shop - Social.jpg

Shop Origin Story

I like to think I always base my big life decisions on logic and reason, but when I set out to find a studio-shop space last year I felt an unshakable sense of destiny creep in. Here’s my (shop’s) story…

Cue the chimes, we’re heading back in time…

*Don’t forget to scroll right to the bottom to checkout the transformation!


My first visit to this particular shop space when I was around 15-16 years old (maybe 2001-02).

At the time I was obsessed with leatherwork, I had borrowed all the books from the library and was on the hunt for supplies and more know-how.

Being a Frankston local all my life I knew of one shop – Don’s Custom Leatherworks.

A hole-in-the-wall type establishment with one narrow staircase leading up to the unknown.

My curiosity was peaking, what or who would lie within?


On entering Don’s shop I recall being in awe of all the sights and smells.

All the tools and materials of Don’s trade on hand.

Experiencing a craftsperson’s workshop, with works in progress to explore and finished objects to marvel at.

Though the memories of my few visits have faded, I do remember Don’s willingness to help me get started. Setting me up with the leather and tools I would need, him offering advice on how I might go about my projects.

I have a feeling he thought I was just some crazy kid (this was during my hippie phase after all!) but Don helped me complete several projects so I’ll be forever grateful.

Don and his shop left me with one lasting realisation – that it was possible to be both craftsperson and business owner.

And though I held this realisation closely and likely never told anyone until recently, I envisioned a life where I was creator, craftsperson and teacher.


Back to present day, I was contemplating that next step for Loom & Spindle and came across the real estate listing for Don’s old shop.

That unmistakable feeling of serendipity hit hard.

I dismissed it (I’m a logician after all). I had a million reasons why this could be a mistake… or even fatal for my business.

It kept playing on my mind, I couldn’t shake it.

Just one inspection wouldn’t hurt, hoping that would appease my logician brain.

But we know how this storey ends, I signed the lease!


I’ll let the images below tell the storey of the shape the shop was in on my first inspection.

There were bars on all the windows, nails sticking out of the floor, and the agent showing me around almost had an asthma attack due to the amount of dust in the air.

But it had great bones as they say – timber floors, high ceilings, copious amounts of natural light. The perfect character-filled hideaway for the intense focus and creativity required to run a business.

Without a doubt the opportunity to create my vision was here.

Thanks Don, for letting me make your home my home!

PS: Don sold me a leather punch which I still use at the office almost every day! Kismet!


Before

After

 
Prep your spinning fibre with the right tools from Louët
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Successfully spinning your first yarns by hand is all about fibre preparation. The choices you make here will influence your spinning style and determine the qualities of your finished yarn.

We’re proud to have partnered with Louët to bring you two fibre prep tools that are indispensable to the dedicated hand spinner.


Hand Carders by Louët

Louët hand carders combine ergonomic design with a lightness in hand.

You’ll comfortably create rolags, mini batts and rovings ideal for woollen-spun yarns.

Available in a fine carding cloth of 110 tpi, suitable for a spectrum of medium to fine fibres.


Mini Combs by Louët

Louët mini combs are a compact option for de-hairing, blending and aligning your fibres for worsted spinning.

These combs are suitable for a spectrum of fine fibres.


If you’re interested in exploring fibre prep and how it influences yarn characteristics we recommend these fantastic resources:


The Spinner’s Book of Fleece
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Beth Smith introduces you to a range of spinning and fibre prep tools, providing guidance on choosing the right tool for your project.

She explores various combing and carding methods and shows you how these can be used to influence the look and feel of your spun yarns. Learn more…


Yarnitecture
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Jillian Moreno delivers an in depth discussion on woollen and worsted yarns, presenting an amazing collection of spun samples to illustrate how fibre prep influences colour distribution and texture. Learn more…

More From Louët


Introducing The S10 Concept Wheel By Louët

INTRODUCING THE S10

BY LOUËT

Arguably the most modular spinning wheel on the market today, Louët’s S10 Concept wheel is all about functionality.

With its modular design this wheel is completely customizable making it adaptable to any need, skill level or yarn preference.

Definitely a wheel you won’t grow out of anytime soon!

It embodies over 40 years of research and development, representing Louët’s outstanding commitment to excellence in quality, design and workmanship.

To get you started we’ve put together an exceptional package to maximize all that the S10 Concept has to offer and bring you a reliable multipurpose tool designed to spin a variety of yarns and fibres.

With a range of experience levels in mind, we’ve chosen an Irish tension drive system (where the main wheel drives the bobbin, rather than the flyer) for its ability to deliver consistent tension and take-up throughout an entire spin. 

The result is an enjoyably predictable spinning experience with no finicky pre-spin setup or mid-spin twitchy tensioning issues!

With the added bonus of the Irish tension’s huge bobbin capacity it definitely won’t disappoint when spinning for those larger projects.

We’ve opted for the double-treadle upgrade to ensure the most ergonomic spinning session to help you avoid those repetitive strains that may keep you away from your wheel.

And, styled with Louët’s iconic cut-out wheel and clear lacquer finish, the S10 exudes a clean minimalist aesthetic that won’t go out of style and definitely doesn’t look out of place at home on display.

FEATURES YOU’LL LOVE

  • Irish tension drive system, well known for its simplicity and spinning consistency.

  • Geared for three speeds to help you expertly manage twist entering the forming yarn.

  • Indispensable hooked flyer, designed to help you smoothly and completely fill bobbins, and importantly, the ability to lace the hooks to reduce yarn take-up when spinning finer threads.

  • Fuss free bobbin changes, it’s as easy as releasing the flyer brake, parking the drive band and lifting the flyer and bobbin straight from the orifice.

  • Handy drive-band brake at the back of the flyer shaft – a favourite design feature at Loom & Spindle! This means you can easily ‘park’ the drive-wheel so there’s no movement from the flyer or treadles when changing bobbins or the wheel is not in use.

  • Inventive yet simple solution for attaching the leader yarn to the bobbin – just make a knot in the leader yarn and slip it into a pre-made slot on the bobbin shaft and start spinning.

  • Orifice diameter of 13mm that will accommodate a wide range of yarn thicknesses.

  • Classic minimalist design with contemporary feel that has well and truly stood the test of time.

  • Maintenance free clear lacquered finish that coats every surface to protect the timber from drying out.

  • Can be disassembled for storage or transport, an optional carry bag is available.

  • Modular design that makes it adaptable to any need, skill level or technique. See ‘Customisation and Accessories’ on the product listing for details.

LOOM & SPINDLE’S S10 KIT INCLUDES:

  • S10 Concept spinning wheel (see product listing for full specifications)

  • 3 Irish tension bobbins

  • Built-in Lazy Kate rack (can be positioned either side)

  • Self-assembly kit with step-by-step instruction manual

  • Loom & Spindle Leader Yarn 3 Pack

  • Loom & Spindle Yarn Gauge

  • PLUS one book of your choice to advance your skills:

HOW TO SPIN
YARNITECTURE
THE SPINNER’S BOOK OF YARN DESIGNS
THE SPINNER’S BOOK OF FLEECE

Loom & Spindle - Wheel inclusions-1.jpg

CUSTOMISATION AND ACCESSORIES 

The S10 concept spinning wheel is compatible with a range of accessories so you can customize your wheel for different spinning experiences. This range includes:

  • Alternate wheel designs

  • Irish or scotch tension drive systems

  • Single or double treadle options

  • Various flyers and bobbins to suit spinning preferences

  • Bobbin racks and a stand-alone Lazy Kate

 Loom & Spindle have a range of these accessories in stock, please contact us for details and pricing.


S10 BY LOUËT