Sunday, April 10, 2011

Harlan Makes The Yarn

A while back I wrote about the craftsman movement that started over 100 years ago and how it has influenced me to do the highest quality work that I can. (You can read that post here: Als Ich Kann)

Well, that idea has caused me to push myself super hard on this new batch of cloth. I wrote yesterday about some of the subtle design work that I'm doing. I didn't write enough about my friend, Harlan.

Harlan is doing a very important step for me: plying the tiny yarns into a size that's usable. My yarn supplier has offered to ply them for me, but my complicated color combinations preclude us from working that way.

There are no threads in this entire warp that are just one color. Every thread is plied from 3-5 strands of different colors. And this is what Harlan does. Every day we start by looking at the threads I'm currently winding and deciding whether I need more cones of those colors or whether he should move on to the next set of colors.

Then, we make thread combinations:
Navy, royal, seaport
Navy, royal, fiesta
Navy, seaport, denim
Seaport, denim, royal
Seaport, denim, ultramarine
Seaport, denim, teal
... etc.

And then Harlan uses the Silver Needles Cone Winder to wind cone after cone, all day long, stacking them on a new shelf I just put up. When I'm on the floor, placing cones on the rack, Harlan has an extra set of eyes up on the shelf.
"Do we have a four-strand combo that's heavy on teal?"
"No, here's blue with one strand of teal. I'll put the high teal combo next on the list."

By having his help on this important part of the process, I can focus on creating a design that does exactly what I want it to. Without him, it would take me more than twice as long to get this beam wound, and I'd probably make mistakes just from splitting my attention.

So, thanks, Harlan! I couldn't do it without you.


Milly said...

Harlan gets my vote for friend of the year!

ASpinnerWeaver said...

Wow! I'm impressed with a all of the work you do before you even get started weaving! I didn't realize that you were plying yarns to suit your designs! Very creative.