Last month Glenn and I took a trip down to Oakville to visit his parents and one of his brothers and part of their family who had also come for a visit. It was going to be crowded at the house so we stayed at a hotel with a pool (I got to go swimming and do pool exercises each morning). I had been hoping to see both of my nieces but Fiona could not escape from her work so I was only able to enjoy the company of Jennifer and her Mom Marg (I did not inflict fibre on Grant!) (Really I will get to the fibre stuff)
When the nieces had been very young, both our families had all lived in Ottawa. I had bought them excessive numbers of Barbies (because there dog kept trying to keep the population down by eating them) and had taught them how to weave Barbie blankets on a plastic loom.
Two years ago they visited in Oakville at xmas. while I was desperately finishing Alex’s Xmas Polar bear, I got both girls doing sculptural needle felting. It went quite well and Fiona seemed to really like it.
This visit I was determined I would further their Fibre arts indoctrination. I brought supplies for pictorial needle felting, spinning (Wheel and spindle) and Japanese cord making (Kumihimo).
There was a lot of running around town and family visiting happening but in preparation for the landscape I took pictures of my Mother-in-laws amazing garden. I also caught shots of some of the wild life you see in their back yard. I was not sitting outside when the Raccoon and rabbit went by. (More about inspirational images in another post)
We finally had a quiet day (the day before they left) and started on the drop spindle. I used the same make-it-yourself Turkish drop spindle I had used at the Gaming convention to Spin the Golden fleece.
For those that missed it the DIY spindle requires;
- 4 six inch (short) meat skewers
- 1 longer meet skewer with the wide end cut down. (my cheap garden sheers cut them nicely)
- (optional nail file to clean up the cut on the skewer)
- 6 small elastics
- 2 bulldog clips (I have medium ones but if you want less weight and momentum use smaller ones. If you want more weight and thus greater momentum use larger ones)
- One leader cord (piece of string) about 3 feet long tied in a loop.
We assembled the spindles and I showed them the “Park and Draft” method of spinning. You build up the twist then park the spindle between your knees. Next focus on the fibre, draft out what you want the twist to deal with and let the twist slide up to the top of that section. Add a bit more twist if necessary then wind onto the spindle. After a bit of this they put it all together and did the drafting and adding twist together.
With the first yarn successfully completed we moved on to try the wheel.
I had brought with me from Ottawa the new-to-me Lendrum Rook. Gord Lendrum made about 40 of them between 1984 to 1986. There a very nice little upright wheel with a very odd tensioning system. The one I have has a problem with the upright that supports the wheel. It’s lost its’ glue and now will rotate so you have to straighten the wheel each time you set up to spin. But once you have her strait she spins like a dream!
Both Marg and Jennifer seemed to have enjoyed the wheel. Both were able to make respectable yarn.
Next Jenifer and I moved on to Kumihimo with the card stalk marudai. She selected her colours, and set up her marudai.
She also likes blue, the green was a nice highlight with the blues.
The supplies you will need to make a Moridi are heavy card stock (I’m using 110lb cardstock, a cereal box would work too). I made a template in publisher then saved it in PDF and Jpeg.
You will also require;
- 8 slots,
- a hole in the center and
- 7 strands of yarn.
“100% Cotton, each skein is 7.3m/23.9ft.” I found these at Dollarama
Good options are
- tiny elastics and a
- mid-sized Bulldog clip
Ok now that you have run out and collected all the equipment, measured (I have heard it’s about 3 times longer than what you want to make) and carefully cut out your marudai, here is what to do next.
Depending on how you set up the colours and position them around the marudai you will get different patterns. (I have not yet tried all the variables yet) gather all the 7 strands together and Tie a knot (leave extra length after the knot if you want to have a fringe). Either push the knot through the hole in the centre to the back side or from the back side thread the yarn through, leaving the knot. I add the bulldog clip to the knot so it won’t slide through the centre hole. Skipping one slot (I skip the one with the direction arrow when I am setting up) space your strands into the 7 other slots. Wind your strands up so there is about 4 inches loose; the rest wound up in a butterfly. Use the knot for marudai bobbins or elastic to keep if from slipping when you don’t want it to. (See the picture above)
How to weave:
This is really important. There are only 3 steps!
Step 1) From the empty slot count clock wise to the third strand.
Step 2) Pull it out of its slot and move it to the empty spot.
Step 3) Rotate the marudai so that the empty slot is towards you again.
Repeat from step 1 until you run out of yarn to weave.
When the cordage you are making gets too long curl it up and clip it with the bulldog clip.
Keep the marudai surface flat and the strands will not tangle as much. Also keeping them not too long will help keep them in order.
This is a fast, portable way to make cordage. This particular pattern, 7 strands in an 8 slot marudai, makes a number of variations depending on colour and strand placement. It is easy to pick up and put down and not lose your place
Jennifer really enjoyed Kumihimo. I sent her back to California with extra cotton to weave with on the airplane. I look forward to seeing what she will do with her cordage. Now let’s see if she finds herself a spinning wheel and a drop spindle!