NEXT TRIP! Saturday 12th October All Wales Event Minerva Arts Centre, Llanidloes  Pop up Yarn Shop. We will be closed 11th-19th October.

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My Fine Weaving Yarn Blog

All about My Fine Weaving Yarn including news, events, projects and patterns.

  • Winter 2019

    Happy New Year

    We hope you all had a lovely Christmas break and wish you a Happy New Year from MFWY HQ!

    Thank you to all our customers for your continued support during 2018. We have had a busy year with new stock arriving, welcoming customers old and new to the website, our home or when we have been out and about.

    Toika Looms

    As well as being an official agent for  Ashford looms and accessories for some years now, we were delighted and excited to be appointed  dealers for Toika looms and equipment from Finland earlier this year. Toika celebrated 120 years in business in 2018 being the first company in Finland to manufacture metal reeds. Now in the hands of the 5th generation of the same family we are hoping to get the brand better known in the UK, as well as offering the same level of service and support customers have come to expect from MFWY.  I took a training trip to Finland in September where I learnt lots about the products but have been weaving on a Toika computer loom for some time now. Over the last 20 years or so I have used many makes and designs of loom, trying to become a better weaver in the process but I’m still learning, so I will always give you an honest opinion or answer based on what I know from experience as well as the pros and cons and different of brands and types of looms that I am familiar with.

    We have a floor, table and electronic floor loom available here for you to try without obligation here in Lutterworth, (5mins from J20 M1) and as well as the Toika range we can happily show you the range of rigid heddle, table looms, and accessories from Ashford. Although we don't have space for another floor loom at present you can expect the same unbiased information and advice from a weaver who uses these products. Ashford products will be joining Toika in the loom web shop just as soon as I can get them added, but do ring or email if you would like further information when we can also give you accurate details on stock availability and lead times.  We don't have a shop but this means we can usually accommodate visits at weekends as well as during the week and outside of our normal opening times by mutual agreement but please do not travel without making an appointment to visit first as we may not be here.

    Pop Up Shop and Website

    We decided last year that it was no longer practical to attend the major fibre shows, instead concentrating on Guild visits and events with our pop up yarn shop. However because we want to show off Toika looms, and equipment we have made an exception this year by applying for space at the Association of Weavers Spinners and Dyers Summer School in August with Toika and Ashford equipment only. We can bring prepaid yarn orders for collection, but there won't be a yarn shop. Our current confirmed calendar for 2019 is at the end of this newsletter. This also includes our planned holidays and breaks booked so far as well as confirmed events. If we are both going a banner at the top of the website will advise that we are closed and when orders will be processed.

    We have had new yarns, looms and equipment delivered and made a start on the My Fine Weaving Looms website, but due to various domestic commitments and interruptions we haven't been able to get as much of this done as we had hoped but work continues to get it up and running with Ashford Looms and equipment included too. You can always phone or email us, we are always pleased to hear from you.

    Books

    Another diversion for MFWY has been to look into stocking a very small range of books  I think they are excellent additions to any weaver’s library.

    Firstly Warping on a Shoestring and other speed warping techniques by Nadine Sanders aka the Singing Weaver. Nadine is the Guardian of this technique and travels across the USA teaching this method of warping your loom. Her book and DVD give very clear instructions on the technique, which certainly speed up the process. As you need a pair of shoelaces for each inch of warp width I realised that this would be an expensive outlay for purchasers of the book, as they are far more expensive than I had realised!  Looking into the possibility of purchasing wholesale I discovered a small family firm in Leicester only 12 miles from here where I was able to visit and arrange to have the 'shoestrings' custom made. It was fascinating to see the array of over 250 braiding and weaving machines in action making shoelaces of course but other items such as the red emergency pull cords used in public loos, elastics, bungees and many other braids and ribbons they produce as well as support a small UK family business. Once I have the book and DVD ready for the web shop there will be an option to purchase sets of shoelaces at the same time. Nadine supports herself through her weaving and teaching so I feel it is only fair to offer the shoelace sets to purchasers of the DVD or book only. Nadine also specialises in the Theo Moorman technique and has written an excellent book on the topic. This also includes very clear instruction, pictures and diagrams. If this is a technique you have wanted to try I would recommend the book as an excellent source of information.

    Our second additions to the bookshelf are two books written by Joanne Hall an American Weaver and Teacher with a special interest in Swedish weaving. We have in stock both of her titles.

    Learning to Warp your Loom and Tying up the Countermarch Loom. Both have excellent written instructions and lots of explanatory diagrams. I only wish I had access to these books when I bought my first floor loom, which I now realise, was incorrectly tied up! If you have struggled with your tie-ups these books will help you get your loom properly set up and continue to be a useful reference.

    The last addition for the time being is a super little book, 18 Towels on Four Warps, One Tie-up by Carol Berry. The book gives threading and colour suggestions to make 18 different towels using just the one tie up. It's a great primer for setting out to weave with a little bit of instruction but at the same time encouraging you to try out different colour and threading combinations.  Turned twill is a classic design that can look much more complex than it is to weave and will lend itself to far more than just towels. To make the towels you will need an 8 shaft loom with a minimum weaving width of 24" (60cm).

    Reeds

    Toika reeds have arrived in a small range of lengths and setts and will be in the shop soon. They will fit most makes of floor and table loom but also can be supplied to order in specific sizes in either metric or imperial dent setts too. Competitively priced we are stocking stainless steel reeds as standard but plain carbon steel and full metal profile reeds can be supplied to order if required.

    New Yarns

    As well as looms, equipment, reeds and books we have added some new yarns to our ranges this year. As well as continuing to stock your well loved favourites, speaking of which we have some lovely super wash space dyed wool from Jaggerspun which, along with coordinating solid shades is next up to land in the shop, just as soon as I finish this newsletter!

    The range of mercerised cotton and more recently cottolin from Claes Hedstrom's Garnhuset in Sweden has been very popular and we will continue to increase the cottolin colour range from this company this year too. We have sourced beautiful linen, 8/4 mercerised cotton, rug and mop cotton from other companies in Sweden and Finland too.  As well as offering superb quality and excellent value for money it feels better to be sourcing yarns from closer to home whenever we can and reducing some of the air miles that some of our products require to meet our weaving wishes. We will continue to explore possible new additions from these companies and others and will let you know when we find something new.

    We are expecting delivery in the new year of some lovely wool spun at new Lanark Mill in Scotland. Blended and spun on restored heritage textile machinery at the UNESCO World Heritage site at New Lanark from British wool.   There will be more information on sett, finishing etc on the website once it arrives and is available in the web shop.

    There will be some price rises across the range in February. We have done our best to keep prices as low as we can but manufacturer price increases, rises in shipping costs as well as the continuing volatility of the pound against both the Euro and the Dollar really impact on our small business. We don't expect things to change much in the coming months but hope that things will begin to settle down after March. We will only apply price increases where they have been passed on to us and will always do our best to be as competitive as possible. If our yarns are showing as in stock, they are in stock, here, and ready to be despatched often on the same day as you order and rarely later than next working day if that hasn't been possible. We will always notify you with a banner at the top of each page of the website if we are closed and when to expect despatch of orders.

    Wishing you all our best wishes for a happy and healthy 2019 full of weaving pleasures!

    Helen and John

     

    PS You can opt-out of recieving future newsletters using the unsubscribe link or by replying to any email from us and adding "unsubscribe" to the email subject.

  • Where will MFWY be in 2019?

    WE WILL BE TAKING A HOLIDAY 24th-31st August 2019 LAST ORDERS FOR POSTING 23rd August REOPEN MONDAY 2nd September.

    Saturday 15th June Somerset Guild WSD Fleece Fair & Open Day

    Hatch Beachamp Village Hall TA 3 6SG Equipment only, yarn orders for collection welcome. Please order by Wednesday 12th June.

    FIBRE-EAST 2019 27-28th July. Try a Toika! We will be at Fibre-East this year with a range of Toika Looms and equipment. Yarn orders for collection welcome.

    13th July Hallamshire Guild  Talk on yarn counts, yarn orders for collection welcome.

    AGWSD SUMMER SCHOOL Friday 9th & Saturday 10th August

    Looms and equipment only, yarn orders for collection welcome.

    Friday 9th August 4:00pm – 8:00pm SS delegates only 

    Saturday 10th August. 10:00am – 4:00pm

    The Sports Hall, Askham Bryan College York YO23 3FR

    Saturday 12th October All Wales Event Minerva Arts Centre, Llanidloes

    Pop up Yarn Shop

    Friday & Saturday 25/26 October Lewes Town Hall

    East Sussex Guild WSD Exhibition and Sale

    Looms and equipment only, yarn orders for collection welcome.

    9th November 10-4 Lancs and Lakes Guild 10-4pm

    Talk on yarn counts and Pop up Yarn Shop.

  • Discontinued and Bargain Yarns

    Just a quick note for those of you who like to see MFWY news here rather than on Facebook.

    We are no longer going to stock Brassard Orlec so clearing it at less than half price. This yarn is not being discontinued by the manufacturer and will continue to be available from other UK stockists. You can find the reduced stock here. https://www.myfineweavingyarn.co.uk/clearance/orlec.html

    Later today (2pm) I will be adding some discontinued shades of Ashford Tekapo also at less than half price. This yarn is not repeatable. More information in the Clearance section of the website.

    We have some new yarns arriving as we try and supply  weavers with a good selection of repeatable yarn. I plan to add some recently arrived new  yarns to the web shop this week.

    The pictures below are work in progress by Valerie using some of our 20/2Nm silk. Photos of the finished scarves to follow.

     

     

     

     

  • Weaving With Linen

    We have just added some lovely linen to the web shop.

    Linen can have a reputation for being difficult to work with although lots of weavers use it without any difficulties I was a bit apprehensive about starting my first project with it.

    I'm pleased to say that it wasn't anything like as difficult as I had thought it might be and behaved far better than it's reputation suggests.

    I warped in small bouts using a sectional beam. I use an AVL warping wheel so transferring each bout to the loom was relatively straightforward and I was able to ensure the tension was even. Firm, even tension is very important. If you are warping on to a plain beam and have a helper available, take advantage and use them! The singles linen in definitely more lively than the plied yarn, so you might prefer to start with  plied yarn for your first project. This liveliness also means you ned to take extra care winding bobbins. Wind them firmly and evenly and try not to have areas where there is more build up, I found the yarn could loosen here and then jump off and get caught on the spindle of the shuttle, usually the quickest way to rectify this was to rewind the bobbin, but the best way was to wind the bobbin so it didn't happen!

    Firm, perfectly even tension is the single most important factor is setting up your loom to weave with linen. Most of the literature suggests tying on using  a strong smooth cord to lash small bouts to the apron rod on the front beam. Once all of the bouts are secured, it is possible to even out the tension by adjusting the cord. If you haven't tried this method of tying on there is an excellent tutorial on the Ashford website. As well as helping with tension, this method wastes less yarn.

    https://www.ashford.co.nz/tutorials/weaving-tutorials

    It doesn't have to be tensioned so tightly that producing a shed becomes impossible, (the  lack elasticity means it needs to be able to move enough to make the shed.) For me it soon became apparent what the optimum tension needed to be each time I advanced and re-tensioned the warp. Too loose and the shuttle took a nose dive to the floor, just right made a lovely wide shed. Advance the warp frequently. I found every inch or so gave the best results. It's good weaving  practice  to wind on frequently but it's all to easy to get in the zone and  find your fell line and beater are nearly at the heddles and your shed has shrunk if you don't!  Beat evenly, remember that other than take up linen doesn't shrink much once off the loom so is less forgiving of an uneven beat than other fibres.

    Linen is inelastic and not very forgiving you if you poke or catch a warp thread on the way through with a stick shuttle or the nose of a boat shuttle.  I found a quick thrum over  the warp would return a thread that has had a tiny little bump but  a real bash as is possible with a stick shuttle, made the  thread baggy and had to be dealt with. I am not a lover of stick shuttles generally but appreciate that boat shuttles and the necessary winder are an additional expense, and that many weavers never use anything else. If you are using stick shuttles  be aware of the potential for them catching and be sure to pass them close up next to the beater and wind on regularly to keep the shed at an optimum size.

    After fighting with what I thought were just loose threads I finally checked and found a big threading mistake and a twist in the reed threading.  Well we all know what thought did don't we?  Had I  checked the threading first  I would have been weaving happy a lot sooner! Once the threading mistake and twist in the reed threading was sorted I just had a few  loose threads to deal with. I found that the best way to deal with the really loose ones was to cut them and treat them as a broken thread; splicing in a a new length of yarn weighted at the back. Once the original warp had caught up I could pin it back in and continue weaving. Where there was just a little bit of slack I pulled it forward, wrapped it around a pin with the intention to ease it out to the ends when the cloth is of the loom.

    The suppliers  weave runners, curtains, towels etc in their factory in Sweden on old jacquard looms. They keep the factory at 72% humidity and lots of the literature suggest finding ways to keep the yarn damp. Vaxbolin suggest keeping  a bowl of water under the loom to increase the humidity around the loom. We have 2 young, busy and very  'helpful' whippets, and a bowl of water wasn't going to stay in the bowl for long! This meant  I tried out some different ways to humidify the warp in progress. I tried leaving a dampened towel across the back of the loom or spritzing the warp with a plant sprayer every time I rolled on. I also tried winding the bobbins with the thread running through a damp cloth. I also tried weaving with everything as it was, i.e no additional humidity and didn't find there was any difference in how things went. However weaving in the winter with the central heating cranked up might need some additional moisture  in the atmosphere  to help the weaving go well. As linen is stronger when wet dampening the yarn may well be beneficial when weaving with finer counts or if you are having problems with broken threads.

    I tried hard not to fuss about my edges. Easier said than done I know but if I made sure that the yarn was just snugged up against the edge and  laid in at around 30 degree angle so there was enough yarn for the take so up my edges were straight and tidy. You will need to experiment to find the best angle. Not paying attention did lead to loops at the edge and as I know these wouldn't disappear so I did redo the row as long as I spotted it in time. However if I didn't I have left them as they don't show that much! I had read that if you make a mistake that involves unpicking more than a few rows, the best way to unpick it is to snip the yarn out rather than unweaving. I would concur with this, as well as increasing the chances if messing up your tension, it can abrade the yarn  making it fluffy, this won't disappear  when the cloth is finished. it. A lot of the literature recommends using a temple or stretcher if you have one. As I couldn't find one the right size I cobbled together a temporary affair using tarp clips and some weights which did help  but in future I intend to use (my now found)  stretcher. This will help with the draw in and so keep the edges neat and the width consistent.

    Coming next finishing the cloth once off the loom, possibly the most important part of the process!

  • WHERE WILL MFWY BE IN 2018

    We are visiting the following Guilds and Groups this year. Do come along if you can, even if you aren't a member of the Guild you will be made very welcome.

    We can only bring a limited amount so if you want anything in particular please get in touch by the Wednesday of the week we are going so that we can bring it for you. There is no obligation to buy.

    Saturday March 24th 10:00am Cambridge Guild WSD

    Arbury Community Centre

    Campkin Road

    Cambridge CB4 2LD 

    Thursday 21st June 10.00am

    Crickhowell Guild WSD

    Ewyas Harold Memorial Hall

    Pontrilas Road Ewyas Harold HR2 0EL

    Saturday July 7th 10.00am Ceredigion Guild WSD

    Ciliau Aeron Village Hall
    Ciliau Aeron
    Lampeter
    Ceredigion,
    SA48 7SE 

    Lostock Weavers Group Saturday 21st October  10.30am

    Lostock Parish Centre
    Tempest Road
    Lostock
    Bolton
    BL6 4EL

     

  • UKI SALE AND CHRISTMAS OPENING

    UPDATE ON UKI November 2017

     

    THE REMAINING UKI WILL IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR SALE ONLINE

    We are processing orders in the order they are received and will get them posted as soon as we possibly can. We will keep you updated on the My Fine Weaving Yarn Facebook page and for those of you who don’t use Facebook, updates will appear in the blog section of the website and the information banner on the website will also be updated

    Last posting date for Christmas is the 20th December!

    It seems a little early to be telling you this but it might help you plan your holiday weaving!

    We will be closed for Christmas from 21st December 2017 - January 2nd 2018

    Where will MFWY be in 2018?

    We haven’t applied for space at any of the major fibre shows in 2018 but have several Guild visits with our pop up shop already planned. Details will be posted soon in the blog section of the website and on Facebook. If you would like us to visit your Guild please get in touch to discuss our availability. Our whereabouts and details of opening times are detailed below. If you are near enough to any of these Guild events but aren’t a member rest assured visitors are always made very welcome. Get in touch if you want more details or want us to bring anything special for you, there will be no obligation to buy. Details of events or when we when we will be closed (you can still shop, but delivery will be delayed) will be also be posted in the Blog section of the website or a banner at the top of the screen will advise you that we are closed and when your order will be processed.

  • UKI UPDATE

    UKI UPDATE

    We will be ready to make the remaining stock of UKI Mercerised Cotton available for sale online on Saturday 25th November at 8pm.  We hope that by giving you plenty of notice and launching the sale on a Saturday it will make the sale accessible to as many customers as possible.  I appreciate some customers have not been able to access the website until after I had removed the stock from sale because of the demand. I promise that this time it will remain on sale until it is all sold. If demand is high orders will be processed in the order they are received and as before customers placing orders for non sale items will be given priority as I am sure you would all expect. The discount remains at 50% and there will be no further changes to the price regardless of the size of order or time scale.

     

  • PLANNED VISITS TO GUILDS. NEWS ON UKI COTTON HALF PRICE SALE

    We will be visiting the Cambridge and Cornwall Guilds in the next couple of weeks. Do come along if you are able you will be made very welcome.  Please note that we have a very short turnaround between these visits as we will be be setting off to Cornwall on Tuesday 14th November. Any orders placed whilst we are away will be processed on our return and posted on 20th November.

    Saturday 11th November 10 am. Cambridge Guild meet at Comberton Village Hall Green End  Comberton, Cambs, CB23 7DY

    Friday 17th November 10am. Cornwall Guild meet at Probus Village Hall  Amelia Court Fore Street Probus TR2 4NB

    UKI NEWS

    We will be ready to make the remaining stock of UKI Mercerised Cotton available for sale online on Saturday 25th November at 8pm.  We hope that by giving you plenty of notice and launching the sale on a Saturday it will make the sale accessible to as many customers as possible.  I appreciate some customers have not been able to access the website until after I had removed the stock from sale because of the demand. I promise that this time it will remain on sale until it is all sold. If demand is high orders will be processed in the order they are received and as before customers placing orders for non sale items will be given priority as I am sure you would all expect. The discount remains at 50% and there will be no further changes to the price regardless of the size of order or time scale.

     

  • UKI NEWS

    Once again we have been overwhelmed by orders for the half price UKI. Despite John's best efforts to catch up there is still a huge amount of winding to do which with one single head cone winder will take a long time. So we will process those orders placed during the past 24 hours as quickly as we can but it is likely to be early next week before they are all despatched. As before once your order is ready you will receive a despatch email.
    In the interim the remaining stock will again be removed from sale and this time we plan to manage the situation differently. The sale will be relaunched when all of the stock is wound. Given the commitments we have in the next few weeks and the fact that we still need to process orders for customers who don't want UKI this is going to take us a few weeks.
    We will keep you posted on progress and once again we thank you for your support and understanding.

     

  • LATE 2017 GUILD VISITS AND CLOSURES

    November 11th 10.00am

    Cambridge Guild WSD Come and Weave Group

    Comberton Village Hall Green End CB23 7DY

    We will be closed 11th-12th November. Orders will be posted 13th November.

    November 17th 10:00am  Cornwall WSD, Probus Village Hall, Amelia Court, Probus, TR2 4NB We will be closed from the 13th-19th November. Orders will be posted 20th November.

    Last posting date for Christmas is the 20th December! 

    It seems a little early to be telling you this but it might help you plan your holiday weaving!

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