Spinning, Cleaning Antique Lace and Weaving

Last weekend I did not do any crafting.  We had a long bank holiday weekend and it just so happened to fall on my birthday.  To top everything off, my daughter was coming down to visit, the best birthday present ever.  I haven’t seen her in person for a year!  So, there was a mad rush of cleaning the whole house and getting rid of the dust, and maybe a bit of grime.  There is a saying that work gets in the way of crafting, but crafting gets in the way of cleaning!  As long as everything is tidy and the kitchen and bathroom are spotless, I am good.  Anyway, the daughter came down on Friday afternoon and went home on Tuesday lunchtime, so that was a nice long visit to make up for covid distancing.  She also came down with a big box of antique lace that she acquired after her grandmother passed.  My mother-in-law was notorious for stashing things away and then forgetting about them.  New things given to her were often saved for best but rarely saw the light of day until old things started to fall apart.  Opening the box of lace was like dipping into a treasure trove.  Almost all of it is 100 years old or more.

DownloadsYouTube is great for learning how to do things.  I found some tutorials on how to clean antique lace.  What has worked best is using the stain remover for whites, like Vanish, but for whites. (I used Sainsbury’s own brand).  I added boiling water to a pot to dissolve the powder then added the lace.  We started with doilies.  You can see in the top right photo how yellow the lace was.  First we rinsed items in very hot water and let them soak.  It took a couple of rinses before I put them into the whitener.  Some started to get white very quickly.  There was a mixture of doilies in cotton and very fine lace, some Victorian and Edwardian cotton lace cuffs, lace collars, and linen table cloths with lace.  I basically left them to soak over a couple of days.  Some items had really bad stains that looked like rust, and I just put some thick bleach on those areas and popped them back in the whitening solution.   Some came out and some didn’t.  When the solution got really dirty, I just rinsed everything and did another soaking for another day.  After that I washed everything on a gentle cycle with small things in a delicates bag.  I can’t believe how white some items got, just like new.  I did another batch this weekend.  (I am only going to do this on weekends.)  This time we had a lot more fine lace items.  Some looked like collars, and I found one sleeve.  There is also some champagne colored silk that is gorgeous.  There are also just random pieces that are offcuts.  The pièce de résistance is the bridal veil.  I believe that it belonged to the mother of my mother in law.  It was so yellow and now it is so white and perfect!  I still have a lot of lace to get through, but that will wait until next weekend.

Because I get up quite early, even on the weekends, I did manage to finish spinning a single of 150g of Alpaca in natural black last weekend.  I plied it during the week.  I am quite pleased with it.  I plied two bobbins of singles.  I need to put it back on the niddy noddy and work out the yardage and gauge.

Downloads-001I am managing to get a thinner yarn.  I am reading about spinning yarn and how to get some consistency.  Apparently it is about the draft and the twist.  I know that is going to take some time to get the hang of things as I really only just started.  In the meantime, I am just enjoying the process for now.  I am going to tell you that I am never going to knit a pair of socks!  So I don’t need to go crazy on the spinning front.

I thought I could use some of my homespun yarn in some weaving or tapestry weaving and asked the people in the FB spinning group what I should get as a beginner.  There were some very good suggestions.  I did my usual research and decided to go with an Ashford SampleIt Loom, which is a type of rigid heddle loom.  I would have loved the knitters loom as it folds in half, but it was twice the money!  There are so many different types of looms!  Boy, there is also a whole lot of new jargon to learn again.  When you do crafts you need to learn another language!  I was going to go for the small 10 inch loom, but the supplier I wanted to get it from didn’t have them in stock, only the bigger one.  So I bought the 16 inch loom, which works out great because you can still make smaller or narrower items.  It arrived on Friday and I put it together yesterday.

Downloads-002Not only do Ashford give you written instructions, you can download them, and there is a video on how to put the loom together.  I bought my loom from George Weil as the price was the most reasonable and they had this one in stock.  There is a kit you can buy that includes a carry bag and other items, but I didn’t see that until it was too late.  In any event, I am really happy with my loom.  I can get a bag for it elsewhere.  In my research on looms and weaving, I came across a tutorial on Fibre Hut on how to weave a scarf on the SampleIt with only one skein of yarn.  There is also an Ashford video for making a scarf on the SampleIt and instructions to make one in the assembly booklet.  In the video, they say you can knock one out in about two hours.  Heh!  I started on Saturday afternoon and finished it Sunday lunchtime.  I was even weaving while watching TV and also took it outside as you can lean it on a table.

Downloads-004I joined a weaving group on FB and have learned so much already.   This skein of yarn is 100g and cost me about £4.  Not bad for weaving a scarf, and the pattern is really nice.  I didn’t even use the whole width of the loom, so there is some yarn left over.

Downloads-003I love the colors.  There is white and various shades of blue and grey.  It can be worn by anyone.  I am going to gift this to my youngest son.  I have another skein of this and will make another one for my eldest son.  The grey in here matches a felt beanie I made for him.  I have some more of this type of yarn in a bright colorway and will be making a poncho with it.  I am back temping again and really have no time for felting when I get home.  I do live a few blocks away from work, so when I come home tomorrow, I shall warp up the loom to make way to making the poncho.  I then promise I will do some felting next weekend!  (I have stuff I need to make to send abroad and I’m a bit behind!)


6 thoughts on “Spinning, Cleaning Antique Lace and Weaving

  1. Absolutely Well Done to you! You are just zooming ahead and getting so much done and I am just in awe of you! Once I can sort myself out I hope to get moving, however I’m sure I’ll not achieve your pace but I will learn how to do these different things.
    I know you must really be enjoying this learning process!
    Wonderul I’m sure to have time to spend with your daughter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Carol! Spending time with family is very precious, so I feel grateful. I am having a blast learning new things! I have some work on at the mo, so that will slow me down. But I managed to warp the loom this morning before I went off to work! 🙂


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