Yarn and Cloth, Peanut Butter and Jelly

We've invited Anita Osterhaug, editor of Handwoven magazine, to share with us some weaving projects from the next couple of issues that are perfect for handspun.

Cei Lambert's plaid shawl would be a great project to make with handspun bamboo yarn.

Anita: To my mind, handspinners are ultimate fiber artists.  We can control every aspect of our creations: color, fiber, yarn structure, yarn finishing…everything! At every conference I attend, I'm blown away by the creativity and daring of spinners and at how passionately they dive into every aspect of fiber arts. Novelty plying or nuno felting? Way cool. Indigo dyeing? Show us the vat. Spinning paper or buffalo fiber? We can do that. Weaving? This might be the time.

At a recent spinning conference, I was thrilled to see five weaving classes on the schedule, almost 20% of the class schedule devoted to weaving. And there were fine woven pieces in the handspinners' gallery. With the availability of portable, inexpensive, and fun-to-use rigid-heddle looms, getting started weaving is affordable, and with the fun fibers, colors, and yarn structures we're all playing with these days, the possibilities are endless to create amazing cloth with simple weaving techniques.  I've been having a great time making scarves with stripes of my handspun from space-dyed rovings. They're a great way to show off a skein of something special. We haven't begun to explore the weaving possibilities of art yarns, handspun exotic fibers, and the many color effects we can create in our spinning.

You could use any loom and yarn from a favorite space-dyed roving to make a leno lace scarf like this one.

For millennia, handspinning and handweaving have gone together like peanut butter and jelly. (Well, actually, much longer than peanut butter and jelly.) Yarn has been spun for cloth from time immemorial, and it's so wonderful to see us coming full circle. At Handwoven, we're celebrating the natural relationship of these ancient arts. Every issue features some projects that can be made with simple looms and some that are perfect for handspun yarns. In the May/June issue, Cei Lambert's summery plaid scarf is a great take-along project to make on a rigid-heddle loom, maybe with your own handspun bamboo, and Robyn Spady's portable milk-jug marudai just calls out for some handspun silk to make fabulous braid trim for your knitted or handwoven projects. Ramona Abernathy Paine's "Warped and Twisted" leno lace scarf would be stunning in your own handspun alpaca or Merino yarn. (She used a 4-shaft loom, but you can weave leno on any loom.) And our upcoming garment issue features a handspun, handwoven, knitted, and braided vest that will blow your mind.

So if your fiber artistry universe includes weaving, or if you're ready to take the plunge, I hope you'll check out Handwoven for some inspiration. Maybe you'll even be inspired to contribute your creations to a future issue. I know from experience, there's nothing a spinner can't do!



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