I know there are weavers out there who warp a loom and weave a project in a day or two. I have to sneak up on it slowly. Because I use all hand-spun yarns, there are many weeks of spinning to build the inventory for a large project. I make a spreadsheet to determine how much yarn will be needed for warp and weft. The design goes through many phases of development too. For this blanket, the warp will have three colors and the weft will be all natural gray. For the dyed wool, I used Reyna’s fleece. It was a lamb’s fleece and lovely to spin. For the gray, I used Rufus’s 2016 fleece blended with some lighter gray from a Merino Cross fleece that I purchased at the Black Sheep Gathering and split with friend Catherine Crooker. It made the yarn softer in feel and lighter in color. For the black, I used the Black Welsh Mountain roving I bought from Judy Sleavin, a new member of the Aurora Guild who attended this year’s winter retreat. The Welsh wool is more primitive, and had been prepared by Columbia Scouring so that I could spin it from the inch-thick roving ‘rope’ Columbia had created. Dyeing 12 skeins one color is a challenge. You fill a big pot, calculate how much dye powder to mix in, soak the yarn to get it wet, then try to submerge it all at once and circulate the dye throughout without agitating too much or losing all your labels in the soup.
Once the turquoise and brown yarns were dyed, I could lay out the colors and see how it all looks together. I’ve saved out small amounts to weave a sample on the table loom before taking the plunge on the big loom. What do you think? Will the gray weft take too much away from the lovely turquoise, or will it make a lovely blanket? We will soon find out.