Monday, January 5, 2015

Fiber Fabulousness

After the Storm
First, allow me to apologize for having been a tad MIA for the past couple of weeks. The holidays are chaotic for most everyone, and I was no exception. Now that the holidays are over, it is indeed After The Storm. (Emotional storm in this case - we've been fortunate enough not to have had any physical storms so far this winter!)

With that said, today I'm just going to give you a quick rundown of what you can expect during the remainder of this winter and into the spring.

Both Evelyn and I are fond of Fiber Arts. This is a heading that covers things as diverse as spinning, dyeing, weaving, knitting, crochet, basketry, and paper-making.

While many folks look at that list and think "60s Hippie Crafts Stuff," there are a lot of practical uses for the skills of spinning and weaving, knitting and crochet, or even basketry and paper production.

While Evelyn is a deft hand at crochet, and several of my friends are great at knitting (and have tried in vain to teach me the tricks), I have concentrated on other areas where fiber is concerned. Over the course of the next several weeks, I'm going to be presenting articles that cover several subjects in the world of fiber arts:
  • I'll give a brief overview on preparing fiber for spinning, including methods of carding and combing the fibers, and why it's done.
  • I'll cover spinning on a hand held drop spindle, and how that compares to a spinning wheel. During this portion, I'll include a section on building drop spindles, as well as other primitive and low-tech methods of producing thread and yarn. 
  • I'll go over several methods of dyeing fiber, both before and after its been spun into yarn or thread. This will cover using natural sources for color, and the processes needed to get a lasting dye, as well as the differences between using natural and synthetic dyes.
  • I'll cover a bit of information on felting in two different styles, and the uses of good felted cloth for the prepper, the re-enactor, and the re-constructionist. 
  • I'll detail weaving on different styles of looms, as well as a bit about construction of various loom types. From basic lap-held inkle looms and tall-framed tapestry and rug looms, to table-top box looms and the various standing floor looms that many people imagine when they hear the term "weaving," I'll be covering each of them and their primary uses and design elements.
  • I'll give a bit of basic information about basketry and basket weaving and its various uses. Weaving isn't just for production of cloth, and in this article I'll go over several of the potential uses for woven products during a SHTF scenario.
  • And somewhere along the line, I'll be presenting information on paper making, from collecting and processing the fibers needed to building the tools necessary for hand crafted paper. Let's face it, civilization means paperwork if you have more than two or three people. And for that, someone needs to know how to make paper.

I'll start the whole shebang in next week's article on preparing wool and other fibers for spinning.

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