The Joy of Handweaving

The Joy of Hand Weaving
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However, it is well to include here a brief coverage of history and fundamentals in the production of various fibers from which thread is made. Take a piece of thread, untwist it, and examine what you find. Note the minute bits of hair-like substance, called Fibers. Pull one out and see how weak it is. As a matter of fact, you probably will need a magnifying glass to see it clearly. But, weak as one fiber is, the twisting of many of them results in a strong thread which one can put to many uses.

The heavy hawser used to bring a giant ocean liner to its dock is a perfect example of strong thread, being made up of many small parts twisted together. Then there is the tiny cord used for tatting, in which many fibers are twisted together to make a thread that is strong, yet dainty and attractive when knotted into lace. A further tracing of the phenomenon of thread will reveal not only that there are varied uses for it but also that there are many kinds, such as wool, silk, cotton, linen, asbestos, and glass. Both Wool and Silk come from animals, and hence are designated as Animal Fibers.

Wool, which is sheared from the backs of sheep, is short, kinky, and soft. Silk is a long fiber taken from the mouth of the silkworm. Cotton is a fiber found in the fluffy seed pods of the cotton plant; and Linen is made from tough flax fibers taken from the stem of the flax plant. These are classified as Plant Fibers.

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This is the first paperback edition of a manual well known to weavers for its great thoroughness, clarity, and value to beginning and professional weavers alike. The Joy of Handweaving [Osma Tod] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. This is the first paperback edition of a manual well known to.

Other plant fibers are those from ramie, pineapple, and jute plants and hemp, coir, and kapok. Strange as it may seem, some fibers are taken right out of the earth. For example, fireproof Asbestos occurs naturally; and Glass is made by melting minerals together. Accordingly, asbestos and glass are classed as Mineral Fibers. Fibers in this class are scientifically made, and have quick-drying, non-flammable, pleat-retaining, and wrinkle-repellent properties. These new fibers arc used alone or in combination with natural fibers to contribute some of their assets.

The result is a great variety of new and reasonable fabrics, such as rayon, acetate, orlon, nylon, and dacron, described under The New Man - Made Threads. Narrow pieces of weaving were sewed together to make the blanket. In the circle you can see the pretty weaving stitch and the soft fringe.

AF0482 Book THE JOY OF HANDWEAVING 1964 Osma Gallinger Tod hardback Collectible

The quality of the woven cloth depends on the kind of thread chosen, its size and structure, and the design of the weaver. One can add to the pleasure and skill of weaving by knowing important facts about the threads used. Each year at springtime thousands of sheep raised in such countries as Australia, England, Argentina, and the United States have their wool sheared from their backs.

The soft, kinky hair is sheared close to the skin, and is then sent in bags to market to be thoroughly washed and dried. It is then untangled by the carding process and lastly is made into thread or yarn through a procedure called spinning. The cleaned fibers of wool are very small, but each one has still smaller barbs or scales along its sides. When these fibers are twisted together to make yarn, the little hooks or scales of one fiber cling to the scales of the next.

Dyeing the yarn may make it still firmer because the heat needed for producing many colored dyes causes the fibers to shrink. Wool today is often blended with other fibers—with linen to add lustre, with silk to add resiliency, with cotton to give a more washable texture. Cashmere is a rare fiber, soft and silky, taken from the Cashmere goat of China and India. It is used most widely in blends with man-made fibers or with wool. Vicuna is the very softest, finest, and rarest of the wools. It is a natural tan in color, and comes from wild llamas of the Andes. This is used for blankets and carpets.

The Joy of Handweaving | Weaving, Hand weaving, Weaving techniques

This is the means of making a soft yarn, although it is expensive. It is either a pretty brown color or black, because it cannot be changed to lighter colors like some wools. Both the Angora goat from Asia and the Alpaca from Peru in South America have fine silky hair which can be spun like wool into yam. The hair of the Angora goat is called Mohair.

AF0482 Book THE JOY OF HANDWEAVING 1964 Osma Gallinger Tod hardback Collectible

Not only was it necessary to spin the fibers into thread —a process which in itself required flying fingers—but the fibers also had to be washed and combed prior to the spinning process. Whenever tribes settled down long enough between wars to use their hands for domestic purposes, culture took a step forward. Skip to the beginning of the images gallery. At first, his sole means of clothing himself had been animal furs and leaves of trees. You also may like to try some of these bookshops , which may or may not sell this item.

The cloth made from it is fine and fluffy and has a hairy surface. Although it is expensive, it is also very durable. Imitation mohair is made from wool and synthetic fibers. It makes fluffy warm articles. The wool is soft, elastic, and strong.


In warm weather it absorbs moisture, and in cold weather it insulates the body. The name worsted is given to articles made from yarns spun of long, parallel fibers. They are smooth, compact, and wear well. Woolens are made of yarns from shorter fibers which are not so carefully combed. They are soft, loosely spun, and textural.

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Of all the natural fibers, silk is regarded by many persons as the most beautiful. It already is made up into a very fine thread when found in the cocoon of the silkworm, which lives on the leaves from the mulberry tree. The lines are thus twisted together and made into thread which the worm wraps around and around about itself in a cocoon. The worm then goes to sleep inside the cocoon.

When the silk is unwrapped from the cocoon, it comes off in a long strand which is so very fine that ten or more strands from as many cocoons are needed to make a silk thread strong enough for use. Long ago, silk was raised only in China. It was discovered by a child empress, Si Ling Chi, known as the silkworm goddess.

For thousands of years, the Chinese zealously guarded this secret until a young princess left China to marry a prince in Persia. The story goes that she hid some silkworms in her hair so that she could start raising silk in her new home. Silk is now popular around the world because of its many advantages.

It has a glossy, lustrous texture, drapes well, and does not soil readily nor wrinkle easily. The best flax for making linen is grown in Belgium, Russia, and Ireland, although a very good product is grown in the United States in Oregon, Michigan, Washington, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The slender graceful flax plant with its blue flowers has strong, smooth, shiny fibers; and the linen cloth which is made from thread produced from these fibers is admired and used everywhere.


Linen goods grow softer and more beautiful each time they are washed, and they last a long time. They become snowy white, are clean and cool looking, and are particularly serviceable for table linens as well as for cool summer clothes.

The fibers are taken from the stem of the flax plant but, as is so often the case, there are other parts of the stem that cannot be used. To separate the good fibers from the waste materials, the flax is first soaked in water for several weeks. The useless parts become soft and decay. These are combed away, and the fibers that are left are twisted into smooth, glossy linen thread.

It is interesting to note that flax was among the first of the useful plants grown by the Pilgrim fathers. Linen is a very durable fiber. It is pliable, drapes well, and has a soft lustre which improves with age and washing. Its absorbency makes it a cool fabric for warm climates.