Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winding Quills

Last week, when I blogged about Vavstuga, I mentioned that I brought Becky's quill winding technique home with me. A few people asked me to clarify....so here's my attempt.

My raw materials: yarn, a cardboard quill and a quill winder.

I got started using quills because bobbin and quill winders were really expensive to my newbie weaver self. I found a website in Swedish that sold winders at a good price (helped by a favorable exchange rate for me at that point). Since I was ordering in Swedish (a language I do not speak), I ordered shuttles and quills at the same time asking that they choose what would work together.

I ended up with Glimakra shuttles, cardboard quills and this winder.

What I've been doing for years when I wind is just letting the yarn hang and loosely guiding it onto the quill.

Not any more!!

Becky advised us to keep firm tension on the yarn as we wound, by resting our arm on the table and pinching the yarn between thumb and index finger.

I'm a little contorted in these photos because my camera wouldn't focus up close, so I had to keep leaning back. Your arm and hand should be in a comfortable position, and you should be pinching the yarn fairly close to the quill or bobbin.

Just guide the yarn smoothly to within about 1 centimeter of the end of the quill.

Then head toward the other end and get within a centimeter there.

For the next pass, don't go quite as close to the end of the quill. So with each subsequent pass you're covering a little less of the quill.

When the quill is wound, it should feel quite firm if you squeeze it. At Vavstuga, Becky passed around the full quill for us to all feel and remember.

(I didn't wind a full quill because I'm reaching the end of my secret Christmas project - which is now a Christmas 2010 project - and I didn't need much more of this color.)

Winding quills this way makes weaving smoother and easier because the yarn comes off the shuttle more evenly. It's possible that it also improves selvedges because the yarn is being dispensed evenly.

If you want to watch the Vavstuga winding video again now that you've heard my commentary, here it is.

I'm definitely in no position to be teaching this - I'm just trying to share this tiny bit of what I learned at Vavstuga since it has worked for me well since then.

Here's an article from Handwoven about winding quills or bobbins, and other useful techniques.

Related posts:
My Day at Vavstuga
Runners from Vavstuga


Sharon said...

I've been trying to read Sharon Alderman's book and came across a bobbin tutorial, which seems to be similar and probably for the same reasons.

Theresa said...

Thank you Sue! I don't have any quills here, only bobbins, but when I do come across a quill or break down and try to make one myself, I'll know how to wind it. Secret projects eh????

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

We tried to watch the video last week, but the sound didn't work on my mom's computer -- so I will let her know to check out your site. It will be of interest to her. As always, thanks for sharing.

Delighted Hands said...

Thanks for the tutorial; I will be adding a bobbin winder to my weaving equipment this year so this was timely for me!

charlotte said...

This is exactly how I was tought to wind, and I guess most Scandinavians wind in the same way. However, many people (including myself)don't use cardboard, but simply a round piece of a bit stiff paper.

Life Looms Large said...

It's funny that my winding technique slipped from knowing what to do to being sloppy over time. Vavstuga was good for me for many reasons....particularly because a day of plain weave made me clean up my technique. (And good technique helps create good quality weaving.)

Interesting to know that people who use quills often make their own. I'm in the minority in my weaving community (as in, I'm one of the only weavers I know who uses quills.) Every time I've heard some one talk about paper quills, they make it sound like something you'd only do in a pinch. Like if you didn't have enough quills at the end of a workshop or something.

Good to know. I'm going to try making paper quills sometime.


PS: My secret projects aren't big secrets....they were just intended for Christmas, which we all know is past. They're still on my loom...but should be off by next week.