Monday, February 26, 2018

Weaving Handspun Silk Scarves

I finally got a loom! I got it a few months ago as a birthday present. So far I've woven two handspun wool scarves, twelve cotton kitchen towels, handspun wool fabric with which I made a skirt, and three handspun silk scarves. 

I just finished the scarves today. I spun up three types of silk to weave them with. In the picture below they are Red Eri, Tussah, and Muga.

I wound a little over seven yards of warp:

 The warp was so pretty before it went on the loom:

While weaving, I was sure I was going to mess everything up and ruin all of this expensive silk.

I wove two scarves in two different types of tabby, and one scarf in twill. Below you can see them just off the loom before wet finishing.

I didn't totally mess them up, but the twill scarf is the best. I wove the plain tabby intentionally very open. That one is the second-best. The third scarf I wove in a loose, but not open tabby - not a plain tabby, but I can't remember the name of it. It came out least-well of the three.

Here are they are, all dry after being wet-finished and pressed:

 A few things I learned: sampling is a good thing. I didn't do it with these and wish I had. Also, the warp with silk can be sett closer than you might think. And when tying the warp onto the front beam, I wouldn't recommend lashing it on, but rather tying it on - I think that would disrupt the weave of what you wind on a lot less (I had a problem with the lashing cord and knots pushing the weave structure apart when the cloth was wound around the beam). And if you are going to weave with silk for the first time, you should probably use less expensive silk than eri, tussah and muga.

You may be asking yourself why I would weave with expensive types of silk on my very first foray into silk weaving. The answer is that these are the only types of silk I had on hand. Now my supply has been exhausted, but I am eager to get more silk, probably mulberry this time, and weave some more!

Even though the scarves aren't perfect, they are still extremely beautiful, solely because of the beautiful nature of silk, and these types of silk in particular. I was hoping that they would be good enough to sell, but I think only the twill one is good enough, unless I explain the less-than-perfect nature of the others in their description and price them accordingly. They actually have a sort-of rustic-woven charm to them that some people might like.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Congratulations to the winners!

My Goodreads book giveaway is over. Thank you to all who entered, and congratulations to the seven winners! Your books will be arriving soon. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I Didn't Cry When I Saw Wonder Woman

Before seeing the movie Wonder Woman, I saw some headlines like, “Why I Cried During Wonder Woman.” I saw the movie. I didn’t cry, but afterward, I did read one of those articles. The gist is that seeing kickass women, women who aren’t slut-shamed even while being kickass, or who aren’t confident and kickass as an aberration, but because that’s what they and every other woman around them truly are, is so amazing to see up there on that big, beautiful silver screen, that it brings tears to the eyes. Tears of liberation.

I’ve been told no my whole life, just like every other woman on the face of the earth. And it was good to see Diana encounter that and not understand it. You can see the confusion on Diana’s face when the men around her are telling her no. Every woman understands that confusion. Every girl has grown up and come to that moment when she is about to do something, but the people around her tell her no. To know that you are capable, and yet you are not allowed, either because others assume you aren’t capable, or simply because of your gender, not just once, but repeatedly – daily – can wear a person down. When Diana does it anyway, that’s what brings people to tears. She shows everyone that this is what women are, this is what we’ve always been – what we always could have been if only we had been told yes, every time we’d been told no.

It’s refreshing to see Diana do her thing and to speak up – not in a whispered voice, but really speak up and state the truth of things, to speak her mind like most other male superheroes do without it being an unusual occurrence – without everyone in the audience thinking someone is going to shut him up any moment now.

It’s ridiculous to think that the world wouldn’t want half of its population to be this kickass. Why wouldn’t we want every single person to use their capabilities? Why wouldn’t we want every single person to have a voice? Why would we want to quash girls’ abilities so often that as women, our kickassedness is hidden deep within on our own inner islands, like the Amazons in the movie are hidden on Themiscyra.

Well, Diana has left that island and broken out into the world. This has brought some women to tears, but we’ve all known about her. Every woman is her. Cry or don’t cry, but remember this, she isn’t going back.  

Friday, June 2, 2017

A giveaway on Goodreads!

My book, The Errand Rider is in a giveaway on goodreads, follow the link below for details and to enter for a chance to win a signed copy:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Errand Rider

by Linda Ash

Giveaway ends June 15, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A skirt knit from handspun yarn

My daughter took these pictures of me in my new skirt. I raided my Etsy shop and used a bunch of the yarn to knit this skirt. I wanted a mindless knitting project, and this was it! The pattern is the Ribbed Pencil Skirt on Ravelry. I think there are about 1800 yards of handspun in this skirt. It's really comfy. 

 It has a folded-over waistband with elastic.

I need to get some really nice slouchy boots to wear with this, and some good tops.

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Errand Rider eBook is free this weekend!

 The eBook version of my novel The Errand Rider is free this weekend, Feb. 3-5, on Amazon.
Here is the link if you are interested: 


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

When your own Characters become your inspiration

I was recently inspired by one of my own characters. You see, in most of my writing there is an undercurrent. I have always been aware of the differences with which men and women are thought of and treated, and the differences in the opportunities afforded each gender, not just in my home country here in the U.S., but globally. These differences have never been subtle, in fact, it was at the tender age of seven that these differences began to rankle. Seven. How obvious do things need to be for a seven-year old to be able to notice. And so my antagonists are usually women and my writing usually highlights ability and self-reliance to a degree, but also what can be achieved through friendship, and people having one-another's back.

And so when the Women's March on Washington began to be organized several months ago, my first thought was, "I have to be there," - for me, for Yazidi girls and women, for child brides, for victims of FGM, for the woman who is controlled by her boyfriend/husband, who is abused by her boyfriend/husband, for victims of sexual assault and violence, for the woman who is suddenly afraid of that man walking behind her, or who suddenly has to calculate her every word or gesture because things at the party, the bar, her workplace just became questionable. And the list goes on.

The only thing is that after having bouts of feeling really terrible over the past several years, I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Which sucks. I used to be really active but I've slowed down quite a bit lately because of the hurting all over thing. Getting to the march (from northeast Ohio), and then marching seemed like it might be kind of painful.

Then I heard about the pussyhat project. That made me really happy. I'm a knitter, so I knitted a lot of hats grateful that I could do this to contribute. But as the date for the march drew nearer, I can't tell you how deeply I felt I was letting myself and my convictions down by not attending. And then my daughter suggested that we go. She's newly married and lives a couple of hours away. How could I not go with my daughter who is strong and doesn't take things from anybody and wanted to be a part of this wonderful thing.

So I thought about it. And my character Gwyn from my book, "The Errand Rider," came to mind. She is traveling alone, by horseback at one point in the book and is injured. I'm sure she's tired and uncomfortable and pain is involved, but she goes on. She has quite a big journey still ahead of her and she will be in even more uncomfortable places and have to deal with other aches and pains, but she never complains and she doesn't stop. She goes on and gets the job done, and in the process saves a little prince and two realms to boot.

Now, by myself I can't save anything, but as part of a collective movement, who knows what can be accomplished? So in the end, my daughter and I followed all of those hats I made to Washington and together with hundreds of thousands of others, we got the job done. We added our voices to the millions around the world who roared with the message that women will be heard. And we're not stopping there. We will do what we can when we can to further women's causes and voices around the world.

So thank you Gwyn, for being an inspiration to me.