A while ago I started hand dyeing some ramie, just to add to the range of solid commercially dyed fibres in stock. Dyeing plant fibres is a very different process to dyeing animal fibres, but it's possible to create versions of the same variegated effects I normally create on wool, and I thought the finished yarn could be very interesting to weave with.
So the fibre went from this, to a yarn that looked like this.
I chose to leave the yarn as singles, plant fibres are much more stable with unbalanced twist than animal fibres, and it means it's much quicker to spin the yarn to the required thickness. These ended up in the same ball park as the 2/8 cotton yarn I normally use as warp. Some bits are thicker, others thinner, I don't spin enough plant fibres to have effortless control of the the yarn thickness... but it's only for tea towels, and in the finished piece it's really not an issue.
I put a full width warp on my Louet Erica, that was wound using various colours of 2/8 cotton (I use Yeoman Yarns Organic Cotton, or sometimes their Brittany 2-ply cotton, it's sold as machine knitting yarn, not quite as high quality as Venne Cotton, but it's a fraction of the price, and I mostly only make tea towels, not heirloom pieces). I wound with 5 ends in my hand at once, and then picked ends at random as I threaded. The draft was a basic M and W threading, and because I was in a hurry to get the warp on I made a bit of a mess of it... I can see the mistakes, so will fellow weavers, the gift recipients will have no idea!
I wound the bobbins straight from the skein, which didn't cause any issues, I made sure to break the yarn in the middle of a blue section so I could create a piece that didn't have any obvious colour jumps.
Once I'd done my test towel I then used up the rest of the warp with odds and ends.
And here's the finished set, all very different, despite having the same warp.. Here's a close up of the ramie once its been washed, you can see how the singles sit quite happily in the cloth, as it's washed and used it will get more flexible and even more absorbent. The ramie towel I've woven before is incredible at soaking up liquid.
The purple towel used the same treadling sequence, but was using some some leftover lithuanian linen from Midwinter yarns that had been used in a knitting project. This is going to be another super absorbent towel.
The final 2 were just to empty some bobbins, and to see how different colours played on the warp. that's the nice thing about towels, they're fun to play with and at the end you still have a useful object even if it turns out to be not pleasing to look at!
IF you fancy playing with some of your own Ramie, the selection in the shop can be found here.