Summer Refashioning

I often get the refashioning bug in Spring, but this year I had no time for it. Once on ‘holidays’ I enjoyed a few days at the sewing machine. These green shorts were the main achievement, but I also tackled some basic mending and garment tweaking – taking in at the sides or removing sleeves. Most was too simple to bother blogging about. Except this long sleeve shirt refashion:

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It involved shortening the long sleeves and using the pieces as side panels and binding around the armholes. I tried folding the armhole seams first, as I’d had good results from the stretch stitches on my new sewing machine. But this time it went all crinkly so I had to cut it off and try again, using overlocking stitch to attach a binding.

I seem to have moved on to weaving now, but I’m sure I’ll switch back to sewing soon as I still have the sarong shorts to make that I bought the pattern for.

Inevitable Startitis

At first, when my ‘holidays’ started, the desire to craft was strong. I managed to tick several projects off the to-do list, including some WIPs. But I also had six months worth of new ideas brewing, and that brought about a bout of startitis. Also, my weaving session with Donna led to the stash review which led in turn to me warping up both looms. So here are some of the new projects on my WIP list.

Ribbon Scarf:

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I had the idea to turn a handful of ribbon scraps of varying sizes rescued from a costume that went in the rubbish and a scrap of gauzy fabric into a scarf by sewing the ribbons on in strips. The basting is a good tv watching craft activity.

Jacobean Kit:

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Wanting to explore embroidery more, I figured the best way to learn more is to try a few kits. So far a bit of unpicking has happened, as the instructions are probably not aimed at a novice and the photo is a bit too small for me to work out what I’m supposed to be doing. But I am enjoying it.

Stitchy Shirt:

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I’ve been loving the look of blankets and clothing covered in a kind of freeform running stitch and sashiko that I think is called ‘boko’. This vest was originally a man’s shirt that I refashioned to fit me, then bleached. I liked the blotchy look, but not the sleeves so I recently removed them. The stitching doesn’t require much brain-power, so this is one I turn to when I’m too tired to tackle the kit above.

Memory Yarn Scarf:

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I bought this yarn to try out on the knitting machine and have decided to weave it instead. It is fiddly to work with mainly because you use two strands together. I’ll be glad when this one is done.

Paua Shell Scarf/Collar:

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I’d always intended to put a collar on the Paua Shell Ruanna, but it took me so long to weave that I couldn’t bear the thought of warping up again in the same yarn. Now it feels like an easy, quick project I can knock off the to-do list, and the yarn is lovely to work with.

Mental Cull

A little while ago I had to go to Ravelry to check on the meterage of some yarn. I visit less and less these days, though it is still a very useful site. Sometimes, though, the sight of knitting makes me sad. (Which is a bit unfortunate when well-meaning friends send me pics or links to articles about knitting, not realising that it can feel like rubbing salt in the wound.)

Looking at my queue, I decided to delete all the projects I’d lined up for knitting machines. Then I culled the favourites back to patterns I’d made or projects I’d seen that I still thought were amazing. Then I trimmed the friends list – some I no longer recognised, some I only followed for the knitting, and some whose blogs I now follow in Bloglovin’ instead. The forums were next – down to a handful of weaving and machine knitting ones. Finally I took out all the books I’d given away from the library.

Basically, I had a big mental cull.

At the same time, I marvelled, as I always do, at how great Ravelry is. It’s still a useful and fun place to be even though I’m only weaving now. I really admire how user-friendly and intuitive the interface is. The creators did – and are still doing – a brilliant job.

Test results came through a few days ago and I’m immensely relieved to learn I don’t have rheumatoid arthritis. I don’t have the symptoms for carpal tunnel, either. But the RSI is bad enough all on its own. I’m supposed to be back at work next week, and I don’t feel I’ve recovered nearly enough for it. It’s going to be… interesting.

Stash Overview Conclusions

Here’s the overview:

(I’ve noted the final destination I have mind for them, too. Yarns I’m thinking of culling are in italic. Intended loom in brackets.)

Scarves:
Frogged Inca (AKL) – donate
Vintage Hues (AKL) – donate OR FELT TO MAKE FABRIC
Frogged purple-blue silk (AKL) – keep
Leftover Ruanna yarn (AKL/TL) – keep or gift
Red cashmere (AKL/TL) – keep
Blue silk handspun and white silk (AKL) – keep
Purple laceweight (AKL/TL) – gift or donate
Blue cobweb (AKL/TL) – gift or donate
Sari silk (AKL) – gift or donate
OR MIX WITH BLACK COTTON TO MAKE A TABLE RUNNER
Memory yarn scarf kit (AKL) – keep
Particularly nice sock yarn (AKL/TL) – keep and/or gift

Blanket/shawl:
Cormo (TL) – keep or gift
Bendy Neon and green-dyed Country 8ply (TL) – keep or gift
Bendy Luxury and Hunky Hank (TL) – keep or gift
Navy Bendy Luxury 4ply (TL) – keep or gift OR SAORI JACKET OR SKIRT
Undyed sock yarn (TL) – (colour gamut project) keep

Shawl:
Purple Bendy Alpaca & handspun (TL) – keep
Olive handspun and brown weaving yarn (TL) – gift?
Silver metallic yarn and Bendy classic 3ply (TL) – keep or gift OR MAKE EVENING BAG
Pewter metallic yarn and Bendy classic 3ply (TL) – keep or gift
White gold metallic yarn and Bendy classic 3ply (TL) – gift
Blue boucle cone yarn (TL) – shawl to keep or gift OR SAORI GARMENT

Towels or Baby Blankets:
Bendy Cotton 8ply (TL) – baby blankets to gift
Bendy Cotton 4ply (AKL) – hand towels? OR PLACE MATS
Green cone yarn (TL) – blanket or towels to keep or gift OR PLACE MATS
Red and white cotton weaving yarn (TL) – tea towels to keep
Blue and green cotton weaving yarn (TL) – tea towels for Mum

Garments:
Blue Country 8ply – vest (on the Bond) to keep
Red Totem and black Bendy Classic – accessory (on the Bond) to gift OR TABLE RUNNER
Sock yarn (AKL/TL) – saori jacket to keep

Now I can see that I was wrong in thinking I had nothing to make on the knitters loom – I have plenty!

But I can also see I’m in a bit of an end-product rut. Mostly I’m thinking about making more scarves, shawls, blankets and towels? What about table runners, place mats, bags and fabric to cut up and sew? I’ve added alternative project ideas in all caps – and I’m liking some of them better!

Now to add these to my to-do list and prioritise…

The Stash #2: Thinner Yarns

These yarns tend toward the finer side, though there are a few exceptions, and include cones of weaving yarn. Once again, the yarn’s intended purpose is between brackets.

4ply yarns
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Left: Bendy Luxury (meant for a cardigan on the Passap, now… a blanket?)
The rest: various thinner or handspun yarns, including some sari silk, 4ply cashmere (scarf), laceweight and cobweb yarns (scarves), three kinds of metallic yarn (borders on shawls) and a merino cashmere I bought at Dimmeys a very long time ago.

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Sock yarns. (Here’s the thing. I bought the Passap because, of all things I used to knit, I thought I’d miss having and giving handknit socks the most. Well, I had quite a stockpile already, that I didn’t dip into in three years. Since I’ve not touched the machine in nearly two years I’ve just bought other things for Paul and my Dad. And even with knitting most of them on the machine, there’s always a bit of handknitting involved. So now that my RSI is back I’m thinking I’ll weave all this instead.)

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Left: A kilo of Knittery undyed sock yarn. (I never got around to dying this, but the yarn is lovely. It was top of my ‘possibly to sell’ list until I realised I could still dye it – only with a colour gamut project in mind instead.)
Middle and right: leftover sock yarn scraps (warp for yet more scarves).

Weaving yarns
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Left: cotton yarns (tea towels), memory yarn kit (scarf) and rug yarn (rug)
Right: wool yarns (shawls, scarves, etc.)

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Some cotton yarn I bought from a weaver’s destash (towels).

All in all, I have quite a few scarves, a few shawls, a colour gamut blanket or shawl and some towels to make.

Overall… I have way too many scarves lined up. Either I make them to gift or donate, or come up with something else to make, or sell/gift the sock yarn. Though the sock yarn could be combined to make a larger project. I’ve been meaning to look into saori garments, made from uncut lengths of woven fabric. I’d love to make a jacket. Hmm. Perhaps I’ll explore that in another post.

The Stash #1: Thicker Yarns

I’ll start with the heavier yarns, though since I was photographing by boxful a few finer ones were included in project bundles. The yarn’s intended purpose and loom is between brackets.

Bulky yarns:
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Top: frogged Inca on the left (woven scarf, knitters loom), leftover Vintage Hues on the right (woven scarves, knitters loom)
Bottom: frogged silk on the left (woven scarf, knitters loom), the rest are leftovers (cream ones might be mixed with the Inca)

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Ms Gusset Cormo. I signed up for 1 1/2 kilo, and got RSI not long after it arrived. (Reports of it being hard to dye and not being a white garment kind of girl have had me stalled. A woven blanket seems the logical solution, though I might see how well the Bond Sweater Machine handles it.)

8ply yarns:
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Top: Leftover Country 8ply (vest on the Bond), frogged Bendy Neon and leftover green-dyed Country 8ply (twill shawl, table loom), leftover Ruanna yarn (woven scarf, knitters loom)
Bottom: leftover purple Bendy alpaca and matching handspun (shawl, table loom), leftover red Totem and Bendy classic (accessory, on the Bond), ball of Bendy Serenade (hat and gloves on the Bond)
Right: misc 8ply

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Left: Bendy Luxury and Hunky Hank (small woven blanket or shawl)
Right: Olive handspun and Bockens Mobelatta (shawl or fabric to sew)

Cotton yarns:
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Top: Bendy 8ply (more towels/baby blankets)
Bottom: Bendy 4ply, leftover dishcloth yarn

So that’s several scarves, a blanket or two, a shawl or two, and a couple of things to make on the Bond Sweater Machine.

Next post: the thinner yarns

Long-suffering Stash

My poor stash. It’s been ignored lately, which is a pity because it’s a nice stash. Several bouts of culling have eliminated most of the so-so yarns, leaving plenty of nice ones. But the majority was bought for a purpose it won’t be put to, since I can’t knit or crochet it, so I’m considering what to do with it instead.

Back when I was able to knit I used to do a big photo of all of my stash every six months or so, label it in Photoshop and write a post about what I wanted to do with it. Doing this often inspired me, either by showing yarn combinations I hadn’t thought of, or reminding me of projects I really wanted to do. I haven’t done that in ages, so maybe it’s time I did again.

My stash has been stowed up in the top of the craft room wardrobe since we moved in, and barely been touched since.

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A quarter of those boxes don’t contain knitting or weaving yarn. One of the small ones contains embroidery yarn, another perle cotton for inkle weaving, and a third has ‘craft yarn’ warp for rya rugs. One of the big boxes holds macrame jute and another has little leftover balls and labels from past projects.

Once upon a time these boxes were bursting with knitting yarn, and I had a couple of storage boxes of yarn hiding beneath the day bed, too. Of the knitting yarn that’s left maybe 20% is from frogged garments. How has it shrunk so much? Well, while there was a lag between giving up knitting and not buying yarn for it, eventually the urge to splurge did fade. Yarn was used or culled.

I might not be able to knit, but can still weave. I’ve photographed my stash again and initially wrote a rather long post. For ease of reading I’m dividing it into two posts, which will follow this one. Stay tuned…

Double Trouble

I finally finished the baby blankets!

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They were the last thing to come off the table loom before I packed it up ready to move, and it’s taken me ages to get the binding on. As I worked on them I realised I had double the reason to procrastinate over finishing them: it was the first time I’d sewn satin blanket binding, and I had to cut fabric I’d woven, which is always slightly traumatic.

As it turned out, the binding wasn’t as difficult as I’d expected. Still pretty fiddly. I zig-zagged over the edge of the weaving before trimming about 5 mm away. Then I pinned and basted the binding on before sewing it. The second time I was confident that it wouldn’t slip about so I skipped the basting.

Unfortunately the babies they were intended for are now either side of a year old. Do babies still need baby blankets at that age? Or should I save them for the next crop of little’uns?

Projects of 2014

What a year! It’s been one of big contrasts and challenges. At the beginning I had enough spare energy and time to take on the HW&S Guild Mystery Box Challenge. I kinda regretted that. What I made was way more effort than the end result was worth.

By the middle of the year my energy and time was all tangled up in buying, moving, fixing up and selling houses. At the end of the year Paul was rushing to get his final year exhibition and folio together and I had a major writing deadline move three times. You can see the impact everything had on my craft output in this summary:

January:
Finished Cat’s Portrait
Updated my New Zealand photo album
Tried Sumi-e
Did a Miniature Tapestry Weaving Workshop
Made a stud bracelet
Took on the HW&S Guild of Victoria Mystery Box Challenge
Refashioned some clothes
Gave a friend a weaving lesson
Wove the Huckleby Hemp Scarf
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Bound the Squirrel Scorpion Book
Turned a broken colour-changing umbrella into a shower cap
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Tackled some Knitwear Refashions

February:
Stitched a diamond necklace
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Wove a Big Blue Blanket and a scarf
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March:
Painted while camping
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Finished the Autumn Fairy for the Mystery Box Challenge
Wove a thick and thin scarf from frogged yarn

April:
More refashioning! With my new sewing machine:
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Including glamming up a 20s costume into an evening dress
Made an photo album of our trip to Japan
Stitched a gift brooch

May:
Finished stitching a skull
Made a cross-stitch clutch
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Worked out how to weave leno with two heddles on a rigid heddle loom

June:
We bought a house!
More knitwear refashions

July:
Finished a portrait
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Sewed lavender bags for the move
Sewed folio bags for the move

August:
Settled. Moved. Prepared old house for sale. Sold it.

September:
Embroidered a vest (though I’m not sure if it’s finished)
Finished weaving the leno scarf
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October:
Repurposed two old frames into ensuite mirrors
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November:
Converted an old kitchen cart into a bar cart
Made a jewellery display pin board
Made jewellery!
Made more jewellery!
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Made shade card pom poms
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Started extensive and expensive landscaping

December:
Finished two more portraits
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Made shorts.
Tried a Kogin embroidery kit and made a bag from it.
Sewed blanket binding around the Double Trouble Baby Blankets.
More refashioning!

By December we were exhausted, my RSI had made a comeback and my physio had raised the possibility of rheumatoid arthritis. But I’ve finished my work and have settled in for a month of rest, recovery and enjoying the new house with friends.

All Zippered Up

The Kogin Embroidery Bag is done:

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I found a great tutorial for making a zippered bag without a seam at the bottom.

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The lining is just a bit of navy cotton. The zip was in my stash of rescued zips unpicked from various things over the years.

I bought the kit a year ago, almost to the day. Took me a while to get around to starting it, so it hasn’t been a year-long project. I liked the style of embroidery, but since it’s effectively the same result as overshot weaving I couldn’t help thinking it would be a lot faster to weave it. A LOT faster to weave it AND you’d get a great deal more fabric.

But who cares about speed and quantity? The method – the journey – was a wonderfully relaxing one and I’d happily take on another kogin kit or project.