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.

The Short and the Long of It

A few days ago, after looking through the refashioning pile, I bought a shorts pattern from Interweave and hauled out the sewing machine. First up I did a test pair using fabric scraps. It confirmed that a US large is bigger than an Aussie large, and the shorts were a tad, well, short for my liking. After a tweak here and there later I was ready to try a refashioning project.

I had this shirt, which I’d bought in the 90s and loved the colour and soft fabric, but it was pretty shapeless:

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I only just managed to get the pieces cut out, and only by patching one corner of a front.

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Instead of the drawstring the pattern calls for, I went for an elastic waist. I reused the pocket, too:

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They’re cool and comfortable and perfect for relaxing at home. I want to make the next pair from an old sarong, this time with longer legs.

I have a little test for the ‘right’ length of shorts. They should never be wider than they are long. If they’re longer than they are wide there’s a slightly slimming illusion. Even more so if the fabric has a vertical stripe or pattern, or they are darker than the top they’re worn with.

Time for a Rest

After missing four deadlines and winding up with RSI and perhaps arthritis, I am finally finished with work for the year.

The news came on the heels of a new book arriving in the post. Artfully Embroidered was a book I had to have in print, and is every bit as beautiful as it promised to be.

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That’s most of the craft books I’ve bought this year in print. I get most as ebooks these days. Aside from the fact they take up no physical space in my now-smaller craft room, I find buying craft books online can be a bit hit and miss and the lower price of ebooks offsets that. Nothing beats being able to leaf through a book before you buy, and know you want to try more than just the project on the cover – and that the project aren’t way beyond your skills or ability (especially important when you have RSI).

As far as actual crafting… I need to rest my hands for the next month, but so long as I don’t overdo it I can do a bit of this and a bit of that. I finished the stitching on the Kogin embroidery tissue holder project the other night.

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But since I don’t know where you can buy tissues in packs that would go in one, I really enjoyed the process and I have plenty of thread, I’m repeating the pattern across the middle and will make it a zippered pouch.

I’ve also started a new project, but more on that later.

Shade Card Pom Poms

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Thanks to moving house, preparing the old for sale, lots of unpacking and DIY at the new one, and work, I’ve now got a big flare up of RSI in my hands. And week before the work deadline. Sigh.

I’d been so looking forward to getting past the deadline and finally having time for some craft. Now I’m resting my hands (I shouldn’t be typing this), dying of boredom and my main form of creativity right now seems to be trying cocktail recipes (only one a night, mind you, unless Paul wants one).

Yesterday I tidied up the craft room a little. Looking at some of the stuff in my refashion/repurpose piles, I came upon the leftover shade cards from my Yarn Shade Card Blanket. I got to wondering if I could turn them into pom poms. It seemed like it would be very quick and not too fiddly, so I gave it a go. Lo and behold, it worked.

Two things I found worth noting: cable yarns don’t form fluffy pom poms, and wool yarn doesn’t seem to be as good as cotton at staying in a tight knot.

Not only did I have leftovers, but new cards that had become obsolete (or contain mohair, so I won’t be buying the yarn) since I made the blanket. Plenty to choose from:

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I cut away all the paper except a narrow strip where the yarn was attached:

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Then I rolled it up:

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Into a nice little coil:

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I tied it twice, flipping it over for the second knot, as tight as I could manage:

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Then I pushed the string to the centre and trimmed off the paper strip:

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A gave it a haircut to even up the strands:

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Success!

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But the mix of colours on a Bendigo Woollen Mills sample card tend to divide into pastels and darker colours, which don’t always go together well. I decided to try cutting up the cards and combining similar sets of colours:

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And that worked, too!

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Which is great, because some of the sample cards are of novelty yarns that aren’t going to make good pom poms. I can combine them with other yarns…

… when my hands recover. Even this small, fast project left me sore. I can see a long, boring, craftless summer ahead.

Something Borrowed, Something New

Jewellery-making continued…

Key Necklace:
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A remake of a necklace I made a while back with an old fob watch on it, but never wore it because it was too long and heavy. This is lighter and tidier.

Netted Stone:
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I’d seen something similar, with rough crystals and leather, on Pinterest. I used linen thread. It looked fiddly, but it turned out to be very easy. You don’t have to hold the stone while tying the knots. You just knot a round and test the net for size now, then repeat until it’s big enough. The closer together the rows of knots are, the less flexible the net is width-wise.

Amethyst and Linen:
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Adapted from a necklace in Micro Macrame Jewellery. I used the same linen from the Netted Stone, and amethyst chunks. There’s a lovely weight to this necklace – light but substantial.

After that I was drawn toward back to paper beads. But I found I didn’t have enough of those I’d made previously to do what I wanted to do, so I’ve wound up making and decorating beads instead of jewellery this last week. And resting my hands, as work is stirring up the rsi.