Stash Portrait of 2015

Well, that’s odd. I thought I’d already posted this. Ah, I had it scheduled for 2017! Anyway…

This is all the stash I had a week before Christmas:

creativefidget614

That’s 15 kilos worth. The boxes at the front are shallow – a 200 gram Bendigo skein won’t fit in them. The ones at the back are deep enough for two layers of them if placed flat.

Aside from a weak moment when I encountered another weaver’s stash bust sale, occasionally buying yarn to combine with what I have, I’ve not bought any yarn since 2012. My stash has been gradually and steadily diminishing.

It doesn’t seem that long since the row of stash boxes looked like this:

craftyblog956

The stash in 2011. 17 kilos.

For the first time I’ve included the cones of cotton weaving yarn in my stash photo and calculations. I never used to, but since I rarely knit and only occasionally use a knitting machine they really ought to go in now. I don’t have a lot of it, though. I’ve mostly woven with knitting yarns so far.

Yet now that I’m including the cotton, it feels like the stash has reached the point where it’s finally changing from a knitter’s stash to a weaver’s stash. This four years after I had to give up knitting due to RSI.

Perhaps it’s because of this that the sock yarn feels somewhat out of place now. I tell myself I’ll make more socks on the Passap when I wear out more pairs, but they’re simply not wearing out that fast. I’ve also told myself that it’s okay to weave the sock yarn if a really nice project idea comes along.

What does the future hold for the stash? Well, four of the five boxes I’ve emptied since 2011 are now filled with other kinds of yarn: macrame, craft, perle cotton for inkle weaving and embroidery, and my embroidery supplies. I have one empty shallow box, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for new yarns.

If I do buy new yarns, they’ll most likely be cone yarns for weaving projects. In fact, I’ve just ordered a 500g cone of black 3ply Bendigo Classic for a shawl. I want to attempt some weave structures I’ve not tried before this year, and perhaps some new weaving yarns, too.

Tapestry Hat

The Tapestry Hat is done:

creativefidget574

It came off my modified loom easily, just a bit of ‘persuasion’ to get the circle of plastic out from inside.

creativefidget575

Once out I knit a brim:

creativefidget576

Then I gave it a good rub under hot soupy water followed with a cold rinse and good squeeze, to get the yarn to felt a little. Even so, I think I should have woven a more densely packed fabric…

creativefidget577

Still, the gaps don’t appear unless the hat is stretched, and it’s not stretched when worn, so it looks fine on my head. Still, I’ll keep it in mind if I make another.

Now that my fidgety projects are done, I’ve been whittling away at the WIPs. The scary tea towels are off the loom and being wet finished. The woven squares are slowly being assembled to make a jacket. Though I’m not 100% happy with the look of crochet joins on a garment, so may end up doing it all again.

Capucine Cowl

To make a cowl over the leftover yarn from Capucine, I cast on about 80 stitches, knit 10 rows of rib, a pile of garter stitch, and finished with about 8 rows of rib (because I underestimated the yarn I’d need to do a matching 10 row rib section, and I didn’t mind the variation enough to frog back and reknit it).

creativefidget572

A toggle and loop mean I can adjust the fit on the inside by moving the knot on the loop.

creativefidget573

So that’s another bit of stash used up. A bit of unravelled former project yarn stash used up. Sometimes I wish I wouldn’t get so attached to something I’ve knit that when I grow out of it (or it shrinks) I unravel and keep the yarn. It makes using up stash a ‘two steps forward, one step back’ process. But I guess I only do this with yarn I really like.

Fidgeting

I contracted a bout of startitis recently. Though I’d made progress on the tea towels and had started crocheting together pin loom squares, I also cast on for the Capuchine Cowl and started a tapestry woven hat.

The latter happened after a friend said she wanted to do some simple weaving on a cardboard loom at the school she works at. I went through books and bookmarked web pages for suitable methods. One of the more complicated ones was in this book:

creativefidget569

It involved making a circular cardboard loom to weave a beret:

creativefidget570

Looking closely, I got to thinking about how the circle could be altered so you didn’t have to tear it up to get the beret off. I found an old scrap of plastic and using an awl, knife and scissors came up with something I think – and hope – the hat can be removed from without damaging either. And then I got stitching, using some leftover scrapes of discontinued Vintage Hues.

creativefidget571

Turns out, it’s quite addictive. With added suspense, because I won’t really know if I can remove the ‘loom’ until I finish and give it a try.

Capucine

Finished:

creativefidget567

The pattern is Capucine. It was my first handknit project in… ages. I knit about six rows at a time, once every day or two days. My hands didn’t protest too much.

It’s a cosy hat, and the only one I have that truly covers my ears. Definitely a mid-winter hat.

I have this much Patons Inca left:

creativefidget568

I’ve cast on for a cowl out of the bluey grey, and I’ll leave the grey for another project.

On the Go

I’m still weaving two-yarn squares while watching tv:

creativefidget551

I have nearly 30. Though I only had one ball of black and three of the multi-coloured, the black ball weighed twice as much as one multi-coloured ball and is slightly thinner, so won’t have as much leftover multi as I’d expected. I’ll join the squares with it, and do a crochet border. While I intended to make a blanket, I like the fabric so much I’m tempted to try making a garment of some sort. There might be enough for a simple kimono style jacket.

One Scary Tea Towels has been woven:

creativefidget556

Two more to go.

I’ve started two new projects. The first is to de-boringify a cashmere cardigan. I bought it for travel as it’s light and warm, and easily layered:

creativefidget557

After trying several embroidery methods, I’ve settled on using a crochet hook to do chain stitch. It’s fiddly, and very slow. I’m hoping that using some tearaway stabiliser and putting it on hoop will make it easier and faster.

The other project is a hat knit from frogged Inca yarn:

creativefidget558

Yes, that’s hand knitting. I’ll stick to a couple of rows a time, every couple of nights, it the hope of avoiding an RSI flare up. The thing is, weaving the yarn didn’t appeal, and it’s a bit thick for the knitting machine. I’ve got to use it somehow, so hand knitting it is.

Cullbriated

I have an ap called Stickies that puts post-it note like pages on my computer screen. In one I have a list called “Big Cull”. I started it before we moved in the hope I’d get through every category on it and have less stuff to shift. Of course, I didn’t get everything culled in time, so I’ve been revisiting it every time I have the itch to tidy up.

The wardrobe in the craft room has two hanging sections with, for no good reason, have three narrow doors each where two would have been fine. That meant there was a vertical beam for the middle door’s hinges that stood 2/3 the way across the space, always in the way. It ran up through the shelving above the hanging rail, too, so I had to do box tetris to get some things out.

So we turned a pair of the doors for each section into a concertina door by attaching hinges, and removed the beam. The new double door didn’t quite sit flat, partly because I had extra fabric spilling out of the fabric tub and my trims box had become two trims boxes.

Time to tackle the “fabric” category on my Big Cull list.

Oh body, did I chuck out a lot of useless fabric scraps. Turns out that a glass of Pinot Gris is a good primer for culling. I thought it would weaken my resolve. Instead it made me ruthless.

Though thinking about the fabric stash differently helped, too. I have everything in zip-lock bags labelled by type. They include denim, corduroy, felt, velvet, muslin, lining, facing, knit, silk painting scraps, fancy fabric, fake leather, polycotton, cheesecloth, calico and costume scraps. Most are leftovers from projects, though some is fabric from abandoned projects or ones I found a better fabric for, and a few are leftover from my 20-year-old self’s addiction to discount bins.

I decided I’d stick a post-it note on each bag with a possible project/s for the contents. Let’s just say I didn’t use many post-it notes. Lots of small scraps went in the rubbish. Any decent sized piece of fabric that drew a blank had to be pretty special to avoid the op shop pile. A few did. Call me deluded, but I’m still sure I will find a use for stretch fake leather – probably for a costume.

The tub not only closes now, but the fabrics aren’t crammed in. I was so pleased with my culling success I had another glass of Pinot Gris and attacked the trims, getting them to fit into one box.

Fortunately by the time I was done there was no more wine, or it could have got scary.

Memory, Reminder

The Memory Yarn Scarf is done:

creativefidget474

Remind me never to attempt one again.

Warping was challenging, but managable. It was the weaving that was tedious, demanding that the two weft yarns be tweaked constantly to keep them aligned. I could have done something more interesting than plain weave, but that would have just made it even fussier and slower, and I couldn’t wait for this one to be finished and off the loom.

The result is lovely, though – soft despite the stainless steel that imparts the ‘memory’. The metal is supposed to allow you to shape the fabric. With knit that look interesting and sculptural. With woven fabric is just looks, well, creased. Still, I don’t mind a crinkly scarf and it does have an interesting story to it.

creativefidget475

Next!

Bunny Mink Scarf

Last year I visited a friend in Canberra on the Australia Day weekend to teach her how to use a 4-shaft loom she’d adopted. This year she came to visit me over New Year and brought her Knitters Loom. We spent the last day of 2014 and the first of 2015 weaving.

While she whipped out two scarves over the stay, I managed just one. I chose an Ixchel yarn “Bunny Mink” spun from angora and mink – a soft, resilient laceweight yarn I’d fallen in love with at the Bendy Show a few years ago. It wove into a beautiful scarf.

creativefidget472

I had no head space for deciding on a fancier pattern than tabby, what with surviving Christmas, hosting three friends and arranging a New Year’s Eve party. But the yarn was quite slippery so tabby meant I had only one challenge to meet.

Toward the end I decided to try inlay. Well, kind of a cheats inlay, where you stitch the inlay yarn in rather than weave it at the same time. I did a simple pattern of staggered rectangles.

creativefidget473

This one is definitely a keeper. Unless I need a gift for someone I really, really like!

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…