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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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…

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.

Gift Yarn Jacket, Part II

It’s finished! And I like it!

To recap: I had knit a long striped band out of some gift yarn and decided to make it the sleeve-yoke section of a jacket inspired by Jo Sharp’s Origami Bolero pattern. Though the Bendigo Luxury yarn (shade ‘bark’) I ordered to make the rest of the jacket arrived in a few days, by then I’d become thoroughly distracted by other machine knitting projects. It did benefit from a bit of time out, though. When I came to knit the body and collar/waistband I had a better idea of what I wanted to do.

First I knit the body on the Bond and blocked it to size. I had planned to make the collar/waistband piece out of some natural Bendigo yarn I already had, but by calculating the weight and number of stitches of the body piece I worked out that I didn’t have enough. There was almost enough left of the ‘bark’ coloured yarn, however, and I liked the idea of continuing with that shade. Having the rest of the garment in one solid colour would make the sleeves the feature. And a white band around the waist was only going to make that bit of me look bigger.

Trouble was, the Bond wasn’t wide enough (then) to knit the waistband, so I’d have to do it sideways, in a strip. That would make it very hard to get the size exactly right and use up all of the yarn. So I decided I’d just have to hand knit it, veeery slooowly. That’s why one of the first projects I started on the Bond is the last to be completed.

The Jo Sharp pattern is for a garment that can be worn both ways. Now that it’s done I’m not sure what I like better – the ribbed part at the waist or as a collar. Hmm. What do you think?

Successful Summer Solstice

A couple of years ago I swapped a pattern with another Raveller. The pattern I received in return was Summer Solstice. I tried knitting it by hand, but abandoned the project because the yarn was too scratchy.

At the beginning of last year I tried simplifying it for the Bond. I knit it about five times before giving up due to tension problems, which eventually I worked out was because cable spun cotton was just too much resistant and inflexible for the machine. (It completely destroyed the foam bar and its replacement.)

During the Crazy Hot Weekend I was determined to use up a particular yarn in the stash – some Cleckheaton Country 8ply that I’d dyed with eucalyptus leaves, then over-dyed later with blue because I don’t really wear yellow. I figured I’d try Summer Solstice again.

I had to draw out the pattern pieces and note the numbers of stitches and rows, then convert them to the gauge of the tension swatch. It was worth the trouble because it all came together beautifully.

One of the problems I’d had before was losing track of where I was in the pattern. This time I had a counter on the machine to help me keep track. I’d also found rehanging the weighted hem laborious and annoying. So I did the yoke-sleeve piece in three sections, grafting them together later.

The yarn had quite a bit of colour variation in it, some greener, some bluer, and a less varied greenish-blue. Instead of trying to blend it all together, I did each section in one hue. I figured if I didn’t like it I could over-dye again, but I love how it has come out. And analogous colour schemes seem to be coming into fashion.

Of all the garments I started or made over the Crazy Hot Weekend so far I like this one the best. But there is another one to finish, so I’ll reserve judgement until it’s done.