Making the Most of a Bad Yarn

In the last week or two I’ve spent a lot of time getting a warp onto my loom. An hour here, and hour there, it all adds up. I don’t want to calculate how much time in total, because today, just after I finished threading the yarn through the reed, I cut it all off.

Why? Well, it’s a long story, but I’ll try to sum up:

A few years back my friends began having babies, so I began making blankets. I also began tying myself up in knots on what sort of yarn to use. The yarn ought to be machine washable. It ought to not be wool, in case of allergies. It also shouldn’t be acrylic, because that tends to catch on fire easily, shrinking and melting as it burns, which sounds rather horrific. Cotton is good, and I made a few blankets from it, but then I was seduced by some yarn that was both machine washable, wouldn’t burn, was hypo-allergenic and eco-friendly. It also came in black, and I had a particular person in mind for which a black and red baby blanket would be perfect.

However, the yarn arrived and it stank. It reeked of moth balls. I put it in the unused guest shower to air for a few months, but it still ponged. I wound a ball into a skein and washed it. That seemed to get rid of the stink. Then I realised that it was the cardboard tubes inside that stank, not the yarn.

When I finally got to the point of winding a warp from it, it broke a few times, but it seemed to happen mainly be near the ends of the yarn. Middle sections seemed okay, if I gave them a tug. I knew there was a risk breakage would be a problem once the yarn was subjected to tension on the loom, but I warped on anyway.

However, once I started tying the yarn to the front beam, strands were breaking too easily. I knew it would never hold up to tension. So I figured I’d given the yarn as many chances as I could and this was the end of our relationship. I cut it off. And into pieces. I wound the remaining yarn into loops and cut them into pieces, too.

No, I wan’t having my revenge on the yarn. I honestly don’t think it would have held up to being knit, either. Part of the eco-ness of the yarn was that it would rot down one day – presumably when the garment it was made into was discarded. I suspect it was deteriorating well before it was supposed to. So there was no point giving it to an op shop or another crafter, or trying to make something else out of the yarn. Instead I sprinkled it in an unseen part of the garden.

It can happily rot away there, and perhaps birds will grab some for their nests, now that spring is here. I must admit, I can’t help keeping the cardboard tubes it was wound onto, to find another crafty use for. They don’t have much smell in them any more, now they’ve been exposed to the air.

And getting this project off the list has also finally emptied my yarn overflow basket. This means that my stash now fits into the tubs I bought for it. In fact, some of those are quite roomy now. I reckon I’ve reduced my stash by a third in the last year. Not buying yarn (aside from one or two balls), culling and getting some big weaving projects done has helped reduce it.

The basket now holds weaving tools, which had been spilling out of a smaller basket.

And the smaller basket will be the perfect size for holding something else. I’m sure I’ll think of a use for it, in time…