Stash Portrait 2016-2017

Recent thoughts about where I want to go with weaving, and my fibre allergies led to a bit of a stash assessment. So I laid out all the yarn on the office floor and took a picture:


(Wool yarns are marked in red, cotton in yellow, and everything else or yarns I’m not sure of the fibre are in orange.)

A sort was in order. I moved cones to the larger boxes and divided everything into wool and non-wool. All non-wool, non-acrylic yarns had instant keeper status. With those put aside, I considered which wool yarns to keep or cull. Sock yarns are keepers, since my feet don’t get irritated by wool. Recent handspun stays, too. The Bendigo Classic 2 & 3 ply does weave up into a nice blanket and makes good warp yarn, so I’ll retain that.

The rest I sorted by softness. The Tonne of Wool Cormo is the softest, Bendigo Luxury next, Cleckheaton Country and Paton’s Inca next, and the rest became one batch of ‘least soft’ yarn. From that I culled the Bendigo Serenade, Patons Shadow Tweed, Lincraft Cosy Wool, a cone of fine boucle and the metallic yarns I hated weaving with earlier this year.

I also culled my knitwear, removing two vests I don’t wear, a cardigan and a jacket. The jackets were unravelled. The yarn I got from them is wool, but I have plans to turn it into pin loom blankets. Since one is a bulky yarn, I’m currently making a pin loom 150% the size of the one I have, so the nails are spaced wider apart and I get bigger squares.

The stash doesn’t all fit into the boxes, but with the wool yarns hanging about in the way rather than the cone yarns, I’ve got more of an incentive to either use them up or cull them.


We travel with carry-on bags only, so when it comes to souvenir shopping, we stick to small, light items. There’s always the option to post things homes, though.


The first thing I bought was a metre of trim. Woven inkle could be found in most craft stores, as well as machine-make ribbon, for use in traditional costume.

When I bought the ball of yarn to try nalbinding, in the same ship I found a leather bracelet with rows of holes punched in it for cross-stitch. That’ll be a nice tv project. I posted this and the next item home with some books Paul bought.

The boxes of retors a broder I found in a second hand shop. The woman selling it gave a little laugh when I handed the boxes over and she looked inside and saw the thread. I have no idea why.

I found yarn stores everywhere. It got to the point where I’d expect to find one whenever we stepped off a bus or train. Most contained yarn best suited to knitting. If I’d still been knitting, I’d probably have wound up buying an extra bag and filling it. I got this skein, which feels well suited to weaving, in a shop in Roskilde that had lots of local yarn.

There was also the yarn I bought to nalbind with, of course.

Yarn Dessert

Weaving yarn isn’t the only kind I’ve been stashing. I’ve also been buying embroidery yarns from eBay.

First up was a batch of wool.


I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make out of it, but when it arrived I got a wave of nostalgia, remembering how I use to do bargello work when I was a teen. However, I don’t have any canvas, I’m not sure what size to get to go with the yarn, and embroidery shops don’t appear to stock it.

Then there was some retors a broder/coton a broder:


I’d read about it on embroidery blogs, but never seen it. After finding a skein in an op shop I went hunting on eBay. There didn’t appear to be any available in Australia, but I recognised the labels on a batch listed as tapestry thread, and more research told me that Anchor ‘soft cotton’ was the same or very similar.

Again, I’m not 100% sure what I’ll make from it yet, but I’ve read that it was better than using the full six strands of stranded cotton, as you don’t get loose strands from them being snagged when pulled through the cloth. I can see that being helpful when doing tambour embroidery.

Yarn Banquet

I’ve been buying yarns. Weaving yarns!

It’s not that I couldn’t keep weaving with knitting yarns, but the yarn in my stash tends to dictate what sort of projects I attempt. Having more ‘weaving’ yarns in there will inspire me to explore in new directions.

However, cones of yarn are expensive! Particularly so if you buy them from outside of Australia. It’s been a while since I’ve ordered anything from the US, and yikes! Postage is incredible! Unfortunately, there aren’t many shops selling weaving yarn in Australia, and with not a great deal of overlap in yarns they have available there’s little competition in prices.

So I’ve been trawling eBay and googling intently. My first score was $50 worth of sample cones from eBay:


There are some interesting yarns in there, though I’ve put aside the ones with mohair in them to give away at the next weaving class.

Next I discovered in a round-about way that the shop I’d recently bought a book of Saori garment designs from, Curiousweaver, sells yarn. I typed in ‘weaving yarns’ and specified Australia in Google, and up came a rainbow of colour that led me back to her site.

I grabbed a three pack of wool yarns:


And one of the packs of coloured cotton – perfect for that colour gamp project I’ve been wanting to weave for ages – for around $17 a cone.


Of course, buying this much yarn did more than fill up the space I had left in my yarn storage tubs, so I had to get creative:


My craft room feels more like a weaver’s studio now.

I think I have enough yarn now. Of course, I’ll probably stumble on a pile of yarn going free or incredibly cheap now. And I won’t be able to resist.

Sheep & Wool

Paul and I went to the Australian Sheep & Wool Show on Saturday. I hadn’t been since 2009, when I tagged along with some of the Ravelry Rocketeers. I ran into a spinner from that group, and a friend. It was a glorious day, sunny but not hot. The show was bigger than I remember, and though I didn’t think I’d buy much I spent over $400. Well, I have been on a stash diet since the beginning of 2009 (though I’m beginning to think that the only time I’m not on a stash diet is between the time I arrive somewhere where yarn is sold until the moment I hand over the money for it.) And the pricier items were the fringe twister and books.

Here’s the haul:

From left to right, top to bottom:

SWTC Jazz in silver, pewter and a metallic multicolour from Stranded In Oz
Two skeins of unlabelled silk yarn from a shop that didn’t give me a receipt (but they gave me the Bendigo bag at the top)
Grey Bunny Mink from Ixchel
Leila wool-bamboo sock, Pisces cobweb, Iris lace weight, Rufus 4ply merino-cashmere, and Primrose sock yarn from Moseley Park
Lang Jawoll Magic in multicoloured gem tones and Lang Mille Colori in graduated greys

Scarf Pin (which I’m also going to use as a hair clip) by Wool N Wire
Buttons, purple cotton yarn and a netting shuttle from the button lady
Fringe twister and inkle shuttle from the stall that sold Ashford Products (no receipt)
Fudge and chocolate coated mini puddings

Books from Colonial Lake Books
Bisk-Art Cookie Cutters

Once upon a time I would never have looked twice at lace weight or cobweb yarn, but this time I averted my eyes from anything heavier than 4ply. Though I can weave heavier yarns, I have plenty already. If I buy lighter yarn it can be used on the knitting machine as well. And now I have plenty of that kind of yarn. I just need to find time to knit or weave it.

Two in a Row

The weekend before last I made a day of it, and caught the train and tram to the Handknitters Guild Yarn Fair. My main reason to go was to ask a few questions of the Machine Knitters Association of Victoria, see if the Handweavers and Spinners Guild had any inkle looms on sale, say a brief ‘hi’ and ‘thanks’ to Kylie of the Ton of Wool project and fondle the cormo.

Well, I had a great natter with Christine about the MKAV and worked out which local club to contact. I got to have a look at the cormo and say thanks to Kylie as well. But the HW&SG didn’t have much more than a table with finished objects and handspun yarn to buy on it. However, I found out that they were having their textile bazaar the next week.

I bumped into a friend, Emma, and wound up having lunch with some of the Richmond knitters group. Which was lovely but made me miss hand knitting sooo much.

I did manage to buy a couple of things:

But I figured I’d save the main damage to the bank account for the next week, when I headed over to the Handweavers and Spinners Guild Textile Bazaar. I managed to avoid the temptations of the Great Cone Yarn Mountain Range and got a second hand inkle loom for $5, which would hardly cover the cost of the wood. Then, as I was about to leave, I spotted a new, teeny weeny inkle loom. For $15. I knew if I didn’t buy it I would kick myself later.

I also picked up a couple of rag shuttles. You can never have too many shuttles. And some ratchet and pawls that will come in handy if I make or adapt a loom.

And I finally got around to joining the Guild. Paul was waiting in the car, so I didn’t hang about too long. I wish I’d had a bit more time to chat, as I met more weavers in my short visit than I have before in previous ones. When asking if they had any paddle heddles, I explained by showed them my little afro comb loom, and it drew a bit of interest. No paddle heddles there, though.

Oh, and to the woman who said ‘oh, I read your…’ if you meant this blog… um… ‘hi’. You looked busy so I didn’t ask if you were a regular reader. In fact, a few faces seemed familiar but I couldn’t quite work out why. I probably would have, if I’d had more time.

Afterwards we scooted off to the Made in Thornbury market where two friends, Margaret and Beky had stalls, and when we set off home the day had turned drizzly and grey.

I went to Bendigo…

But not for the Bendy Show. There was a photography exhibition on there last weekend that Paul wanted to see, so I took the opportunity to duck into the woollen mills for some yarn I’ve been meaning to get more of, which isn’t available on mail order:

Um… well, yes. Not very exciting. It’s craft yarn for weaving a rya rug out of old shirts, sheets and fabric offcuts. But I did buy some yarny yarn, too:

Some purple cotton to go with the leftover green I bought too much of for a baby blanket (to make more baby blankets) and some of their only-available-in-the-shop sock yarn (which comes in colours you might look for if you thought WW2 was still on and wanted to knit socks for soldiers).

The Bendy Show is on this weekend. Unfortunately – or fortunately for Paul – the photography exhibition finished last weekend so there was no chance to do both in one trip. Also, the train service to Bendigo is currently replaced by busses, making the trip a long and painful one, according to a friend who lives up there, so I won’t be going to the Show. I don’t mind, though. Got plenty of yarn to knit and weave already.

Travelling Yarn Purchases

Though I knew there’s be little time for crafty stuff while overseas, I was determined that I’d at least get to one yarn store. So during a couple of free days in London we headed to Loop, where I’d been told I could find the much-adored Wollmeise sock yarn. And sure enough, there it was, along with a few other famous sock yarns and one I hadn’t heard of before. So I bought one of each:

From left to right: Dye for Yarn, Rohrspatz & Wollmeise, Madelinetosh and Malabrigo.

Which I then had the shop post home for me. Though I wanted to keep and pat them, I was hauling my suitcase around Europe and, what with the back problems I have, needed it to be as light as possible. I had a sock in progress, which was going so slowly that I knew there was no danger of me running out of knitting to do.

Later, in Germany, I stumbled on a yarn store in a subterranean mall. Though it didn’t stock any much fancier than Regia, the prices were too good to resist. And I like a good sturdy, reliably machine washable yarn to knit men’s socks out of.

Regia and two yarns by Wolle Rodel.

This lot got stuffed inside shoes and a hat, because we’d were going home not long after.

New Yarn, New Projects

Getting down to the ‘bottom’ of the stash (well, down to 10 kilos) has it’s problems. As I’ve already mentioned in another post, I’m now having to tackle some ‘difficult’ yarns. The sideways vest was an good example of nice yarns that don’t lend themselves easily to available patterns, and designing my own pattern seemed like the only solution.

Another solution is to buy more yarn.

As in the case of this one:

For which I took advantage of Bendigo Woollen Mills having a sale and bought some Luxury 8ply in black to go with it:

The plan is to knit the front and back of a sweater in stripes of the coloured yarn and black, with the sleeves and bands all black. I’ll use a basic pattern from one of my books, minimising the risk of error and reknitting that comes with designing it myself.

I also picked up some light green cotton for a gift, because I had nothing remotely suitable in the stash:

This one will be my own design, but a very simple one done on the knitting machine if all goes well.

But for handknitting, I’m hoping to tackle this yarn next:

Natural coloured yarn I picked up in New Zealand. I wanted to buy a hank in each colour, but held back and chose three. Of course, finding a pattern I liked that used equal quantities of three colours isn’t that easy. I’m going to try a pattern for a single-colour cardigan and use a different colour for the sleeves, waist section and collar. More on that to come in another post.

My next pair of socks will be a Christmas present for Dad knit out of this:

Another Little Purchase

While we were in town on Monday, we popped into Seniors Art Supplies. This time it wasn’t me who wanted to shop, it was Paul. While he was buying himself a visual diary, I was trying not to look too closely at anything in case I found something to buy.

But at the counter, they had these:

Cute little portable paint boxes for sketchers – for only $19.95! With an adorable brush that slots into it’s own handle.

Of course, I had to have one. It might not be as small as my little homemade paint box, but there’s a bigger range of colours. I was intrigued to find that white is included. I don’t have white watercolour paint to add to the homemade paint box, and gouage dries solid. Since these little cakes of paint can be bought separately to replace a colour when it is used up, I should be able to buy a white one for it.