Bazaar Times

So ask I mentioned a few posts ago, I’ve been doing some yarn culling. First there was the big rug yarn/fabric cull last year that triggered the Summer of Quilts, thanks to me thinking it would be easier (ha!) to just sew up all the flannelette strips into quilts. Then in April I culled some dyeing supplies and knitting yarn. As May arrived the rest of the stash got thinned and I figured it all may as well go into the yearly weaving guild sale. I added magazines, a pin loom, a 16 shaft loom I was going to fix up but no longer want, and circular knitting machine to the pile.

And it was quite a pile.

More like a wall.

Estimated total number of items was topping 100. Aside from the possibility it wouldn’t all fit in my car, the thought of filling in ten forms, and deciding on prices, and labelling it all, and carting it to the guild sapped my will to live. It had me wondering if I should just have a studio sale instead. That reminded me that I’ve seen people hire a table at the Bazaar and have their own eftpos machine. Both Paul and a friend have organised such things before so it didn’t intimidate me. Doing it that way would remove the need for filling in forms and I could change prices or put together bundles as the day progressed. I called the guild and asked if I could do that instead.

After a few days they got back to me, and the answer was ‘no’. So I looked at the pile/wall and figured I had to reduce it to a more manageable size. I decided to donate the knitting yarn to op shops and toss the magazines into the recycling (I’d got them for free at the Bazaar two years ago when nobody wanted them). I was all ready to take the rug yarn to the tip when a weaver I know said that friend of hers would take it. Perfect.

That got the items down to just under 70. It took me 4 hours to fill in the forms and write and attach the tags. It and the rug yarn (which I delivered the same day) filled the back of my car.

And, thankfully, most of it sold.

Looking at the Loom Room now, the difference is obvious. Only half of the shelving and little wardrobe contain weaving things. The rest holds either knitting/crochet, embroidery and spinning items, or empty tubs. I’m not sure what my next move is, but it might involve even bigger changes.

As I always remind myself: nothing in life is more sure than change.

Projects of 2023

This year I’ve been all over the place creatively and, well, so has life in general. I didn’t seem to get much done at times, but when I look closer that was because I tackled single projects that took up a lot of time. I did a bit of sewing, a bit of weaving, delved into some occasional crafts like jewellery-making and air-dry clay, finished some long-term WIPs and culled several kinds of hobby supplies. It feels like my mind began to jump from hobby to hobby in the latter months of the year, new shiny things taking my attention before I’d finished with whatever had last attracted me, as if Covid 19 gave me some king of creative ADHD.

January & February:

The Print & Paint With Natural Dyes workshop took up all of my creative energy at the beginning of the year, partly because so much else were going on, including having Dad and his very naughty cat staying with us.

March:

Using the knowledge I’d gained in the workshop, I painted/dyed three tops and a scarf. I also sewed a shirt out of a sarong.

April:

I didn’t include the Ink-Making workshop in my 2022 summary, but I think I should have. Six months after, I made some more inks as some sources dependant on season became available.

May:

A bit more sewing happened, first when I turned Motto Skirt into a top…

… and made a Chambray Dress.

And I returned to the loom to finish the Bouclé Chains Scarf.

June:

I finished a coiling fabric basket, made while visiting Mum.

More exploration of Deflected Doubleweave with bouclé yarn happened with the Baroque Scarf.

I also culled my mosaic supplies and did an illustration commission.

July:

And another DDW project finally using a design I drafted a few years ago: the Electricity Scarf.

August:

We went to Lord Howe Island, and I did some sketches.

September:

The fourth and favourite DDW bouclé scarf: Copper Roses.

I tried making watercolour paint, and felt a bit ‘meh’ about it.

October:

A bout of finishitis set in. I lengthened Slinky Ribs and made it all rib:

We went to Norfolk Island on an artist holiday.

A bout of Covid 19 somehow led to me culling things. First my jewellery collection, which led to jewellery-making.

November:

I finally, at long last, finished the Pin Loom Blanket.

I wove a Honeycomb Scarf and Tapestry Beret.

The jewellery-making also included a dive into air dry clay.

I finally, at long last, finished the dishcloths that had been on the Jane loom for a year.

December:

Watching Project Runway and The Great British Sewing Bee had me itching to sew. After culling my sewing materials, I made Paul a bucket hat and me some shorts.

And then got the itch to crochet. This Granny Beret seemed a good warm up to something bigger.

A big yarn cull moved the flannelette strips meant for rag rugs into the fabric stash intended for quilts. I sewed a single bed sized quilt.

Also:

This year was also the year of the artist subscription box. I tried one Paletteful Pack but decided against signing up because the postage was too expensive, then gave SketchBox a go and stuck with it. They proved to be a very entertaining and interesting monthly treat. It allowed me to try some art supplies I’ve never encountered before. It’s likely after a year I’ll stop the subscription because there are only so many kinds of art supply so the rewards will eventually diminish, but it has been fun and I suspect I’ll miss it if I do.

I also did a lot of oil painting, mostly in the plein air group but also lots of still life both at the art society and at home. I decided to stop posting pictures of my art, however, until it was clearer how plagiarism software (AI) was going to affect everything.

One Cull Leads to Another

During my fabric, pattern and habby cull, I got to thinking about how different my attitude to fabric stash is to yarn stash. With sewing, I have a limited time I can spend on the machine before my back complains, so I don’t waste it on making items I don’t want or aren’t fun to make.My fabric collection isn’t overly large. It fits in four plastic filing boxes and one tub.

With weaving, I often make things I don’t particularly want to keep in order to use up stash or learn something new. The weaving yarn stash is seven or eight times larger than the fabric stash. Which is sobering, but not unexpected. It’s been my main hobby for quite a few years now, and until recently I was on quite a learning drive.

I’d like to weave with the same attitude as sewing, so having a weaving yarn stash as practical as the sewing stash appeals. However, to get to that point I’d have to cull quite a bit of yarn. The thought was rather intimidating, but on a free day recently, I girded my loins and got stuck in. What I found surprised me.

Since it was a large task, I broke it into smaller ones. My cones of yarn are stored separately to the skein, ball and hanks, and I left them for another time.

Out: a few cones I knew I’d never weave.

The balls, skeins and hanks of yarn made up about half the yarn. I was surprised to find they were mostly knitting and crochet yarn. Not that I don’t weave knitting yarn, just not as often these day. Some is intended for machine knitting projects, so it turns out this is also a machine knitting stash. And possibly hand knitting and crocheting, but I’ll get to that later.

Out: a bag of yarn I wasn’t keen on.

Below the knitting yarns were eight tubs of fabric for rag rugs. Am I going to weave more rag rugs? Probably not. While I like rag rugs, the oldest ones I have I made 13 years ago, and I plan to replace them with the flannelette ones I have in storage.

Out: ALL of the fabric for weaving.

When I’d estimated the amount of weaving yarn I had, I was waaaay out, because I forgot the wool rug stash.

Yikes.

Out: about half of it.

Having decided that this was also a machine knitting stash, I moved the circular knitting machines in from the craft room. In order to do that I had to move the embroidery and macramé yarn stash. You know what happened next.

Out: er, nothing. I meant to get rid of most of it, but there’s now plenty of room on the yarn stash shelves and I have a few ideas I’d like to try. At least removing it from the same cupboard as the sewing supplies gives me a some room for all that ex-fabric-for-weaving, which may become quilts and chair covers.

I’ve come up with a couple of crochet projects for the knitting yarn, too. All things I want and will be fun to make. Next time I have the urge to downsize, the cone yarns will be in the firing line. Hopefully before the next Guild bazaar.

WIP Wipeout

These dishcloths were on the loom for fourteen months. Fourteen.

And now they’re done.

They’re the last of the major WIPs I decided to finish a few months back. While not as old as the Pin Loom Blanket project, they had definitely fallen into a Black Hole of Mehness. They seemed like a good use of the supplemental warp beam – and they were – but I couldn’t help wondering why I was spending so many hours weaving and hemming an object that I can buy for around a dollar each and will toss in a year or so when they get too stained and threadbare.

Eventually I decided I wasn’t allowed to start any new weaving project until they were off the loom. I suspect my dive into air dry clay was partly a subconscious rebellion against that decision. My brain was desperate for excitement. So it was kind of ironic that the gloss went off air dry clay so quickly, and that on the same day I packed away the clay supplies I also finished the last dishcloth.

I was seriously considering just cutting the warp off the loom to get it over with, but decided to finish the last cloth and see how much was left. Turns out, not enough for another cloth. Which means I don’t feel like I gave up on them, or that they defeated me.

But I sure as heck won’t be weaving dishcloths again!

Lucy’s Honeycomb

A little white ago a friend asked on FB if anyone wanted a ball of slubby, multicoloured yarn formerly a scarf that had unravelled. I put my hand up for it and offered to weave it into a new scarf. She accepted.

We had a couple of quick consultations, in which I showed her some examples of weaving using slubby yarn, she picked honeycomb weave with a green background as her favourite. I did a lot of math and worked out that I didn’t have enough of the green to make a shawl, but plenty for a wide scarf.

Weaving honeycomb was rather pleasant, and similar to the deflected doubleweave I’ve been weaving in that it pairs smooth wool with a textured yarn, and is fast and engaging to weave.

My calculations were way out, though, since I still had plenty of both the slubby and background yarns left when the scarf was done. I considered making another scarf. Then memories of this friend wearing a beret/tam had me digging out a device I made years ago for weaving tams, and I got to work. The body was woven from the old scarf yarn, then fulled a little. The brim was knit separately out of a natural coloured 8ply yarn then sewn on.

The pom pom was made from the thrums, making this a very frugal project. I still have a ball of the slubby yarn left, but I’m going to offer it to my friend to save in case of moth damage.

When I embarked on the band knitting, I looked up beret patterns to see how many stitches were cast on and realised that berets seem to be in fashion again. It has me eyeing the yarn stash.

The Pin Loom Blanket

This project has taken me over half a decade. It started as a small weaving thing to do while travelling then, when I had accumulated enough squares to start thinking about what to make out of them, something bigger. Eventually I hit on the idea of a double-thickness blanket of stuffed squares. Since then, however, I decided not to stuff them because the weave isn’t dense enough for the filler not to show through.

After I did the pin loom workshop a few years ago I bought the double size square loom to get a little variety into the blanket and speed up the process, though it didn’t really speed up the process much. It didn’t help that, no matter what size square I wove, if I worked on it too much my back would complain. So progress was made in small bouts of enthusiasm and abandonment.

Early this year I decided it was time to finish it off. Using safety pins, I connected the squares together in an appealing sequence and used a board to carry it all from room to room when I needed the kitchen table for something else. Slowly I wove the remaining squares. Gradually I crocheted around the edges. Doggedly I sewed it all together, then crocheted a border. When I think about the hours I must have spent on it, I’m sure it has to have taken hundreds. I wonder if it was all worth it. If the journey is more important than the destination, then yes, it being an epic trek that I was totally over by the time it was done definitely overshadows the relief of having it done.

Not all wanderers are lost? Yeah, I’d totally lost all will to live by the end of this one. But I survived.

Copper Roses

When digging around the stash, matching bouclé yarns with smooth, I stumbled upon a trio that looked really nice together. What seemed like fairly bland reddish-brown and orange bouclé yarns somehow gained a sumptuous metallic gleam next to a purple (blackberry nip) Bendigo Classic 3ply. How could I not weave something with the combo?

A while back I made a draft I called “roses” because of the bright reds I’d chosen for it, but it took only a few tweaks to adapt it to the new colours. It looked great, so I started planning for a scarf, conscious that I didn’t have enough of the orange bouclé for anything larger.

To ensure the orange wouldn’t run out, I wound it onto the warping board set to the length of the scarf, then counted the number of ends. Since that included loom waste, I knew I could plan to warp a little bit over half of the number of ends in orange, since the spacing of it in the weft was the same as the warp. Factoring in these limitations, I knew I’d have a narrower scarf than the ones I’ve been weaving, but still a good size. So warped up the loom and got weaving.

Since I’m weaving almost only on weekends now, and July to October seems like birthday season, the scarf came together at a leisurely pace. I was happy to find these bouclé yarns worked as well as the grey I’ve used in the last three projects. There’s less than a bobbin of orange left, but plenty of the reddish-brown, which wove up nicely and I’d like to use in another DDW scarf.

The last third was woven a bit faster due to wanting to start the next project. A friend gave me some interesting slubby yarn from a scarf that had unravelled. I offered to weave it into a shawl for her, and when I showed her a few examples of items that make a feature of a fancy yarn she was instantly attracted to honeycomb. I’m thinking of weaving a test shawl with some slubby in the stash. Which means my next projects aren’t going to be more bouclé Deflected Doubleweave, but I do hope to get back to it.

Electricity

When I was nearing the end of the Baroque scarf, I knew I wanted to do more bouclé deflected doubleweave, but I wanted to try using some other other bouclé yarns in the stash. That wasn’t as easy as I hoped. The grey bouclé I’ve been using matched well with Bendigo Classic 3ply, but the other bouclés came in many different weights and it was hard to find nice colour matches.

Then a bright green slubby yarn caught my eye. Not a bouclé but the same WPI as the grey. Being an almost fluorescent shade, it reminded me of electrical wires, which put me in mind of draft I designed after I did the deflected doubleweave Zoom class in 2020. If I recall correctly, I used the snail trails and cats paws overshot profile draft as a DDW profile draft, and electrical plug shapes appeared in the pattern.

So I dug up that pattern and tweaked the colours until I had a trio of yarns that suited… which included the grey bouclé after all. The slubby yarn was a bit thin, but it’s only used for a few stripes in the pattern so I gambled on it not mattering, and that paid off. There was a time I wouldn’t mix yarns that weren’t the same brand and weight. Thanks to the 4 and 8 shaft courses, those days are long gone.

I love how this came out. It’s unisex, cosy and striking. And I’ve wound a warp for another DDW scarf, this time using two other bouclé yarns from my stash.

Baroque Scarf

I’m not sure why the first word that popped into my mind when I considered what to call this scarf was ‘baroque’, but when I did a google image search on the word plus ‘patterns’ lots of diamond shaped repeats in blues and grey/silver or gold appeared, so my subconscious seems to know what it’s talking about!

Technically, this is another sampler scarf. I want to see what the same yarns I used in the last scarf will do if I reduce the blocks to four ends, and if the floats weren’t overly long I might head down the route of making a garment.

Since it had been six months since I’d put a warp on a loom, my mind felt oddly stiff, as if I was waking up unused muscles. Fortunately, everything I needed to know came back to me and I was soon weaving again. A couple of weekends later it was done.

And I had come up with two more projects. Both scarves. One using the grey boucle, the other using a coppery-brown and an orange boucle. Seems I forgot all about making a garment. Well, I have enough garments. I’m on a roll with these deflected doubleweave scarves. A slow roll, but a roll nonetheless. Let’s see how far it carries me.

Saleability

Looking over all the Daily Art pieces and considering what was worth framing had me thinking about what sort of art might sell. Recently, I refreshed the items I had for sale in the Guild shop and that got me thinking along similar lines.

Of the six items I put in the shop six months ago, two sold: a pink flannelette rag rug and a grey and white shadow weave cotton scarf made from the extra yarn in a kit. The four items that didn’t sell included a black t-shirt fabric rag rug with a multicolour twill warp and three cotton twill scarves. I couldn’t help but note that all the scarves had been stashbuster projects and wonder if my intention in making them was weighted too much toward using up the yarn than making something saleable. Perhaps I would have been better off culling those yarns.

I also noted that those four items weren’t my best pieces in the “to sell or gift” chest. When I considered which items to put in the shop this time, I put the nicest ones back in case I needed them as gifts. That is silly. It’s not like I give handwovens very often. So I’ve decided I will take the best pieces for the shop in six months. I only waste my time and fail to make space for new creations if I sell nothing because I didn’t put the good stuff in!

However, I do stand by my decision to keep the nicest flannelette rag rugs. They took a ridiculously long time to weave and in these tough times I doubt anyone would be willing to pay even a quarter of what they’re worth. Eventually mine will wear out and I’ll have something to replace them with.