Sunday, January 24, 2010

Boucle Shawls - Done

I'm making progress working through my secret and not so secret stash. Using lots of different odds and ends of knitting yarns for the warps, I finished two shawls/laprugs this month. The wefts were handpainted Kid Mohair boucle yarns from Claudia Hand Painted Yarns. I wanted to get rid of the various small balls of knitting yarns and use the boucle as it was taking up a lot of space. Each shawl took exactly one skein of boucle for the weft (I wove until it was gone). After I did the first shawl (red), I just tied a new warp on the the old. I wet finished each of them by washing (in my front loader) on the pre wash cycle, warm/cold water, for the 12 minute then I dried them on "delicate" for about 15 minutes and hung them over a heat vent to finish drying. They are very soft and fuzzy. They are about 21 inches wide and 72 inches long.

I like the interplay of the colors especially in the teal/green/brown one but you can't see much of that in the photo. The fuzzy boucle makes the photo look slightly out of focus. Plus this very gray sky day isn't the best for a photo shoot. The red boucle had a lot of purples it in (kinda of "Red Hat-ish") so I used red, blacks and purples in the warp, including some red ribbon yarn. The other boucle was teals, browns, greens and grays so I used those colors in the warp.

This morning I put on a warp of Lisa Souza's Timaru -- a merino/bamboo blend -- and am using the last two skeins of (that I remember) boucle that are in my stash for the weft. The warp is in Lisa's Pacific colorway. I really liked how this knitting yarn is working as warp. It has enough bamboo (35%) to reduce the stretching problems I usually have when I use knitting yarns as warp on my Fireside loom. The plan is for two scarves as I have about 140 yards in each of the two Colinette boucle skeins. If I can resist beating hard, I should have enough for two scarves about 60-65 inches long.

Almost every time I warp my Fireside loom using knitting yarns I tell myself I'm going to put up a big sign by the loom that says "don't use knitting yarns on this loom or you'll be sorry" -- that's why it was such a relief today to find a knitting yarn that didn't stretch and stretch when tension was applied.

Tonight I plan to wind a warp for a baby crib blanket. Lisa Souza has a new colorway called Breath of Spring and I think it will make a lovely crib blanket. I'm using that colorway in her washable merino sock yarn as the weft and cotton as warp. I've got to get busy and get it on my other loom as I want to finish it before my friend's baby arrives. Here's a color swatch of Breath of Spring.
How's everyone else coming along on using their secret stash instead of saving it for the estate sale?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Use it Now! Project and Weaving

Here's my "Use it Now" for the day...a very old hand woven dish towel as a small cloth for the tool table beside my Fireside loom. This towel is one of several given to me by a dear, but now departed to join the great majority, friend who grew up and lived her life in a small German village. She was born in 1914, just at the beginning of the First World War. The date with initials on the towel is 1912. I'm guessing this was made by her mother. I believe it was handwoven as the edges are a little uneven in places. When she gave me the towels, she also gave me a scrap of her Mother's wedding dressing. We have it in a frame with photos of our friend and her family. Our friend truly enjoyed life. Her favorite phase was "make it empty" -- the plate of potato pancakes, the bottle of wine -- she was always wanting us to "make it empty." Our visits to her home were always quite an adventure and usually resulted in me gaining a pound a day for everyday we spent with them.

In my efforts to reduce the stash (ie - make it empty), I wove 80 inches of yardage over the past two days...not sure if it will be a lap rug/shaw or if it will turn into yardage for some future sewing project. I have a little warp left so I will probably weave something with a different weft as I completely ran out of the weft yarn. Meg at Unravelling did a New Year's Day "Day in the Life of a Loom" and asked for photos of our looms. I couldn't send her a photo of a half naked loom so I finally finish warping my Fireside and the weaving was quick. The warp is a just a mix of left over knitting yarns and the weft is Claudia Hand Painted Yarn Baby Boucle in shades of red and purple. It's in plain weave. Everytime I use knitting yarn as warp on the Fireside I am reminded that knitting yarn as warp on this loom is not a good idea. I need to post a note about it by my warping board so that I don't forget.

The little pink and yellow stripe scarf is something I finished weaving last week on my LeClerc Fanny loom. I've spent more time trying to determine the best fringe than weaving the thing. A twisted the fringe was too skinny and other versions of a twisted fringe weren't right either. So now I've decided just to knot the fringe and that means I have to un-tie all the tiny knots from the earlier fringe versions. This scarf is short as I had originally planned a mobius, but decided after weaving a few inches that the self striping effect would be better in a scarf than a mobius. Since I had tied on to an old warp I was able to eek out about 55 inches and hopefully when washed it won't shrink a bunch. The warp is tencel and silk and the weft is baby alpaca and silk.

I'm trying to decide what to weave next on my Fireside. I could tie on to the existing warp and weave another yarbage/laprug/shaw piece or I could start with a fresh warp and weave a baby blanket that needs to be done soon. And I need to find something else to use that I have been saving!

Remember -- Use It Now! Don't save it for your estate sale!

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 - The Year To Use Your Secret Yarn Stash

I'm not one for New Year's resolutions but this year I have one -- I'm going to stop saving stuff to use sometime in the future. If you are like me you have a special little stash of yarns you are saving for that special project, you have special ingredients in your kitchen cabinet you are saving for a special recipe or you have something in you closet you are saving to wear on a special occasion.

My challenge to you is -- use it now! What are we waiting for? So this year I going to weave and knit with the cashmere I have been collecting, I'm going to use the lovely handspun I have from Lisa Souza, I going to cook with the flavored olive oils I carryed home from Florence, Italy and I'm going to wear the stuff in my closet or give it away.

Life is way to short to horde this stuff. If you think you aren't ready to dip into you secret yarn stash -- think about this -- do you want to use it or leave for someone to buy someday at your yarn stash sale (the one you have prior to going into assisted living).

On the weaving front, I finished a silk, tencel, baby alpaca scarf last week and finally after about 6 month of a half naked Fireside loom, I got it warped using various stash busting yarns. I've got 30 inches of a scarf finished on my table loom and I'm half way through a secret baby gift (size 1 needles -- never again!). Fanny doesn't have a warp on her right now so I thinking about putting a rug warp on so I can use up some of my Pendleton worms. The worms take up mega amount of space in my studio. I did finish all my Christmas present and got them into the mail by mid December...greatly reducing my stress.
The top photo from taken on New Year's Eve, 2007, in Sorrento where they really know how to welcome in the new year!
Wishing all of you a TOTALLY TERRIFIC Secret Stash Busting New Year.