Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Unravelry

I have embarked on a new project, which is taking apart a number of thrift store cashmere sweaters and “unravelling” them to recombine the fine 2-ply yarn into a yarn I can weave or knit with.  I was introduced to the concept at spinning camp in 2012, started picking up sweaters, and they have sat in a box until now.  Time to do something with them!

Some have been easier to take apart than others.  They always have to have been knitted in pieces and then “linked” together with what looks like a very fine crochet chain.  If the seams were surged, the edges were cut, and they can’t be pulled off into a continuous strand.  I have also learned that it is best to avoid cardigans (fronts were not continuous or were perforated with buttonholes) and items with pockets (too much trouble to take off and easy to damage the knit fabric).

Here was the first sweater, a short sleeve model, with the test yarn.  I am using the spinning wheel to twist 2 strands of the 2-ply cashmere together in the ply direction (to the left)so they are together and overtwisted.  Then twisting 2 of that yarn to the right to make a cabled yarn.  The end yarn then is a cabled 8-ply.

I am using a ball winder to pull off the 2-ply yarn from the sweater pieces.  And yes, I do sometimes need that magnifier for my Ott-Lite to see the little itty bitty teeny tiny chains I have to undo at one end, to get a clear thread to pull on and (hopefully) unzip the whole seam.

So far I have taken apart and “unravelled” 9 sweaters to get some basic materials for recombining.  I may try combining different colors of cashmere together, or cashmere with 2/18 Zephyr wool/silk.  I still have red, gray, and an assortment of warm pastel colors to work on.

These thrift store sweaters mostly cost $3 – $5, although I sometimes paid more if the cashmere seemed higher quality, or a wonderful color, or it was going to yield a lot of yarn because of being a large size or having cables.  I can always do some over-dyeing of the final yarn.

The upside:  I am getting a wonderful cashmere yarn in the weight I want for not much money, that I couldn’t easily buy.  My friend Andrea Eyre is making a 12-ply cabled yarn from recycled cashmere in a worsted weight, and her business name is R4, but I can’t find a web link for her.  You can also buy fine 2-ply laceweight yarn, e.g. on Etsy, and hold multiple strands together, but I don’t view that as being the same as having a constructed cabled yarn.

The downside:  I am putting a lot of time into it!  But right now, it is fun and exploratory and I do have all those sweaters…

Advertisements

Connecting Threads

Tonight is the opening reception for the new show at Confluence Gallery in Twisp, titled Connecting Threads.  The description from their website:  “From the utilitarian to the purely decorative, fiber art is one of humanities oldest art forms. This exhibit will feature the wide range of modern fiber arts including, but not limited to, weaving, art quilts, felting, basketry, soft sculpture, embroidery, and hand-dyed textiles.”

They set it up this past week and it is pretty wonderful.  I went in on Wednesday and took a few pictures of my two extended manifold twill shawls in 20/2 perle cotton and tencel.  Also the small blanket or throw that is a series I am starting using my handspun yarn for weft, with Jaggerspun Green Line organic merino wool in 4 colors for the warp.

There are some woven jacquard pieces that appear based on photographs, very elaborate.  I hope the artist is there and I can find out more about these.  The labels say “handwoven” but are done on a computerized jacquard loom I presume.

Windfeather Photographed

Carol Sunday kindly sent me the photographs of my Windfeather – High Country colorway stole so I could use them to update my projects on Ravelry and/or social media.  The only “social media” I use is this blog!  Note to self:  update that Ravelry account.

Anyway, the pictures turned out beautiful and are now on her website with the kits and pattern for Windfeather from Sunday Knits, and are incorporated into the High Country version of the pattern.  She sent back my stole and it arrived yesterday.  I am thrilled!

 

Tencel Shawls Underway

Just a quick post to show what I have been working on lately.  There is a fiberarts show coming up at Confluence Gallery in Twisp and I am trying to get some pieces done for that.  One of the projects is a series of shawls with 20/2 mercerized cotton warp and tencel weft.  They are much like the shawls I did a few years back using an extended manifold twill threading in Strickler’s 8-harness pattern book.  These will be some new colors and also a little wider.  One thing I like about this setup is how you can get different patterns with different treadlings.

The weft yarns are 8/2 variegated tencel (from WEBS) used doubled for the pattern weft, and 10/2 tencel for the tabby weft.  It is interesting to see how the tabby weft color sort of washes the whole thing with a background color on the cream 20/2 cotton warp.

Here are the color pairings I selected:

I put on 18 yards of warp and figure I can do 6 shawls.  I finished weaving the first three and took them off the loom several days ago.  Now have a whole bunch of fringe twisting to do, but they should be done in time for the gallery show.

Wild Grape Combo with rust tabby weft:

Lake Combo with emerald tabby weft:

It’s interesting to see the reversal of light and dark pattern on each side of the shawl.

Mountain Stream Combo with gold tabby weft:

By the way, that’s my new Louet Flying Dutchman shuttle carrying the pattern weft.  I had read about it on a couple of blogs and decided to go for it when Puffy Mondaes had it at 20% off with free shipping on Black Friday.  I really like it!  It takes a larger bobbin than my regular shuttles, so I can get more yarn on.  It is lightweight and comfortable to use.  The arched wire on the top is supposed to help when weaving a sticky warp (which this isn’t, but some of my “mixed warp” simple scarves with mohairs and boucles can be a problem).

Windfeather Finished

I finally finished my Windfeather stole, which I started last July.  This was a kit from Carol Sunday at Sunday Knits and I had chosen the High Country colorway (one of 8 colorways).  I purchased it when she first brought out the pattern under her Beta Sale discount.  At the time she only had one of the eight colorways knitted up and she offered a further store credit if you were the first to finish one and allow her to have it for photography (see link above).

Here it is before blocking:

I checked her website and she still did not have finished items for the “Earth & Sky” and the “High Country” colorways.  So I emailed her and she sent me a prepaid shipping label and off it went to her yesterday for photography.  Kind of cool!

Her line of yarns, spun and dyed for her by a small mill in Italy, are absolutely wonderful and I will wear and treasure this stole for a long time.

We still have snow on the ground, but are having a very early warming trend, so who knows how long it will last.  Usually we have snow on the ground and ski trails in good condition at least through February!

Spinning for Weaving

I have been doing a lot more spinning lately, and got into the box of rovings from Taylored Fibers in Quilcene, WA (which I last blogged about here in March 2014 when we visited Barry and saw his big carder in action).  I quickly realized that I didn’t have enough of each roving to do a sweater quantity, and wasn’t sure that was what I wanted to spin for anyway.  I am gearing up to weave new work for a fiber-arts show at Confluence Gallery in the spring, and want to do some small blankets or throws.  So I thought, why not create handspun yarn for wefts using various combinations of these rovings?  It would be similar to some twill shawls I did a few years back using handspun wefts, so I already have an idea of how much yarn I will need for a small blanket.

Here are the rovings:

Roving A – 50% BFL (blue-faced leicester wool), 30% silk, 20% alpaca.  I have a total of just under 1 lb.  This one has a lot of VM (vegetable matter) and some other hard bits, I think from the silk noils, so I am having to pick out quite a bit of that and the singles still turn out a little prickly.  I think it will be better combined with other fibers anyway, to tame this a bit.  It is a lovely warm honey color, though.

Roving A

Roving B – 45% lambswool, 35% alpaca, 10% angora.  I have 15 oz and it is light gray.

Roving B

Roving C – 45% merino. 30% alpaca, 10% kid mohair, 15% silk.  I have 18-1/2 oz and it almost black with some white streaks, presumably from the kid mohair and silk.

Roving C

Roving D – 65% Shetland lamb, 35% alpaca.  I have 2 rovings, each about 1 lb, and it is a medium gray, somewhat darker than B when spun up.  Since I have 2 lbs I can use 1/2 lb in a combo yarn and the rest of it as a solid 3-ply all by itself.

Roving D

Roving E – 1/3 each of merino, alpaca and BFL.  I have 17 oz and it is a dark blue.

Roving E

I have spun up some of this into singles and begun sampling 3-ply combinations, all about worsted weight (if I was knitting it).  For blanket warps, I have cones of Jaggerspun Green Line organic wool in a number of colors, which should be about the right weight.  I also have ecru (undyed) yarns from Ashland Bay that might work well, for example, the “Argentina” which is Polwarth wool and silk.

I figure I will need about 1-1/2 lbs of each yarn for a small blanket and have come up with a plan for combining my singles in different ways to achieve this.

Here is a 3-ply made from A, B and C above, with some colors in Green Line that I may use for warp:

3-ply using rovings A, B & C

Here is another one made from A, B & D with the same warp colors, but I think it would also work well on plain ecru yarn warp:

3-ply made from rovings A, B & D

I also have some teal handspun which is 2/3 BFL and 1/3 alpaca (dyed and blended for me at Taylored Fibers a number of years ago).  I started a sweater but it is languishing, so it may turn into a blanket or two instead:

I am also going to spin up roving E and plan to sample a yarn with one ply of C (the black) and 2 plies of E (the dark blue).  I have Green Line in some nice blue colors so that should work.

I am having a lot of fun with this, and have a lot of spinning to do!

Hansencrafts mini-spinner at work

I also have finished a couple more of my Mosaic Mojo hats.  This is the time of year when they sell well at the Winthrop Gallery, the only place I have them for sale.  So I need to replenish my stock!  A friend of mine gave me some yarn from Knit Picks to try for these.  The solid evergreen is their “Wool of the Andes” and the variegated a new yarn, called “Galerie” that is supposed to be Noro-like with color transitions.  Both are nice quality wool and inexpensive.  I used a fine kid mohair held with the Galerie.  The second one turned out better (in my opinion) when I made more conscious choices about how to use the Galerie, pulling apart the ball and selecting certain colors.

hat 1769

hat 1770

and this one is using good old Cascade 220 and a Noro yarn called Shinryuoko which is wool and silk:

hat 1771

Handspun, Handknit

Methow Valley Spinners & Weavers annual show and sale was the weekend before Thanksgiving.  I sometimes put some handspun yarn in the sale, but hadn’t put any knitted items in for a while.  Since the focus is on spinning and weaving, our “rule” is that knitted items (or crocheted, or other crafts) have to be done with handspun yarn.

So I went to work on some of my Mosaic Mojo Hats (pattern available on Ravelry.com).  I wound up finishing six of them, and three sold at the guild sale.  The others went to Winthrop Gallery for the holiday gift show.

BFL roving in blue tones, polwarth/silk roving in greens, both dyed by Judith MacKenzie

Brownish yarn created at spinning camp with Judith Feb 2017 from grab-bag of different colors & fibers, plus blue BFL

Another hat with same fibers

Yet another hat with same fibers

Green polwarth/silk and some natural gray handspun from years ago

Reddish polwarth/silk roving I dyed at spinning camp Feb 2016, plus some leftover purple handspun from Taylored Fibers roving

I also had some handspun polwarth/silk from three rovings I bought a few years ago.  They were dyed by Abstract Fiber in Portland, Oregon.  Each 4-oz roving was a different colorway, but they went well together, so I spun singles from each one and then made a 3-ply yarn.  It came out more or less a worsted weight and I didn’t have enough to knit a garment, so it was just sitting there for a while deciding what it wanted to be.

I wound up knitting two cowls based on my Squirrel Cowl pattern (written for fingering weight yarn).  This is a sequence knitting project and uses a multiple of 12 + 1 stitches.   I used a size 9 needle and 228 + 1 sts and it came out a good length for wrapping around twice.  One went into the guild sale and then on to the Winthrop Gallery, and the other I am keeping for me!

Abstract Fiber cowl #1

Abstract Fiber cowl #2

The second one (the one I am keeping) is actually a little different.  I ran out of one of the singles but had more of another one, so I had a small skein of 3-ply with 2 singles of the latter and none of the former.  It was more blue.  I started the cowl with that color, then blended into the main yarn which had all three colors.

By the way, I think Abstract Fiber will be one of the vendors again at the 2018 Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat in Tacoma, WA  (Feb 15-18, 2018).  She really does beautiful work.