Archive for 2018


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…


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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.

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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!


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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).

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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!

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