Friday, 1 June 2018

Lessons from the stash

A couple of weeks ago I saw some yarn advertised by someone who was sorting out her stash and knew that I could use it.  I’d made some simple scarves using a yarn from Spotlight – Moda Vera Fiordaliso, a mix of wool, acrylic and viscose – now discontinued, and colours more like those in the picture of the scarf below

I kept one of the scarves and it’s one of my favourites so when I saw the yarn at a reasonable price, I decided to make some more of the scarves.  I had a look in the stash and found some fine black wool for the warp and the stripes.  I started to make the 10 m warp and that’s where the trouble started.  I hadn’t got 2 lengths on the warping mill but had had several breaks.  I looked more closely.  I hadn’t wound off short lengths from bobbins back on to the cone.  There was no sign of moth damage.  I was using yarn from 2 cones, one already doubled to get the weight I wanted for the warp.

I tested it for strength and even the doubled yarn broke with almost no pressure at all.  I’d read that yarn does get past its use by date, particularly black yarn because of the chemicals needed to get a good black.  The horrible truth dawned – I had about a kilogram/2 pounds of yarn, definitely past its use by date – and not even strong enough to be used as weft in something I hoped to sell.  I guess there’s a lesson there, yarn doesn’t just mature in the stash sometimes it ‘over matures’  I’m reminded of the labels on the yarn I used to get from Village Spinning and Weaving in Solvang CA, where they had re-purposed food labels which said something like ‘refrigerate after opening’

My other concern is that I think the yarn in question was left over from the coat I made as my final project in the certificate of hand weaving.  I really like it but probably only wear it about once each winter.  I’d better start wearing it a lot more.  Hopefully as it’s been wet finished, there aren’t as many chemicals in it and my favourite coat won’t collapse

All was not lost however and there was more black yarn in the stash so I made my warp and got it on the loom as soon as I finished the last scarf on the warp I’d used to make a scarf for the Geelong Scarf Festival and a couple extra.  I did mention ‘frog hair and yarn chicken’ a couple of posts ago.  Here’s what was left from the warp of one after I’d had two broken warps,

not that bad in 7 metres plus of frog hair yarn, or for that matter how old the yarn was.  My guess is that it was from the 1980s, another reason why the problems with the black yarn surprised me.  Photos of the scarf will have to wait til the festival opens in a couple of weeks.

We had another good market last month.  The new venue is settling down well.  Our stall has been in different parts of the market each time and in June we’ll probably move again, hopefully to a regular spot  in what might well be called ‘fashion corner’, just inside the main door. The other good news is that the stall holders who were somewhat isolated down in a basement area, remote from the rest of us in the main area, will be re-joining the main market from next month.

I can’t believe that it’s a month since the last market already and that I have only managed to produce 2 scarves, the one below, aptly named ‘Tiger Eye’

and another from the Fibonacci blocks series, this time with a weft of 2/20 tencel doubled to make a very classic scarf.

I've also been planning an entry for the Sheep Show and survived a major computer upgrade at work, maybe next month will be more productive


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