Posts tagged ‘shopping’

I just spent the week at a conference where talk about threads and fiber had nothing to do with textiles. Aside from getting a bit of knitting done while waiting for things, nothing of note happened this week to talk about here. But there is some to catch up with, as I had to drop everything to get ready.

I pulled the sari silk fabric off the loom and it immediately twisted up. (Not shown in the non-image, above.) High-twist singles will do that, enough that sometimes a fabric just refuses to lie flat no matter what you do. (Narrow stuff is worse: less mass, less inertia, nothing to keep it in place. Wide fabrics may only curl at the corners.) I was able to mostly get this one under control by ironing, but it took a bit. I’m reconsidering my previous idea of cutting it apart for coasters, when it gets wet it will just curl up again. I suppose I could mount the pieces on sheets of cork, but covering up the back side makes it less of a weaving sample. So off it goes to the Textile Aging Vault while I contemplate.

While I was busy, my package of mystery weaving yarn arrived. I wasn’t able to pick it up from the mailbox until today. I bought 25 pounds of 8/2 mill end cotton, stuff that is generally used in industry for lightweight sweater knits. Some of the yarns are even waxed, a dead giveaway that it’s for machine knitting. I was able to include general color suggestions, so I’m fairly happy with the results but some is a bit odd. I asked for natural, white or pastels and specifically requested no orange. I hate orange, it makes me have nightmares about bad Halloween parties. I got a good amount of bleached white, several pastels and a dusty medium blue. There were other darker neutrals I’m not too thrilled about, like a really strange brown-green, but still colors that can be overdyed darker.

And then there was the large cone of that wonderfully subtle shade generally known as OSHA Orange. We’re talking serious highway safety here, my personal nightmare yarn color. The kind that makes people ask if they can use your deer cooler. I have absolutely no idea what I could do with this, the only things that immediately come to mind are hunting gag gifts and that’s a lot of work for a joke. The only dye that would cover up this monstrosity would be black. Maybe.

Along with all the bad chintz and ugly crochet baby blankets, sometimes you find really interesting things at thrift stores. When I have time to kill, I sometimes go just to see what’s there. Several times I’ve found little towels that were obviously woven by hand, with overshot borders and neatly done hemstitching and everything.

Today I found a blanket made of dozens of little woven squares. It was obviously done with one of those little square frame looms, something like a small version of the plastic potholder loom. This one is in purple and green frosted acrylic. Pretty nasty yarn as those things go, but firmly woven and well put together. It was $4. I got it to add to the travel gear, as short of melting the thing there isn’t much that is going to hurt it. And it’s sturdy enough to put up with a fair bit of abuse. As long as it stays dry, acrylic is a fine insulation layer.

I also found a pillowcase made from the exact same obnoxious polyester fleece (lime green with blue flowers) that I made a bathrobe out of some years ago. It took me a while to like this kind of “fleece” but I’ve learned to appreciate warm layers. Just don’t get near it if you are the least bit sweaty or it will feel like you are wearing a plastic bag. (That’s not too far off, really.) I had to get it, just because. From the slightly crunchy texture of one corner, apparently somebody tried to iron it.

Another recent shopping find, not from Goodwill, is a clothes moth trap. I’ve seen a few moths around, at times uncertain of the type but not willing to hold them for questioning. They appear to be coming from outside, as it’s never far from one of our horribly drafty windows. The baited glue trap is basically an early warning system, as it’s not the moths that cause trouble. I put one in the textile closet so I can monitor the situation.

The sock yarn spinning is still ongoing, but in the meantime I started a sock with some of the yarn I bought. I’m doing a toe-up with a figure-eight cast-on, which went ok. Of the toe methods from Knitty, it’s the one that made the most sense for me. YMMV, I’m sure, as lots of people hate/are scared of the figure-eight cast-on. I have that feeling about waste yarn crochet chains. I liked the fabric knit on 2mm dpns, but I went up a size to get closer to the recommended gauge. I think it looks nice around 32/10cm (8/inch.) But the manufacturer recommends 28/10cm and at least 2.5mm needles, which is no way going to work for me. Knitting is like that. Hey, it’s not like I’m really following a pattern anyway. I’m using Wendy’s toe-up sock pattern as a guide. I’m only accidentally using the same number of stitches. Based on measuring my ankle I expected 72 stitches but started the foot after 68 because it appeared to be getting alarmingly large. I finally ripped back and went with 64 because I didn’t like how it looked.

The yarn is Lana Grossa Meilenweit Fun&Stripes, the most normal sock yarn I could find in sufficient amounts at Carolina Homespun. (I also got two skeins of another color for some taller socks.) It’s mostly regular color changes with little blobs here and there. I looked around at sock yarns for a couple weeks, but wasn’t happy with what I saw. The fake Fair Isle stuff gets weird if you start changing the number of stitches and I really didn’t want all that anyway. I also wasn’t happy with the odd muted colors I saw several places. What is so wrong with basic solids? What I got was shades of blue, which I can live with. The other one is blue and green.

100g is supposed to do a pair of socks, so I’m doing toe-up to get as much as possible out of it. I intended to knit from both ends of the skein at the same time, but I’m beginning to wonder if it will work. I have to knit a little more to see if the stripe pattern comes out symmetrical. If it’s not, then I’ll just keep going until I use half the skein. This wouldn’t be an issue if I could find some plain normal yarn, but apparently I’m a stodgy old crank who isn’t keeping up with the latest styles. Feh.

The hats are back safely, so now I have my regular hat to wear again. And I went to Goodwill this morning and found not only a spindle case (wine bottle carrier) but a jar of Procion MX and a bag of soda ash. Somebody must have dumped excess tye-dye stuff, with as much as most people know about dyes it’s a wonder they even ended up bagged together. Can’t beat 99 cents.

I started back up on preparing fiber for the sock yarn. I have to find a new place to put the comb pad because the current location is killing my wrists. I need to be able to pull straight out but the shelf I have it clamped to is too tall. My arms don’t work that way, and trying to pull down is putting my hands in a weird position. I’m wondering if a low stool and the second shelf would be better. I still have some things to work out with this, but it’s coming along. I may even get enough finished by next week for the fair.

Just because I have given up on getting this yarn done in time for the San Mateo County Fair, that doesn’t mean I’m not working on it. I finished spinning all the fiber I had prepped a few weeks ago, so now I’m back to flicking wool. I’ve been doing a lot of sorting and messy prep work on the kitchen floor, as it’s the easiest to clean. Flicking wool throws little bits of junk everywhere no matter how I try to contain in. I’m going to vacuum and mop in the morning anyway because we have guests coming over, so I figured this would be as good a time as any. The loom parts are put away for tomorrow.

While I was at the store the other day, I got some Ashland Bay top in two identical colorways of Merino and Merino/tussah. Again, everybody was shocked I bought something not natural color, but I’ve been branching out. I’m also coming to terms with commercial top and feel better about spinning it. I’d still much rather do all my own prep, but I’ve gotten better at spinning commercial top without too much reworking (as long as I’m not overly fussy about the results.) Since the two blends are the same except for fiber content, I had this idea to weave a twill block pattern with one in the warp and one in the weft. When you do this with two colors, you get some blocks more the warp color and others more the weft color. If the colors contrast enough, you get this shimmery op-art sort of effect.

The two yarns would differ only in sheen, the silk being reflective and the Merino matte. I haven’t tried anything like this before but the theory makes sense. At any rate, it should make nice fabric. It will be singles, and I’ll almost certainly do one with S twist and the other with Z. I’m not sure which, however, so I want to experiment with twist direction in another fiber first. I bought some discount (because it had some bad spots) brown Blue Faced Leicester top a few weeks ago for exactly that purpose.

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