Friday, October 7, 2011

Getting Creative with Laceweight Cashmere

I'm in love with cashmere.  It's so delightfully soft and warm and light, yet surprisingly strong.  And it gets softer the more it's worn, so recycled cashmere is even more delicious than new.

The catch, of course, is that most cashmere sweaters come in fine gauges, so the yarn I reclaim from them is usually lace weight.  I'm afraid I don't have the time or patience to knit or crochet with lace weight yarn!  

I know that some fiber artists ply several strands of reclaimed laceweight together to produce a thicker yarn.  It just so happens that I have a spinning wheel in my closet (my mother's).  But I don't know how to use it, and I don't really have the time to learn.

So I decided to try working with several strands held together.  I've seen some nice projects on Ravelry that were made with three, four or five strands held together, so I knew it could work.  

The project I had in mind for this yarn was the Feather and Fan Scarf by Eliza Purnell.  I started with three strands of laceweight cashmere and an H hook, but to my surprise the result was too bulky.  I think it's because this cashmere is extra fuzzy, so it behaves like a thicker yarn.  It took just two strands of laceweight to get the perfect texture.

...did I mention that I love cashmere?  I love the softness of this yarn as it glides through my fingers.  What a treat!  I'll be working with cashmere more often from now on!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Organizing Yarn

Over the last year, I've accumulated quite a large stash of recycled yarn.  Some of it is intended for my own use; the rest is gradually making its way into my Etsy supply shop.  

As my stash grew, I realized that my storage method--big plastic tubs collected from thrift stores--was not going to cut it.  I was running out of places to put the tubs!

As I looked around my crowded bedroom, I saw that the only available space was on the wall.  At first I thought of shelves, but then I had a better idea.

I bought sheets of pegboard from my local home improvement store, and nailed them to a frame of 1" by 2" boards.  Then I recruited my brother to help me hang the whole thing on the wall.  He drove long screws through the frame and into the studs in the wall, so that I can load this thing with lots of yarn without having to worry about it crashing down on anyone's head.

The yarn is hanging on 10-inch pegboard display hooks from Azar Displays.  Each hook is long enough to hold a sweater's worth of reclaimed yarn, unless it was an unusually large sweater, or unusually bulky yarn.  

I love having the yarn accessible like this.  It's easy, and fun, to select yarn for a project when it's all spread out in front of me.  It's easy for me to locate a yarn if I've sold it on Etsy and need to package it up for shipment.  And it's easy for me to enjoy looking at all the pretty colors . :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

My First Treasury

So I tried my hand at making an Etsy treasury.  An Etsy treasury (for the uninitiated) is a collection of items that you've found on Etsy that fit a theme; in this case, I was picking out items that reminded me of a rainy day.  I've been thinking about rain lately because we've had so little of it; here in southern Texas we're experiencing the worst drought on record.  Rain would be a welcome thing!

In the future I'd like to make a few treasuries focusing on artists who work with recycled/upcycled materials, but for my first try I didn't place any such restrictions on myself.

Feel free to click and comment!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Designing a Hat

I didn't mean to design a hat. I'd never even crocheted a hat before until just a few months ago. I tried a couple of patterns that I found online, but none of them were quite what I was looking for. I modified one thing and then another and then ripped back and started over again, and again, and again.

The stitch pattern was relatively easy. I made an afghan years ago with a simple crocheted cable like this one. I no longer have that afghan or the pattern that I used, but I was able to recreate the cable after a few minutes of experimenting.

The hard part was the overall shape. I wanted a beret shape. Not a perky beret, but a slouchy beret. I wanted it to cover my ears, and I wanted to be able to tuck all of my (waist-length) hair into it; but I didn't want it to be enormous. So I crocheted and ripped and crocheted and ripped and set that one aside and started another, and crocheted and ripped some more--and eventually I had it, the almost-perfect slouchy beret.
Once I had the pattern the way I wanted it, I made three; one in a light grey lambswool for myself, and the two shown above for my Etsy shop. The charcoal gray one is made of lambswool, and the brown of merino wool. All three, of course, were made with recycled yarns salvaged from thrift store sweaters.

Now I just need to write down the pattern before I move on to the next project. I'd rather not, because pattern-writing is tedious, but I know that if I don't, I'll wish I had.