Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

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23 February 2007

Found Some Yarn

Actually, I found a sweater in the winter clearance rack of the thrift store, brought it home, and took it apart.

I ended up with two large balls from the front and back, two medium balls from the sleeves, and two little balls from the front where one side of the V-neck was knit as a second piece, and where there was a hole at the bottom just above the ribbing.

Sixteen yards of this yarn weigh six grams. I have 372 grams. Since this is a blog, and not math class, I'll just tell you that it works out to roughly 990 yards of acrylic/wool/mohair yarn for one dollar and six cents.

The sweater care tag says "hand wash cold separately", so I'm knitting a swatch to wash and see what the shrinkage rate is like.

I choose sweaters to disassemble by three main things. The first one is construction. There's no point in trying to unravel a sweater, no matter how nice the yarn, if it was cut and sewn at the sides. I'd just get a lot of short lengths of yarn from side to side. I can usually tell because the whole seam is oversewn or serged or whatever you call it.

The second biggie is color. I see so many nice sweaters in shades I can't stand. Naturally I zero in on the ones I do like.

The third is "hand" or feel, which has a lot to do with the fiber content. Even if the color is beautiful, I'll reject it if I don't like how it feels. Whether I end up weaving or knitting with the yarn, I'm going to be touching it a lot. If I don't like touching it, it's liable to stall. My projects stall enough without handicapping them from the start with harsh or icky-feeling yarn.

Fiber content also governs washability. I'm living in the 21st century (unlike a lot of other industries), and I like to be able to throw things in the washing machine. If you have the time and inclination to hand-wash stuff, more power to you. But I know myself, and I tend to not get around to hand-washing.

Meanwhile, the legwarmers are proceeding apace. I'm thinking that after the calf part is about five or six inches long, I'll switch to ribbing for the rest.

(This is why I stumble when people ask me for patterns -- I'm very much a "make it up as I go along" person, and I often wish I'd taken better notes, or taken any notes when something comes out well. I tend to hold stuff up, or try it on, and make it out "yea big". Which doesn't translate very well into instructions.)

L. says, "Shouldn't you straighten that yarn before knitting it?"

I probably should, but I'm impatient. I have a warping mill for my weaving loom that I could easily use to do it. Like I said, I'm just impatient. Plus, these are legwarmers, and I'm not convinced that the kink in the yarn is going to make that much difference.

I might straighten the blue yarn before using it, but my experience with acrylic is that it tends to relax a lot once it's wound into cakes. So I will let it rest for a while and see what it looks like. Maybe I'll straighten one of the little balls and see how much difference it makes in a swatch.

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