Monday, December 12, 2022

Playing Chicken on a Frosty Night

 Last night I finished my yarn chicken project. I won. 

A friend recently went to the US to spend Thanksgiving with her family. As she always does, she went to Goodwill (thrift store) to see what was there. She has found some great yarn there over the years. At the moment, I am wearing a sweater I made from a giant cone of yarn she brought back for me a few years ago. I still have some of that left. This time she found 10 balls of a superbulky superwash wool yarn that she wants me to use to make her a jumper (sweater). Incredibly, she found 8 hanks of merino wool yarn in purple--my favourite colour! Also, there was a ball of green superwash wool and a coppery coloured ball of wool/silk/cashmere yarn. Fun! I am pretty sure I know how I am going to use all of it. I started with the wool/silk/cashmere. It is so squishily soft. I had 120 yards of it and decided to play a little yarn chicken. Fingerless gloves seemed like a good use of the yarn. I use those a lot because my wrists ache in chilly weather and these would feel so nice when I wear them. Would I have enough yarn? I decided to try it and see. 

I am wearing them now and they are warm, cosy, and so soft. The colour is a bit more coppery than in the photo and they go well with my sweater, which is a rust colour with brown slubs.

I had just a tiny bit of yarn left:
It's definitely time for the wool here! It's been hovering around freezing for several days with milder weather not expected until the weekend. It's gotten well below freezing in some parts of the country. This is a big deal here and they're not really set up for it. There is a lot of black ice around and even though some businesses (and the local GP) were salting footpaths (sidewalks) and walkways into premises, it was still slick. Some businesses closed for the day and the GP was going to call everyone with an appointment to see if it couldn't be handled over the phone. Gatherings have been cancelled. They are gritting the main roads, but not side streets.  Some areas of the island got snow, but we just had a few flurries a few days ago. Now we have a moderate warning for potential freezing fog. Haven't seen that since Fairbanks! Our woolly bits are being put to good use!

Monday, December 5, 2022

In the Bag Upcycling Project

 When our friend came for Thanksgiving, he said he'd brought something hoping I'd look at it. It was a jumper (pullover sweater) that his late wife had knitted using some fluffy yarn with slubs. He wondered whether I'd be able to take it apart and unravel it to use the yarn for something else. I said I could and he happily left it with me.

I started by removing the seams holding all the parts together. There was a front, back, and 2 sleeves--pretty basic, which was good. The neckline was knit longer, then folded over and sewed down so I took that seam out, too.

I started with the back then moved on to the front. Ripping the knitting back was a bit fiddly at first because the bind-off edges were tighter than the knitting itself, as you'd expect. But it went quite smoothly once I got below the armhole shaping because it was straight knitting from there with no more bind-offs. The yarn was much easier to pull out than I thought it might be and this gave me a clue as to the possible fibre content, but more on that below.

I'd set the sleeves aside, because I wanted to preserve some of our friend's wife's work. 

As I ripped back the knitting, I thought about how I wanted to use one or both of them. I decided to make a bag.
I sewed the top of the sleeve closed and it became the bottom of the bag. You can see in the bottom right corner of the picture where it's not quite even--that's where some shaping was done. I considered evening it out, but decided to leave it as she knitted it. I used the yarn from the accent stripes to crochet a strap and a slip stitch border around the edge of the bag. 

I am quite happy with this project (and so is our friend). I am not sure if I will keep the second sleeve or rip it back. I have the rest of the sweater done and now have a bag full of fuzzy yarn balls. I plan to use my pin loom to weave squares with it. It held up well to the unraveling even when I tugged fairly hard, so I think it should be strong enough for that.

As for fibre content, I did the burn test on the yarn. It did burn (wool is flame resistant) and there was a bit of a hard black knob on the end, which indicates synthetic, but it wasn't as large as I'd expect if it was all synthetic. There was a significant amount of ash as well which indicates natural fibres. Based on all of that, I would say it's a blend with mostly natural fibres (some kind of animal hair). The burn test doesn't tell me specifically what the fibres are. But as an educated guess and based on the burn test I would say that both the fuzzy and smooth yarns are a blend of primarily natural fibres with some synthetic blended in. I would guess that the fuzzy yarn has a nylon core strand plied with the fuzzy strand, which feels and looks like mohair. Also, both nylon and mohair are very strong and the yarn held up quite well to the pulling. The fuzzy bits stick to each other and the slubs catch, so at times I had to tug fairly hard and the yarn did not break, which is part of why I would guess that it's a blend of nylon and mohair. The smooth yarn is also a blend based on the burn test and I would guess that is mostly wool with some acrylic.

This is a very satisfying project for me in many different ways. When I use the bag and weave with the yarn, I will think of our friend's wife. Sadly, I never met her, but from what our friend and another friend who knew her say, we have a lot in common. I suspect that we would have been friends. I wish I'd known her.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Look for Me There

 My blooming season has ended, yet
I am still here--
a different kind of beautiful.

Soon I will fall,
decay, decompose, disappear, yet
still be here
nourishing new blooms
yet to appear.

Look for me there.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Simply Lovely

 Late this afternoon, I went into the conservatory to work on deconstructing a sweater (more on that soon). It's a fiddly process because the yarn is both fuzzy and slubby, but I am almost done. As I sat there playing with yarn, I watched the last bit of sun fall on the remaining leaves and the moss on the tree trunlks, making them glow. I looked at the light coming from behind a layer of dark cloud. I listened to the birds singing. I noticed how peaceful and content I felt and I smiled.

Earlier in the day, we took a walk out to the outskirts of town to a little park area which I'd seen on the bus. At that time of the day, the sky was a blanket of grey but there was still much colour to be seen. 
I've always loved purple ornamental cabbage--I haven't seen any in a while until today

there were several of these hanging in there

a pretty little flower

a bit of autumn colour hanging on in spite of the wind

It was a simply lovely day. I hope it's the same for you!