Stash busting, de-cluttering and dieting seem to be seasonal phenomena.
Here’s how it goes. Binge eat/buy in December then shed the excess £s/lbs January to March.
In other words, our hard earned cash eventually ends up in the bin or charity shop. Duh. And it is hard to value things you feel guilty about. So the ‘punishment’ is to say ‘I am not buying any more fibre or yarn until I have used this lot up.’
Ditch the guilt though, there is a reason why you have not used it. You don’t like it, don’t know how to use it or are scared you will ‘spoil’ it.
The money is gone and guilt will not bring it back. So just spluge and have fun with it. A freeing experience that will liberate your fibre and yarn work and unstick you. Try these strategies:
Give it to someone who can use it. Then it is no longer wasted.
Use it with gay abandon, randomness and don’t worry what matches. Intersperse with one or more grey tones to bring it all together but don’t bother what clashes it will add interest.
If the colours really don’t go, put it all in a dyepot together. Add some blue, grey or black dye and it will all coodinate beautifully.
Weaving is great for using up yarns fast. Use a grey, brown or black warp to bring the colours together. A fine warp combined with wefts of different colours and textures works well.
Saturday was the Scottish Smallholders ‘learn to weave’ day at the Carrick Centre Maybole, Ayrshire Scotland.
What an enthusiastic bunch of people and what lovely weaving. It is great when folks just plunge in and have fun with the colour and texture. I always get design ideas from what people do, especially on beginners courses.
And now I am planning a further ‘weaving for all’ course, like the one I did in Hawick. This means beginners can come along and so can those with more experience. The more experienced can work individually on whatever they like and this formula works really well. Several people signed up straight away on Saturday.
The rigid heddle loom is my passion. I get excited about colour and texture and they are ideal for that. You can create lots of patterns on them too of course.
Warping these looms is relatively simple once you get the hang of it and does not take too long.
First clamp the warping peg to a table. Put a weight on the table if necessary so it does not tip over (hence pig in photo)
Position the loom with the front facing the peg. Clamp it on too. The distance between the loom and the peg will be the length of the warp, minus about 60cm/2 feet of wastage.
Put the yarn on the floor behind the loom. Tie the end to the back stick. Put the heddle in the ‘neutral’ position in the loom. This is the middle position, neither up nor down.
Use a reed hook to pull a loop of yarn through the heddle. Pull on the loose end until it is long enough to drop the loop over the peg. Do not pull it tight or the warps are likely to pop off the peg or pull it off the table.
Pull another loop through the heddle and repeat. Continue till all the slots you want to use are threaded like this.
Tie a spare bit of yarn round the warps for safety. Remove them from the peg and cut the end of the loops.
Wind the warp onto the loom, keeping it under tension and as tidy as possible. Insert pieces of paper between each layer of warps as you wind them on. This prevents one layer from embedding itself in other layers, which can make the warp uneven. Pages from magazines or flip chart paper work well.
Engage the ‘elbows’ to tilt the back of the loom up slightly, if using an Ashford knitters loom.
Take one of the warps out of each slot in turn and thread it through the neighbouring hole.
Tie the threads to the front stick in groups of four or so. Tie in a single knot first.
Go back along the threads, tightening each group in turn and tying in a half bow. Tightening them all at once like this helps to get an even tension.
Put the heddle into the up or down position. Insert a piece of folded paper or some card into the ‘shed’ or space between the warps. Change the heddle position and insert a second piece of card. This card covers the knots when you wind the warp on.
Weave a ‘header’ with waste yarn. Do three shots of weaving, leaving loops at the sides. Beat all three shots down together. Repeat this once more.
leaving loops at the sides enables you to pull the header out easily afterwards. This is not part of the weaving, it is there to even out the gaps between the groups of warp threads before you start the actual weaving.
One of the things I love to do most is have people to visit. We live in a plain wee street in a lovely bungalow in a simple Ayrshire village. Our back garden is a real surprise, as we grow a lot of veg in a relatively small space and are actually WWOOF hosts too. (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms).
Simple living has always been a part of what we do and we decided years ago that living in a village was more sustainable and a better life than being in the hills (as we were previously). So we have a modern, well insulated bungalow, solar panels, a wood burning stove, grow veg and live in a place with three buses an hour, people around during the day and hills in every direction. Yes, we still have the hills. You can set off and walk in any direction from here.
So it makes perfect sense to have ‘cosy courses’ in our living room. People love them and the numbers are smaller – often 3 or 4 people but certainly no more than 5, depending on what it is. Hubby makes soup for us and we eat around the kitchen table.
The most recent course was a ‘flexible’ two day spinning course. Beginners on day one and improvers on day two. You could book for one or both days, and all levels except complete beginners can come to day two.
Local accommodation is available and we also have a spare room where you are welcome to stay. You can have a wee peek at our house here we are air bnb hosts.
Oh and we also do one to one tuition, anything from half a day to two days and stay the night! Your very own micro retreat chez nous, in other words.
These retreats have just sort of grown organically. Our wonderful Ayrshire venue, The Old School became known to us via Victoria, the neice of the owners. She came to Create With Fibre for a one to one spindling lesson, having failed to get a place on any of the spindling courses Janet was teaching at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. She is a jazz singer and what with her and Fiona, who sings wonderful Gaelic songs, some wine and the woodburning stove, the evenings are the best of fun.
And then it just sort of grew and now there are four retreats a year, two in the spring and two in the Autumn. They have become knitting, crochet and spinning retreats because people learn whatever they like and have an individual programme worked out for them. And people just keep coming back. You can see why!
The dining room at The Old School has been lovingly restored, just like the rest of the building. You have a whole classroom as your bedroom!
Knitting, crochet and spinning at a Create With Fibre Retreat.
Results of a productive weekend Retrat. Rachel and Kerrie travelled all the way from Bedfordshire for this Retreat. Some Retreaters live just down the road though.
Click on the link to see a short video excerpt featuring the Knit 1 Bike 1 exhibition at Hawick. The Textile Tower House in Hawick was the venue for the first Knit 1 Bike 1 exhibition. Here’s what they said about it:
‘Everyone came out of the exhibition with a smile on their face. Quite few people visited more than once and brought a knitting or cycling friend back with them. It was our feel good exhibition of the year and we were delighted with it.’ It was such fun to do the TV thing….
I love this shawl pattern. It is for sale on ravelry and well worth the money. The pattern is easy to follow and had no mistakes in it. For a simple pattern, the shawl looks just great. I am now knitting a second one for my daughter, having completed the first in a month.
I finished with the plain knitting section rather than the lattice work part. The lattice is simply a row of yarn over, knit 2 together followed by a row of plain knitting. Obvious once you know. I also added an I cord edging around the whole circumference of the shawl which made a real difference as you can see above.
The yarns are all handspun. Merino and silk roving from Scottish Fibres, one in greens and one grey. Then an alpaca and silk roving from Adelaide Walker.
My love of the simple yet versatile rigid heddle loom just grows and grows. So when I saw a wee facebook post with a picture of some woven coasters I thought ‘me too!’. how could I have forgotten about making these?
So resolutions about completing UFOs in time for Christmas were abandoned. I teach rigid heddle weaving a lot. Twice a month or more and all levels. So there are often bits of leftover warp. They are saved but not often used up.
Leftover yarns were used for the mug rugs.
So mug rugs help on two fronts:
1. By weaving mug rugs with the remaining warp it is not wasted.
2. Any bits that are cut off can be used for the weft, or actual weaving.
So all those loom leftovers (thrums) plus the ends from knitting projects and the bits of yarn people leave on my spinning wheels after spinning courses are incorporated into these coasters. They tell a story!
How To Make Them
Use a 7.5 dent heddle ( 7.5 slots and holes to the inch/2.5cm. If using leftover warp from a project that used a different sized heddle, replace the heddle and simply re-thread. I don’t get too fussy about this project, it is just a bit of fun.
If the previous warp was wider, more than one rug can be woven at the same time.
Leave a few warps un threaded between each one and just throw them over the back of the loom. 10cm/4″ sqaure is a good size for the coasters. I hemstitched at the beginning and end. Visist the Create With Fibre Community Facebook group to see my vidoe on hemstitching. Lots of useful tips, chats and live videos are available through the group so it is worth a look.
With a narrow project like this, there is no need to bother with shuttles. Simply wind small amounts round your hand or work with smallish balls of yarn without even doing that.
To change colour, overlap the old with the new in the centre not at the edge as usual.
It took 2 hours to weave and hem stitch 6 coasters.