Faith V.

Stash Reduction

Two years ago, my mother in law, then 89, became ill and needed major surgery.  She came through the surgery, rehab, and returned to her home, but a few months later she was again in the hospital and back in rehab. She was home for 2 weeks when we realized that she would require more care and thus started her transition to an assisted living community and selling her home.  While the home clean out and sale took no more than 30 days, my mother in laws adjustment (and mine) took much longer. I knitted a lot of simple patterns during this period…I just didn’t have the energy to plan any weaving projects.

Perhaps it was because I had to go through someone else’s stuff, or I was just in the mood to downsize, but when I finally made it back into the studio, I was stuck with the enormous amounts of yarn on my shelves overflowing to tables and onto the floor. And it dawned on me that it was a good possibility that I will never use it all or even want to use it. And besides, how could I create in all that mess!

So, some cones of yarn went my guild for redistribution, some to a guild member who teaches weaving to seniors, and even more went to the Salvation Army. That was the “what was I thinking” pile.

But I also discovered yarns that I kept for various reasons; white cottons much heavier than usually use but perfect to wind up and practice warp painting, raw silk yarn that I couldn’t part with, and some kimono silk that was cut for sakiori weaving (Japanese technique used to make obi’s…kind of like fine rug weaving). And for the past few months, my focus has been on experimenting with the above.


Raw silk scarves and shawls in natural, greys, and a rust warp wound and ready for the loom. I usually weave with fine yarns in wool/silk, tencel, or silk.  These yarns are much heavy. And once off the loom and washed, I remembered how much I love texture and that I missed that element in weaving. Hmmmm….

Hand dyed cotton warp, tencel weft in blue and greens. Originally a dye mistake (I think I forgot to add the soda ash to the fushia which washed out and down the drain). I was so disappointed but what the heck. I wove them up in a straight 2/2 twill what I ended up with was a super soft and stretchy fabric that feels amazing close to the skin!

Woven this week, 3 red (primary color) scarves, with over dyed cotton warp (was a peachy shade) and tencel weft. I didn’t forget the soda ash this time because I soaked the yarn in a soda ash bath before I dyed it.  I really didn’t know what I was going to end up with and I didn’t care. It was just practice. I learned a lot during the process of weaving these up this past week. I could see areas of color that I want to explore more, color combinations that work and some that don’t (for me, anyway…my husband loved them).

Then yesterday, I wound the warp for the sakiori, a natural super fine cotton (20/2’s pearl).  What kept me from weaving this project? Not having the 20/2 pearl in black or grey.  Oh wait….I can dye this too! (duh!)

More to Come:

There are still plenty of discoveries to make and I still have WAY too much yarn. I will continue to clean out and let go of yarn I feel no particular attachment to. And that’s something else I learned in this process.  Some yarn feels good to me, even on the cone. It says something to me.  Connecting to that feeling makes it much easier to let go of the yarn  “I might use someday” but probably never will.

Btw, my mother in law, now 91, is doing great!