Every so often, my to do list accumulates with procrastination-prone items, often quick but easy to put off. Well, so last week I had an official ‘Round-to-it Friday where I spent the day knocking out a good chunk of that list.
A lot were things like making calls, getting gum that someone thoughtfully left on the movie theatre seat (thanks!) out of David’s brand new shirt, taking care of some business items, cleaning out the fridge, etc. A few were procrastinated project-related items.
This is a bunch of handspun yarn drying and waiting to be skeined up. When I finish spinning yarn, I have a basket I toss it in to await the final step, wet finishing. In most circumstances, I squish the yarn around in warm water to thoroughly wet it, squeeze water out, then hang and let dry. That’s how I finish 90% of my yarn.
The idea is that fibers, especially wool, get stretched out and compacted during the spinning process and getting them wet lets them revert back to their natural state. Like human hair, some is straight and some more textured. You could stretch out and flatten curly hair, but get it wet, what’s going to happen? Yup, curly again. Same with wool. If you look at the bottom edge of the skeins, they all came off the niddy-noddy (tool for making large circle if yarn) the same length. See how some have drawn up quite a bit shorter? The tighter the wool crimp (like wave in hair) the more it’ll do that. The majority of the short ones are Merino. The really short blue-green one towards the right is Tunis breed wool, very sproingy (technical term).
Wet-finishing helps the spun yarn look like its true self. Also, since it can change so much, it’s important to do it now instead of make a project that changes dramatically first time it’s washed. Also during wet-finishing, I’m checking to make sure all the dye is fast and I finish rinsing or setting anything that needs it, in case it wasn’t quite rinsed well enough by whoever dyed it. Again, easy to fix now instead of it bleeding dye later on other threads. Also some fiber content needs different handling. Yarn that I’ve deliberately spun very hairy, blends that include angora, or anything that I want to bring out its texture and create that fuzzy halo, I abuse it a bit by whapping it on a hard surface a few times (the wall) to help it bloom.
Some people weight it, I guess to straighten it more, but I’ve found that the water weight is plenty and I want it to draw up however it’s going to. If it were energized singles (kinking back on itself) I might weight that. And weaving yarn wouldn’t matter since could allow for take during the planning process, but since I often crochet or knit with it or don’t have a specific project in mind yet, I don’t want to worry about the yarn changing a lot in a finished project the first time it gets wet.
A while back, I crocheted my Mom a soft yummoluscious throw. I usually take a pic of finished projects and put the pic and the story or details in a journal, sort of like a scrapbook, my style. Anyway, forgot to and eventually borrowed it back and have the picture now.
About the project, crocheted out of random skeins I collected over time in a color palette I knew she’d like. I deliberately try to collect a dark, medium, and light value, whatever the palette (mostly analogous here), a slightly uncomfortable color (teensy bits of lime green here) to give it pizzazz, some metallic, some shiny/matte/fuzzy/plain. A dark and a light/medium carrier for thin threads and repeated regularly to tie it all together. Usually, can manage all this with approximately 5-8 different yarns. The more the merrier though. I probably have 15-20 in this. It’s a great project for leftover yarn or falling in love with a cool skein and just getting one. My general rule is try to use some stash, buy it on sale or only pay full price on a couple if they’re fabulous (otherwise this can be expensive if buy all from scratch).
The yarn size is worsted-bulky or combined to equal that size (used size L hook). I chose the open ripple pattern for three reasons. One, the ripple lets the colors optically blend better. Two, with heavy to bulky weight, the open stitch gives it better drape and flexibility. Three, given how many of the yarns are thick, fuzzy, and all acrylic, it would be hot if more solid.
Another project I’ve got planned for this fall is a piece of stained glass as a housewarming gift for a friend. I made some final design decisions on some of the elements and plan so can get started on this in the next week or two. This is a thumbnail sketch on its page in my journal where I keep notes on all my projects. Never have to wonder what I did with a slip of paper, it’s all in that book.
I already have the glass. It’s going to be peacock blues and greens with copper patina and frame. I wanted build some personal symbology for her into the design. The design is adapted from a Frank Lloyd Wright tree of life motif. It’s a favorite motif of mine I like to use in different mediums, so my stamp, plus she’ll appreciate it. I altered the leaf design to include groupings of three, a larger block to represent her (blue/green mixed glass) and a smaller blue and a green block to represent her two boys.