Saturday, October 31, 2009

Just the stash, Mom, Just the stash. [Scarves ?? and 44-46]

You may recall that when Mom came to visit1 last May, I stashed her in my yarn room for a month. Some people might object to being stuck in a storage room rather than a guest room but, being a weaver, Mom is quite content with the arrangement.2 For one thing it's the only room in the house besides our bedroom, office and bathroom that actually has a door (for some reason she objects to cats climbing into bed with her).3 For another, it's filled with yarn:

Remember this? One wall of my yarn room/guest room/Mother containment unit/playground.

The door's nice but it's really the yarn she likes, even though she says it makes it hard to sleep sometimes. It overstimulates her and gives her all kinds of ideas for things to weave, apparently, and I don't doubt it. In years past when she visited I'd stick my head in and find her lying on the bed, staring thoughtfully up at the walls and worrying her lip or tapping her cheek as she combined the yarn on the walls in her mind. "I'd love to use that one and that one together," she'd say, pointing at the walls and looking at me hopefully.

I had my stash sort of organized, though - at least in theory. Production yarns were on one wall, knitting yarns on another, yarns I collected before starting the business on a third, etc - and I tried not to mix them up too much since some were business supplies and some weren't. And we were always so busy... and I never wove many scarves... There was always some reason I put her off, poor thing.

This year, though - This was The Year of the Scarf! I swear, she literally clapped her hands with glee when I didn't just allow her to go crazy in there but asked her, pretty please with sugar and cherries and all the trimmings, to wind me up some stash scarf warps. She was like a kid in a candy store mixed with a kid whose favourite toys were all in her room - she'd disappear for ages and when I finally tracked her down she'd be sitting on her bed with piles of yarn all around her and a big excited smile on her face: "Look at these, honey! Ooo, and what about this!? And you could use this or this... ooo, or that for weft!"

The end result was seventeen (17!!) warps she wound for three or four scarves apiece. The first couple of combos she just made a single warp out of but by the third one she was making two warps from each so that she could take one home and weave it too - the idea being that we could then compare to see how our respective scarves turned out. Here's the lot, aren't they gorgeous?

The stash warps Mom wound for me while she was here in May.

We thought they were so cool (and the pictures so neat) that we sent them off to Handwoven to see if they'd be interested in them for an Endnotes but I guess they already had stash warps articles planned for an upcoming issue or something so they didn't bite. Their loss, I think!

Anyhoo, we were both really excited about this back in May and each of us put on a warp right away. Mom actually wove three of them in quick succession, and they all turned out GRATE. See for yourself:

Mom's first three stash warps, all woven up. Soooo pretty!

Aren't those pictures FAB? I particularly like the ones that show the finished scarves all swirled up with their own wefts.

Unfortunately, I hit my Weaving Funk and stalled during the first stash warp I put on. Truth be told, I think the two are related to some extent. I don't mean to say that the stash scarves caused my funk, no sirree! They are BEEOOOTIFUL and I love them, and I love that my Dear Ol Mum (who I also love) wound them for me. But Mom's scarves were soooo pretty and her pics soooo cleverly composed that I, in my funkiness, thought to myself: "how can I compete with that? How can I improve on that??" As if competing or improving on was important somehow! Pfff! Ridiculous! But there it is: my darkest, dirtiest secret is that I'm a competitive little, thing, even where my Dear Ol Mum is concerned. I'm working on it, really I am. :P

I did manage to finish that first stash warp, though. And then, since those three scarves and three similar stashy scarves Mom had woven before she left sold like hot cakes in the shop, I managed to squeeze out a second one over the summer in spite of my weaving dry-spell. As it turns out, the two warps I chose were two of the ones Mom had also woven and we both wound up picking similar weft colours, too. Great minds think alike and all that:

Gaah! Mom's pics are much better than mine! Let it go, Janet, let it go...

Sadly, I didn't take any finished shots of the pastel warp, or if I did I can't find them. I still have one of those left - the only stash warp scarf that hasn't sold yet, I think because it's very springy colours and I didn't get them woven until fall - so maybe I'll get one taken yet. Or maybe I'll unearth the pics I thought I took but can't locate.

Those two warps were the only scarves I wove between June and September, actually. I've been weaving like crazy this month, though - and, now that my funk is over, these stash warps are calling to me! I wove one last week and am hoping to get several more done before the market next month. I'm sure they'll be as popular there as they were in the shop.

Here's the one I've done so far:

Warp #17, Scarves #44-#46

As I wove the first one I thought I was beating the weft in too hard and that it would cover up the lovely warp too much, so I beat the next two very lightly. In retrospect, I like the hand of the first one best even though the warp does show better in the other two. The third one, #46, was a particular experiment: I couldn't find the exact shade of grey I wanted on my production wall so I used a fine silk that my friend Barbara (hi, Barbara!) gave me years ago. The colour wasn't quite as blue as I wanted but hit the mark pretty closely. It must've been a good choice 'cause that's the scarf that the peanut gallery of weavers I showed these to on Thursday liked best. All three of these are sooo drapey and soft and the colours look reeeally great with a chocolate brown vest that I have, so I'm hoping they'll go quickly at the sale.

I still have four more warps from October to share with you but I'll save those for future posts. Right now, it's back to der loom for me!

1. Read: "work like a slave"
2. Good thing, 'cause I haven't got a guest room!
3. Hmm. Maybe I'm adopted?


barbara said...

Janet/Sue - wonderful, wonderful scarf warps ..... both of you did an excellent job with the photographs; it sure inspires one to go to the studio and plan out a few scarf warps!!! Perhaps not today. Thanks for sharing Janet/Sue. Weavers here (P.E.I.) are in the process of planning a "Friendship Coverlet" with the Guild. 15 have signed up. I think I am doing mine with 4/8 as colored weft, and 2/8 cotton warp, 20 epi. Now to decide a color - ordered 3 spools from Brassard, will weave up tea towels and make a decision. Last friendship coverlet that was done here was 25 years ago .... it is time!!! Take care, all the best and good luck getting ready for the upcoming show. Weaverly yours ..... Barbara

WEAVEblah said...

I love your story and your Mum. You're soooo lucky to have a mother who's a weaver; there must be a lot of opportunity for creative collaboration.

Anonymous said...

Oooooh, I'm glad you got over your funk; your scarves are GREYT. (greyhound owners pick their own spelling). I'm particularly enamoured of #45; the gold-ey weft is just delicious. let' say... if it doesn't sell, you might have to tell me what it would cost to get it posted to the UK... ;)

Beth said...

These are beautiful! You do provide me with inspiration to "play" a little and not stick with what I know works. Thank you for that! I think that I too have that competitive gene. Sometimes, it gets me in trouble. LOL!

Janet said...

@barbara: Our guild did a FC several years ago and Mom participated in it, too. :) We all chose overshot patterns. Being a hare, I put my squares aside for a later day (preferably one when Mom was visiting & would sew them together for me) and they're still sitting there, unassembled. At this rate I'll probably change the colour scheme in the bedroom before I get that coverlet done. ;)

@WEAVEblah: Mom actually learned to weave because of me - said she had to learn in order to carry on a conversation with me once I'd started weaving. As for collaboration, it's less frequent than we'd like being on opposite coasts and opposites sides of the border but when we do get our heads together it's pretty fun. Am really looking forward to the workshops we're teaching together in January! :D

@Alison: It'd probably be less than you think, owing to the Commonwealth shipping rates and all. Or are those still in effect? I know when I was shipping guild calendars in '97 and '98 it was cheaper to mail them to Australia than to the U.S.

barbara said...

Janet ............ check the post office for a "business rate". I think we weavers are a business ... and I have heard, but not checked into it, that there is a business rate ....... you can ask the questions.

Weaverly yours ...... Barbara

Janet said...

@barbara: I've got the Venture One thing from Canada Post and use it when I can but it's only a 5% discount and you'd be amazed at how many things it doesn't apply to. ;)

Kelley said...

Have to mention that I'm jealous that your mom weaves. I'm a new weaver (about a year now) and others love the things I make, but no one else "gets" what goes into weaving. I can talk with others in my weaving class - but I'd love to have a friend or family member who is also a weaver.
I love reading your blog and seeing what you are working on and what others have to say.
I love the stash warps! Can't wait until I have a big enough stash to do the same.