Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stash Diving!

Weaving is something that has long interested me for many reasons. Weaving is one of the first textiles. Man had been wearing animal hides, but somewhere along the way, he (I mean that in a general sense, not that it was actually a man necessarily) discovered that he could roll a bunch of plant fibers up and get a pretty strong thread. Man probably later discovered that certain animals could be domesticated and their hair used for the same purpose. Somehow, our long ago ancestors discovered that if you crisscrossed those threads, you could create a pretty strong cloth that could be as pretty as it was useful. We take our clothing for granted. As knitters, spinners, weavers, and seamstresses, probably not so much as the average person, but how many times have you just pulled on your clothes in the morning without thinking about the time consuming process making clothing must have been thousands of years ago.

The history of textiles is fascinating and I highly recommend a book called Women's Work by Elizabeth Wayland Barber.

The structure of cloth fascinates me. I often look at clothes to see if they're knitted or woven. You can do so many different things with the different techniques and each technique has its own properties and its own beauty.

So by now, if you're still with me, you're wondering why I've entitled this piece as stash diving if I'm talking about weaving history and such. Well, I've been a knitter for a while and I knit a lot of lace. When I knit lace, I often purchase an extra skein to ensure I have enough; I also often use cones originally billed as weaving yarns. When I knit a lace shawl, I'm usually not inclined to knit another shawl or even a scarf out of the same color. Which means, I've accumulated a few cones here and there:

The one on the top left is a random wool silk blend from WEBS that became a Shaped Triangle. The four on the bottom are all WEBS Valley Alpaca Silk - the pink became Icarus, the dahlia is a full cone, the eggplant was Spider's Web Hexagon and the purple the Diamond Shawl (if you're so inclined, you can search all of them on either the blog or Ravelry; I'm being lazy); the upper right cone is an unused slub silk and the middle upper is a huge cone of soy silk, something like 5,000 yards which was my payment for a test knit I did for someone.

Most of these yarns have some memories of pleasant knits and now I'll be able to eventually make memories in weaving. The very nature of weaving will allow me to mix my colors and patterns in ways I'm not able to with knitting. Don't worry, I'll still be making my shawls; I love lace and I love making shawls. I also love having the leftovers for my newest love.



Blogger Chris said...

There are so many things that must've taken forever back in the day... but the whole weaving, then cutting, then sewing for clothing... it does boggle the mind!

I think weaving will be a lovely way to use up your lace knitting extras.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Opal said...

what a great post! i find the construction of fabrics fascinating as well and i look at them to see how they're made as well. weaving is such a wonderful way to use up leftover cones, but i'm glad to hear you won't be giving up the needles!

3:40 AM  
Blogger Octopus Knits said...

It's great that you've already got a weaving-friendly stash :) I'm intrigued by weaving, and I'm sure I'll be trying it out sometime soon.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Rebekah said...

Another reason a large stash is inherently valuable.

8:05 PM  

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