Tag Archives: tweed

Restoring ReStore yarn

I often look for yarn at thrift stores, but rarely find anything other than acrylic.

(And not the better acrylics that I would consider using for charity knitting and whatnot – the nasty stuff that is most often bright obnoxious red or an inexplicable white.)

During the last few months of winter and early spring, despite periods of beautiful weather, the weekends were often nasty, so we fell into a near weekly ReStore habit. We brought home a few more books, a few tchotchkes I’ll probably end up selling online, weights that had regular use for only a few weeks, and some vinyl records – but never the little piece of furniture or two we were actually seeking. But on the last trip, I spied some good yarn – some luxury stuff, and a decent amount of lovely rustic tweed for 50 cents each.

The tweed was a sad victim of carpet beetles – some of the balls had the telltale broken ends without any mothly webbing – I carefully examined each, left three behind and snatched up two that seemed to be in the clear, along with a ball and skein of the soft stuff.

Since I knew the bastard beetles had been near the yarn, I didn’t take any chances – wrapped the yarn tight before leaving the store, stuck it in a zip lock bag outside, threw the shopping bag into the recycling outside, then tossed it in the freezer for a week. Then let it warm up for another, then froze it again, then warmed it again – all the time shaking vigorously to see if anything fell out.

restore yarn - freeze

But all seemed well, so I re-skeined it all to wash. No breakages either, so I felt better knowing that these were spared from direct attack.

restore yarn - lux

The yarn on the right was wound into a ball too tightly – might be hard to see, but it was thinner and flattened a bit, but it was still nearly the full skein.

restore yarn - donegal det

And the tweed is a lovely teal. My camera can’t shoot teal, but this is close, and the raspberry bit of tweed is accurate and shows its era…

restore yarn label

Yep, here we are back in the ’80s (maybe early ’90s, sometimes knitting style lagged) but I love teal, so I’ll put up with the raspberry. I won’t, however, put up with back buttoning garments – I can still feel the buttons jabbing in between my spine knuckles on a hard-backed chair…

restore yarn - wash

They both had a nice long soak, followed by another vinegary one, then spun out and dried.

restore yarn washed and dry

And they’re back to a pleasant fluffy, beetle-free state.

Technically, this failed my yarn buying ban, but it was only $2 total – the two skeins of Road to China alone would have been over $30, and though the color is lovely, but a little too fleshy by itself, I’ll probably combine it with a few other complimentary things in the stash – it might become part of a luxe scrappy stole. And I’ve got a small collection of tweed that needed a bit more to become something, and these two new skeins should complete it – if not, it would pair well with handspun, or make for some nice mittens.

On the one hand, I don’t believe a knitter should pass along infested yarn or risk infesting a thrift, but on the other, I’m glad this wasn’t just thrown away…

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Winter hoarding, Spring sewing, a change of the light…

Thrifting over the last few months has provided some bright weekday moments in my otherwise bleak and depressing winter of vast underemployment.  I obviously have a thing for wool, but especially for tweeds and plaids.  I once had a crush on someone because of his worsted houndstooth pants – take away the pants and he was just an ordinary, rather boring, man – with the pants, he might as well have been Adonis.  Luckily, N appreciates a good piece of wool clothing, so he is practically turning into a man-sheep with my woolen finds in his size (and the occasional score on his own)…

But back to the new additions to my stash.  Most of these fabrics will be re-used, re-purposed, recycled into other things for other lives; some for sale, and some for me.

I love the yarn in these two pieces.  Some tweed yards have primary colored neps [those little color balls] and I hate those – primary colors = 1980s or preschool, ’nuff said.  I love these secondary colors, and you gotta love orange and turquoise – 1970s tube socks!  But with the beige and black yarns they are reined in.  The black is a vest that doesn’t fit me right – I may try to alter it as-is, but I’ll likely frog and re-knit it.  The beige is another unfortunate cropped sweater that also has some shrinkage, definitely a frogger or a fuller.

tweed sweaters

And some various woolens.  One (I won’t tell you which) I cheated on – it’s got a lot less wool than what I usually require, but I liked the colors and pattern too much to walk away from it.  Two of these will probably become bags.  And I was excited to find the brown herringbone Harris Tweed jacket and had plans to sell it, but I sadly discovered many little holes – perhaps too many to keep it as-is, but we’ll see.

three plaids two plaids

But let’s be honest, eh?

studio wooly pile   studio cotton pile

This is how matters really stand – piles of sh*t and blurry images.

studio corner

My shooting gallery (say hi to the dummy) is also my sewing corner and is also the only spot in the room that gets any natural light from its one dirty window.

studio window

A dirty window that will soon be even further blocked by leaves.  Don’t get me wrong, I love leaves and love them even more for blocking the parking lot that attracts unsupervised juveniles who like throwing rocks at cars and the adolescent ne’re-do-wells who lurk about drinking and sucking at skateboard tricks.  I just won’t be able to take many pictures indoors soon.

studio label

I hope to have my new and improved Etsy or other online shop up and running in another month or two and possibly do one booth at a small fair this year.  I’m discouraged though, the crafting biz ain’t what it used to be… And you know, I’ve never felt like such a stereotype more in my life.  Educated urban/suburban white female in early middle-age, gone through job crisis, deludes herself thinking she can turn to craft for substantive* income.  In an attempt to be slightly more competitive,  I bought some “professional” labels since my hand-printed ones looked well, too handmade (which is how they should look dammit) but I didn’t calculate the size very well in the order.  They are too long and unwieldy, but I don’t want to waste them, so on they will go.

*At least enough to cover health insurance – do you realize how breathtakingly expensive private plans are, or how much most of them suck?  And forget about the fact that I’ve spent my entire career in non-profits and have precious little saved for retirement, but what is that anyway?  Do enough diners still exist to hire crusty old cantankerous broads?  Can you still get a trailer in Florida cheap?  Are there any knitter-friendly flophouses?

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Filed under knitting, recycling, sewing, thrifting