Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Selfish

After the last post on Sunday I didn't go outside but washed two fringed pieces, two warp-end fabric pieces, and vinegar-bathed three pieces, which, well, resulted in my now-usual "woe, the technique" cry.
The brown piece with my handspun single was always going to be experimental, but after wet-finishing I remembered it was one of my earlier spinning experiments and the size of the yarn, random. Horizontal stripes, parts that feel stringy, etc. Charity shop donation?

The big disappointment was the very long cashmere-warp/possum/merino/silk-weft red piece; I didn't see a treadling mistake until I was pressing after wet-finishing. Other disappointments came from past pieces and fabrics not being as "square" as I had thought/hoped. Some weren't as bad as I thought. As I wove further on the third clasped weft piece, and fringed two last pieces currently off the loom, I couldn't shake the foreboding that these will turn out icky, or wacky.

So that was the bad part.

Ben and I haven't stopped thinking and talking about the tapestry loom. And be it the upstairs stash room or the basement, I need further de-stashing, de-booking, de-junking to make room for it. Which might take all winter, if I can manage it in that time. Which wasn't a problem with Glenys.

The task feels overwhelming. The last time I did the whole room was probably 2009, even though I've clean incrementally periodically, but never as thoroughly as I used to, or wished. Will I have the stamina to do a good job? Will I make enough room for the monster tapestry loom?

On Monday, I was looking at stash room's ceiling height, when I saw the very vine NZ merinos I've collected on my top shelf; those yarns, ideas, projects have been put on so far back the back burner while I worked through the stash they almost felt like a previous-me's thoughts. It was like running into an old friend after a terribly long absence. But those are the projects I want to be weaving.

I did not realize how much burden my mother's stash have been. Sure, I made a healthy one myself, but they are, in varying degrees, to my taste, whereas Mom's are mind-boggling mixture of fibers, sizes, styles, and more greens than both of us will ever weave in our lifetimes. Remember, she's the one who had the roof of the old house raised for excess yarnage. There was so bloody much.

I don't blame her for my having rescued them. Not entirely. They are good quality yarns, all natural fiber. Her hand-dyed hand-spuns are old wool with scales and she is/was a pretty good spinner. And then the silk; the variety of silks you can still get in Japan, (albeit most are produced in China,) is nothing like here. And mementos from her travels add flavor.

It wasn't as if I rescued indiscriminately; only old wool, silks, anything cashmere, and good colors. Mom's also given loads to a weaver who teachers weaving to those with learning disabilities; I've given plenty to our local charity shops, plural. I took these on as challenges to stretch my weaving imagination these last years, and have used a bit, to different degrees of satisfaction and sell-ability. But there is so bloody much.

I'm 60 now, (and if you think I talk about age a lot, there are ages significant in Japan, 20, 77, 88, 99, and 60 - or strictly speaking January 1 60 years after one is born - is one of them;) I'm slowing down, every projects requires more time and energy, and if I concentrating on stash-busting, I will never get around to making the fabulous/heavenly/exquisite pieces I'm meant to weave.

Realizing my privileged burden was really big. Turns out a big chunk of Dad's investment into Mom's weaving, that portion she didn't use up, was turning into not an inheritance but a kind of debt for me. I've felt re-energized about weaving ever since. I put a sheet over the "Syrie" warp, the mill, the reed and all, and chose a gray merino warp to practice a tie weave inspired by Stella's cuffs. These will be mostly white or undyed wefts on a gentlest, softest gray merino.

I'm going to be (even more?) self-centered, and will adopt a new criteria for yarn culling: will this contribute to my making a piece I'll be glad to put my label on? The practical culling will probably be done in a few steps, as I've seen potential in all the yarns I've kept and good yarns are hard to let go. I'm especially a sucker for nice colors. And then there is the Fear of Missing Out; I might be giving away an opportunity for a great discovery, a new favorite.

But the time to play around and experiment is over, at least for now, and I'd like to concentrate and perfect (yikes!) what I set out to do when I decided I like to weave. Ditto with books of all genre, art supplies, fabric and sewing stuff. Collage material was culled big time Monday although I might get rid of everything altogether, because they are easy to replace. Yarn/color samples I  culled yesterday; I'm not even sure if some of the companies still exists but even the pretty or sentimental samples are gone. And there's something special in bringing in this kind of newness by choice in life at an older age.
Books are going to be the hardest. I have so many and what I kept are so interesting. These were what was under our bed a few months ago; I catalogued all the van Gogh books so I don't double up, but found far more, and new respectable piles emerged. And we have no space in any of the bookshelves in three rooms. Saving boxes made things worse, but I won't know whether to sort yarns in many smaller boxes or fewer large ones. I want to clean my closet, too. And put all the seeds and propagated pants into the ground or give them away. (I'm trying not to put the garden on the back burner again.)

It would be great if 2018 turns into a year of culling/shedding/unloading.

2 comments:

  1. It is not selfish to do what makes you happy. I, too, have been dealing with inherited yarns. I'm *almost* through most of them. I'm seriously thinking of re-homing some of the ones I really don't want to deal with...

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    1. Although I know a few weavers with respectable stashes, I do think of you first when I think of stash-busting. You've been doing a lot of that successfully, but as you say, some of the stuff I have are nice yarns that I don't want to deal with. LOL. Such a spoiled (??) problem. But I have donated before, and they do tend to disappear from the shops, so that makes me feel a little better. :-D

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