Started a new project. It will be the second in a series, but using very different and very muted colors. Digging around in my stash of yarns, I eventually settled on this grey-ish color palette. We’ll see how it turns out.
I used to just use the yarn as-is right off the cone, spool, skein, or whatever. After a few other weavers suggested I wash the yarn first, I started doing that. Now, unless I know it’s pretty clean, I always wash the yarn first. It is kind of a pain, but the results are worth it.
The most annoying part is waiting for the yarn to dry while I’m antsy to get started. Luckily, the weather has been sunny and the humidity here is much lower that our old place, so it dries fairly quickly.
I have a lot of different yarns from different sources, either stuff I bought or stuff given me, but a lot of it is what I call the Monte Tate yarn. I don’t know too much about him, but Monte Tate is an artist active in Northern California – at least I think he is still active. Apparently, he used to make sculptures that involved wrapping things in yarn. (I’ve seen some photos of his more recent work, but haven’t seen any of his yarn pieces – please post if you have links to his works.) Then, several years back, Tate decided to divest himself of all his yarn and started selling it off. As he had tons of the stuff, it ended up in the hands of dozens of local weavers. As I began weaving, my mother gave me a whole bunch of Monte’s yarn. In addition, other weavers I had been introduced to also wanted to get rid of their stash of Monte yarn. Not that it was bad yarn or anything, they were just moving on to other types of projects, or getting out of the weaving business altogether.
I would not call it really great yarn either – it might not make for the best scarf, but it’s good for rugs and I like how the finished products turn out. I think what I love most is the variety of colors. Without any dying, I am able to create seemingly infinite combinations of colors, and plying two, three, or even four different colors together provides even more variety. The yarns below, all Monte yarn, were all used in one rug (sorry, the photo had poor lighting, but you get the idea).
However, Monte’s yarn does need washing. It is wound on cones, like above, and I suspect that some of it is decades old, so it is compressed and dusty. Washing it softens and fluffs it up, gets it nice and clean (you should see the water afterwards), and helps get out any excess dye.
If you’re reading this Monte, thank you. Many of my designs have been inspired by the array of colors and the shear volume of yarn you passed on. I only hope I can do the legacy proud.