It has become more and more clear to me over the years that stash reduction just isn’t going to happen. Stash stasis seems to be the best I can do. I’ve decided to be ok with that: as long as the overall amount doesn’t grow (much) more than it shrinks, I consider it a win. Still, no matter how disciplined I am in my buying, the stash manages to increase. The increase has slowed dramatically, but still it continues to grow despite my best efforts to slow it down.

Instead of focusing on stash reduction, lately I’ve been focusing on stash conversion. Fiber gets spun into yarn, raw materials move one step closer to finished objects. The product might still be stash, but at least it’s being upconverted. In that spirit, I have been going through the yarn that has been languishing for years and turning it into fabric for sewing. It’s long been one of my ambitions to make clothes from my handwoven cloth. Originally, I assumed that I would plan a garment from start to finish all in one go, but lately I’ve been wondering if perhaps just getting to the fabric stage wouldn’t be a good start.

All of these fabrics have come off of the loom in the past few months. Most of them are from yarns dyed for my Etsy shop that never sold. They were never intended to be part of my personal knitting stash, and I just hadn’t found a use for them yet. Mixing a few skeins of similar colors together made for beautiful painted warps, and they’ve given me several yards of fabric to play with someday. It’s been fun watching the different color combinations come off the loom, and the yarn is quite heavy compared to what I usually weave, so the weaving has gone very quickly.

Last week, I decided to get to another of the ambitions on my list: weaving with my handspun. I had been planning to use the yarn that I spun from the Briar Rose leftover batts for a sweater, but wasn’t sure that I had quite enough of it, and the design wasn’t really taking shape. So, I took those lovely gradient skeins:

And wound them into a gradient warp. It took a lot of sampling to find the right color and structure combination for this fabric. The Briar Rose colors are so subtle that they were easily overwhelmed by any contrast in the weft yarn or from the texture of the weaving.

I did finally choose a combination, though, and yesterday started weaving the cloth.

So far, I love it. I wove samples of three different setts (three different densities of fabric), and ended up going with an intermediate one to start. It makes a fairly wide fabric with good drape, and will probably turn into a shawl or wrap. Once that’s woven, I’ll probably cut it off the loom and go back to a denser fabric that will be more stable for sewing later. The lighter hand and drape are nice for a shawl, but you want a firmer fabric if you’re using it for construction.

I’ve also had a couple of projects in the background on the tablet loom. One was overly ambitious and stalled out over the summer. I took one leap too far in design concepts, and realized that I needed to take a step back and learn some more before I’m ready to tackle that idea. So, I turned that project into a simpler one, and wove off a few yards of twill band instead.

I’ve decided that it would be good to have a selection of these on hand, too, in different colors and patterns. They’re most useful for trim and for small projects, and I probably wouldn’t want to put another project on hold for a month while I weave a band for trim. Building up a collection will also help me to sample the different techniques as I learn.

In that spirit, I put another band on the loom last weekend. The first go had a design flaw, but I’ve figured that out and it’s now coming along quite nicely.

This is a few months of weaving progress, but I realized that I haven’t really blogged about it, and my knitting and spinning aren’t terribly exciting right now. I’m still knitting away on the blue moebius cowl on the train, but that won’t really look like much until it’s off the needles. I’m also very close to finishing the teal, green, and olive yarn that I’m spinning from batts of shop leftovers. I’m hoping to finish that one soon so that I can play with some of the new luxury fibers from Rhinebeck.

And lastly, we finally managed to get finished photos of the Fall Colors sweater. I’ve worn it a few times now, and am very much enjoying it. I am now satisfied with the upper sleeve shaping, and am very glad that I went back and redid the shoulders one last time. I think I’d make the sweater a bit longer in both body and arms if I had it to do over again, though. I made it shorter than usual on purpose to give it more of a jacket fit, but now that it’s cold out I find myself wishing that it had another inch or so at the back waist and at the wrists.

Looking at how the back of the sweater hangs, it looks like I could have used a little more length in the shoulder back, also. (In fact, that’s likely where the desire for extra length at the back waist comes from…) It was hard to tell exactly what was going on up there during the knitting because of all of the distortion from the steek bands, so it’s good to know that I might need to work in a few more short rows up there next time.

I do really like the side shaping. Even if it meant a couple of extra steeks, that detail is one of my favorite things about this particular sweater.

The double layer of knitting on the body is nice and warm, too, and I think it’s likely that there will be more stranded sweaters in my future.