As a child of the 50's, I knew my parents were all too aware of the necessity to make do, reuse, recycle so when the 70's and 80's came along I heartily endorsed the lifestyle of composting, reducing waste, using things up.
I weave - a lot. Therefore I have a lot of thrums. For many years I gave them to school art classes until the teachers begged me to stop. They had more than enough! For a while I threw them away, consoling myself with the thought that at least they were natural and would eventually return to whence they came.
And then I found out that the local Salvation Army had a textile recycling program. I stopped in at the thrift shop and asked if they wanted my thrums. The answer was a resounding yes!
So I set a bin under one of the tables in my studio and began collecting my thrums to give to the SA.
Last summer a friend asked if she could have some to give to her mom because her mom took old yarn and spun it into novelty yarns. I was happy to do so.
And then she gave me some skeins of the yarns.
Some of the skeins of handspun novelty yarns
It took me a while to decide what to do with the yarn. It was fairly thick so it seemed best to treat it like I would rag strips and make some thick mats. Yesterday I beamed a 2/8 cotton warp for placemats and thought I would begin by using up the box full of handspun yarn.
The yarn is far too thick to use a regular shuttle and bobbin. Here I'm loading a couple of stick shuttles with it. I don't know if you can see it in the picture but the shuttles are shaped like a thin wedge. The best way to load these shuttles, I've found, is to figure 8 the yarn around the spine or thick edge of the wedge. The shuttle and yarn then forms a thick wedge that will fit into the shed without too much difficulty. I just tie a slip knot and put it over one end of the shuttle and then start winding the figure 8. The majority of the yarn sits on top of the shuttle so that it is mostly wood on the back or bottom side.
And here is the first mat with the second shuttle just begun.