Saturday, December 17, 2011

Recycle, Reuse

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.


Delighted Hands said...

Very neat way to get to weave it twice! Clever!

Ursula said...

Hi Laura
Just read your blog and it reminded me of a rag project I did a couple of years ago. The rags weren't too wide cut, but still too thick to put on a bobbin/shuttle. I ended up using a ski-shuttle, which worked perfectly as it has a flat surface unterneath for gliding through the shed. I figured out that you can actually still throw it like a shuttle. It was much more efficient than the sticks.
I follow your blog for a while now and I am greatly inspired by what you do and what you talk about.
Thank you sooooo much, you keep me going every day.
Happy weaving from Australia

Laura said...

If I had a ski shuttle I would much prefer to use one of those. :) But it's all used up now and I'm on to the 'regular' placemats - yay!


Simplesmente Silvinha said...

Is very good , to this....

That the baby Jesus to bring all good health, harmony, unity and joy. And a Happy new year

Rhonda from Baddeck said...

I don't generate nearly as much waste yarn as you do, but I also hate to throw it away. I'll ask the SA if they have a fiber recycling program here in Michigan. Thanks for the idea. And I love the twice-spun placemates!