Selling scraps

silk3 cloth14

Birdie mentioned whether I’d sell the plant dyed yarns I’m not using (especially if they were fabrics). Raquel always wants to make scarves from it. 😉 My reply was, that until now I’ve used cheap, scruffy wool in very small skeins, so not very interesting for knitting at least, and I’m not really sure anyone would want it if they saw felt it in person.

Since I’m changing directions slightly both with my dyeing and yarn crafting, I thought it would be fun to do a survey, not because I expect any who reply to buy anything, but to help me choose materials. For myself mainly, but yes, if I could hand over an unwanted skein now and again in return for the ability to buy a couple of new ones to modify, that would be awesome. Sometimes I have an idea but abandon it halfway not because I hate the result, I just moved on quicker than my production pace.

I’d like to do more silks – mostly yarn, since fabric is expensive, so probably small quantities for needlework. Which yarn weights and skein lengths do you stitchery folks prefer? Do you use wool, and then which type? Chances are, you can teach me which threads I’d like to use myself…

I’m also probably going to experiment with dyeing wool fabric. Either handwoven or what I find. There will be fabric ends leftover from my weaving of all sorts. Do people look for small amounts of handwoven for quilting or textile “paintings” like some use handspun and handdyed mini-skeins? Would be über cool to swap or see a bit of my stuff used in someone elses stuff!

In which case, what types of fabric do you look for, when you look?

Cellulose fibers such as cotton and linen are out of my league now. They are difficult to dye. I do not have the energy to go into it this year, or ever. It doesn’t feel important when I know I can make protein fibers shine.

I have considered dyeing larger quantities of some nice knitting yarn, because I had various requests. Problem is, people talk but they don’t pay up front and I can’t afford to stock up on many kilos of nice yarn. If I have to spin it myself I’m not going to part with it for “a friendly price”! And I’m not really looking to set up an actual shop for small items that demand too much time compared to their price. At least not at my current energy level.

So anyway, while I’m trying out this tapestry/artistic weaving thing with ideas of some embroidery on top or meshed in specialty yarns, searching for a path among different types of yarns than I’m used to, I basically would like to hear what everybody else out there likes for various purposes. I hope to narrow down my spinning and weaving baseline staple to a few things that I use 80-90% of the time rather than have 300 g of every fiber under the sun.

I also don’t know yet what I’m going to “major” in. Will it be weaving or making/designing yarn? Or is textiles simply my grounding exercise that keeps the more brainy creativities alive, such as photo(shopping), writing – and what about the painting? I feel like I’m trying various things out, like different semesters in an education, and eventually perhaps I’ll fall deeper into one than the others. Which means leftovers from the activities that end up on the back shelf.

minis1 cloth2 hankies2

31 thoughts on “Selling scraps

  1. I can identify with this problem. I love all yarn but for my weaving mostly I use a coarse wool/nylon mix (ie carpet wool) but I have used other types. I have also used cotton and have been pleased with the results. I would love to try silk but isn’t it expensive? I don’t at present dye my own – time is an issue, It would be great to try as finding the exact colour required when buying can be hard, but I can’t forsee ever having the time!

    1. I could not afford to weave completely with silk, it would have to be for details.

      As long as you don’t make garments, carpet wools are fine, I plan to spin some longwools to see if I can find a favourite there for tapestry. It’s when people start wanting scarves for instance that you need to up the quality a little bit.

    2. I do spin silk though, buying the fiber in bulk is not as bad as all that, you just invest your time instead. I have some lovely plant dyed silk top I need to spin!

      1. when you dyed your silk top, did it stay intact? I haven’t tried doing that yet because I thought I might end up with unspinnable mess.

        1. It seems fine, the one batch I did spin had no issues. One set was weird, the fibers all brittle and breaking, but it was another source and weird from the start. Of course plant bits can be a nuisance.

          Yes, I’ve been thinking BFL for knitting as well. Nice drape.

          I looked at texere, it looks like the thinner of your silk varieties is half price? So theoretically you could ply two cones and get the same as the 1350 for less….

        2. I’ve also spun acid dyed silk, and combed or carded it to blend, no problem. Both Tussah and Mulberry. I got a kg of each from a German supplier that I felt was reasonable.

  2. I’m exactly in the same boat as you and so have been thinking about very similar questions as you for a while now. Unfortunately I’m not likely to be a potential customer for you (because I dye my own stuff) but obviously the question of what to dye is a topic close to my heart…

    Like you, I’ve been practising with cheap materials but these are less useful in the long term. And when you dye, the stash does grow, so I’ve been trying to think how to make is as rational and multifunctional as possible (especially as because of my CFS, I’m not really well enough to take on the extra work of selling stuff).

    I too have decided to go down the embroidery thread route, not exclusively but it is a good economical way of practising making lots of different types of colours. And I love dyeing silk but can’t afford to do it big quantities.The difficulty is that like with knitting yarns, embroidery threads come in a number of different weights, especially the silk ones and most embroiderers probably prefer to buy a whole project’s worth of colour-coordinated threads in the same weight. People who sell embroidery threads often sell it packs of 6-10 colours that go well together.

    The very finest embroidery silk – called “floss” – is single ply, very thin and probably a pain to dye as it could get horribly tangled so I personally excluded it for that reason. Instead I chose two weights from Texere’s spun silk collection 3000m/100g and 1350m/100g which are not too fine to be a pain (they come in cones so there’s the extra work of making lots of skeins) but could work as all purpose embroidery threads for my own purposes (if you like I’m happy to send you small samples of these).

    Crewel work is a traditional wool embroidery technique and crewel wool is a standard embroidery material that you can buy in shops. It often comes in very natural looking colours, so I would imagine there could be a market for naturally dyed crewel thread. I’m not sure what weight it is exactly though. Fine lace weight wool could also easily double up as an embroidery wool.

    I’m also on a hunt for the perfect soft-ish all purpose knitting wool that I could use as a standard base yarn in dyeing, but that’s another big topic, probably worthy of a blog post by itself…

    1. Thanks for commenting. No, I’m not fishing for buyers just yet, in fact I’m a bit of a hog when it comes to my own stuff! 😉 But if I were to part with some then it would A be easier if someone else found it useful and B perhaps I could find the ideal materials for me by sampling the favourites of my friends, rather than having to try ALL the yarns.

      But my target would probably be those who stitch to embellish fabrics, working in a freeform artistic way, rather than those who buy kits, if we talk thread. For knitting yarn, it’s more common to buy standalone skeins.

      The silks in the first image are the Texere 16/2nm (720m /100 g), so a bit heavier than the ones you suggest! Tempts me to have a go at those to compare, the 30/2 anyway. I know we discussed how large your skeins are, but I forgot? I’ve been making 25 m skeins, just under 3½ g.

      1. I’m all for comparing notes on favourite yarns, I agree it’s impossible to try them all. In my quest for the perfect knitting yarn to use as a dyeing base yarn, I’m thinking of getting hold of a few BFL yarn samples. If I find anything decent, I’ll write about in my blog.

        I’m using the Texere 16/2nm for lace weight knitting, it’s very nice for that. I suspect it would work for freeform embroidery too. I dyed a whole 100g skein for my knitting project, and although I tied it really carefully with 4 figure-of-8 ties, it got horribly tangled, but that was probably lack of experience on my part. My embroidery skeins are tiny as they were mainly for sampling, 2g each as I wanted lots and lots of different colours. For each dye bath I would use several and modify them in different ways to get colour variation. The small skeins didn’t get tangled at all.

          1. yes that would have the advantage that you can both knit it and embroider with it, but I think for embroidery it’s quite chunky, at least for me, I personally would prefer slightly thinner.

          2. It appears crewel yarn is about lace weight or 24/2, but you say you like thinner? Sounds very skinny to me!

          3. Crewel embroidery style works well with slightly thicker yarn, it doesn’t have to be as fine as silk embroidery thread would be, any lace weight would be fine for crewel I would imagine. So with silk I prefer to work with finer thread (and some people do very delicate work with silk), but the kind of needlework you would do with wool doesn’t require super-thin wool, wool embroidery is always chunkier in style. For example there are all those people who do tapestry-style needlework, like cushions, and you could easily use sock weight yarn for that.

          4. Lace would be fine – but I’m not sure about thread. I may have a go at the 3000 m and see if it can be plied since it’s cheaper – what’s your assessment of that?

            For tapestry weaving I’m planning to go thinner than my previous wool plant yarn and use something like 9/2, 6/1 (to mention some that I have – one is discontinued though)

          5. I’ve never tried plying commercial yarn so I’m not sure how good the results would be. I’m never too keen on 2-ply yarns as I prefer the smoothness and roundness of more plies. But it might work, so perhaps worth a try…

          6. I wonder where sewing thread fits in here (for the machine). So I can try to visualize the yarns you’re talking about. I’ll have to go dig out some spools!

    2. I was going to mention crewel work, too. I think it’s made a bit of a come back along with all the fiber arts. I have a deep nostalgia for this style of embroidery as I saw a lot of it in my childhood in the 70’s. I’ve been wanting to try embroidery, and when I get around to it, it will be crewel work.

      Pia, the felted wool fabric scraps I think could be useful for crafters who do rug hooking.

      I’m also interested in finding the perfect base wool for dyeing–one that does not require a big wholesale order as some of them do. What is the perfect all purpose yarn?

      1. When I said fabric scraps I was thinking more like actual decorative pieces that could be used flat in collage, not strips. 😉 I doubt people buy cut ends by the pound?

        I didn’t know crewel, but of course when googling it, I recognize the stile. I think it’s too delicate for me to be honest, I have trouble knitting lace lately because my hands are shaking a teeny bit. So something not as small and tight and just outlining shapes I think is more what I’m after personally.

      2. It would perhaps be a bit easier if I could LOOK at the yarns IRL. I ordered all the sample cards from one shop, and what did I get? Color photos! Like I can in any way estimate the yarn type like that?! Just one had actual yarn strips on it.

  3. Oooh! Yes I love talking about making scarves but I am not a knitter! However, I would definitely use your dyed goods for art. For me, the issue would be budget constraints– hand-dyed and spun items *should* be costly, and it would be a special treat only once in a great while for me. So for me it’s not about the feel, mainly about those colors. 🙂

    1. I think it probably appeals more to me to make small artsy bits and pieces rather than mass production of knitting yarns anyway. Of course I do like to make garments now and again, but buying such yarns in bulk to “stock up” and to dye a sweater worth of each hue is beyond me at present, both my budget and my stove space.

      What I’d like is to find a few types of weaving/embroidery yarns that are multi purpose I guess, for the dye experiments, and then spin the crazy stuff on the side.

    2. And I know you don’t mean to really buy anything every time you say oooh, please keep doing so whenever you feel like it, no strings! 😉

  4. Ups mange kommentarer. Jeg svarer bare med mine umiddelbare tanker, mest hvad jeg selv gør. Men først. Jeg vil heller ikke købe noget, fordi jeg dels kun kan tåkle alpaccauld, dels farver selv. Jeg broderer udelukkende med bomuld og strikker til mig selv udelukkende af alpacca. Jeg har farvet, strikket og solgt vanter til andre.
    Små (ikke alt for små) nøgler garn til salg et noget, jeg altid har på lager til billedvævere. Det er ikke noget jeg bliver rig af, men det er herligt at komme af med dem og have plads til noget nyt. Jeg har bare altid et par dukker garn og nogle sæber med alle vegne hen. Det sker, jeg sælger lidt af det. Jeg sælger aldrig (næsten da) til vennepris, så hellere forære noget væk i ny og næ og så ellers tage fuld pris.

    1. Som jeg har svaret de andre, er jeg slet ikke ude på at fiske kunder her på bloggen, blot interesseret i, hvad andre bruger. Det skulle så lige være bytterunder for sjov.

      Jeg kan godt se, hvis jeg søger på det, at det meste broderigarn er bomuld. Så det er vist kun til dem der er interesserede i unika, hvis jeg på et tidspunkt vælger ikke at bruge min silke.

      Hvor store er så de bundter billedvævningsgarn du sælger, og hvilken tykkelse garn bruger andre typisk? Jeg er jo helt ny i det med vævning og der findes godt nok mange slags at vælge mellem.

      1. Bundterne er mellem 100 og 300 g store, tykkelsen, hm tja ikke strømpegearn, men sådan noget til pinde 4 stykker. Helt almindelig uldgarn. Jeg er endnu mere nybegynder end dig i alt hvad der angår tekstiler, så … Jeg går efter ubehandlet uld, det vil sige hverken superwash eller anti-mølbehandlet, men køber meget af det i genbrugsforretninger.

  5. Fascinated to read your replies here as I also often wonder whether my leftovers from plant dyeing exercises would be of use to anyone. But I’ve just posted about joining a stitching challenge – a small experimental piece a month – that will use mine for now.

    I do like to dye boiled wool fabric when I can come by it … it takes the colour in such a subtle way.

    1. Ideally I’d just make stuff for myself, but there are always blunders or changes in interest halfway and that. Or just having too many things. 😉

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