Sunday, January 28, 2018

Next Project

My niece, Kelsey, is expecting a baby in April, so I'm planning a run of baby blankets. Since she's not a weaver, I thought she might enjoy learning where baby blankets come from 😉

For that reason, I'm including more information than usual, so a non-weaver mom-to-be will understand what I'm talking about.

As soon as I heard the news, I ordered some yarn from R&M Yarns, located in Tennesee: Natural (undyed) unmercerized 8/2 cotton on a huge, 3.7-pound mill cone. I have nothing but good to say for this yarn company -- price, quality, and service are very good. The yarn is ring-spun, and now that I've wound off all but 10 ounces of the yarn, skeined it, and scoured it, I can vouch for the consistently good quality. Here's what's left on the cone:

Kelsey, you might wonder why I would bother to scour (as in, wash very thoroughly) brand new yarn. Here's why:

Even though the yarn on the cone looks clean, the mill adds oils to the fiber during the spinning process, and also cotton fibers have a waxy coating that has to be removed - that coating keeps the fiber from accepting dye evenly, and removing it by including soda ash when scouring, the cloth will be softer and much better for baby. The liquid in the pot after scouring really is that yucky!

The yarn is much more attractive once it's scoured and rinsed:

Because any yarn I put on the loom has to be long enough to account for almost 24 inches of waste at the end of the warp, I never weave a project consisting of just one piece (unless it's yardage). A baby blanket is usually in the neighborhood of 40-46 inches long, so if I were to weave just one, adding nearly half of that length and then wasting it isn't economical. So the project is planned to make 4 blankets, woven one after another - so the waste less painful. Especially with yarn that I'm going to hand-dye. Part of the design will be solid color, and part will be painted with the colors you requested.

The "extra" blankets will go into the annual Central Coast Weavers guild sale in November.

This is what 4 blankets-worth of yarn looks like (49 ounces), after scouring but before the dyeing begins:

Each of the skeins was measured for a specific part of the design, whether lengthwise threads or crosswise threads, solid or variegated. I'll email some color samples before I start the dye process, to make sure they will coordinate with your nursery decor.


Valerie said...

Nice post, Sandra. I am a great aunt many times over and note that current trends are to keep babies in carriers and car seats that don't allow for much blanket bulk. Also, no blankets in cribs...just swaddling.
New Moms these days prefer blankets a bit smaller that can be draped over or tucked around the baby in the carrier. Something more like 32" x 32". Might want to check with the Mom on the size.

Looking forward to see this project evolve.

Sandra Rude said...

Thanks for your comment, Valerie! I might be able to squeeze 5 blankets out of the warp if the current size is that much smaller these days.

neki desu said...

Hope you win a new weaver over.great activity for when those babies leave the house😏