textiles · exploration · misadventure

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Madrona-ing, Part IV: Repurposing Textiles with Judith MacKenzie

Orange, red, white, yellow skein of yarn with hints of blue. Made of wool, mohair, camel, firestar, and other fibers.

“If you weren’t thrifty, you wouldn’t be here.” ~Judith MacKenzie

Madrona 2015 Rainier 084
(Sorry. We needed another picture of Mt. Rainier. It sets the scene.)

Garnetting? Yeah, me too. Never heard of it. Leave it to Judith to bring it into the light. It’s fascinating, and the possibilities feel endless.

Garnetting is a particular kind of used-fiber reclamation, in which old fibers are reduced to smaller elements, combined with other used or new fibers, and used to create fresh yarns.

It sounds so simple. And, yet.

Garneting is yet another opportunity to be opinionated about what we like and don’t like, the materials and processes we use, the textures that lure or repel us, and the colors we select and combine. It’s an opportunity to take something you love that’s no longer useable, and turn it into something that is.

Dad's manky sweater
Exhibit A: My dead father’s million-year-old, felted-like-a-stone cashmere sweater. Ain’t nobody gonna be wearin’ this old thing.

Garnetting class (17)



Exhibit B: Ferociously carded cashmere fibers. Yeah. Didn’t get far.



silk merino
Exhibit C: I combined the cashmere with this new silk and wool blend.




Garnetting class (30)

Exhibit D: Resulting yarn. Fail. Judith argued with me, but I decline to be satisfied.
However. I have tricks up my sleeve regarding this sweater. I will report back.





In the meantime, after I gave up on the sweater, I created this:
Garnetting class (7)

Garnetting class (6)
(I didn’t notice until I took the pictures just how much this looks like a raw, veiny heart. Ick. But let’s put that aside for the more loving feelings, shall we?)
Which became THIS:
Garnetted yarn from Judith MacKenzie's repurposing textiles class, Madrona Fiber Arts Festival, 2015.
Garnetted yarn from Judith MacKenzie's repurposing textiles class, Madrona Fiber Arts Festival, 2015.
Be still my heart. THIS is drum-carded white wool and silk, carded orange and yellow silk fabric from remnants (which gives me ideas about those scraps of Dupioni,) a heart-stopping bit of incredible camel silk (large lump* later purchased by me from Island Fibers, at the marketplace,) yellow, red, and tiny bit of blue dyed mohair locks, and some random miscellanea left on the licker-in** by classmates.

I spun a single with the batt, and plied it with a fine strand of eri silk, spun worsted for strength. Of course, I made that too short, and had to stop in the middle of plying, swap the bobbins on my wheel and kate, and spin more. And I won’t mention that plying the wrong way so my yarn doesn’t cohere mishap. (Damn, I should have taken a picture for the blog. Instead, I tried to hide it, as we do.)

I hope to do another blog soon, demo-ing this technique. My clone and I need some practice.

Garnetting clone, get off your ass. (I respond well to profanity.)
*Camel silk!
Garnetting at home (1)
**WTF is a licker-in, you ask?