A little wonky. OK, a LOT wonky! A little seersuckery. A little bouclé-ish. But it’s soft and warm and light. The Stashbuster Blanket will make a great addition to the winter wool pile on our bed and then transition to a lightweight summer cover. Wool is the very best fibre to sleep in. It breathes and wicks moisture and is self-adjusting to the ambient temperature. Works fine for the sheep, doesn’t it? Works for me too.
I’m quite interested in what people sleep on and under. It seems as if our little homemade bed would be too small for most people these days. It’s a standard full/double bed size but somehow Thom and I don’t seem to clash in the middle of the night. (Maybe nearly 47 years of practice? And we aren’t particularly large or tall.) Also unlike most people, I like my blankets heavy and tucked in tightly, a cool room and a window open. And obviously we both like lots of pillows! The top ones do end up on the floor at bedtime.
So this was yet another one of my slow projects. I actually started way back in November 2016 but stopped winding the warp after just one of the six 50-strand sections. Finally took it up again last fall absolutely determined to finish. To recap, the yarns were all various ancient balls and skeins that had been lurking around the studio for eons. Some are actual blanket yarns, a lot were leftovers from other projects or spinning samples. I used the heavier plied yarns for warp, winding no more than one or two ends before switching to a different one. The weft yarns are singles and all of the yarns except the accent ones were overdyed in a dark green acid dye to meld all the disparate colours into something more harmonious. That used up some old dyes too.
The warp was 300 ends 11 yards long and sett at 8 ends per inch and the weft was beaten in at (mostly) 10 picks per inch. Except the accent stripes which I beat in much harder so they would show up better. After the piece came off the loom I cut three 120” sections and pressed and pinned 3/4” hems in the ends right away before they had a chance to unravel. The sections were laced together through the selvedges to attach them and I think it makes a very flat and nearly invisible join. The hems were slip-stitched with the weft yarn.
To finish the blanket I put them in the washing machine with hot water and lots of Orvus and let it agitate for awhile, checking often to make sure I hadn’t gone too far. You can always full a cloth some more but you can’t reverse the process! Then I spun it out, rinsed in lukewarm water, spun it out again and hung it up in the basement to dry. It shrunk quite a lot: a full 21% in the weft direction and a more normal 15% in the warp direction. The final measurements are 88”W X 98”L (223.5 cm X 249 cm). Luckily that still fits our regular-sized double bed with enough to tuck in. Because the fabric is still pretty lumpy, I then decided to steam press it to even it out as much as possible. Which wasn’t much!
Perfection wasn’t really my goal anyhow. I just wanted to reduce the bags of random balls of really elderly wool and have another bed cover. It will probably spend most of its time layered between other blankets anyhow so nobody will see it then but me when I make the bed. Did I mention that this project only used up maybe 2/3 of that heap of yarns? Not quite the perfect stashbuster either. But the stash is a full 5-1/2 lbs lighter than it was. And today I vacuumed up the most amazing collection of green dust bunnies in my studio. Or maybe that was Dust Godzillas! They were huge! They were everywhere. But I conquered them with a secret weapon - the Dyson. Yay!
Now onto the next project.
Huzzah for finishing the blanket! Perhaps the green clumps of fuzz were actually Dust Dinosaurs?
the blanket looks lovely, stash busting is always good and I love the over dyeing idea. I have two blankets woven from the handspun stash, they are a little seersuckery due to slightly different weights and sheep breeds. Still warm and cozy. Congratulations on finishing.
What a lovely blanket!
Terrific! It's lovely to look at, and will serve its role as a blanket well. It's encouraging to hear how a pile of miscellaneous yarn can be used so well together. I have heard that overdyeing will blend many yarns together, but it's another thing to see it as a real woven object. Thanks for sharing this project and including so many helpful details.
Thanks for all the lovely comments! And, Nancy, I have always appreciated bloggers who post all the details so one can use the information in their own work. So I always try to reciprocate! Sharing is caring, right?
Wow, Louisa. That's unbelievable, I must say. And it looks cool too. Congratulations to you.
You are a gem!! A continuation of all of the skilled women over all of the eons of fabric creation making something for a warm & comfortable bed. It was fun to watch you turn all the little balls into something so useful. And perfect timing as well.
Absolutely gorgeous blanket and I love the colour. I find it difficult to find good blankets in stores these days, and I'm afraid to go into the really fine, expensive stops to look in case I fall in love with something. I like your sleeping style, window open and lots of covers!
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