Several weeks ago, one of the attendants at the swap shed that provides most of my rug fiber said she had heard the county was thinking of closing the swap sheds altogether; that they were too much work to maintain. My blood ran cold. There are other sources of clothing that can be upcycled into my rugs and wall hangings, but most of them cost money and require more work than looking at the clothing on the shelves of the swap sheds two or three times a week.
Fact is, I have enough stash to last till the Second Coming, but that wasn’t reassuring, esp. as I am in the process of working to make more of my income from art = rug production. (Not to mention, no-one’s been right about the date of said Second Coming yet and it is unlikely that my running out of stash will have anything to do with it.) I didn’t exactly panic, exactly, but I for sure didn’t cut back any. It’s pretty normal to stock up in the face of an impending shortage, no? Some people would call it “hoarding.” I’m not ready to go that far. I’m also (still) not collecting fabrics and fibers I don’t like (all poly; any blues in the “denim” family). But I didn’t cut back any, and I’m doing about a load of stash laundry every five or six days.
Now that I have more freedom in how I use my time than I did before, I’ve made a point of keeping on top of the incoming stash and working to get it sliced and processed in pretty good order. I can slice up a basket of incoming clothing in about an hour’s phone conversation. While I’m not getting ahead, I am at least keeping up, which was not the case before the shift.
Unfortunately, this change has only moved the problem. Instead of bags of incoming clean clothing waiting to be sliced, I now have bags of sliced and rolled fiber, sorted by color, waiting to be knit into rugs. Given I do most of my knitting in “tweener” time, when I’m riding in the car, waiting, in a (private) meeting, and sometimes on the phone, I am not keeping up with the flow. It was storage progress when I split out “red” into “red” and “pink” and “orange” and “purple,” but this weekend, “red” overflowed into the “black” drawer. My tenant gave notice on the adjoining property, and I am so seriously tempted to keep it off the market and use it as space for more stash. This would not be a good financial decision.
When I was preparing some jpgs for a show application on Friday, I played around with the “hue” adjustment in Photoshop, and all of a sudden,
Seascape flipped its colors 180 degrees and turned into Sunset.
I was amazed. Not only is it beautiful, it’s also red. I didn’t get time to pull colors yesterday until it was too late (no light) to work with reds; they’re pretty demanding about being sorted in full daylight. I put that activity on my calendar for 1 PM today and just now got done. Whew! I’m already thinking, “Well, if I go a little bigger than Seascape (42 x 46″), I can use up more. I can go up to 48″ width and easily mount it on a sheet of pegboard; what’s that in length? (Golden mean applies here.) 76″. OK. That will fit on a 4×8 sheet of pegboard… (what we use as a base for mounting the rugs). It will be big. But maybe I’ll draw down the red some.
I have knitted a number of rugs specifically to draw-down the stash. Red Triple Spiral was one.
It grew and grew and grew, but by the time I got it sewn up, I had easily refilled the bins with new colors. I am only kidding myself. I might have to start knitting in real time, time that could be used for something else. Maybe I should bump my Netflix up again, to three at a time, and knit in the evenings most evenings? Don’t know. Red is hard. There are only so many things I can do with red. Even Sunset is going to use more pink than red.