Elmore Yarns

Blog

Happy Birthday to us!

It was one year ago today that we opened our doors for the first time; nervous, excited, not really knowing what to expect. To our relief, the Elmore community welcomed us with open arms, empty knitting needles, and a thirst for good coffee.

We were only half-stocked with yarn (the other half was on backorder), and fresh from a barista course, but you forgave us our newbie jitters and kept coming back for more. It must have been our conversational skills.

I’d set up my small floor loom at the front of the shop, and started weaving cotton tea towels. Being Elmore’s only interactive window display drew lots of interest and comments. Then Parsons had their clearance auction and we scored the old Sheridan spinning wheel which I’d had my eye on for 10 years. So I taught Tim to spin, and a much more unusual and rare window display was created!

And then in May, Covid Lockdown 4 happened. Our first in the shop. I don’t actually think we were counting them at that stage, but we pretended that we were an essential service, dropped our hours, and served your coffee in takeaway cups.

Lockdown 5 struck on the eve of the Sheep & Wool Shop in July. That hit a lot of local businesses hard. All we could do was to keep on spinning and weaving, selling our handcrafted scarves through Facebook, and handing out coffee through the door.

Lockdowns 6 and 6.1 passed in a blur as Winter rolled on. Would this ever end! It did, of course, as the vaccine roll-out swept through. But as restrictions eased, and virus numbers sky-rocketed, travellers imposed their own cautions as they moved around, and Elmore stayed fairly quiet, even over Christmas and New Year.

So what’s next for us? This time last year, I had a vision of a cosy little wool shop as a gathering place for local knitters. Didn’t happen. Thanks Covid. Instead, the coffee side has been far busier than I envisaged, and we have become a gathering place for local coffee lovers instead. Wool sales weren’t as strong as I would have liked – had the initial Covid-induced resurgence of knitting waned after 2 years, or were people just not able to get out and visit their LYS? Handcraft sales picked up the slack – handwoven scarves with Tim’s handspun yarn were especially popular, the teatowels held their own, and a steady flow of customers (men and women) are discovering the awesomeness of handmade soaps.

So, Thank You, Elmore. Here’s to 2022 – Elmore Yarns’ year two.

How Many?!!

So Tim asked me last night how many elves I’d made. Oh, I replied, I dunno – maybe… 10?

Amigurumi “Elyarnies”

The word Amigurumi (“ah-mee-goo-roo-mi”) comes from two Japanese words – ami meaning “crocheted (or knitted)” and kurumi meaning “wrapping (or stuffed toy)”. Wikipedia

What started as a fun Christmas Elf has got slightly out of hand. Amigurumi is a technique that I always wanted to have a go at, but at the same time it looked really fiddly and tedious. I’m not quite sure how I came across the original pattern a few weeks before Christmas – I blame Facebook, but who knows. I figured I could make a Christmas Elf, take a few fun pics for the Elf On The Shelf deal on our Instagram page, and be done with it. Then I made a second one, with fewer mistakes. And a third one to match a cotton scarf that Tim had just finished. Aaaand… then it escalated. I could stop at any time, right? I just needed to make one for each of the kids for Christmas and then I’d have a rest.

As luck would have it, I *did* have a rest, thanks to an infected cat bite on my hand. Then I got a couple of requests from people who wanted their own elves. Sure, no problem. I guess I’m in the elf supply business now!

And now I’m onto Trolls. This pattern is by the same designer. I bought both PDF patterns, because I’m all for supporting small business, but there is a free version available for each at the links below.

Elves: Mini Christmas Elf
Troll: Mini Trolls

And you can now buy your own Elf or Troll from the online shop, or message me for a special order. More being added weekly.


Not Everything Works Out

Some ideas, of course, just don’t work out. With Valentines Day coming up, I thought I’d weave something with hearts. I hit up Pinterest, as you do. The best drafts* were for an 8-shaft loom – but mine is currently flatpacked and in storage for when we have more space. So, a 4-shaft pattern then. There was only one which looked any good so I wound a 5 metre warp, enough for 6 tea towels, and altered the tie-up* on the floor loom to match.

I wove a few inches. Hmmm, this doesn’t look right. Double-checked everything. Looked okay, but the resulting cloth still didn’t look very heart-like. Finished off the first towel, then switched the tie-up back to “normal” and wove the rest of the towels as colourful little chevrons. They still look awesome IMHO(!), but what was the deal with the hearts?

I did a line-by-line check of the finished towel against the draft, and treadle 2 seems off. Too late now to go back, but wouldn’t you know it, the same draft is used to make a stash blanket in the January issue of Handwoven. So I can have another go, AND tick off another New Year’s Resolution project!

Chevron towels now available in the shop.

Weave talk:
*draft: the pattern, represented as a grid/graph
*tie-up: the shafts raised for each treadle press

Where Ideas Come From

If you’re a crafter like me, you will most likely have piles of ideas and good intentions just waiting for the “right” time. Tim and I quit our day jobs to start this little venture of ours to give us time to do All the Things. My Thing at the moment is weaving (in case you hadn’t visited the shop lately!). It’s summer, which means cotton, which generally means teatowels. These are great little projects to explore patterns and colour ideas without committing to a big project.

I’m mostly self-taught, so I have a large collection of books and magazines. My favourite publication is Handwoven Magazine – I have back issues from 2000, and a number of “best of” collections focussing on specific patterns or items. I recently resubscribed to the bi-monthly magazine, and once again, my head is full of inspirations and ideas. But how to stop those ideas collecting dust at the back of the closet?

Soooo, my New Year’s Resolution is to actually DO the projects in each magazine, where they fit the loom(s) that I have available. I have the first one lined up (in my head, anyway). It’s from the November issue, so I’m already behind! Anyway. Watch this space.

Rag Weaving

The ultimate upcycling – ripping pre-loved quilt covers to shreds and making something fresh and useful. The warp for these is 100% cotton (or bamboo) which has been hanging around in my stash for way too long. The weave (or weft) is colourful cotton/polyester fabric, ripped into 1″ strips, and woven through in a plain weave.

My first test run went big, using almost the full width of the loom, and 80cm between hems. This short warp of 8-ply cotton samples from Tim’s dye lab yielded 2 decent size table/counter/bath mats, and a leftover strip for a bar mat.

Okay, so these are a tad too big for your average table setting. Time to downsize. Next on the loom was some variegated 10-ply cotton for warp, slightly narrower, and a lot shorter. And voila, placemats!

Warp #3 was 100% bamboo yarn from hell. I’d stashed this years ago, when BWM discontinued it. I’d knitted one lacy top and buried the rest. Out it came, time to get used. Held double, because it’s lightweight for an 8-ply, the warp behaved itself, more or less. The cloth was a heavy cotton plaid, which would have been lovely once. I actually really love these now – the colours just work.

Warp #4 is going on the loom as I write. The last of the 8-ply dye pot samples, this time all the warm reds and pinks, teamed with a bright orangey quilt cover. This one will be a floor mat for the cabin.

Handwoven Teatowels

Hi, and welcome to the blog. To start us off, let me introduce you to the Shop Loom. If you’ve wandered past the shop in the last few weeks, you will have seen him in the window.

“Wolfie” is a Schacht 1991 Baby Wolf 4-shaft floor loom, who has just celebrated his 30th birthday. I have owned him for just under 5 years, but we haven’t really done a lot of weaving together, with him spending much of that time folded up in a corner. Coming down to the shop has brought him out of retirement.

We are currently weaving up a storm of cotton towels, using up my stash of Heirloom Cotton 8-ply, as well as a small (*cough*) pile of bargains from the factory back room (yes, we shop there too). This is unmercerised cotton, which makes it lovely and soft, but really hard-wearing. They can be used as hand towels or tea towels, and can be thrown in the wash along with everything else.

Towels are 45cm by 63cm, and priced at $50.View in shop

If you can’t come to us, then let us come to you!

A little something for everyone!

Yarn

Traditional Handmade Soap

Wraps and Scarves

Cotton Towels

Rag Weaving

If you can’t come to us, then let us come to you!