Sunday, October 04, 2009

Bitter Sweet

Almost two years ago my friend Charlotte died of ovarian cancer. She left me her large loom. I had (and still have) no place to put it. Not even in storage.
Last May, her husband and I took down the loom and put it in storage in his house. At the time he told me that I could have her yarns. Two things prevented me from acting right away. Again, I had no place to put them, and it also seemed like desecrating a shrine. I asked if it would be alright to wait a few months. He said that that would be no problem.

Fast forward more than a year. Bill cleaned out some of the stuff in the back shed, we got rid of the couch and moved the chair that was stored in the shed to the living room. And I saw vacant space. That could be filled with yarn. I would have loved to put it in my studio, but unfortunately, that room, at this time, does not exist.

Last Wednesday, John and I bagged Charlotte's yarns. I has a day full of errands to run so I borrowed my dad's truck. We managed to fill the back of the truck with yarn. I had no idea that there was that much there.
And it all had to come into the house.

It made the first stop in the living room. This was, as I mentioned, on Wednesday. After the yarn was dropped off, supper needed to be made. Homework needed to be done. No time to sort yarn and no place to put it when it was sorted. I needed to make a trip up the hill to buy some plastic containers. I bought 5.

Silly me.
I didn't get back to the pile until Friday. Nicole wasn't feeling well, so I had to leave work early and pick her up. It turns out that she couldn't have felt too badly because she became upset when I told her that we were going home and not, as she wished, out to eat at a restaurant.

I fed her lunch and put her in front of a movie so that could start sorting. Things got much worse before they got better. I sorted all afternoon Friday. And more on Saturday. And I finished up the sorting on Sunday. I also had to make a couple of more trips to buy some more bins. The final bin count was 19.
6-60L bins of DK weight skeins of yarns, mostly from Briggs and Little, a local mill (and mostly in browns), 1 mohair, 1 linen, 1 with silk, rayon and the extra cotton that wouldn't fit in the cotton bin. 3 of fine wool, another of superfine wool.
One that I called "boucle and fun stuff". It will be interesting to open up that bin again. One that has a lot of Fleece Artist and Henry's Attic yarns. One that I called "Odds and Ends". Again, it will be interested in seeing whats in it.

One that is full of full bobbins.
Charlotte was a tapestry artist and used lots of colours and made a lot of her own bobbins from paper. This was a practice that she continued with her other weaving. There are some regular bobbins that have yarn on them too. A surprising amount actually. So between the paper and regular bobbins, there is a 45 L bin full. I have a few idea about what I can do with them.

I also found out that Charlotte had inherited the yarns of another weaver friend who had died a few years ago. Nel was from the Netherlands and was also very active in the weaving community. I have a lot of her handspun yarns too. All in natural animal colours. Maybe enough for a blanket.

There was also a couple of bags that I passed on to others. The bag of acrylics and other types of synthetic yarns that I knew I would never use went to the salvation army thrift store, and the bag of yarns that were perfectly fine but things that I, again, knew that I would never use, I brought to the school for the students to pick through. I might go through some of the bins again later so that I can give a bit more to the students.

I'm sure as I haul things out to use, I'll let you all know that it was from the "Charlotte Yarn Collection". I have already used a few bits and pieces in my latest shawls. The shawls are hanging off the back of my chair begging to be fringed and have their ends sewn in. I'll get a round to it. At some point.

So as you have now may have guessed, the sweet in the title is from having a whole new stash to play with. And the bitter comes from the fact that I really would much rather still have Charlotte around doing her magic with her yarns.


Anonymous said...

<3 Charlotte.

(HEH, if I run out of yarn on the legwarmers I knitting out of B&L Regal I'll give you a call. ;-) They're brown and the Red BWO LOL )

That's a nice sized stash. What a gift. <3


DaviMack said...

That's quite an amazing collection. I can't wait to see what comes of it - and how many years you'll go, weaving & knitting from such a stash!

t said...

She lives on in all the projects you'll do with that stash... which means she will indeed live forever.

Dani said...

Wow, that is amazing Jackie. Your friend would be so happy to see you loving her stash

Dave Daniels said...

Jackie, I can't it's been two years.
And, from the look of just your new stash (let alone what you already have), you will NEVER need to buy yarn again. EVER. :)

Julia said...

You must have been a special friend to Charlotte to be the recipient of such a gift... Once your magic fingers caresses the yarn, beautiful things will be created and Charlotte will smile on you with approval. I am sure that you will feel her presence while you work on what used to be her yarn.

Teyani said...

what an amazing legacy she left to you. and while you will still miss her, at least you will feel her presence close as you weave with her wool.

Anonymous said...

the yarn is in the best possible home. Charlotte was a wonderful person, as was Nel you will make beautiful things.

f. pea said...

Thanks for sharing this lovely story, Jackie. Charlotte will be with you all the time!