Friday, September 30, 2011

Because I can...

I've been musing lately on the reactions I get from people who see me spinning or knitting.  Most folks know what knitting is and what it looks like when people do it.  The oddity seems to be that people are somewhat uncomfortable that someone would have the audacity to do such a thing IN PUBLIC!  My goodness, what would become of me if people saw me doing this?

I can tell you what happens... because I do it in public all the time.  People stare for a while, and if they get bold enough, they start asking questions. 
  • "What are you doing?"  Spinning wool into yarn, or knitting socks....
  • "Can I touch it?"  Of course....
  • "What are you making?"  Yarn, or a sweater, or whatever it is that I'm working on.
and my all time favorite question:
  • "Why would you want to make yarn when you can buy it?"  This gets interesting, if the person seems to be of the artistic nature, I can explain the colorwork or the blending of different types of fibers to get precisely the yarn I want.  If the person isn't the artsy type, it can be a lot of fun, but I usually end up answering simply: Because I can.
Most of the world is all about hurry up and get everything done as quickly as possible. The very nature of spinning singles, plying them into yarn and then knitting with what I have spun sets up all kinds of quandries in people's heads.  Most cannot even fathom making anything from scratch, be it a meal, clothing, furniture or what have you.  They think it is quaint and old-fashioned to make things.  Perhaps it is... but it is a skill all the same. 

I cherish the beauty of the things I create with my mind and hands.  I'm delighted that I've been given the gift of creativity, and the sense to use it.  I learned how to do most of this in my college fiber art classes, and have refined and improved my techniques over the years since then. 

So when the world and society whirl ever faster, I choose to slow down, deliberately and happily.

Because I can.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Finished yarn... love this one!

This is the finished yarn that I've been working on for a while.  The blue variegated ply came from Frene Creek Farm and is one of her lovely handpainted BFL (Blue Faced Leicester) rovings.  Since it is only four ounces, I wanted more possibilities, so I spun two extra plies to show off the variegation better and also to have a solid color yarn to go with the boldness of the pattern yarn.

For the solid plies, I wanted softness and blackness. That made alpaca my first choice.  A black that gobbles up light would showcase the brilliance of the blues.  So I started spinning.... and discovered that pure alpaca top doesn't agree with my spinning style all that well. I dug into my stash for the finest, blackest wool I had on hand.  It is a Corriedale fleece from my favorite Colorado shepherd, from her sheep Dusty.  Nearly as fine as Targhee, so delightfully soft.  I washed up some of the fleece and blended it at the drum carder at a 50% alpaca and 50% Dusty Corriedale wool.  It spun like a dream, and is nearly indistinguishable from the pure black alpaca.

The first shot was color corrected but not corrected for anything else.  This shot shows more what the yarn really "looks" like.  Cameras can be unkind at macro focal lengths... The dark yarn is a Navajo plied skein of my leftover black.  I can always spin more if I need to, but I wanted to have plenty for finishing up the variegated ply work.

The vital statistics on the finished yarn:

Variegated: 4 skeins of 3 ply yarn, total weight 291 grams (10.3 ounces) and 736 yards.  This yarn is about 1143 yards per pound... I think that lands it somewhere between DK and worsted weight.
Solid: 1 skein Navajo plied yarn, total weight 52 grams (1.8 ounces) and 176 yards.  This yarn is about 1564 yards per pound... a little finer, looks like about sport weight to me.  Haven't washed or swatched these yarns yet, but I'll bet they'll get even softer!

Spinning more yummy stuff... sampling the plies now.  I'll shoot pictures for next time.