I am not talking about the stuff that makes your colon happy either. I am talking about the wonderful things in this world that are made into fiber. Whether it is the wool from sheep, cotton, hemp and linen from plants, angora from rabbits or mohair from goats, the common denominator from all of them is that they provide humanity with the necessary fibers to be made into all types of clothing.
Otherwise we all would be cold and naked. Not a pretty sight I can assure you. Even ancient man knew to cover up with a fig leaf or two, thus saving Eve from running screaming from the Garden of Eden.
Set in amongst my household bathroom renovations sits my sanctuary. A place I can go to at the end of the day to unwind while producing something made from different kinds of fiber, which is either knitting or weaving. I knit mostly with wool, wool/acrylic blends or cotton yarns, heavily favouring the ‘SuperWash’ wools for socks, mittens and scarves for their ease in care and durability. Gone are the days of trying to wash a wool sweater only to experience first-hand a phenomenon called ‘felting’, where you end up with a sweater that after washing now fits your Barbie doll.
So far in my young weaving career, I have been using a thin cotton yarn for dish towels. Strong, yet durable and available in a huge palette of colours, I get to play designer and create my own personal linens that will last longer than any commercially made product. I think that is the best part of taking up weaving, getting to sit down to explore the colour wheel and the many pattern variations that can be attained with a loom. Sure, Bob may look imposing, but he is a very simple medium that with a little instruction, has you happily making your own fabrics for whatever use you can think of.
Now with all this weaving going on and thinking about yarns in general (and my love for them)…I said to myself….hmmmm… I wonder if I could make my own yarn?!
That is when something bit me.
Spinning!! and no, not that stationary bicycle thing that has been an exercise fad that should have passed by now. I am talking about spinning my own yarn. I figure if I love to create/design things *made* from fiber…why don’t I try to make my own fiber?
So I researched a bit, then asked an
enabler friend of mine who I know has some spinning experience for some pointers. She happily thrust a bag into my hand that contained something called ‘roving’ (cleaned and combed sheep’s wool) and a drop spindle. She pulled the drop spindle out, peeled a strip of the roving off the batch, attached it to the existing yarn on the spindle, spun it and voila! Yarn!
Wow…that sure looked easy. I could so do this, no problem. It isn’t rocket science after all, even better, you don’t need a degree in anything to do it.
I was all set. I had a spindle, some wool and I would then be off to making skeins and skeins of beautiful handspun yarn that I could weave and/or knit into lots of wonderful things.
Until I tried it for the first time.
There is an old saying: if you can’t laugh at yourself, then you have no right laughing at anyone else.
Well let me tell you I was doubled over in laughter at my first attempts at spinning. Then I cursed my enabler friend for making it look so easy. Then I vowed to master this new hobby…if it kills me.