Much as with Netflix marathons in my life before kids, I've recently found myself grabbing ropes of wool and saying, "Just one more handful and then I'll do the dishes." I think it's probably uneccessary to point out, but my house is a complete disaster right now. It's okay, though. I've just checked out "The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up" from the library for the fourth time and I really think it'll do the trick this time.Read More
One of the things that I find incredibly calming is to spin wool by hand. Did you know that hand-spinning has been around for 10,000 years? It makes sense when you think about it. Humans need clothes to cover our bodies in order to keep warm. It makes sense to get a few fleeces from a sheep before using that sheep for their meat and hide. So, in the absence of animal skins, we need textiles to make these clothes. String was necessary to weave textiles, and thus hand spinning was a necessary skill! This doesn't even take into account the usefulness of twisting fibers to create lengths of rope!Read More
No wheel? No problem.
When I first heard about tour de fleece, I shrugged it off as an event for spinners with expensive wheels and luxury fiber hookups. "I don't have time and I don't have the equipment," I thought to myself. Well, the first part of that statement may have been true but after picking up Respect the Spindle from my local library I began to think about my drop spindles differently. Perhaps a spindle isn't as quick or as efficient as a wheel, but it can certainly produce yarn, and beautiful yarn at that. Spindles are ancient and simple tools. Thinking of them in that context quickly made me fall in love with the idea or spinning tour de fleece on a drop spindle. I hastily joined my local spinning circle's tour de fleece Facebook group and set about tracking down some fiber to spin before the race commenced.
Getting the hang of it...literally.
When learning to use a drop spindle, you will quickly learn one way that the spindle gets its monicker. The thud of my spindle on the living room floor as my fiber broke time after time early this week was discouraging and annoying. Luckily I had a major motivator to improve my technique: dropping my spindle always wakes the baby up. A startled baby isn't good for anyone! One of the things I love about spinning (and simultaneously find so frustrating) is that there's only so far that reading can take you. You need to actually lay your hands on fiber and spin to learn. So I practiced and focused so singularly on my spindle each night that I'd find myself literally on the edge of my seat as I slowly lowered the spindle and increased my yardage, staying up far past my bedtime.
Spin, spin, knit
It's been a wonderful week of learning and I'm already so proud of the progress I've made. Not only have I learned a bit about spinning, but I've given myself a gift of hope. New skills can always be learned and with some tenacity and perseverance I can do the things that I've dreamt of. That's a mighty feeling.
So, week one is over and I'm now the proud owner of 100g of two-ply, handspun merino yarn. The colors scream Mardi Gras to me and aren't my normal palette. What would you knit? I'm considering Elizabeth Zimmermans mitred mittens but the softness of the yarn makes me want to knit a cowl! What to do?