Friday, October 26, 2007

We Have Contact!

I imagine every wide-eyed new blogger who begins pouring out thoughts must wonder whether anyone will ever read them. Thanks to the gracious knittin' diva, I can now be sure that I won't have forever toiled away for my own eyes alone. Though it's obviously due to our husbands' behind-the-scenes communication, it's nonetheless a good feeling to know that the blog goes both ways. Knittin' diva also, it turns out, paints beautiful hand-dyed merino sock yarn, available in her etsy shop. I'm especially partial to this one; it's like being in a forest of old-growth conifers at nightfall.

Funny how things change; I remember as an adolescent making some tentative attempt at keeping a diary, only to feel too embarrassed to write about my feelings even for an audience of one. This may have something to do with my later gravitating toward math and technology rather than creative writing as a career!

Last night, on the spinning front, I figured out a little something new. I learned the value of teasing -- other than the value I already knew, that is, which was to annoy my little brother when we were kids. I'd been working with the Coopworth wool in different colors, but the preparation of the creamy white roving was different from the others.

Rather than the usual fluffy, rounded strand, it unwound off the ball of roving in a flat, pinched ribbon, as if it had been pressed with an iron.

Even after predrafting, it seemed balky, tight. In the spinning, we struggled a little together. It wasn't until after I'd spun most of it that way that I finally thought to give teasing a try.

Instead of just pre-drafting the roving lengthwise as usual, I pulled it slightly apart sideways to loosen the strands first. This is what that poor, tight, ironed ribbon looks like after a little teasing. When I tried spinning it this time, it was very relieved and much more cooperative.

Here, the picture shows one bit of roving pre-drafted straight from the ball (top) and another pre-drafted after first getting a little teasing (bottom) and a few affectionate chucks under the chin. Although you can't see a huge difference between the two, the top one is still a little more regimented, chafing in its school uniform and longing to wear bellbottoms, while the teased one is a little looser, livelier, happier.

I'd always thought teasing was something you did before the wool reaches the roving stage, but I guess it all depends on how it's handled before it reaches you.

That's one of the difficult things about learning a hands-on skill like spinning from books; it sometimes takes a lot of trial and error to turn the book-knowledge into the real thing. But it does make each bit of progress feel like a famous victory -- hurrah!

1 comment:

Knittin' Diva said...

Thanks so much, Cathy, for referring to my Etsy shop....every little bit helps! Hope you make it to the Fiber Festival this weekend. We went yesterday and I purchased some yummy baby alpaca to dye. Can't wait!! What do you intend to purchase?