Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Accentuate the Positive

Eliminate the negative. After a wretched week with that stomach bug, I'm already back to feeling positively chirpy!

So let me tell you what I've been doing with the pennywise roving. This is the generic bargain roving that I bought on a whim, without looking too closely, only to find when I got it home that it's filled with lumps. But beauty is only skin-deep, as they say. I went looking for its inner beauty.

I bought six colors, with blending in mind. Three of them I put aside, thinking they looked particularly nice together. That left me, hoping for the best, with these three. I have a half-pound of each, about the right amount, in all, for a sweater. The colors looked, if not exciting, at least possibly compatible. And, to be honest, I really didn't feel like I had a lot to lose.

So off I went with it to the Frumious Bandersnatch, my drum carder, to see what we could make of it. I took a hunk of each color and pulled the compressed sausages apart, opening them up into filmy layers. They sighed with relief to get some air. Having a heathery effect in mind, I stacked the layers on the intake tray.

After it was all cranked through onto the drum, the wool looked like this. It was better than I expected. Rather a nice streaky effect, I thought. And, though muted in color, not a bit dull.

This, incidentally, is what the Frumious Bandersnatch lives for! The main reason I wanted a drum carder in the first place was to be able to play with blending colors and fibers. The yearning for raw fleece came later, once the idea of a drum carder had sunk in for a while and made itself right at home.

Anyway, rather than running the wool through again to mix the colors more thoroughly, I decided to stop right there. I peeled the batt off the drum, rolled it up, and stretched it out into a pleasantly streaky ball of roving. Then I made another, and another. I rather grew to like it.

Oh, I haven't lost sight of the fact that it's full of mess. You can see that just by looking. It's just that I've gotten over the initial shock. I can look past the homely exterior and see the character within. I can contemplate long sessions of lumpy-oatmeal spinning with equanimity and envision a comfortable, nubby sweater as the eventual result.

Driving home one evening a week or two back, I noticed a really dramatic-looking sky. It was freshening for a storm. Deep, thunderous blues were slashed across with clouds in frowning, dirty beige, and ethereal silver-gray. It was utterly beautiful. And in fact, it was almost exactly the colors now streaking through the blended pennywise roving. So I now have a name for the roving, the yarn, and whatever sweater is made from it: Stormwatch.

See? Inner beauty.


Bess said...

Ahh - How I envy you that marvelous machine - and when there is a place for a bed of nails in my house I shall get one too. At the moment - every flat surface is already holding something. who would have thought that I'd press BD to build a room for a drum carder?

I love the colors of your stormwatch sweater 2 B. Funny, isn't it, how you have to keep looking, sometimes, to find that inner beauty - I'm doing that with a brown merino fleece that I sent off to be carded at a mill and got home all full of lumps and bumps. Thanks for that ray of hope and inspiration - since I haven't yet found my groove with this fiber.

margene said...

That looks like fun! It's wonderful to see the process all the way through to the yarn. Love the yarn!!

Amy said...

Bravo to *you*!