Monday, June 16, 2008

A Season of Storms

Today we had another in a string of violent summer thunderstorms, threatening trees and flickering the lights, and crashing grandly in the sky. I love to watch a storm. As long as where I am is safe, and no one is hurt, it's a beautiful thing to see, with the darkening light and the lightning bolts. And afterwards the sky scrubbed clean and little orphans of mist trailing among the hollows.

It's come earlier than normal; usually July and August bring the peak of the summer thunderstorms. But it's been the perfect season for working on the Stormwatch roving.

About a month ago, I was facing a mountain of roving that needed to be spun. I'd enjoyed the adventure of blending it on my drum carder, the Frumious Bandersnatch, once I got over the shock of how roughly the wool had evidently been treated at the mill where it was prepared. I loved how the blue, gray, and beige blended into a more complex color scheme. I'd named it Stormwatch because of its resemblance to a moody storm-torn sky.

When all the blending was done, it made a huge pile. I think I counted seventy little balls of roving. Even tamped down, it overflowed a bulging shopping bag. It seemed overwhelming. It perched atop my already-full spinning basket, looming over me in my spinning corner and glowering downward. I suppose you can't blame a storm for glowering, but still, sitting there in its shadow, I quaked.

As I couldn't think of any other way to placate it, I got to work and started spinning. I can't say it flew through the fingers, as lumpy and grabby as it was, but Rastro and I chipped away at it, day after day.

Sometimes we sang, to make the time pass. "Sixty-eight balls of roving in the bag, sixty-eight balls of roving, you take one down and spin it around, sixty-seven balls of roving in the bag." Well, maybe that wasn't such a great idea after all.

In a way, the fiber's very roughness set me free. It was a bracing experience for an overly careful and inexperienced spinner. Instead of meticulously controlling the thickness of the filament I spun, worrying when a few too many or too few fibers crept in, stopping and backing up to remove any slub that might dare appear, I knew such precision was a lost cause.

And there were delightful surprises here and there, like the occasional stray dash of contrasting color, like this bright purple. I actually began to wonder if the original blue, at least, had been intended as a tweed preparation, with little jots of purple and brick red and teal here and there. I welcomed the variation and spun away blithely, over nep, over slub, over hill and dale, never looking back, counting it all as part of the yarn's rustic charm.

And finally, I was rewarded with a bouquet of seventeen skeins of bold character.

An armload of storms! I feel like Thor in Valhalla, ready to cast down powerful lightning bolts.

Or maybe a cardigan.


margene said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely! That is a wonderful bunch of spinning!

Bess said...

What a great story! A stormy blue jean sweater will come of this.