It’s very nearly 12 months since I last posted. A year in which I’ve done a lot, learned a lot, and (best of all) learned something of how much more there is for me to learn. I feel as though I’ve been gathering pretty pebbles as I walk along the edge of the sea. Now I have a double handful of beautiful stones and it’s time to start setting them into patterns to see what they mean to me, and might mean to others. Over the last month or two I’ve found I really miss the chance to write, or rather, I now desire the discipline of setting my thoughts in order to consider and communicate ideas.
I started this blog to document a journey into weaving, which rapidly became a rediscovery of knitting, and then an exploration of spinning. I blame Ravelry, where as sarahw I’ve met an incredible number of inspiring and helpful people and I think I’ve done my share of enabling and aspinnerating, too. I’ve accomplished quite a lot of spinning (I confess I want to show off some of the results!), which, together with discussions with Abby Franquemont and many others led me to think about the origins of this craft. It’s more ancient than you might think; after all, how long have we been wearing clothes? And now I wonder how the lives of my female ancestors changed as society changed, as technology changed. I have done some reading, I will be doing more, and I will try to record my discoveries and thoughts here.
I’m not just travelling through time and fibre. There are real-life journeys, too. In May 2008 he and I walked the West Highland Way, 95 miles from Milngavie on the outskirts of Glasgow to Fort William. Our first true backpacking experience, carrying everything we needed for 8 days on our backs. We finished in 5 1/2 days – not bad for two ageing flatlanders – and it was quite literally a life-changing experience. We’re going on more long walks for as long as our knees will allow. I’ll share some of that first walk with the world soon. For the moment, some spinning:
This is tussah silk 2-ply, spun on my new friend: last month I traded in the Louet Victoria for a Majacraft Suzie Pro. I still have the Schacht Matchless DT (shameful, I know). Both are lifetime wheels, but so different! If the Schacht was a car it would be a Mercedes-Benz. A big one. Beautifully sprung, no road or engine noise, effortlessly eating the motorway miles. The Suzie Pro is a roadster. It goes fast; if it had wheels it would corner like a demon. I love them both. In April I may have a problem, but I’ll reveal that when the time comes. Anyway, back to the silk…
not only handspun, but hand-dyed. Yes, my name is Sarah and I already have a problem. Despite wearing only sludge colours, I cannot resist playing with REAL colour. This entire spinning lark started because I wanted to spin barberpole sock yarn, and look where that’s got me. A box full of Russell Dyes (I love the colours), a bag of Jacquard dyes arrived last week. I have indigo, weld, madder. Over the summer I collected urine and managed to persuade a traditional sig vat to dye some merino blue; I’ll tell you about that too, sometime. Or if we have a proper summer this year I’ll do another one!
That’s roughly 450m, which is destined to become a Swallowtail Shawl for the local spinning group challenge. Which is my fault: my lace-knitting proved contagious!
This is a curiosity, a Christmas gift spun for a friend It’s 50% undercoat from her semi-longhair cat, 30% merino and 20% silk. A cabled 4-ply, my first serious exercise in yarn engineering. Cat is soft but completely lacks elasticity (hence the merino) and is completely dull (hence the silk). Cabled 4-ply to reduce shedding of shorter hairs.
This always takes longer than I expect. I’ve got to go and light the fire in the front room and prepare for an evening of knitting late Christmas presents! I’ll be back…