On Giants' Shoulders

Monday, September 18, 2006

Wooly Times Return

Somehow working with wool has become a more attractive idea in the last week or so. It's not just me that's doing it. My student Cathy is making and "almost sleeveless sweater" with a lot of coaching from me. My daughter sheared 3 sheep on the weekend and is talking about making socks. I have knitted nothing so far (except for a small parts of rows of Cathy's sweater), but I've spun a fair amount.

I never can decide whether I prefer spinning or knitting. I always feel like I'm accomplishing more when I'm knitting, but I think that in some respects spinning is the more meditative thing to do. This is especially true when I'm spinning mindless yarn rather than trying to do something a bit thinner or thicker than my usual. When I'm knitting, or spinning something specific I generally have an actual project in mind. When I'm spinning mindless yarn the actual project is far in the future, the real pleasure is in just getting that carded fleece into some sort of yarn.

I think that the spinner who spun the yarn for Cathy's sweater must really enjoy mindless spinning. The yarn was now thick, now thin, now lightly spun, now almost overtwisted, and all of this with no particular rhyme or reason. I used to think that yarn like that was a real failure. I hated it when my yarn looked like that. However, Cathy's sweater is going to be really nice looking. This sort of yarn actually works well for a fairly novice knitter because it hides some of the uneveness of their knitting within the uneveness of the yarn. I still like spinning more uniformly myself, but it encourages me that yarn doesn't have to look like millspun to be beautiful. Of course it's also encouraging to know that they are currently selling some of that "novelty" type yarn for $17 a skein at a shop 30 miles from here. Here I knit sweaters from handspun for free.

I've got a bit more mindless spinning to do to have a sweater's worth of yarn ready. So I guess I have to spin a bit more before I can knit.

Today I figured out one perk of giving free knitting lessons. Sometimes you get rewarded with an apple pie! After four hours of knitting with Cathy her mom sent me home with a fresh baked pie. And wonder of wonders I ate so little today I actually have the points left to enjoy it. Aren't I doubly lucky!

Well, my husband just cut the pie. So I'm going to sign off for now. Here's hoping all of you wonderful wooly times of your own with apple pie on the side. Just don't drop your needles in the pie.


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