Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Since I've been spinning (as of this past summer), I'm becoming more and more fascinated by the transformation that wool undergoes from its original residence on the sheep to being a finished yarn. I won an ebay bid a couple of weeks ago from Karen Catena (Kolorfullady - ravelry.com) and am still amazed at the change, not only in color, but in texture. The roving I bought was hand-dyed in what she calls a "Raisin Cookie" combination. The colors were much darker on the roving than when the fibers were stretched and twisted in the spinning. They are much more subtle and softer now that they are plied yarn. Since I counted the Raisin Cookie spinning successful enough to place on etsy.com (under millruncrafts), I now have the spinning itch. The Raisin Cookie looked like colors I would use until after spinning, but now not so much. I ventured into pulling out some fine natural merino wool purchased two summers ago when I first started trying my hand at the drop spindle. I must be improving, because it actually spun as well. Okay, now, so how adventurous can I be? Well, some nylon thread and a lot of beads later and now here we have beaded merino. I still have to wet it and stretch it out. You can see it's still on my spool. That will need to be moved soon as the next roving is finding its way through the spinner. The texture of this wool was extremely soft when in the roving state. When single plied, a little coarser, but when plied again, softened up a bit. I'm not sure what caused this. I may have to keep this one to knit into something just to see how it transforms again after knitting. I purchased some merino hand-dyed from Blue Goose Glen in Tennessee and am able to spin without much drafting at all. This is turning out to be a very baby soft aqua stripey pattern. This almost makes me want to dye my own wool; we'll see. I've touched very expensive wool in yarn shops, a habit of knitters and spinners. The courseness has made me cringe. I wonder how these particular wools started out in life - what kind of sheep did they come from and why is this wool so valued when I don't want my hands to be in contact with it? Do these sheep have harder lives than the merino sheep which yield such softness? How is their wool transformed and will it soften if given the chance to be coaxed by needles into a different shape or usefullness? Someday, if given a wild notion (and more money than I know what to do with) I may splurge for some of this sad wool just to give it a chance to transform into something beautiful as well.