Years ago while taking a weaving class in Colorado I heard about handspun yarn. At first I didn't get it-why would anyone spend the time to spin their own yarn when they could just go to their local knit shop to buy it? And then I saw some of the skeins that were being created, how unique and unusual some of them were, and I finally understood the fascination. I signed up for a spinning class, and well, I've been hooked on spinning ever since. I know that some people spin for an exact project in mind, carefully measuring twist angles, diameter, and color progression. And that's okay. For me, most of the time, I just want to feel the soft wool running through my fingers and while I'm spinning I'm thinking maybe this will be a lovely special winter hat or maybe a soft scarf or...but I know that when I'm done with the skein, I'll know better what I want to create with it. And to be honest, sometimes I don't create anything at all, and I simply drape the skein over a quilt hanger in my studio so that I can enjoy seeing it each day.
Lately I've been spinning a Merino fleece that I've dyed in various colors. To begin I gently tug some of the medium crimson red wool loose from the tied bundle which kept the fibers in alignment. I wish that you could feel Cleo's Merino-it's incredibly, wonderfully soft so it's a delight to work with.
I use a flicker brush, which looks like a dog slicker brush with a longer handle
to open up the wool that has been compacted a bit from the sheep itself, and from being cleaned and then dyed. The cut ends are kept in alignment as I hold the bunch in my hand, gently running the brush through the ends until they are open and fluffy.
And then I turn the wool 180 degrees to flick card the other end. I've tried various ways of spinning aligned wool, and one of the ways is by folding the fiber over my finger and then drafting from the fold.
Another option of spinning the aligned fibers is to gently hold the bunch in your hand while allowing the wool to draft.
Here I'm spinning early on a Saturday morning in our kitchen while my husband, Marshall (the Birkenstocks) is making us cappuccinos.
What will this skein be used for? Well, I'm thinking a special hat or maybe fingerless gloves, but you know, when I'm done with the skein, I'm pretty sure it will come to me. And because it was happily created by me each step of the way, I'm sure to love it. Maybe I'll give it away to someone special and then start on another unique skein....
P.S. Just to let you know, this is sure to be addictive if you try this yourself, which is why I live in a house filled with wool-wool skeins draped on quilt hangers on my walls so that I can feel the wonderful texture while I walk by, balls of wool in baskets all over my house, and then bags of wool waiting to be dyed. Okay. Very addictive. There's wool in my attic....