About spinning

Talking about chemo side effects is just as tiresome as having them.  So today we are going to talk about spinning instead.

First you need fiber.  Today we have a big mixed up bunch of things… georgewithwool1

some merino.  This makes for the fluffy squishy kind of soft.

Then some bombyx – fiber from the cocoons of silkworms who have eaten only mulberry leaves.

And some baby alpaca… what I had was more tan than white, but we’ll cover that up.  Baby alpaca is the smooth slippery sort of softness.

… and some mystery fiber, in an unmarked ziplock.  It passes the George test, so we’ll use it.


dyesThen choose a color or ten.  Today is a purple, red, blue sort of day.  Also, today is not a very scientific dyeing day…. just pour it in and cook it.   The other advantage to today’s plan is that there’s fewer containers to wash and less chance of purple hands.  I wonder what that chemo nurse would have thought if I’d come in deep purple up to my wrists.  Might have to try that. 

But anyway, add the dyes, lower the pH, cook for a while, rinse until you get bored.  Then dry it.   Drying time is a good time to take a nap with baby.drumcarder

Now you have to get Sam to move his Geometry off the kitchen table, it’s time to do some real work.  I love the carding part… it’s when you just start to get an idea of how it’s all going to go together.  You start out with sort of stringy chunks of dyed fiber, and you end up with a batt that is ready to go.  

OK, do this.  Take your hand, put it out, palm up.  Imagine the weight of two quarters and a dime.  When we take the batt off the carder, it will be maybe the same size as the front of your shirt, but thick.  And still, lighter than the coins. 


Then the spinning.  Repetitive, peaceful, still…

But I’m thinking that spinning would be easier when sitting in a chair with a back, since I’m feeling awfully lazy today.   Sam and I might have to do some rearranging later.  Actually, I’d even spin lying down today if I didn’t have to treadle… maybe I should dust off my old electric spinner?  It’s just not quite as satisfying, though…  Also, my mastectomy has totally forced me into true worsted spinning.  A damaged medial brachial cutaneuous nerve makes a long draw miserable.  Spinning is not about being miserable.

But anyway, the fiber collects on a bobbin.  AND it stays there until I put it someplace else.  bobbin

You know what?  It even stays done.  Not like laundry, or clean children, or the dishes. 

When I’ve spun up all the batts, onto maybe three different bobbins, I ply them.  Plying is good because it goes really fast.  It’s a good thing that the people who invented spinning made plying at the end of the process.  It would be hard to do the fast efficient part first, then the meditative incremental progress part later. 



Then look!  Yarn!  Very purple, very soft, definitely not boring yarn.  I’m not sure what it’s going to be yet… not socks, too un-durable.  Not babywear, too irregular.  It would make the nicest sweater, but I think I’d get really bored spinning the same yarn over and over again until I had enough to cover the whole top half of me.   Maybe it can just stay yarn.  Who ever said everything has to be functional?

Thanks for listening.  Love, Elizabeth

2 thoughts on “About spinning

  1. Oh, that yarn! How pretty!
    Have enough for a pair of mittens?
    I’m thinking that yarn is saying “mittens”.
    Then again, I do suffer some kind of weird mitten fetish. 🙂

    Keep on focusing – on the good, the pure, the cashmere. 🙂

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