Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Mystery Spins On

      I've been spending time each day at the spinning wheel.  It has become a daily practice and I use it as the wind down to the studio day; with the day's projects tucked in, there's time to "unwind" at the wheel.  As a result, the first bobbin of Mystery Wool is resting on the lazy kate.  There are about 4 ounces of fiber on this bobbin and it's destined to be a 2 ply, probably rather fuzzy, yarn.  I'm already dreaming up projects for it.  
     It appears that there is much more to the mystery of the wool than just it's origin.  The process of turning an entire fleece into spinning fiber and then into yarn, has it's own mystery.  Those who work with their hands know the joy of the connection to others, past and present, who have also loved both the product and process of these crafts.  I feel that connection on many levels through spinning., as I always have through knitting.   It is one of my favorite experiences.  It is a sweet mystery.

Sitting at the wheel towards the end of the day, 
A knitted shawl keeps the dusk chill at bay. 
Norwegian folk music streams on NRK. 
This is time out of time, 
With the others who have treadled in rhythm
To well loved music,
And spun the wheel. 

       What I'm describing will be very familiar to experienced spinners, and it is, for me, an amazing new journey.  Beginner's Mind, you know.  It's a gift to be discovering the charms that preparing and spinning a raw fleece holds for the many who would never work with anything but fleece they have prepared themselves.

       I have only done a tiny bit of carding in my spinning time so far, so just thinking about carding such a huge mass of fiber, even with a drum carder, was daunting.  With my favorite trick of breaking large projects down into smaller events, I've been carding one batt a day (most days) for the last two weeks. So far I've collected about a pound of lovely carded batts that spin like a dream. 
     I really love the multiple colors in the fleece and wanted to avoid blending them so much that those color variations were lost.  With this in mind I've only run the batts through the carder once, one and a half times, if you count the teasing that was also done on the wonderful Louet drum carder.  (FYI the tutorial for this teasing on the carder process is available as a pdf on the Louet site and was first published as an article by Beverly Nissen in the Winter 1994 issue of SpinOff Magazine).

      You can see that the color variations are indeed intact.  Huzzah!
     For me, this is the perfect wool to spin away the last days of this year, the year I really came to know the love of spinning.  I am having a wonderful time!  And the Mystery?   Well, as writer Tom Robbins said,  "......it's always there, somewhere......Everything is part of it."  So it is.

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