Sunday, September 5, 2010

Winding Wool!

Yesterday I was feeling energetic (in other words, my arthritis wasn't getting in the way :) so I spent some time winding wool. This is one of those love/hate fibre tasks, for me at least. Probably one reason for the "hate" aspect is that my set-up for winding wool isn't the most optimum. My winder is clamped to the side of an old, fold-down desk, putting it at an awkward angle for winding. The non-awkward part of the set-up (which overrules the awkward parts) is that the table of the desk accomodates my swift & the desk is really close to my loom & other fibre accoutrements. (OK, so there are 2 computers in the room as well, part of our slightly schizoid tekkie/back to the land lifestyle...)

My swift (the wooden contraption in the back left of the photo) is an absolute gem. It came to me so many years ago that I didn't know what it was. Our church used to have a yearly rummage sale & I would help out the (mostly older) ladies with various aspects of the sale, which was a great way to get to know these lovely ladies... this was back in the late 70's & early 80's, so most of them are gone now, but I have so many fond memories of this bygone era of our church community... Anyway (I digress), they all knew I was a knitter & seamster, so anything even vaguely fibre-related was put aside & quietly sent my way, as they all knew I had very little money for my fibre past-times back then. The swift had belonged to a passed-on member of the church known for her needlepoint (it came with a frame & lots of small skeins of wool, too). Most of this booty was put away because I didn't really know how to use it, but luckily it all followed me around in my nomadic 20's. It wasn't until more than 10 years later, when I became a handspinner, that I realised it was a swift- an essential piece of handspinning equipment. I have never seen a swift like it, outside of museums... It's small, made entirely of wood, & sits on a stand (most are huge & clamp to the side of a table). So I love my little swift, & was contemplating it's long & serendipitous service yesterday as I wound wool from it.

So, I made room among the wool baskets by the desk to set a chair, to make winding less stressful to my back. And then I just started winding... The little skeins of wool (in the basket) were given to me by a friend who had dyed them at a natural dye workshop some years ago & then never used them. They are all well labeled with plant source & mordant, & as I wound them I got some ideas for dyes I hadn't tried before (marigold!). Maybe I'll make them into crochet motifs...

The balls in the front left are bulky wool that I dyed with natural dyes two summers ago. They are light on yardage, being bulky weight, but I think that I could crochet a small tote from them. Lucy at Attic24 has a nifty bag pattern that I've been wanting to try. The thicker wool would work up quickly & give me a sturdy bag, I think. I could even embellish with lighter wools that were dyed in the same dye pots (see photo at the end...).

There are some largish balls of sock-weight wool in the back, which are from Knitpicks. I broke down & bought one of the "Cruise" kits- 4, 100-gram skeins of their tonal sock wool & patterns for 12 different socks. I have been knitting socks again (it must be Fall) & all the lacey patterns appealed to me. As it turns out (& I should have known...) they are all toe-up socks, which is a technique I haven't done much with, in my long sock-making career. Looks like I'm in for "another learning experience" soon... The colours of the sock wool are just gorgeous, though, which will be incentive.

Last, but not least, there's a skein of indigo-dyed, worsted-weight wool, (left side, middle) dyed two summers ago in my orgy of natural dyeing... It's been hanging off the loom for so long I can't remember when it landed there. It just needed to be wound.

And then there's the skeins of wool still needing to be wound...

Some lovely stuff in there. It's all very inspiring, and with the changing of the seasons, I'm ready for some fun!

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