Sunday, 25 May 2008

Good Vibes

My laundry room has two walls, a roof and lots of fresh air. And, oh yes, I have a washing machine. I also have laundry trays which I use for handwash, for setting the twist in handspun yarns and for rinsing dyed batches of yarn. Since we depend on solar power for electricity, we decided we wouldn't have a clothes dryer and our weather makes that no problem. I hang wet laundry on lines strung under the covered area to prevent fading and disintegration of fabric, especially elastic, caused by the tropical sun when I forget and leave laundry hanging for hours (or days) on an outside clothesline. I do use the outside line when I want to give something a good blast of sunshine and fresh air.

I found this insect on the outside clothesline. Extravagant, hey?

After viewing those antennae, I feel less inclined to regard my handspun yarn as extreme personal indulgence. I have to say, my handspun yarn looks pretty ordinary compared to that insect. I hope those antennae bring that creature as many good vibes as my hours of handspinning bring me.

I obtained a sample pack of Dreamee Wool Tops (naturally coloured Melanian sheep) from Bilby Yarns in West Australia and began spinning for a ply study in Ravelry (online knitting community that includes crocheters, spinners, weavers, dyers, etc). My first set of samples are based on a finely spun single that is plied at three different twist rates, then washed, given a few whacks against the washing machine and hung to dry.

Part of me feels fascinated by this systematic research, another part of me feels impatient to spin and ply my usual way (I call it the "rut") and get on to making something with the yarn. But the research will help me decide how the yarn wants to be used, especially after I knit or weave small samples with it. The scientist-me bargains with the maker-me. The maker-me got to cast on another pair of socks, as "making something" feels so good. And the scientist-me continues to work on the plying study, as "learning" feels so good.

I expect the two me's to integrate when I manage to produce a handspun yarn suitable for handknit socks. In the meantime, we do feel good.

M in JaM (pix by J)

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