Saturday, December 17, 2011

You know you're a spinner when...

You've got something like this drying in your back yard. 
Isn't it pretty?  This is some of the Polwarth that Erica dyed in one of her photo dyeing adventures.  I took one look at the first of those fibers (Duck Water), and snapped it up.  It's been sitting near my spinning wheel for what feels like forever now (nearly five months), waiting for me to have time to spin it.  I finally got to it last week, when I'd finished the last of my baby knitting (there's a deadline on that stuff, you know - it's not like you can exactly ask an expectant mother to hang on because you've still got one more seam to finish), plus some Christmas spinning that I can't show you now.
Didn't those colors come out beautifully in the yarn?  I was so afraid I'd ruin it that I almost didn't want to spin it.  I can't tell you how squishy and lovely this fiber was in the braid.  Polwarth has an amazing hand - it feels almost like merino to me.  I wanted to maintain as much of that squishiness as I possibly could, so I spun this up woollen, into a nice round three-ply.  I think I have about 200 yards there (I need to count again once it's dry)(which reminds me, oh you spinners out there - do you reskein after washing your yarn, and does that give you a more accurate sense of how many yards you have?). 
The first two pictures are more accurate representations of the color.  This is four ounces of Polwarth, and I have to tell you, I am flat-out in love with Polwarth as a fiber.  It spun up like butter, I tell you, just like butter.  Erica must do something really special while she dyes this fiber, because it drafted like a dream - no compacting or felting to speak of.  I could have kept on spinning those singles forever and ever.  I absolutely have to get enough of this fiber to spin a sweater out of at some point, no doubt about it (I wish I could knit a sweater from this color, actually - it is so absolutely right up  my alley; I might have to figure out a way to use it in a sweater, come to think of it; must meditate).  I sort of had a hat in mind, or maybe some mitts, but we'll see.  Any suggestions are, as always, welcome.

I was reminded the other day of two Younger Daughter stories that, in retrospect, also suggest that I am a spinner.  Story the first: a year or so ago, my mother asked for a kitchen scale for weighing things (as one does) in the kitchen (note: she is not a knitter or spinner - although she sews beautifully - and both the girls know that).  So off we went to Sur La Table (an adamantly cooking-oriented store), to get her the scale that I have and love for weighing fiber and yarn.  (It lives in the fiber room - which Rick asks me to tell you is really the den, the DEN! - and must be hunted up on those rare occasions when I weigh things in the kitchen.)  Younger Daughter went along to keep me company, no questions asked, until we were just about to check out and she looked at me in a puzzled sort of way and said, "But mama, why does memere need to weigh fiber?"  I love that my daughter's baseline assumption is that scales are for weighing fiber, in spite of all of the evidence that suggests that I am the one using a scale in ways that do not match the norm.

Story the second: also about a year ago, we were in the Bay Area (where it is often chilly, no matter the time of year), and I was realizing that I needed more in the way of a jacket than I had brought.  At the same time, it came to my attention that the outdoors store right next to the hotel was about to have a sale on fleece outerwear.  So as we got up one morning, I told Younger Daughter that we needed to run out quickly before heading out on the day's adventures, so that I could buy a fleece.  Once again, she willingly went along, tra la.  It was only as we were walking over to the store, and she asked, "What are you going to knit with the fleece?" that I realized that she'd assumed (as if it were the most natural thing in the world) that I was going to buy a sheep fleece.  How many kids would even think of that as an option?

Only the child of a spinner.
(Taken in her new-to-her solo dress - a wonderful and unexpected gift from the dance mom who made it for her daughter, now grown out of it - at last weekend's feis.)

19 comments:

Wool Enough said...

Your Polworth yarn is absolutely stunning. I was excited about the green color and embiggened the pix to find that there is also lots of straight-up blue and yellow in there too. Overall effect is pretty nifty.

FUZZARELLY said...

Duck Pond! Perfect! Love the fiber and the two tales.

Word Lily said...

Love those greens! Maybe in the yoke of a sweater?

I need to get my hands on some Polwarth at some point, I've known this for a while, but just haven't done it, for shame.

Jamie Hoffman said...

What a beautiful shade! It seems to be mostly kelly green, no? You just don't see it often enough in yarns. Bravo.

Miss 376 said...

Gorgeous colour. Love the story about the scales

twinsetjan said...

SPRING!!!! That's what popped into my head the second I saw this post. What a great colorway and what great yarn! I wish you had enough for a Saroyan...would be stunning in that color. It would be an awesome shawl collared cowl...think of it peeking out from a coat. Or maybe a bandanna shawlette?

fiberjoy said...

YD is so naturally beautiful!

So is the green yarn but it pales in comparison. :) It'd make a lovely scarf for you to wear. Such a happy, uplifting color.

Brandi said...

If I put fiber out to dry where I am this time of year it would be frozen.lol I loved the color of the and your spinning is lovely.

Willow said...

I too bought my fiber scale in the kitchen scales section of Sur la Table. Odd that--they sell kitchen scales there too :) Her reasoning sounds completely 'reasonable' to me.

Lovely yarn and lovely spinning.

EGunn said...

Love the fiber stories. Sounds like you have a well-trained fiber family to me. =)

I love the way the Polwarth spun up. It's so much fun to see how the fiber changes as it turns into yarn! Can't wait to see what you knit with it. Maybe an accent color, on a dark blue-grey sweater?

If you do decide that you must have a sweaters' worth of Polwarth, I'm sure such a thing can be arranged. =)

Lynne said...

Great stories. My scales live in the kitchen but are rarely used for cooking, they are more likely to be used for fibre related activities!

Anonymous said...

....looking online for Polworth...ooh, Polworth-silk! Pretty!

re: measuring a skein. I haven't seen anyone else do this, so there is the distinct possibility that I am odd.

When I skein, I count loops. After I wash, I measure the length of the hanging skein, multiply by two and then by the number of loops, and then calculate the yardage. I no longer bother to measure the skein before washing because I know from my experience that MY skein will shrink "somewhat". YMMV.

(by the way, that color is a real pick-me-up, isn't it! Lovely!)

Beverly near Yosemite CA

KnitNana said...

Gorgeous work! And so your color! DD's dress is beautiful, what a delightful gift to her.
(she looks so grown up!)
(((hugs)))

Mary Lou said...

Lovely dancer! My husband told me about a confusing conversation he had with the mother of one of his students (when he was teaching) who talked about her spinning class. He assumed she was talking about spinning fiber....

Stell said...

ooo I love that your daughter thinks of fleece and scales as she does ..... love it. And I'm really looking forward to the green polwarth becoming something. Polwarth is one of my favorite fibres to spin and to knit - so soft and bouncy.

AlisonH said...

Love it love it love it. Your children are the best.

Kim said...

Wow, that is a fabulous color. I'll look for it in a sweater coming to you soon. And the pic of younger daughter is awesome. She looks splendiferous.

I have a few info tidbits re tapestries to share from Crystal Bridges when I see you next. Love, Kim

twinsetellen said...

I am grinning ear to ear at that last photo of your daughter. And the stories.

But I am frowning because now I know who bought that Duck Pond that I so coveted. Heh!

twinsetellen said...

Your question about reskeining - I often think about it, but never actually do it. :-)