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In the rhythm of the needles

there is music for the soul.

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maandag 20 juli 2015

To spin or to knit - a stupid city girl's adventures in sheep country.

As a long-time knitter, I am feeling a weird, uncomfortable  emotion.  I've knit it all.  You know that nasty feeling ?  Not knowing what to knit next ?  Another pattern from Ravelry or Pinterest ?  Another technique ?  Another skein of wool, or silk, or cotton, or linnen, or hand dyed purchased on the other side of this globe and delivered to my doorstep ?
I've been there, I've done that.  *sigh *

 What is wrong with me ?  Where has the enthusiasm gone ?  What could I do to get the usual feeling back ?  ( you know, that burning passion to get creative, the thrill, the I-can't-wait-to-get-started feeling, the aha-erlebnis when a tricky pattern comes together, the pride you feel when finished...)


*sigh again *

But I'm not the kind of person to let that get me down. No, in a situation like this, my head is turning around, looking for something else.  Maybe I should go further down the road of knitting.  Looking at the beginnings, where does it all come from ?  Sheep.  yes.  I'm a city girl, I haven't seen, touched or smelled a sheep Ever.  But they grow hair (do you even call that hair ? ) and that results in my knitting skeins.
Baby steps Rozemie.  Baby steps.
Like, how does spinning actually work ?  You need a spinning wheel.  The only spinning wheel I know of, is the one where you sleep for a 100 years when you touch it.  Idiot City Girl.  I know.

But hey, Google and Ravelry soon changed my views.

There are people who spin, in groups, and they produce the most wonderful yarn.   There are different sorts of sheep, each with its own beautiful wool. You can dye this wool in whatever colour you want.  Spinning wheels cost a fortune.

Ok.  I'm getting hooked here.  There is the passionate feeling 'I need to know this' again.

More research on internet got me in touch with Alet Tienpont, who lives a couple of hours driving from me, in the Netherlands.  She is a spinning-expert.  She explained about carding.  What ? Carding ?

You need to get the hairs of the sheepskin all in the same direction, roll them up in what is called 'rolags' and with these you can start to spin.

 Right, this makes it even more interesting.  There is such a thing as hand-carding, like a cool fitness exercise for your arms and wrists.  There is also a device called a drum-carder.  Which is slightly easier on the wrists.  My respect for spinners is growing. But there is creative fun whilst carding;  You can add colours, silky ribbons, shiny specks of silver or gold - amazing !  Note to self : drum carders are expensive.

She let me card, and then spin.  And although it seems soooo easy (children can spin !)- there is so much hand - eye - foot coordination involved that I felt like an idiot.  It's like driving a car for the first time.  There is so much happening at the same time, you are gasping for air. And the thread you produce is hardly worth that name.  No knitting material produced here.  Disappointment lurking at the horizon. But I am born a Taurus, and they are Stubborn.  My mother told me so - I prefer the word persevering.  :-)

not really knitable but hey ! don't laugh !

proud of my first attempt.

2 days of trial-and-error but hey, I spinned (spun ?  span ? ) something you could call a skein.

Back home, I told my friends about this new found aspect of my knitting hobby : producing my own raw material.  and then I got a mail : are you interested in some sheepskin ? It's for free-hee...

My brain only registered the last bit, and I agreed to pick up a bit of sheepskin.

5 stinking bags full of sheeps curly bits.  You do not want to smell that.  You do not want to touch that. You have to put that in the boot of you car.  And on your back seat, since boot too small for all this mess. oh you Stupid City Girl.   To top it all : it is black sheep.  Karma has a sense of humor.

Right.  Google, help !  How do you proceed next ?  Apparently, you need to wash this.  (Who would have thought ? )  I bought 2 giant buckets and filled them with very hot water and a good splash of detergent. Taking the curly bits out of the bag, removing the obvious dirt (think straw, grass, and yes,  shit, as in what the sheep produces - not the word I kept repeating in my head)
Let it soak, and watch in amazement how quickly it all turns into a brownish stinking mess.

5 huge bags of smelly sheepskin

Just to make it clear : this city girl lives in a house WITHOUT a garden.  There is only a few square meters of outdoors on the first floor, next to my kitchen. I grow a couple of flowers and herbs in planters, there is just enough space for my laundry to dry.  This is where I am washing the sheepskin.  My husband is sure I have truly gone mental this time.  So am I.

the Lord of the House sees it's all OK.  The wool is clean and dry.

After washing and rinsing (I'm dreading the next water bill...) it has to dry.  Then I have to card.  Then I have to spin. And if I have any energy left, I can finally knit.

hand carding

producing a lot of rolags.  I added a bit of colour.

To be continued....

3 opmerkingen:

  1. pffffffff...in het engels.....zal er eens de tijd moeten voor nemen.....

  2. this must have been fun, Wow, what a woolly adventure! :D

  3. Wat een leuk verhaal heb je er van gemaakt. Je bent lekker bezig. Geniet van je wol!


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