Equipped with the drop spindle and roving Sarah provided after my first spinning lesson, I sat down yesterday and spun for the second time. The results were wildly different from the ropy, very-thick-to-very-thin, kinked and twisted blobs I came up with when I started. This one is a bit thick and thin, going from very fine all the way up to fingering weight, but at least it looks like it made up its mind somewhere early in the process of spinning that it wanted to be yarn. Unlike the alpaca I spun the first time, which I think wanted to be a trapeze artist or a motorcycle racer, what with all the flying and leaping and dodging about.
The boyfriend was surprisingly and loudly enthusiastic about a tiny ball of yarn the size of a tangerine. “That’s amazing!” he said in that voice he only uses for things he desperately wants to buy, things he is excited about eating and things I have made that are exceptionally cool. “The colors are great! That looks, really, really good. Wow.”
I like the boyfriend a lot today, by the way.
Holy cats, am I ever into spinning. It was amazing seeing how the blobs of color on the roving turned into long stretches of color, and to see how those colors interacted with each other when I plied the yarn. I can’t wait to dye my own, either, since it means I’ll finally, finally I’ll be able to generate yarn in the colors I like. I love the textures of handspun yarn, but oh my god the colors of almost everything I can buy completely repel me. I like dark, solid colors and tone-on-tone gradations, and not much else.
The vile color combinations that dominate the shelves and online stores make me wonder just how the hell people come up with this stuff. I imagine some opportunistic fiber-arts pusher, arms full of boxes of “Easy Knitting” books and stupid knitting notions with sheep on them, knocking over a tray of dye bottles onto a nearby bag of roving.
“Ah, hell, what do I do with this?” he says. “Wait, I’ll just dump some more purple on top of it, name it after a female historical figure or an annoying stereotypical personality trait associated with women, and pretend I did it on purpose.”
Seriously, it’s like someone ransacked my mom’s closet to grab her most embarrassing outfits and turned them into string. That’s not to be taken lightly: I’m talking about a woman who wore outfits that combined purple, gold, polka dots and stripes in a single outfit. You know those women of a certain age who do that Red Hat thing where they wear purple, go to restaurants, laugh like fiends and make lots of noise in public? My mom had to tone down to blend in with those ladies. It took me years to admit that my favorite color was red, just like hers, because I was so deathly afraid to admit we had anything in common.
In my book, wool should look like it’s suffering from ennui and is maybe considering existentialism as both a philosophy and wardrobe. Neon colors are for hair. So homebrew yarn looks like it just might be the perfect thing to keep me broke, isolated from non-fiber-arts folks, and spinning and knitting in front of Invader Zim, Futurama and innumerable bizarre French movies for the rest of my life. At least the house will be well insulated with the bag and bags of roving I’ll have stacked against every wall.
I want a spinning wheel, of course, but there are some other expensive things I want first (a Canon DSLR, a Fiat 850, and a Nabaztag, for starters), so a wheel will have to wait. In the meantime, I want a drop spindle of my own. Nerd that I am, I want to make one. It’s ancient tech, and I figure that if people who had to burn cow shit for fuel had the smarts and materials to make spindles, I can, too — especially with things like craft stores, hardware stores and power tools at my disposal.
Now if only I can figure out where in the house I can jam the one-pound bag of undyed Corriedale I have my eye on, I’ll be set. The yarn stash is out of the question, because adding to it means trying to mess with the laws of physics and that’s not really a place where I’m comfortable pushing the envelope. Maybe in the big stoneware pickle crock?