Not boring at all! Quite beautiful.
Actually, when you tie it to history, anthropology, the Goddesses Athene and Ameratsu, and so on, then illustrate with photos, it's downright riveting.
No, it's not. And it's never boring to watch the "magic." Isn't that why all of us are fascinated by the various crafts?
Boring!! Its fascinating when I see what you have created from a batt of wool! The history lesson was fascinating too. :)
I have often longed to learn spinning but a lack of space for a wheel has kept me from doing so.. but now that spinning classes with little hand held devices are available I might just realize that dream. :)
Keep spinning, keep showing your results they are as lovely as your knits.
no, it's not boring! Even for a non-spinner like me! It's your blog and you can write about whatever is interesting to you at the time. And right now, you are spinning in the Tour de Fleece. Good luck on your quest!
I have been carried away with the Summer of Socks on my blog! (not making a lot of progress, but still having fun!)
Posts like this make me want to learn to spin, but the learning curve scares me off. I love yarn, but I am not the kind of person who can handle having zillions of tiny skeins of so-so (or crap) yarn sitting around the house. A girl can only use so many hats (especially when she lives in Vancouver).
I'm amazed at the yarn you spin! The roving itself is gorgeous but to see the finished skein, well, to repeat, it's amazing! Keep 'em comin'!
One of my favorite things about spinning (besides watching the pretty colors go through your hands) is you don't have to be very good at it to love it and find it very relaxing. I've lost sleep many evenings because I wanted to spin 'just a little more'!
not the least boring. tis tru magic
I don't spin but I love the pictures of batts turned into yarn. It is magic.
It's not boring at all!!! I find spinning to be magical for all the same reasons you do. As I child, I loved to read books about pioneers and early settlers, and spinning figured in all of them. For some reason, we also had a non-working spinning wheel as a decoratibe item at home, and I've wanted a working version ever since. I haven't bought one becuase I know how obsessed I can become witht hings, and knitting and yarn stash obesession is all I can handle at the moment. :-)
I'm not even a knitter - I'm a sewer, and I think its ALL downright interesting. And the frequent posts of beautiful things... loving it!
I love your spinning. Spin some more, and please tell us how far around the tour you have got? Someone somewhere is knitting a yellow jersey perhaps?
Beautiful work! And in the American colonies in the 1600's, the town fathers in one part of Massachusetts assessed each family how many yards of handspun handwoven cloth they were required to produce for the good of the town's economy--we're talking well over a thousand yards' worth in a year. I can't begin to imagine doing that.
Not boring at all! It's gorgeous, magic, entertaining and truly inspiring me to pick up that spindle and learn :)
how could anyone be board by all that lovely yarn? spinning is amazingly lovely and fun...everyone should try it!
Bring 'em ON! I'm totally fascinated by the making of yarn and one of these days might even feel inspired to try my own hand at spinning. Please continue the saga of the Tour de Fleece!
Oh, and, they were fined if they didn't cough up the goods as assessed.
Not even close to boring. I wanna be you when I grow up (if tha ever happens......)
You've read Women's Work by Elizabeth Wayland Barber, right?
Anyway, back in those times they didnt have the internet. LOL.
Love the yarn, and the history. I have to diagree with you about there not being any Goddess of Knitting, however. Her initials are EZ.
If there's anything besides babies that's prettier than handspun yarn, I might be afraid to look directly at it.
For all the historical reasons you just mentioned, spinning remains, as ever, my true calling. Knitting's just something I learned so I'd have something to do with all the handspun. I am riveted, and wildly jealous.
No.. not at all boring! Definitely beautiful. I love seeing the transformation, especially since I haven't been able to spin in years due to time, space and money constraints. It's lovely to see all of your beautiful yarns.
I am not a spinner, and I therefore couldn't tell you if spinning continuously is boring. I suppose it could get tedious after a while for you, but not for me, because I get to see all of the beautiful things that you make. Just keep spinning, just keep spinning, just keep spinning spinning spinning...
Love your yarn.
Not boring at all. Hypnotic is more accurate.
I don't spin but my thoughts have been wandering toward spindles and wheels thanks to your posts.
Keep them coming!
Not boring in the least. I am enthralled by all the beautiful yarn you make with your spinning. I want to learn and be just like you when I grow up.
I am not a spinner, and I therefore couldn't tell you if spinning continuously is boring. I suppose it could get tedious after a while for you, but not for me, because I get to see all of the beautiful things that you make. Just keep spinning, just keep spinning, just keep spinning spinning spinning...
Love your yarn.
Not boring at all, and now you're making me want to drag out my wheel and actually learn to use it...
I don't find these blog entries boring in the slightest. Although I am a new spinner so it's all quite fascinating to me.
As soon as I started spinning I told my husband (and anyone else who would listen) that now if I ever accidentally go back in time I will have a trade to rely on!
I don't find it boring in the least! I would love to learn to spin but think I would truly suck at it. So I really enjoy watching you turn all those batts into yarn. Keep going, its great! :)
It's the sails that do me in. The idea that every sail (suckers are BIG) on every ship before, oh say 1550, was not just handspun, not just handspun linen (I suck at linen) but linen handspun on drop spindles. Dude.
Not boring at all and you've inspired me to bring my wheel back to our summer place on the beach. I think the Lendrum would like an outing.
Not boring -- it's an act of primary creation. You take a blob of stuff, mold it with your hands, and turn it into a beautiful thing. Or in this case, lots of beautiful things. Lots & lots! What on earth are you going to do with all those little skeins of gorgeous yarn??? (Hint, hint!)
I'm not wearing my glasses. Can you tell?
Boring? Never! My friend, Beth, likes to point out that two thirds of the world's population still clothes itself in handspun. That makes it current events!
Your spinning inspired me to purchase a hand spindle. And I'm loving it. My yarn is not beautiful - yet. But the process is addicting. I'll make room for a wheel soon and then who knows? I bet I could pass a small sheep off as a dog in my townhouse. . .
Totally not boring!! My spinning experience is very limited. I have an acorn spindle which is tedious to use, and while in theory it's super cool, I haven't done it in years. But I LOVE looking at the yarn you've made, just as I love looking at the cool things you knit. I hope to one day approach your talent.
Totally boring. Nobody in their right mind gives a wet slap. That's why I totally rebelled against my family, and stopped doing yarn stuff entirely.
Look how well that worked out for me.
Well, the good news is that the Tour de Fleece will finish in... two weeks? ;)
But then again it´s fun to know more about spinning. Maybe one day?
That was a nice post with the history connection. At one point in the Chinese Tang dynasty (7-10th century) part of the taxes were collected in cloth, and I can only imagine that spinning was part of the process. I've known about the tax system for a while now, but never thought about the spinning.
Good luck with the Tour! Keep us updated, new rovings and the miracle of turning them into yarn is thrilling!
I love seeing you spin. I don't spin, but it's not boring at all.
No boring, and totally beautiful. I love the history/mythology lesson.
Not boring at all. In fact, my spinning aspirations are living vicariously through your blog. I have the interest, but not the money, space, time or resources. Everything that you have spun is gorgeous.
your explanation of spinning as being slow magic, resulting in the creation of something new, reminded me totally of what i was thinking the whole (very long) time i was nursing my babies and watching them grow as a result. i never thought to equate spinning (or knitting) with nursing - thanks for the beautiful image :)
Not boring at all. Magic is magic.
Watching your fleece turned yarn makes me envious, not bored. I could sit and watch someone spin for hours.
As a non-spinner, but someone who is intrigued by it all, I'm quite enjoying your posts. I like to see the batts, etc., and the yarn they become. It's quite a metamorphosis.
I was a seamstress, weaver and spinner before I was a knitter. I too, am fascinated at how a fiber can be transformed into a thread, then into a yarn, then in to cloth..and a garment or other useful item.
Boring - not on your life!! Please keep showing us the befores and afters. I'm going to a retreat in Maine in a couple weeks, and one of my goals is to learn to drop spin. Looking at your blog lately has given me lots of motivation.
So not boring. Spinning is just as riveting as knitting, I assure you — even without the history, although it's probably impossible to separate the two.
It is actually quite exciting - watching to see if you'll make your goal!
Not to mention - fab fibers.
Can we see more tomorrow? Please? I love it! Bring more! Spin more and show us pictures and talk about the plying and the twist and the tweediness or the sparkliness or the fuzziness or the strength. Keep telling us about it and showing us more. It's so enjoyable to see the before and after photos. Spin woman, spin! (Please)
As a non-spinner I say please more spinning pictures! It's neat to see all the before and after pictures, not boring at all!
Not boring in the least. How can it be, with your words describing it all? You have me spinning again. (which is a good thing because the spinning stash is a little large right now). Thanks for being you, yet again!
I agree with everything you said about spinning, times three. Spinning links us with the first humans in a very real way--especially when you do it on a drop spindle--and that is something that never ceases to amaze and delight and move me. When I spin, I am everyone from Eve on down. Wow.
I spun for the very first time ever, ever, on WWKIP Day -- on your BIRTHDAY! -- and after plying, it struck me that I had just made fiber -- actual useable not-too-terrible fiber -- out of fluff! And it blew my mind. And I did feel very connected to generations upon generations of forebears who also made fiber out of fluff and stuff. I thought about what 'homespun' clothing really was. Wow.
My yarn is not lovely, but it's recognizably yarn, and by golly, I'm going to knit it into something (maybe a headwarmer lined with something softer....it is not the softest wool) because I am very proud of my fluff.
Keep spinning, and blogging about it. I enjoyed your post today. Watching you spin is at *least* as interesting as watching a pack of bicyclists, eh? Quite possibly more so for some of us....
Nope. it's getting more interesting as the days go by. Can't wait to see tomorrow.
You could be talking about how you watched paint dry all day and I wouldn't care as long as there were pictures of that fabulous green yarn with sparkles like dew. It's mesmerizing.
What about the wool for Joe's gansey? Is that all spun? Just askin'.
I'm not a spinner, and it makes my hands shake to even contemplate it. How would I find the time to knit if I spin (spun?)? How many lint rollers would I have to buy for my husband?
And now I have a burning desire to... weave. Here you were, pitching spinning, and all I can think about is how cool it would be to weave. Go figure.
It is like magic. I never get tired of seeing what people have spun - especially when they show what the fiber looked like before the spinning.
Keep it coming, we're all cheering you on to your goal, we have to know the progress, right?
I'm a knitter. I don't spin, but between your blog and a spinner who fascinated me at a Nova Scotia museum last summer I think that I want to. Unfortunately, I am thinking that my active toddlers may not assist me in learning to spin, so I may need to wait a couple of years before I start. I use the time wisely. I'll read about spinning, drool a little bit over your pretty, pretty handspun, try to use up some stash to make space for fleece, and save up money for the inevitable need/lust for new and exciting tools and raw material.
Thanks for showing us stuff other than knitting! Even obsessive knitters are allowed other passions, right?
Go on and on. I'm a spinner(only 3 yr.) I love it as well as knitting. I enjoy seeing your work. It is a real joy to get what we set out for.
Great. now I have to learn Nålebinding.
Your spinning looks great, Stephanie! Thank goodness for a day of rest, though. My poor wheel was getting tired.
Not only is it not boring to look at your spinning, you've inspired me to fetch out my drop-spindle again, after a hiatus of months.
And I know what you mean about boggling at a world where everything was handspun. Sometimes I'm amazed anyone ever wore clothes - shear the sheep, ret and scutch the flax, spin it all, weave it all, cut it, sew it, embroider it...crazy. My family would have frozen to death years ago.
No, it is fascinating indeed. And I am so living vicariously through you - you are accomplishing so much and everything in my life seems to be at a standstill at the moment. Keep on!
I've been really enjoying your spinning posts (and will have to look up some of those myths and legends). Having just moved our house in in chaos and I can't get at my wheel very easily. It's inspiring to see all your little skeins and reminds me that somewhere in the room labels "studio" there is a box of yummy rovings just waiting for me.
Now I know that if I ever get to all the fiber in my stash I'll have a parade of small skeins, too.
No, it's totally not boring. I don't intend to take up spinning myself, but I respect and appreciate the effort that goes into it! And your wee skeins are beautiful.
But are you saying that television has a patron saint (St. Clare, or so I've heard) and knitting doesn't?! That's so unfair! We have to find ourselves a patron saint! I'm going to knit Pope Benedict a nice hat to get him on our side here.
You wrote so eloquently of the reasons that so many of us are spinners as well as knitters. When the wheel goes round, sometimes time stands still. My favorite is in the winter with the fireplace going, dimmed light, and early music.
Spinning classes at my LYS are filling as soon as they are posted. Seattle is a spinning town!
One last thing, do you think the alchemists were inspired by the magic of spinning?
Not boring - gorgeous.
I see a drop spindle (to start) in my future.........
I love your blogs and I feel about spinning as you do. I also love to knit but the thought of creating my own yarn is just wonderful. I am a full time student and I use my wheel to help me relax. Keep up the beautiful work.
You're making me feel bad for NOT spinning! For not rushing home right now, digging out my roving and spinning my little heart out. Forget that I haven't touched my wheel in oh... 2 years. I'm now feeling so guilty that I haven't been spinning. I might need to go have a little lie down. ....
NOT boring! But I'm flying a plane....I mean...spinning, too! I think it is gorgeous yarn, by the way, but I am no expert (nor do I play one on TV).
Fascinating ... do you think about what you will knit with the resultant product while you spin?
Not boring at all - your yarn is very beautiful. The more I see of it the more I want to learn to spin. Might have to sign up for a class.
That was an absolutely gorgeous transition of batt into yarn, alongside your historo-logical apology for the spinning :-) no apology needed here, I'm always waiting for the spinning Tuesdays!
Not boring at all - beautiful, important, and so truely "human."
Bravo. That was just the spin (yuk yuk yuk) I needed to re-pique my interest. I'm not even denting my box of fluff and yet I have bobbins of fluff in a new form...it's taunting taunting taunting me with lack of apparent progress.
Yours in neverendingness.
ps: me, the box and the business of being born have a date - he he he. box.
Definitely Not Boring. I really handn't thought about spinning in that way, not being a spinner myself. But your mention of Columbus made me see that trek (as exploitative as it was) as this HUGE and expensive undertaking, depending on the talents of many to get across the ocean.
Thank you for the perspective!
Show us more spinning! I mean, I love the knitting, but somehow I cna manage to do that chasing an 8 month old, but not spin. So I'm doing some vicarious spinning through your blog :)
I don't spin at all - but I'm a voracious knitter. I LOVE reading your posts no matter what they're about. And ooo the pretty fiber.
Boring? Boring?... surely you jest! We're yarnies, we love yarn, the colors, the weight, the feel/texture... spinning gives us yarn... yeah, for more yarn. (And we love the pictures.)
I think that your spinning articles are wonderful. Somewhere between you and Knitty Gritty I actually became aware that this was a sport that I, too, could participate in. I borrowed a drop spindle, spun some merino roving, and felt such a great sense of accomplishment (and I felt that I have a surprising gift for it), that I am taking a class to learn to use a spinning wheel starting this weekend. I think the better term for your recent posts is "inspirational" (and believe me, I need that after my last sweater disaster).
Totally fascinating - I am caught up in the dreamy warp & weft of your tale!
I love it - especially the history part. Even the relatively "new" knitting makes me feel connected to people who used to do this as a way to keep their families warm, rather than as a hobby.
I got my first drop spindle this year and a little bit of fiber at MD sheep and wool and am trying to focus on summer of socks but you are tempting me the other direction. Your yarn is beautiful - the stuff I dream of. But I worry when I see how challenging it must be to knit a gansey's worth.
As a relatively new spinner, I'm pleased as punch to be reading about your spinning. I may (ahem) love it more than I love knitting. Spinning is closer to the medulla part of my brain, more elemental. What keeps me interested is that it's easy to learn, difficult to master. :)
It's about "connectedness". (Is there such a word?) This is the overwhelming feeling that I occasionally get when I am creating something with needles and string. That spirtual feeling that somehow I am connected to souls long gone who sat and knit stockings for their children and sweaters for their men. I think about the patience and thought that went into their endevours. I wonder about their hopes and dreams. I am overwhelmed with the hope that sometime in the future a great-greatgrandchild might touch something that I passed along to them. And, slowly, but surely, you are drawing me toward spinning.
Do people get bored with Chris Angel or David Copperfield? And their magic doesn't even make YARN! I just got my Spindolyn over the weekend and so I am just learning how intoxicating it is to make yarn. Bored? doesn't even belong in the same sentence. Keep spinning, Yarn Harlot! And sharing.
It's easy to see the slippery slope from knitting to dying to spinning. I'm hesitant to try spinning for fear that it would take away from my knitting time. One day, though, I would like to make yarn as delightful as yours.
I can look at it all day/week/month. If it hadn't have been for you and ThatLaurie I would have never have thought of learning to spin. It's something you see done by quaintly dressed ladies with aprons and silly hats. Who would have thought that it's really about drop dead gorgeous (sock) yarn?
I'm in awe as I see a "before" of the batt, then the resultant yarn. What an incredible transformation! I don't even mind your explanations since I've never spun. I've bought hand-spun and marvelled at one's ability and not even known if it was well done or not. It didn't matter! Keep on keepin' on and good luck with the Tour de Fleece!
1. I love yarn, but do not know how to spin. Your stories of spinning are endlessly fascinating and make me want to learn.
2. your writing is never, ever, boring.
Not boring at all. In fact, your posts are just a bit dangerous. I keep clicking on the fibre links and have thus far avoiding temptation by ensuring that the credit cards are in a different room. I am sure I will succumb eventually.
I am a bare beginner at spinning, but the magic of transforming fluff into yarn is so captivating that I know I'll be doing this forever. I am really enjoying watching the variety of yarn you're making, since I have so far only done plain-jane rovings in the colours the sheep grew them. But the temptations of all those pretty dyed and blended fibres is pulling me in.
The way I think about this week of spinning post is like a window into the spinning world. I would love to learn to spin, but I am reluctant to add another costly hobby to the two I already have (knitting, reading) and if I did, it would take money away from those two. So watching you gives me a little thrill and lets me imagine what I could make. Thanks
Absolute magic. Beautiful. Inspiring. Definitely NOT boring!! And you are so quick! I didn't join up to the Tour de la Fleece, but made a personal goal to spin up a 600g-700g bag of blue/aqua/touch of purple before the "deadline". And trying to improve the finished quality also. Going well so far...
Please keep on showing your marvellous spinning, it is inspirational!
Well, you have inspired me in a big way. I finally signed up for a beginning knitting class that starts next week! I have already been to two of your lectures in Atlanta and regularly check your blog and I am now breaking down to pick up the habit. Thank you!
I love spinning! I love reading about spinning! I love thinking about the history of spinning, it's all so very fabulous! (Have you been reading Bette Hochberg?) All those sails, that's what gets me. And all of it, really. All that handspun, amazing yarn.
I'm enthralled by handspun, as I am too klutzy with a drop spindle and don't own a wheel (they scare me), so I don't mind living vicariously through you, spinning-wise.
I was watching a Discovery channel show on Egypt and the mummies/tombs/etc., and they talked about the way rope was made -- spinning a fibrous plant (between their hands, no less) into cords that were twisted into rope (kind of like flax into linen).
No, Not boring. I'd love to learn, but that pesky wool alergy keeps me grounded. Watching you make such lovelies keeps me from doing something I would regret while bathing in calamine.
Oh, my dear harlot friend!
NOT boring! It is about the yarn - before, during and after.
I love this, and I love the reflections about how spinning happens. We just take this for granted, neglecting this history of what we so seriously love!
Keep spinning. Keep showing us what you are doing.
it's ok. we'll stick with you through it.
Totally NOT boring. I'm loving all this fibre to yarn.
boring?!? stephanie, you could write about 18th century canadian tax law and we would still enjoy it! your yarn, your knitting and your writing is beautiful.
I learned to spin, and then learned to knit. Along the way I learned something about dyeing, and weaving, and making felt. Is there ever enough time to play with all the fiber in many forms that I have stashed away? No. But I am never never bored by any of it. Keep on having fun!
I don't spin, and after having read your post about cleaning the fleece, I don't think I ever will. However, I love seeing the before and after pictures. It truly seems like magic. When I see the fleece I think "Well it's OK looking.... and then Pow! Something gorgeous that I really want to touch. Keep showing the spinning.
It is completely not boring. I love spinning, too, and I could look at your lovely yarn pictures for a long long time without getting bored. Keep 'em coming!
I've been a spinner for about 15 years and volunteer at a couple of historical parks. People young and old like to watch the spinning. I tell them I spin about an ounce an hour but modern machinery can spin about 3 miles a minute and it used to take 6-8 spinners to supply one weaver.
I just wish spinning burned more calories then it does.
no, not boring, not boring at all... and I have not (not yet, at least...) even developed the desire to try it. a person as slow at knitting (and so very good at collecting yarn to knit!) as I am should probably stay away, far, far away, from the spinning. at least for now...
It was never boring reading about how you made a pile of batting into a beautiful skien of wool. It's even more fascinating to me now that you've brought up how spinning is so much a part of human history.
Not boring at all. And I'm not a spinner (and don't plan to become one, so don't even try). But I love seeing how the wool turns into yarn - and the yarn looks so different from what you started with.
And I want to see a big tote board every day relative to your Tour de Fleece goal. Spin harlot spin!
Please, I LOVE reading about, looking at, and imagining watching your spinning! Listen, if you really feel the need to justify your posts - as if we don't love you and all your yarn habits - keep in mind the following...
First, if someone really objects, they can come back on July 28th (and their loss, too). Second, those of us who don't spin but love you and your blog can enjoy your delightful, insightful writing and photographs (and secretly wish we really understood what the heck you were saying). Finally, if nothing else, watching you stretch toward a goal that you fear you won't make is inspiring, and it's fun to cheer you on. It might also be fun to laugh as we pick your exhausted carcass from the floor and feed you through a straw because your arms have just given out from all the spinning. (But I'm betting you'll cross that finish line in glory!)
not at all. that is some gorgeous spinning!
You don't really think any of us thought spinning was boring anyway, did you? How could something that results in YARN be boring. Handspun yarns are so gorgeous they almost make me drool. I have been fighting the urge to learn because a) I already far exceed SABLE, b) our house is too crowded already & there isn't room for all the accoutrement of spinning. But you don't make it easy to resist.
I recently finished a book, "The Witch Of Blackbird Pond", which is set in pre-Revolutionary New England. At one point the main character, who had grown up quite affluent and is now living with her not-so-well-to-do relatives is trying to help with the wool. Its fascinating to read how the shearing, the washing, the carding, the spinning and such were done and although looks terribly easy is rather difficult and how badly the heroine is at the task. I'm still in scarf mode when it comes to knitting...I own just enough yarn to make a scarf or cloth a gnome! :) Sadly, I'm not acquainted with any gnomes.
I just sent a link to your post to a client of mine whose mom is a Navajo weaver...not a woman who weaves in the Navajo style, but an actual Navajo weaver. He remembers helping with all the prep work (shearing, washing, carding, etc.) when she used to spin her own weaving yarn. He's an engineer now, and one of the finest men I have ever met (I've never met Joe). I'm pretty sure that the lessons his mom passed on through her craft(s) somehow shaped him into what he is today.
While I'm not a spinner, and have no desire to spin, I do like seeing the before and after pictures of fiber to yarn.
And while I'm equally amazed that, well, all things of cloth were made of handspun materials. But then I have to think about the fact that plenty of slave children sat in little rooms at their spinning devices, as did many women and other bound into service. But at least now, those who spin, do it out of love, not for hope of living.
i'm not bored at all. all these spinning reports are just building up my anticipation of the end of the tour when either (1) you ride triumphantly cruise into the champs des elysées or (2) you stay up all night spinning in a frenzied attempt to finish. which one will it be?? i don't know so i'm staying tuned! it's like christmas in july. :D
i'd really appreciate it if you could post a daily update on your cumulative weight spun vs 1500g so i can update my charts of your progress.
jk about the charts... ;)
I'd love to see pictures of the spinning as-it-happens. I'm not a spinner, so I'd love to see the in-process aspect as well. I'm not bored at all.
I am not a spinner but looking at all these goodies makes me want to get a spinning wheel.
Not boring at all, and if the spinning bug hadn't already bitten me, I'm sure your spinning posts are all it would take. :)
(Also, thanks for posting links to the fiber vendors...I've been looking for more fiber stash, and you are definitely helping.)
Not boring at all. Your adventure makes me want to get that wee batt of my own out of the depths and finally learn to manage the beautiful drop spindle I couldn't resist buying on my one trip to Nova Scotia.
....Not boring at all, especially since I'm a spinner who doesn't knit! And I'm *loving* the parade and homage to the ancient and venerable craft that is my addiction! :)
Love the posts about spinning...as I am a fairly newbie at it, I love to see your progress. It gives me inspiration to pull out my wheel.
In fact I was reviewing an old post of yours on navajo plying. Keep up the great work.
You make me want to learn how to spin. Gah. >_<
I don't spin, and I don't want to. I have enough addictions! However, I find spinning to be magical and never tire of seeing fibre turned into yarn. Just like my non-knitting friends find knitting to be something unfathomably hard, I find spinning looks crazy difficult. I never see how the yarn will turn out just by looking at the batt. Never. Can't do it. So I'm fascinated, truly riveted.
Not boring! I don't spin, but I was fascinated by it before you placed it in history. Now I find it even more interesting. I love seeing fiber and the resulting yarn. If you get too technical, I'm going to skim and be distracted by the pretty pictures, but they're pretty pictures.
If we had a fire in our house, after I was sure the spouse and the animals were safe. If I could go back for one thing, it wouldn't be the stash. It would be my rocking chair made from the parts of a spinning wheel.
Its nice to know someone else loves spinning for the same reason I do. Its meditative and just so...old. New-fangled wheels (Ashford travel wheels are 'new technology' I suppose) and all, its still the same motion, the same concept as its always been.
Amen, sister. :)
I think you have some really beautiful yarn. Your yarn makes me want to start spinning. Please continue to post about it. One other thing: I noticed that for someone who isn't moved by sparkles, you seem to have a lot of the sparkly stuff in the stash.
Please don't apologize--I'm just a beginning knitter, but all things connected to knitting are interesting to me -- I'm like you, the whole from a sheep to my needles thing is so amazing -- if I had to do it all from scratch, I'm afraid my family would still be wearing fig leaves!! I love to see what you do with a beautiful pile of fluff -- hope to see it go from spinning to a finished knitted project--that would be a neat photo essay. Thanks for sharing!!
Will you give me some pretty roving?
Oh wait, I just found some.
Boring ??!! No no no. Seeing your beautiful yarn spun from a bag of fluff truly is magical.Now the problem is , what are these beauties going to become . Keep spinning and good luck
It's all inspiring to me. I'm excited to get started spinning with my new wheel. Spinners make it all look so easy. After my first class, now I know it's not. With a lot of patience and practice, I hope to create beautiful yarn, too.
Boring?!? Are you kidding? I can't wait to see what goodness you've spun next! Keep spinning and showing us the before, during and after shots. Pure inspiration!
Don't apologize--I've been really, really enjoying seeing what you're tour-de-fleecing. And understanding yarn construction only makes knitters better knitters.
Before I was a spinner, I would skip over posts (or even unsubscribe from blogs) that were too spinny. I thought it was dreadfully boring.
But, ya know, it planted a seed. I'm completely in love with spinning, and currently spin way more than I knit.
So don't worry. The folks who are rolling their eyes at your spinning posts are just in the very early stages of acceptance. They are future converts who just don't know it yet.
Thanks for an inspiring post.
How could it be boring? Even without a lot of knitting, there's yarn. Pretty yarn. Pretty, hand-spun yarn. What knitter can ever get enough of totally pettable, pretty, hand-spun yarn? I'd worry about people drooling over their keyboards if I was you.
As Abby wrote in her article for 'Spin-Off', life as we know it would not exist without spinning! Spin on!!
I never find spinning boring and as I am fairly new to the craft I appreciate all of the photos you are showing! The history of spinning is so amazing and the fact that I can turn wool into yarn surprises me every time! I have knit with very little of my handspun yet as each skein still seems like a treasure.
I'm definitely not bored. If I wasn't already making your Sam's Blanket pattern for a baby-to-be with one more blanket (pattern not chosen yet) for yet another glorious baby-to-be - I would be right there with you in this Tour challenge. It's perfect timing with Rhinebeck coming in October to clear out the roving stash!
I can't wait to see what you decide to do with all of that beautiful yarn that you've created now!
I'm not a spinner, have no desire to be a spinner, yet I don't find these spinning posts boring at all. It is actually pretty interesting to see the before and after. Like you, I like the 'turn this into this' part of it. That's how I feel about felting. Carry on!
I'm a new spinner and I don't find anything boring about spinning yarn. The folks that don't spin, I'm sure they appreciate you sharing any product of your efforts.
My goal for Tour de Fleece is to knit a skein of yarn without knots. So far, no dice, but I'm having fun!! You should see my crappy yarn and how happy it makes me. I love my wheel like a fat boy loves cake and I'm going to spin every chance I get.
Oh - one thing - don't those cyclists ever rest? Sheesh! C'mon ... my arms are getting tired making all those teeny, tiny skeins (with knots).
Guess I won't be going to SOAR this year ...
Not at all boring! You're actually inspiring me to get my spinning going. I'm so envious of all the pretty yarn you're making!
I was practically bouncing up and down in my seat during the movie 300 when they showed the fabric being dyed.
I am a fiber geek!
Oh, Stephanie. Are you kidding? What could be more fun than seeing lovely yarn after lovely yarn? Or more inspiring? I know I've spun more in the last week than I have in months. Even my dd has jumped back into the thick of it-she's convinced me to let her graduate to the wheel(well, after I do some plying and empty a bobbin for her)
I would venture to say that people who do weird stuff are never boring. Boring people do not do weird stuff and are fascinated/horrified with those of us who do such things.Suzy in Idaho
You are NEVER boring Stephanie...
Though I am just a knitter, not a spinner, hearing you talk about the magical mystery of spinning makes me want to go out and buy a little drop-spindle, a batt of wool and try my hand at it.
I'm sorry m'dear, but "tedium" and "spinning" are never to be used in the same sentence. Much like "incredibly convincing" and "awfully good," I believe that "tedious spinning" is an oxymoron. Please, spin, photograph, and blog at will (or at least every Tuesday). That is all. ;o)
I have been spinning almost daily for about 15 years, and in total 30, and it would take a lot more to bore me...I am still fascinated by it all, and you are still teaching me things, so as the whorl spins, so goeth your mind...
You've hit it spot on, that awe I still feel when I actually contemplate what I'm doing at my spinning wheel. It's a process that in its essence is the same thing that women (and men) have done for thousands and thousands of years - rich or poor, talented or just beginning, old and young.
Regardless of how busy my evening is, I'll spend a few minutes of it spinning tonight. Thanks for the reminder.
Its so interesting that I am looking to try it. I found some wool on ebay along with a drop-spindle and was thinking that my knitting group would love to give it a try. So tell me where I can find some great instructions on how to do spin?
But I too drank the kool-aid. Yummers.
More batts, rovings, 2 plies, 3 plies, navajo plies MORE PLEASE! :-D
Spinning could never be boring. I've been spinning for 30 years and there is always something new to try. I do love knitting, after all you have to do something with all that yarn, but I more than love spinning. Spinning is not something I casually choose to do. It's something I HAVE to do, it's who I am, it's part of my very being. It binds me to all of those women down through history who worked so hard to keep their families warm, even to that woman, sitting outside her cave, who twisted found fibres together with her fingers. It's also the future that I see as I watch my 1 1/2 year old grand-daughter trying to treadle my wheel while attempting to stuff wool through the orifice. It is truly magic.
It's not boring at all! you have this wonderful knack for making everything interesting, so please don't worry about us. We're here for the long haul. :)
Your handspun is gorgeous. Aren't you excited to knit something with it?
That's kinda how I feel about bread.
I've been thinking about the question of whether or not 2/3 of the world's population today dresses in handspun or not. I mean, I grew up in the rural third world in a weaving community, and even when I was a kid, dressing exclusively in handspun hadn't happened in living memory. Even where things were handmade, handwoven, hand-sewn, they had been done using millspun yarn and millwoven fabrics in many, many cases. Partially in handspun? Yes. Handspun -- and being able to spin -- was absolutely a routine and essential part of life. But even lacking cash money and access to the economy driven by same, people dressed in mill goods for the most part, with only certain specific items being handspun.
With most textile production taking place outside the first world, cheap mill goods have been pretty widely available, and adopted, in most of the world as far as I know.
We'd have to be talking about 4 billion plus people. That would mean about 4 billion spinners. I feel as if I would know more of them, given my upbringing and whatnot; yet it is extremely rare for me to meet someone who is from a major populous country who still spins, reels silk, etc.
Without a doubt, there are places in the world where spinning is still a pretty commonplace activity -- but even in those places it is very much an at-risk skill, and one that dies out easily even when weaving, knitting, sewing, needlearts and fiber arts at large do not. Even where you can find fairly traditional handweavers, they are usually working with millspun yarn. The mill has been dominant for centuries.
That spinning is so at risk is a major reason I've opted to focus on spinning instead of some of the other textile pursuits I've spent my life at. I feel it's at the root of it all with essential lore in danger of being entirely lost. It HAS been lost in much of the world -- even the textile-producing world.
But I'm intrigued by the thought, and intend to continue thinking about it, and asking my fellow yarn obsessed nutjobs about it. Perhaps I'm wrong and, say, the majority of China dresses in handspun most of the time -- but then surely at some point I would have ever met a spinner or silk reeler from China, or one who remembered his or her parents, grandparents, etc. doing it. I dunno. It's food for thought to be sure.
I've worried about that too-- I am sewing so many dresses for mine to be a knitting blog. But I've decided that I (mostly) don't care. It's my blog, and this is what I'm making. So you might consider feeling that way, too? :)
Thanks for the history lesson on spinning. It's very interesting to think about!
It is an absolutely amazing craft. And all that historical spinning you mentioned? It toots my horn to think that most of that was done on a spindle!!!
Subtle and very pretty. Maybe I'll dig out my wheel this fall and actually learn to use it with all the beautiful examples of the Tour de Fleece I've been seeing. An Ashford Traveller is a terrible thing to waste as just eye candy.
I *love* seeing your spinning results. How wonderful. Your pictures of such beautiful yarn make my day. I love to learn about spinning and yarns and knitting...can't get enough of it! I'm so jealous that you can spin your own!!!Insanely, crazily jealous...JEALOUS!:)))
i hate to dispell you of your theory, but i have been looking forward to your blog posts on spinning. i want to learn to do it sooo much and just havent been able to. so there!
Not boring at all, but I'm totally mezmerized by how many different types of spinning fibre there is available out there...
The opposite of boring! I'm participating in Le Tour de Fleece as well, but I'm a nearly rank beginner. I appreciate your goal to spin your oldest fibers; my batt was carded 20 years ago and the carding oil aged less than gracefully. The second quarter quarter batt is spinning up much better after its bath and dunk in fabric softener (an experiment; the next quarter will be bath only).
It would be wonderful for us spinning newbies if you blogged about some of the tips and techniques you like. And do you have any items knit from your handspun? Pieces of The Gansey we can see extremely close up?
Not to mention all the extra work to get cotton or linen. I mean, shearing a sheep, washing, combing and spinning the wool seems awfully straight-forward in comparison.
Do you ever get the feeling that our ancestors are just disgusted at how lazy we all are? (grin)
never bored! i'm fascinated and inspired! i even got a history lesson! =D
Yep, it's sooo boring that the Tsock Tsarina is now spinning..... :) :)
Get over it, Stephanie. Your yarn is to drool over and your choice of fibers, exquisite.
WE LOVE IT ALL. Clear? Good. Now back to that wheel!
I don't have a clue regarding my next career move but spinning and weaving are on my 5- and-10 year 'gotta do' lists. Knitting is a gateway drug.
beautiful; in every way.
this may be my new favorite post. i'm so proud to be a spinner.. to belong to this culture of colour and softness and creation and utility.
I don't find your tour de fleece entries boring at all. I look forward to reading your blog everyday to see what you have spun. I think the transformitive magic of spinning transmits over the internet beautifully. I love to look at the puffy roving with its colors all dispersed and compare it with the end product where the colors are condensed and georgeous. I find it facinating and inspiring, it's got me thinking of taking up spinning again.
Your title hit me with an almost audible *thwok*: she's doing ****what****???
You will never bore me with spinning. Consider that I have been spinning the very same blue yarn for over a month. Now that is as boring as spinning gets. But spinning isn't about excitement, it's about Zen, about repetition, about a long, long thread connecting us to those prehistoric crafters.
About spinning: that's why unmarried women were called spinsters. The hugely important and demanding work of spinning for the family's needs fell on the unmarried women of the group. It was an honorable task, too!
I learned to spin using a drop spindle while on staff at a national historic site and just love it. One of these days I will get over my fear of using a spinning wheel and just try it. Meanwhile I will read your posts, study your pictures, and just dream....... :)
My partner is currently at an archaeological dig site in Greece, and he called me the other day to tell me he found a whorl - I was (and am) in awe at the wonderful oldness of it all!
Your latest entries have me wishing I had a spinning wheel and some fleecy, puffy stuff I could turn into delicious-looking yarn... And your brief history lesson makes it all the more informative and fun to read. I always thought that knitting (and spinning as well, for that matter) was like a form of alchemy - taking a medium of some sort and turning it into something completely different... okay, now I'm babbling.
It is old. So old. But now there's machine spinning. Just like there's mechanized weaving and knitting. What always give me pause for thought is that there is no machine shearing. That's a long time for something to remain virtually the same. But maybe acrylic yarn is the industrial alternative.
Oh and I love the alchemical aspect. Spinning is magic. Knitting too.
Not boring at all! You flying a plane... scary. lol!
I'm feeling very lucky to be going through a spinning kick at the same time as you. Keep it coming, please.
It could never be boring the way that you write about it. Besides, I'm a spinner....
Those who are bored should learn how to spin. You can create a completely unique yarn that totally has your own stamp on it. The only drawback is that then, if you have any land (I do), you get sheep (I did), you start with a couple and then you have 15 (5 are freezer lambs), you sit in the barn and watch the wool grow (very relaxing), and imagine all the things you will make from that girl over there, or there (if you could find someone to pay all your bills, do all your housework).
Not boring in the least!!! I purchased a spinning wheel almost 2 months ago and I'm so scared to use it that it's still sitting in it's box. The more lovely yarns I see you spin, the more I want to go assemble my wheel and give it a go. Keep the spinning coming!!!
Spinning boring? No way!!!!! How could anyone feel that way? Oh yea..those that find Knitting, or Weaving boring....poor dears.
I don't know why you worry. I think you could probably write about picking up dog poop (though don't test me on this, please) and make it fascinating. Or funny. And probably both. So write on, Stephanie!
Having just completed my very first skein of yarn ever, and being beyond proud of myself for doing it, I am the last person who would be bored by this topic. I love seeing befores & afters of fluff to yarn.
Brilliant post, Steph. Thanks for the gentle lesson. :^)
Not boring at all. As a newbie spinner, I'm amazed at how different the finished yarn looks from the fiber batt and even the singles. I'm going to keep these pictures in mind when I look at fiber from now on, just because it spins up so differently.
I wish I had more time to play with my wheel.
Thanks, as always, for enlightening and beautifying our day. :-)
It's not boring. It's amazing!
Not in the least bit boring - I too enjoy seeing the before and after and I marvel at the transformation.
I've never spun, but I have a drop spindle that I just have never had the opportunity to give a whirl (or should that be whorl - ha ha).
But seeing your magic makes me want to find my nearest spinning guild and get lessons!
I'm not bored at all, just VERY VERY jealous. I live in florida and it's almost impossible to find a spinning class without driving at least 2 or 3 hours. I have promised myself I can get spinning equipment and learn as long as I finish at least half the projects on my "Summer Projects '08" list by the end of september. Watching all your spinning projects is pushing me to knit faster than I ever have in my life. It looks SO thrilling and that yarn is just SO beautiful. If you ever wake up in the middle of the night and see a half-crazed american trying to push your spinning wheel out the window you'll know who it is! =^P
Oh, here's a dumb question. In the "sleeping beauty" story, when she pricks her finger on the spindle, what exactly is she pricking her finger on? I've been satisfying myself looking at pictures of spinning wheels in spin off and I don't really see anything pointy.... (all your talk of stories and history of spinning got me thinking... =^) ).
Not boring. But beautiful.
Love, Love, Love. That is all.
As with everyone else I do not find this boring - I do find it to be inspirational for me to complete some of my knitting/crocheting goals!
If you can set goals & make them happen, so can I!
Thanks for the nudge - keep up the good work:)
It's not boring, it's educational - but in a good way. I look at those batts and roving and wonder what they actually look like spun up into yarn. It's similar to how I wonder what some gorgeous colorway looks like when it's actually knit up into something. (Ravelry is endlessly entertaining for this reason).
I LIKE the fact that you show a big pile of fiber and then a happy little skein of yarn right next to each other. I actually got a little frustrated when you stopped to knit a baby sweater and didn't post more lovely skeins.
I haven't read all the comments, but I bet there's not one bored commenter here! When I was a kid my mom took me and my sister to a lot of places, and one of our favourites was Black Creek Pioneer Village. What I remember most was watching the ladies carding and spinning wool. I loved the spinning wheels. So spin away. Even those of us who are still "spinning virgins" are very interested.
Not at all boring. Fascinating, really. It's like you say, knitting is magic. You take a bunch of string and end up with socks or a hat or a sweater. Here, you take a bunch of fluffy stuff and end up with a glorious skein of yarn.
Also? All this spinning is really making me want to learn. I'm sure someone in my knitting group will teach me. (Oh, my poor husband's not going to like this idea...)
Nothing is tedious about spinning! All the beautiful yarn I've seen as a result of the Tour de Fleece has me spinning every night, even though I'm not "racing." Spin on!
Not boring! Inspiring. Keep it coming, please. And I love even my lumpy, fat first bit of drop spinning (before I learned about predrafting). I'm about 1/4 inch further along the path, but it still seems thrilling, as you say. Touching the fiber!
NOT. BORING. I can't draw, but I like art. I can't sing, but I love music. I'm not a writer, but I DO read... and I don't spin, but I like the pics of roving/handspun.
Imagine a knitter not interested in yarn(*)...nope, can't do it.
(*) even if it is that oh-so-unique handspun!
Actually, at first I was thinking that this was slightly boring...but I kept reading and finding myself entranced by what you were saying...no knitting goddess but plenty of spinning ones...no knitting fairy tales, but we did have Rumpelstiltskin
You opened my eyes Steph...where are the spinning wheels?
Not boring at all...of course, I'm Touring along with you and enjoying every imperfect minute of it!
Having never spun, I'm absolutely fascinated by these entries.
Oh, now you are making me want to take up spinning! I guess that's a good thing though.
I'm taking a graduate course on Ovid this summer and on the first day as we were reading the opening lines of the Metamorphoses, the professor pointed out that there is a spinning metaphor in line 4. There is a verb "deducite" which means literally something like "draw down" - Ovid is invoking the gods to help him draw out his tale from the beginning of the world to his own times. But this word is part of the Latin terminology for spinning too, for the act of drawing out the thread, so one can argue that Ovid is asking the gods to help him, well, spin out his tale!
And then there's the bit in Cicero's Pro Caelio where he compares a complicated story to trying to find the end of a skein of yarn. I think I need to write a thesis on Fiber in the Classics!
Boring? Good grief woman! Have you forgotten who you are talking to here? Countless thousands of knitters, crocheters and spinners who find this stuff utterly fascinating!
You've clearly been hanging out with too many muggles.
Boring? Bah humbug.
Not boring at all! I am a brand new spinner and I love seeing all the wee skeins of prettiness. I enjoyed reading about spinning well before I bought my wheel. I have been knitting for years....but the magic of spinning finally won me over. It is such a satisfying thing to do. It is magic. It is awesome. And it most definitely is NOT boring.
No, not boring. At least not today. By tomorrow, I might be bored, but then, I have the attention span of a gnat (and am not a spinner).
BRAVO. I'm a spinner, knitter, weaver, dyer, felter, and sewer, and sometimes the historical connections of what I do each day just kill me. Likewise, knowing that I'm working on a project where I have dyed the fleece, spun the fleece, and either woven or knitted the yarn, is such an amazing tactile and sensual experience. Not only is there centuries of history in the acts I am performing, but there are so many moments of me woven in (forgive the pun!). It's truly amazing.
I'm with everyone else! I've wanted to take up spinning for years. Your postings have made it worse and worse... the fact that I have two needlepoint and three knitting projects going on which I don't have the time to finish doesn't seem to matter! It's all so beautiful!
Nope! Not boring, at least not to me. Dude, you're turning raw materials into polished yarn, and posting pictures, and you think we're going to be bored?!
If anything, I'm just a wee bit jealous that the lovely sparkly yarn I covet won't ever be mine. Sigh... :)
Guess I better learn how to spin, too, so I can make my own lovely sparkly yarn.
Thanks Stephanie, beautiful post. I'm a relatively new spinner and love it not just for the yarn, but also because spinning gives us this magical tie to those who went before us. Thanks for expressing that magic so wonderfully.
I don't spin. I don't even knit. Yet I find it endlessly fascinating to see what you start with and what you end up with. I never can quite predict what it will look like when you're through (nor can you, I imagine). But I still think it is so cool and, dare I say, magical. So please, keep sharing!
I've been resisting spinning until I master knitting (oh so long to go), but it gets more difficult as I read these posts. If nothing else, it is teaching me about my yarn choices, which is such a vital part of knitting in itself, yes?
Your description of spinning to time immemorial reminds me of canning, which I do. Last week we turned 7l of organic strawberries into full tummies and 4.5l of strawberry jam. We often take a pile of ingredients and perform science experiments on them, then call it supper. Perhaps not so magical, but intriguing nonetheless when we stop and look at the process, and see the transformations.
Somewhat more transient than yarn, but yummy!
Stephanie, Pre-Shakespearian knitting:
The Madonna in a painting from about 1400.
The Madonna--with DPNs.
I am really enjoying your spinning! And trying to improve my own.
You have put into words exactly what I've been feeling ever since I started spinning. Magical.
Boring enough watching you take a garish multicolored roving and tame it into a civilized blended yarn, that I just bought my first spindle. I'm still trying to figure out whether I should buy roving, top, or batts to teach myself on. If it ever got below 60 in the daytime here, I know I'd be saving for a wheel.
Hi Stephanie, Just last night I was telling my friends in my knitting group that I don't want to learn how to spin. It is beautiful, but there is so much to learn. After reading your posts, I am jonesing to take a spinning class. So please, never think that your posts are boring, they are inspiring.
Magic is never boring! Magic is beautiful and life giving...I too feel the magic in the ability to create...thanks for sharing.
Amending above to clarify: None of the current crop is garish (not that there's anything wrong with that), but I remember a rather bright orangy reddish pinky wool that produced a yarn that wasn't bright at all, in which the balance of the colors was completely changed from the brightness of the batt.
ARE YOU KIDDING?????? I am one of the non-spinning who wishes she could. I haven't given up the notion yet. I find your wee skeins very inspirational, Steph. Keep showing them to us, I might add, with you're really awesome words (I am struck with awe to think about hand spun sails...)
Your current collection of spinning entries just inspires us who are learning to take more time to practice.
Just as a side note, Knitting has been found to be as early as 3000 BC and predates naalbinding. There have been lots of recent discoveries of late that keep putting the origin of knitting further back in time.
Its one of our research projects for the SCA along with the study of naalbinding.
I'm actually really loving these posts. Spinning is indeed magical, it's very exciting to see all kinds of fiber turning into yarn so speedily. :)
Not boring. Never boring. I am now trying to figure out where in the 24 hours we are given each day I can begin to fit in the time to learn to spin, because I love seeing the transformations in your photos of fleece to yarn. Perhaps more coffee and less sleep is the only answer... :)
I'm not bored. Of course, I also spin, so I couldn't be. And I also have my BA in history, so I couldn't be. But given all that, the way you write about it makes boredom unconceivable!
Boring? Hardly. You make me want to spin. I've always loved the idea of learning to spin, even if I just make enough yarn to knit a hat or a scarf or something. Taking fiber from sheep to clothing is something that I have always wanted to try. Now that I've just had this wonderful history lesson, my soul is crying to spin.
I've been spinning for almost 20 years and I still think it's magical.
Ditto to Sharon in Michigan. I was just about to type those very words. Brainshare! *goes to look up knitting classes at LYS*
I've missed your spinning posts, so I'm glad they're back. How's the gansey spinning?????
Oh, man ... I've been actually getting myself sort of OK with the idea that I could focus on knitting and handquilting and (in the future) weaving and gently let my fascination and love for handspinning go. But now you bring up the sails .... and the clothing .... and the .... and I'm not ok with leaving it behind after all.
When can I quit my day job?
Not the least bit boring.The change from batt to yarn amazes me. I think I know what it is going to turn out like, only to be suprised every time.
There is absolutely something magical about spinning... you've captured it so well. Watching a lump of roving somehow turn into a flowing, oozing, liquid as I draw my hand back and the wheel draws off a rivulet of fiber... it's really quite amazing. Thanks for putting it all into words.
Of course we're not bored by your before-and-after pictures! That's one of the big reasons we're wasting precious fiber time on the internet! Your yarns are lovely, Stephanie. They're not supposed to look like they're machine-spun. If anything, the machine-spinners strive to have their yarns look more like what you're spinning! Good grief--don't stop!
hello, most interesting, how a few sheep can make many crafters so gloriously happy, i love to crochet and it still amazes me to this day that i can make anything from a piece of string (yarn,wool,sheep), have a good day, :)
I am not bored at all. I just started spinning on Sunday, and I am loving watching what someone who can actually spin is able to make!
You are not boring at all. I love hearing about your yarn making! Keep up the great work.
This is the first post that actually makes me want to spin!
This is Tour de Fleece. It's wonderful and inspiring to see what we can do with rovings. It's all part of the process. You're doing wonder filled things.
Just today as my one year old son Bear napped I spun my first yarn. Very baddly spun, but spun none the less. Intenslely exciting.
Sorry about the spelling.
nope. also, you are cute.
... seeing as how many of you aren't spinners, and don't care to be... that is me, not because I don't find it entrancing, I do. I'm entranced that spinners can look at a batt and envision the yarn, as I can look at a yarn and (sometimes) envision a garment. I see a batt and it is just that. You spinners have a gift. I love watching your roving turn into yarn.
Not boring, but as a spinner, I suppose I am biased. Speaking of being excited about spinning, I inadvertently blurted out a naughty word when I saw the cover of the current Spin Off for the first time last night. Of course, I had already used my coupon and dollars on the new Piecework. I do not regret the purchase of the Piecework, but I look forward to perusing the Spin Off and maybe buying it. For now, I am waiting for the house to cool down enough to spin. It's still 83.3 Fahrenheit (28.5 Celsius) in the house, and I am not quite up for it. Socks until then, eh? Either that, or rambling in comments. I guess it is a good thing I have a long Blogroll.
Not boring at all! Absolutely beautiful - I can't spin and have very little desire to learn right now, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the spinning work that you do ;-)
There are references to knitting (knitting up my bones in my mother's womb--forr instance) in both the Old and New Testaments.
No, not boring. I find spinning facinating but ,while I would love to learn I am trying to be somewhat practical here. Spinning classes,wheel,drop spindle,roving... while I would love buying all these wonderfully inticing objects I have to take stock. This would cut drastically into my "knitting kash"-I would have to give up buying some yarn I haven't met yet and patterns yet to be created(like hopefully your new baby sweater) so I am being pratical(that sound you hear in the background is me feeling sorry for myself-it's a high whine-sometimes only dogs can hear it) and staying away from those pretty objects.
So, no not bored,just living vicariously.
As far as I've been able to find documentation, knitting is only about 600 years old (1400 CE). Richard Rutt has lots of information about how the earlier stuff isn't actually knitted, which is also fascinating! I've yet to find anything to contradict his research.
But the most irritating thing about the recent invention of knitting is that knitted lace (or even plain) shawls didn't develop until the 1800s!!!! This is of no use to a lace knitting 18th C reenactor. I can only use my knitted shawls for modern stuff. An eternal disappointment.
Spinning is more... useful, I guess. It makes me wonder how the greatest minds of the era came up with something terribly awful like geometry, calculus, and physics, but fail at knitting.... Interesting.
Ahhh, but there is a patron saint of wool...do check out St. Blaise when you need to take a spinning break. Puts a whole new "spin" on carding.
May the fleece be with you as you head down the Tour stretch!
There are references to knitting (knitting up my bones in my mother's womb--for instance) in both the Old and New Testaments.
Yes, but that's an older meaning of the word -- it just means "joining." We still talk about broken bones "knitting" when they mend themselves.
Boring? Not! I do wish you'd share more about the process. I've used a drop spindle and made something that resembles yarn, but other than admire it, I haven't done anything with it. There's not much. So I'm looking for a project that uses "not much" handspun yarn but has lots of impact and will get comments to which I can reply, "I spun the yarn myself!"
I am LOVING these posts! I am a terrible judge of how this batt or that batt is going to look once it is spun, and your posts are helping tremendously. And I enjoy seeing what you're doing. Thank you!
In re; "knitting" in the Bible. Um -- translation, and, I'd guess, by 16th century Europeans. Anyone out there with Hebrew? What's the original word?
That is how I feel when I bake bread. Bread has been around forever and when I bake I feel like I'm the latest in a continuous chain of bakers going back beyond written history. It's really great when I'm baking using my grandmother's recipe.
I totally get where you're coming from.
I pretty much never get sick of hearing about handspun, and even better-seeing pictures. I too have often thought that my family (all 2 of us) would be really cold in the winter if we depended on my knitting and spinning alone.
Its SO not boring as I'm sure the 250+ people before me have all pretty much said. I think of it as a little diversity to keep things interesting. I don't know if I'll ever try to spin myself but I find it really interesting and enjoy reading about your adventures in spinning just as much as your other adventures in crafts!
I love your spinning posts and this is a lovely treat. Please, don't stop!
First of all, let me say that as a multi-crafter I have all kinds of supplies for all kinds of creative endeavors, and the last thing I need to be shown is what magic can be worked with little hairs and my fingers. Where would I put more supplies? (I do have that Finnsheep roving I bought at the Sheep and Wool Festival, I could borrow my sister's drop spindle. Just to play you understand.)
Secondly, you aren't the first to tempt me with spinning (I was at a folk music festival a few years ago and two ladies were listening and spinning, and I thought, "that looks so cool, I wanna try it!" And this was even before I got back into knitting and thought that my sister was nuts to spend $8 for a single skein of yarn!).
Thirdly, it's not boring to be reminded of a connection to the past (even if the closest I get is working with what someone else has spun); it's just that the resistance to learn a new craft has to start somewhere. I'm not even sure where my drawing supplies are; my sewing machine and fabric are collecting dust; the mosaic supplies are somewhere behind the yarn bins; and my scroll saw, well, someday I'll use it again...
Meantime, spin on. Your art is appreciated (albeit from a distance). Eventually I'll lose my grip on the fiber mudslide and I'll pick up a spindle and some hair.
If watching this is boring, then may I never be properly entertained again! That is to say - I love this! I'm just getting ready to embark on spinning and I love coming here lately and seeing what you started with, and then letting my jaw hit the floor when I see what it becomes. Completely awesome.
You know what I like about you talking about spinning? It's all focused on the fiber and the yarn! When I read other things about spinning (and I don't spin, though it appeals to me in concept), a lot of the attention seems to be on the mechanical, technical equipment, some of them old and redolent sounding (niddy-noddy) but others sounding off-puttingly mechanical, like fly wheels and such. That stuff bores me, but your writing--well, you haven't bored me yet!
Beautiful and fascinating. I'd love to read a similar essay - or this one again - in a future book. Just a thought, isn't it interesting that we call it "spinning a tale"? And now I want to learn to spin!
Honey, please! I watched the ACTUAL Tour de France this morning. Your blog? SO much more interesting! And there's an actual shot that I could do what you're doing! Maybe not now, but some day.
Spinning is far from tedious!
More spinning please.
You make me want to spin. The only spinning I have done was lumpy and bumpy and I knit it into what came to be known as "the Shrek vest", that's how terrible it was. I am told once I get good (in a century perhaps) I will not be able to make such lumpy wool again. Hmmmmm, very hard to believe. But in return my husband restored a beautiful old spinning wheel that I chase across the room (but mostly just look at) from time to time. The wheel is beautiful, your yarn is far more beautiful. I aspire.
You got me at goddess, I totally know what I'm asking for from Santa this year!
You gotta be kidding me! This is NOT boring!! Keep it up woman! I wanna see an "all done!" picture! :)
Astounding. Even though I already knew it. I demonstrate spinning and knitting and weaving to second graders, and I try to get that concept across to them. Last year, one of the boys came up to me after a demo with eyes as big and bright as saucers and announced, "I want to come to your house, and [pointing at the wheel] I want to do THAT!" (He did come to my house, and he did "do that.")
Please keep it coming. I decided yesterday that spinning would be my reward once my children were older. Love it!!
No, you're not boring me a bit. My goal is much more staid (mostly): to spin about a pound of recycled denim cotton. It's actually rather nice and a pretty light blue. However, painting the living room and dining room has occupied quite a few days. The stretch goal is to comb out and spin horse hair from a friend's horse (the mane).
I think you can manage 65 grams a day, but I would stick to wool or a nice blend and not too much laceweight, either!
I love seeing your spinning results. If you are super productive and start to run out of roving by the end of the Tour, you can slowwwwwww things down by using a drop spindle. Talk about relaxing. I have only been spinning since January and only on spindles, but find I am spending more time there than knitting. Can't wait to see more of yours.
Your blog is never boring. The transformation from the batt, which looks a little drab, to the beautiful yarn you have spun, is like straw into gold!
My toddler just ate coffee beans the other day... odd how you should mention it today. Jittery, yes, she was. Thoroughly enjoyed your weaving of thoughts into words; I feel like I've received something that makes me a better person for having read your blog.
was it not penelope who knit during the day, then unraveled every night, as she waited for her odysseus to return, as she told her suitors that she was not "available" until her knitted work was complete?
The fiber is all so pretty, and even more so once it is yarn. I love seeing it. It has made my day better after a day with a sick doggie, vet calls and a trip to get meds that we hope will make him better. So just keep spinning!
Completely, totally magical. And tying one to ancient peoples at that. I cannot for the life of me imagine spinning enough for a sail.
Between St. Seraphina, patron saint of spinners, and the patron saints of shepherdesses, Sts.Germaine Cousin, Regina, and Solangia, plus the patron saints of victims of jealousy (stash envy) Elizabeth, Queen of Portugal, and Hedwig, Queen of Poland, you should be covered. This has piqued my interest, however short me attention span, and further research will be ongoing. My wheel is on loan to someone more capable than me, but your posts make my fingers long for the fibers... ugh. Dirty, wretched, wonderful you. Cami
Your history lesson on spinning reminded me of a book I love to leaf through, one that belonged to my late father: The Complete Guide to Knots and Ropework, which starts with a long discussion of the history of fibers being twisted into ropes, and the various kinds, twists, properties, tensile strengths, etc. from antiquity up to the present day. It's sort of like a more burly, muscular echo of knitting/spinning talk, with different qualities highlighted (strength and stretch) but so much of the same feel. (One bit of trivia: Unlike with textiles, the new synthetics are generally considered superior for ropes.) And making cord and rope, like spinning yarn, goes back to the dim beginnings of history. I checked "knit" and "knot" in the OED and they seem to come from a single word, somewhere way back. Anyway, this made me think of it, so thanks! (And not boring at all, as everyone has said.)
It *is* magic, and I love reading about it. Carry on.
Once the spider weaver visited me while I was knitting... you know... Intentionally, with love and healing thoughts, like we all do from time to time. I feel so lucky about that. And feeling her made me know how much we can put into our work.
I wondering if she visited you. Your post sounds like it.
Very interesting! I love to hear the history on things. And I for one, love to see yarn, in any shape or fashion so spin on!
mmm. Lovely. As a spinner who has not spun nearly enough of late, I am especially enjoying your tour de fleece. I hope you enjoyed the batt, sparkle and all...you know, if you need more with or without sparkle, it could be arranged ;) As always, very well written and wonderfully informative. I'm stretching out the reading of your current book as I am enjoying it and do not wish it to end!
It is absolutely NOT boring...it is downright tempting. Thanks to your advice I have purchased a drop spindle. Ok...4 spindles that I hope to have hidden in the house before my hubby gets home on Friday.
Ok, now I really want to spin. You had me at "Caesar ruled in handspun."
And it has not been boring at all!
Not boring. Thank you for boggling my mind. Off to read about Naalebinding now.
It's not boring, I love seeing your handspun! Keep it coming.
And yeah, I've wondered how in the world someone could spin enough yarn to weave a sail or a whole family's worth of clothes, but then again I think more people were spinning back in those days. Just think if we'd all (everyone on the planet) been taught to hold a drop spindle and wool from the time we could walk. I bet we'd all be crackerjack spinners by our teens, and pretty fast too.
As I taught my co-worker last week, how to draw out the fibre and wind it onto the new (to her) spindle, I reminded her of its beginnings - which to me, are almost like a prayer.
"By learning this and taking up this spindle, you are learning and doing what millions of women, high and low-borne, have done for thousands of years. You are continuing a chain, unbroken by distance or time. For many of these women, this spun fibre will be the only evidence that they ever existed in this world"
I came up with a "prototype" of sorts of this when I was at OISE and a bunch of women in a class with me started to scorn the hand-arts, discounting them as "menial women's work". I think I may have scared them...
Because of where we live and what we do for a living, I will probably never be a spinner. And although my lifestyle is very different from yours, I love reading your blog. I knit - barely. I weave - on a child's loom. And I dream - of what maybe some day I will be able to do 'for reals.' I love seeing the before and after photos. Please do not stop writing about your spinning! Spinning is such an amazing art. It is a part of what makes your blog so interesting and keeps me coming back!
Oh no no no no... please don't stop writing about your spinning (or anything else, for that matter)! Everything you write and everything you spin and everything you knit is magical, and I love to hear how you are defeated by, or are triumphant over a stitch, a pattern, a yarn, a batt. I, too, have thought about the days when everything was made by hand and realize how lucky we are that we can do the same things as 'back then,' but we have the luxury of doing it with love, rather than out of need.
I've had the very same thought reading about how rural folk a century or so ago made all their own fabrics, from wool and flax for fine clothes and nettle and even broom for sturdy workwear. Does give you a whole new appreciation for yarn and fabric.
I've only ever turned a little bit of fibre into some three yards of yarn with a spindle and that was two years ago but I just know I'm hooked for life. Guess that makes me a 'virtual spinner' for the time being. Just haven't got the time to really pursue it yet and master that new (to me) art. For now I just knit (tons).
Love your knits, love your yarn, love your blog.
Spinning is wonderful! I've been spinning for just over a year now, I spin with top whorl spindles and am never without a tiny spindle and fluff in a pencil case in my bag. I spin whenever I have to wait anywhere, and I love to knit with my own hand spun yarn, it's a very special feeling. I feel no urge to get a wheel. I'm flying from th UK to Canada tomorrow and will be spinning a lot in the waiting times, but I'll knit a sock on wood dps during the flight because it is a bit cramped in those seats. I'm so happy that I discovered spinning!
You keep right on spinning! I'm in the Tour de Fleece too and understand completely! My goal is a bit more modest than yours because I had company for the first week and a half and then was out of town, but now everything is as settled as it's going to get so it's time for me to get cracking. I managed to spin a small amount everyday on my drop spindle, but now I need to get my wheel into the action or I'll never get done. I love seeing all the cool fiber you've been spinning up and your lovely yarn. I'm just as enthralled with the historical aspects of spinning as you are. It's a way to connect to all those women who came before me. I was visiting a local museum that had an Egyptian exhibit and right there in the first case was a spindle whorl. Of course being a fiber junkies child, my son said I should ask if I could try it out LOL! So you keep on posting about your spinning. It's inspirational to those of us that are lagging in the back of the pack!
Not boring..intriguing :^)
When you spin, do you know what you are going to get, yardage-wise? Even an approximation? Do you know how much fluffiness to purchase so that you can make a project?
I can't imagine not having a ball band :^O
Always remember - that which begins as roving porn ends up as yarn porn. And there's not a person on this blog who doesn't love a good dose of yarn porn.
Do you know that spinners even have their own star image? As you mentioned the Norse goddess Frigg was spinning, and she spun the clouds covering Midgard (the world where humans live). This she did using a drop spindle, and the star image Orion's belt was called Friggjarokk or Frigg's spindle. Friday is Frigg's day.
At the foot of the Yggdrasil, the world tree, sat three norns (goddesses of destiny) representing past, present and future, and their job was (is? :) to spin, measure and cut the life thread of all humans.
Imagine spinning enough thread to weave a sail for the large viking ships to cross the North Atlantic. That is what the viking women did - on a drop spindle!
What you wrote--BEAUTIFUL. Even if I didn't love spinning, I would love the beauty of the thoughts your words made. You understand imagery.
Not boring at all - in fact totally inspiring to a newbie spinner like myself (spinning for two months and loving it!).
And I have to say batts and fibre - even prettier than yarn! And that's saying something!
OMG!! This is not boring at all. No, I am not a spinner but when I have more money and time I would love to learn the trade. It fascinates me to no end. I love to see the outcome of the batt and fibre into skeins of beautiful colors. It amazes me the differences in the batt and skein. Keep up the good work I am learning things from this blog that I wouldn't have. You are a wealth of information. Like the old saying goes, "Never to old to learn". Thank you for enlightening me. Again, you made my morning.
No not boring. I don't spin and don't plan to (I have too much other crafting on my plate). But when you write about it I am almost tempted. Keep it up. I love the change from knitting to creating the actual yarn.
Stephanie, I found your site shortly before the Knit in Public festivities. You and I share a birthday -- Flag Day down south, here. Anyway, I started knitting in January of this year -- a scarf or two, then a hat or two. And on OUR birthday this year, thanks to you (and a lovely shiraz), I became convinced that I could knit a SOCK, and I did! From instructions that had NO illustrations! Shortly thereafter, I knit another sock, then my first "second" sock, and now I am on my second pair! I also have my eye on some alpacas not far from here (in south Louisiana) and I am wondering what happens with the wool.... and where to find a spinning wheel. Last month I took all my clothes up to the attic and filled the closet with yarn stash. I just tell people that I have developed a serious "needle habit."
I'm a new spinner, spindling. I'm just jealous of the amounts and relative evenness of your yarn. Enjoy.
Honey, there ain't nuttin' wrong with your spinning! And never ever boring. Okay, I've been a spinner since 1981, so it's hard to bore me about spinning.
And I have to say, there is *nothing* wrong with your spinning!
It looks bloomin' lovely.
Just as you inspired countless knitters to join that Mystery Stole 3 last summer, I'm sure you are inspiring many more to start spinning. I succumbed to the spindle this spring, and I am enjoying seeing what your batts and rovings become.
Thank you for the wonderful article on spinning. Those of us that spin sometimes have trouble explaining why we do what we do to the non-spinners. I have enjoyed your spinning articles. Great history!!
you're doing just great with TdF...our guild demo'd spinning at George Washington's Ferry Farm on July 4 here in Fredericksburg, VA. Many of the kids and others were't eager for a history lesson, but our main question to them was what animal does wool come from? At least they could learn that!
I love these spinning entries because:
1. they inspire me to learn more about the yarn I knit with.
2. they inspire me to knit and spin.
3. they fill my summer days with the perfect knitting reading- that of seeing someone else not knitting (or spinning) something extraordinary and complicated (not that spinning can't be both of those things) but something usable and lovely to look at.
I've decided this summer to knit basics because I so often forget that knitting (and especially spinning) weren't necessarily created for vanity- they were created out of necessity. They are organic and elemental. I'm clothing someone. It doesn't have to be hard or striking every time. It just needs the right amount of armholes.
Knitters like that, "look what I just made from this" kind of story. They have to- or they wouldn't be knitters!
Woman, knitters like yarn! Besides, as a knitter, handspun yarn is the wonderful, precious thing you hope someone will give you. Okay, okay, I spin, but still, my favorite sock yarn is the stuff I spin myself. It's almost magic watching how it knits up.
Now that is looking nice (and not boring) The plying looks pretty darn good to me too.
We tune in for the writing. The knitting - or spinning - is just icing on the cake. Spin your heart out & enjoy!
Oh, no, it's not boring at all. Each one is a lovely surprise. I've always been fascinated by the process of turning raw materials into finished product. Knitting was the first step for me and then I picked up spinning. We were barely human when we started spinning, using just our hands to twist grasses into rudimentary ropes to make fishing nets. It was nothing short of genius and pure innovation to go from there to extracting fiber from the plant. Simply brilliant.
When I think of all the clothing I have in my closet and what it would take in labor if it was handspun - wow. And Helen (That woman!) whose face launched a thousand ships? That's a thousand triremes with handspun sails and all the while Penelope spins and weaves and unweaves at home, waiting for Odysseus. Even a queeen is engaged in this industry.
Y'know, those ancient spinners were really onto something. Get this...spinning took a long time. Weaving took a long time. People would only have one, maybe two sets of clothes. D'you see where I'm going with this? More craft time, LESS LAUNDRY.
Smart people, our ancestors.
NEVER boring. Aside from watching the magic (as you call it) it's always pretty stuff. I know you don't think it's all that good, but to those of us who are not spinners (yet or ever), it's still pretty stuff. and it's still watching something become something else - which is magical and entertaining. and when accompanied by your prose - always entertaining.
and also - interesting when you share your ponderings. I would bet more of us ponder similar thoughts than you might have initially thought.
(in other news - how are the Baby Mine sweaters? done yet? what about the baby? done yet?)
Not boring at all! I am amazed at the transformation from roving to yarn. The yarn almost never turns out to be what I would imagine, and it's always much lovelier. Thanks for the bit of history, too! s
Not boring. Are you trying to draw more converts (Resistance is futile!)? There is probably some of that going on. And all the lovely colors and sparkles? Those just make me jealous. And actually knowing someone who knows how to make their work processing program put that little "o" thing in nalbinding? Priceless.
Besides, there is the suspense of waiting to see what you will knit with all this newly birthed yarn. And you will knit with it, won't you?
I'm LOVING the spinning posts! I've just recently picked my wheel back up and am practicing away in hopes to get better. :)
Not boring - in fact, it's inspirational. I'm just starting to learn to spin using a drop spindle and it's UTTERLY fascinating and addictive. I sit at work - I work full-time - dreaming and imagining beautifully spun yarn coming from my efforts. Roll on retirement - another 4 years to go - when I can spin and knit as often and when I like!
Not boring at all. When we think, oh so filled with nostalgia, about the golden olden times... it's overwhelming to imagine how much work must have been involved.
We can weave (and knit) with so much pleasure now, because our most immediate needs can be covered by any store around. It's hard to imagine how many clothes I'd actually own if I had to make the very fabric of it.
I enjoy reading about your spinning. Being a new spinner myself, I'm awaiting beginning spinner pointers. Love every skein you've spun so far.
Honestly.. I am loving these posts. I need to find a Kiwi so I can learn to spin properly. THe Babe just isnt cutting it!
I think that's one of the things I like most about textile arts. It's a sense of connection to the past, my past, my mother's past, her mother's and so on all the way back to the first mother who ever said, "I'm cold, put on this fur wrap I just made for you!"
So no, not boring at all. Completely and totally fascinating. :)
My husband has his pilots license. Flying is to him what spinning/weaving/knitting/dyeing is to me. I have to say I'd much rather look at pictures of handspun then hear another flying story.
[That's how many times the word 'love' has been used in these comments :), so far... ]
You're just making a whole new batch of spinners. I've signed up for a class next month.
You could do all spinning all the time and I'd be happy as a clam. I love to look at the before and after photos. There is much that is glorious and good about joining the line of history that links all of us spinners to those of us who came before. Keep it up!
Boring? I've only been knitting a few years and before I started reading your blog just before the knit olympics I didn't even realize that people (lots of people) spun anything by hand anymore. Yeah, I had heard of the sheep-to-shawl competition at the PA farm show but hadn't given it any thought. That said, I bought my first spindle a little over a year ago...a clunky Louet beginners spindle that feels like it weighs a ton...now. I bought my first Golding Ring spindle at Rhinebeck last fall (it weighs half an ounce and lets me produce a single even a spider would be proud of). My second Ring spindle weighs a whole ounce and is becoming a champ at sock yarn. It came from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this past May. Who knew these sheep and wool festivals even existed? Wow! I am enthralled by the beauty, grace, Zen, and magic that is spinning. I even take my spindles to work with me and spin when I have a few moments. I work with guys in a food warehouse and with the truck drivers that bring the product to us. You should see the look of amazement and awe on their faces when I spin. It looks so much harder than it is (much like knitting) but is so much more fascinating and equally fulfilling. The coolest part is that you have a "finished object" instantly because even a single can be a FO and you don't have to have a knit item in mind to just make yarn. You can never have too much stash!
Sorry this is so long but I wanted to try to put into words how awesome spinning is, even just on a drop spindle. I would love a wheel but it's not in the cards for now. And, that's ok too. I wish those who read this and are afraid to try it would give it a shot because boring is the one thing spinning is definitly NOT!
As a persistent non-spinner I can say I don't find any of this boring at all. Actually, I'm thinking I should be offering to buy your "manna from heaven" (to sound all old and classical) to knit and weave (particularly weave).
I hope at the end of the Tour, you'll grace us with a photo of all you've spun in one big pile. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the parade. I'm sure there must be a patron saint of knitters, since there is a patron saint of television (Clare). They canonize new saints all the time, since -- in spite of press to the opposite -- people do wonderful, saintly things every day.
Boring? Not at all. but there is NO WAY, that I can start another craft. I have limited myself to scrapbooking (card making is a subset because the supplies totally overlap) and knitting. I may return to sewing because my mother has a perfectly good surge machine that she may not be able to use and she would feel better if someone was using it. I have a tendency to plan to do more than ever gets done.
Spinning *is* magical. And I am getting my fix through reading your blog, (sigh), while I continue to slog along, knitting the Oregon Shawl. I hope to get it done in time to enter it in the fair. I love seeing the variety of fibers/colors you're spinning. Thank you for all the wonderful photos. (sigh)
Boring? Hell, no woman! Inspiring as all get out!
And, well, to be perfectly truthful, engendering a fair amount of envy over on this side of the screen...
I'm a long-time knitter and new spinner. I love your posts about spinning! Keep it up, and keep showing pictures....they are very inspiring to me.
Oh, Stephanie, you're singing the siren song to tempt me down a dark road... I've been resisting learning to spin for some time now, but the temptation grows ever stronger. In a few weeks, grad school will be over, and I will have a life again. Knitting projects abound, waiting for love and attention. And there's that big question of What Am I Going To Learn Next? Especially Now That I Have All This Time?
And Ghandi saw spinning as part of his peaceful resistance. Spinning is a path to peace. So all you spinners keep up the good work - heaven knows we need it!
awww, dammit... you had me at 'ancient'.
I want a spinning wheel now. So. No. Fair. (beautiful post, Steph--very cool:-)
I'm not a spinner but I've been enjoying reading your spinning posts because there's variety in them and I find I've been learning as you're showing different examples of things you can do. If only it was as easy to bust *yarn* stash. :)
I'm finding the transition between the (bolt? bale? batt? what's it called? I'm not a spinner, obviously) unspun stuff and the end result so interesting to see. It always turns out differently than I think when I see the first picture. So, not boring, even if I can't think of the right words!
The spinning is gorgeous! Keep it coming!
Look! It's Battman and Bobbin!
This is fascinating! I love to watch your choice of batts and how they turn out as yarn.
You keep doing things I would never think of doing, and the results are beautiful!
One of my most favorite garments started as a pound of Spelsau wool that had been shorn from the sheep and sent to me. I washed, carded, spun, and knit it into a hood. It was a present for someone else, and the single piece of work that I really regret being so generous with.
Keep spinning! We love it!
Boring-never. It is so amazing to see the magic rovings, etc. become after they are spun. Cheers. Naomi
I haven't read the 300 odd comments, but I will repeat what I expect most people have said. 'Tain't boring. I don't spin. I have just returned to knitting and I have my hands and mind full with that, so I do not contemplate learning to spin in the next year. But I am green with envy and obsessively purusing the Tour de Fleece blog and paying close attention to the photos of batts, then bobbins, then hanks to see if I can learn things. Please keep on with the spinning. I am just loving it. The Tour will be over very very soon.
How could you EVER think think spinning is boring, or that reading bout your thrill recounting your spinning is even remotely dull. Spin, spin, spin on.
Not boring. But perhaps to heighten the drama, you could add a countdown timer like you had with the knitting olympics?
Loved the history lesson. I learned some of this from a book - love this title - Women's Work: the 1st 20000 years. Which I found at the retail outlet of www.woolery.com in Murfreesboro NC. Which is where I first saw the small wheels and learned that spinning was so popular. My family has an old walking wheel. It's about 5 ft tall
Not boring at all. Even those of us who don't spin like to see yarn! :)
My former employees (half jokingly) determined that there was a cosmic pool of slots available for all of the arts/crafts - and that I had probably taken more than my share (beading, bobbin lacemaking, knitting, embroidery, needlepoint, quilting, etc.), leaving some people with nothing to do. In reality, I don't have enough time to devote to that list (along with work and family), so I spin (and weave and dye and...) vicariously through other people. Keep it up - and I'll enjoy watching the Tour de France while I knit!
Not at all boring. I personally love spinning too although I don't do nearly as much of it as I would like. So thanks for all the spinning posts this month (written and un) which at least let me enjoy it vicariously.
I am making a conscious effort not to get too engaged, but not for lack of interest. As a quilter too, every time a new topic comes along, you have to go buy the book and acquire more widgets. In the case of knitting, the trap--of course--is keep one's stash of sane proportions. I just can't AFFORD another fiber-related interest. And I have difficulty giving the ones I already know the time they require (and that I love to spend). But I'm happy to watch while you spin. Thanks for caring what we're interested in, Stephanie!
It is fascinating, not boring! I feel as you do about the history and mythology of spinning, even though I don't know how to spin -- yet.
Boring?!!! Not hardly!
With the company of Mahatma Ghandi? Boring?!
Remember,"... if you are left with only one piece of handspun to wear, wear it with dignity!"
(Do you think that maybe the spinning spider bit me, too?) ;)
Nope, not boring. Makes me want to learn to spin, actually.
And might I be so bold as to remind you: all knitting is in essence "turning this into this". It's a pretty safe bet that your readers will be into that sort of thing.
Oh, Harlot, boring ??? I don't think you could be boring if your life depended on it! I don't spin, but I LOVE yarn, and knitting, and seeing all the wonderful things you make, whether it is yarn that you have spun, or something that you have made out of yarn that you have spun! BTW, I nominate you for the goddess of knitting!! All Hail the Harlot! ;)
What Nancy said!
How about the pink baby sweater? Has the actual baby been born yet?
One of the comments I heard you made in one of your talks was that all wool, since the dawn of time, started out with somebody wrestling a PO's sheep to the ground! (Or words to that effect.) I remember thinking to myself, "Yeah, and they had to spin it too! Granted, we don't "need to" any longer, but the mere thought that for generations every bit of thread or yarn had to pass inch-by-inch through someone's hand is truly mind boggling. No. Not boring. Awe inspiring!
Boring - I think not!!! I have always wanted to learn to weave and spin and knit. At least now I knit and maybe one of these days I will expand into other fiber arts.
I am thrilled that you love spinning and share your words as well as pictures of your yarns with us! As a long time knitter (about 30 years) and a new spinner (just over a year) it's wonderful and amazing to understand and share in the magical, mystical wonder of spinning with you. Thanks Harlot!
I don't know why, but the reality that Columbus came to the New World using sails woven of handspun is wildly fascinating to me, more so than any of the other examples you give. Why had I never realized this before?
Thank you for educating me in the ways and histories of spinning.
Love it. You're probably past reading comments on this post, but if you're not, and you haven't read it already, may I recommend one of my favorite books in the whole wide world (the book that I realize now made me a) a linguist, and b) learn to knit so that I could c) have a reason to learn to spin)? It's called Women's Work: The first 20,000 years (heh), by Elizabeth Barber. Good good fun. I'd love to hear what you think of it if you read it!
absolutely unboring. history, art, science, craft all rolled (harharhar pun) into one. I loved your phrase 'waving my hands around'...it is true isn't it. I love watching hands knit and voila...fabric!! The batts are gorgeous - love the bits of sparkle...like water, so organic.
I neither knit, nor spin, even so, I love reading about your adventures with both. You might even inspire me to give both activities a go...... maybe or maybe I'll just do the beer and friends part.
I'm inspired...my wheel is in the closet...mostly because my 2 month old is constantly strapped to me:) Would love to practice, especially since I just learned while pregnant, but my motherly duty comes first! For now, I live vicariously through you!
Years ago, in college and just after, I worked for a university museum that had a largish collection of largish round widgets with a single hole. The director (herself a classicist, so she should be ashamed) always referred to them as "buttons." I could never figure out how one would sew on a button with just one hole. Time went on, maturity and research opened my eyes, and I saw them for what they are - spindle whorls. Dozens of them, labeled as buttons. An item of genius mislabeled so that the visitor would think the Roman people were too stupid to make a proper button.
Anyway, I assume you've read "The Mummies of Urumchi" by Elizabeth Barber. If not, get on it - it's a fascinating book (I love the anecdote about the origin on the shape of witches' hats)
Even though I don't knit, I, too, enjoy seeing what transpires - beautiful! Your description of spinning (and weaving) within history does explain why folks long ago didn't need closets...
No - apparently not boring at all! At her insistence I read this post aloud to my almost 3 year old daughter yesterday, hamming it up ridiculously of course. Her response ..... "I can do spinning Mummy".
I think that isn't laceweight, but fingering, not remotely close to laceweight.
I love it, it inspires me. I learned how to spin about 6 months ago, and haven't done much. I'm now back at it and to see someone who is much better than I, making yarn excites me to no end. I know the Tour goes for another week or so, and I hope I see even more spinning photos.
Your blog has made me realize the emptiness I have been feeling recently is the lack of workng meditation. When my hands are idle, my mind seems to race with constant chatter. Lists, should haves, silly memories, etc...
The only thing that will make me present and whole is the feeling of soft fiber moving through my hands and watching it go through the drafting triangle onto the spindle. The thought alone centers my soul. Thank you for the therapy.
Not boring. Keep it coming.
Nope, Not a smidgeon of boring in the content.
Just wanted to answer some folks who commented.
Sleeping Beauty: most likely the spinning wheel that was referenced in the fairy tale was a great wheel, which has a rather sharp pointed spindle that the yarn is wound onto. The great wheel was one of the earlier types of spinning wheels developed, and I believe they originated in the 1600's.
Age of Knitting: There are knitted fragments from Turkey and Egypt that date back to ~ 800 AD. There is speculation that knitting may be older, possibly 600 AD. There are stockings that survive, intact (mostly), from Egypt that date between 1200-1300.
The Norse thought enough of spinning to have the Norns occupy their time with it and equate it to one's lifespan. The Maiden, Mother and Crone held the thread of your life at their mercy. One drew it from the distaff, the other spun it, and the third cut the thread. The Norse also had a Goddess specifically for Fiber production, Sif.
Spinning was also the one craft that was almost exclusively female. This includes the development of the Guild system in the Middle Ages. Spinning was a female Guild, one of very few, and stayed that way until the industrial revolution in the 1800's.
"Watkins takes the mike and tells a story about running the New York City marathon. At mile 20, he was desperate for motivation to continue. He saw a woman with an artificial leg just ahead. He set a goal to beat her. For six miles he demonized her for having a "bionic leg," but he eventually passed her, finishing in four hours. "I could have been world champ and wouldn't have been any happier than beating that one-legged woman," he says with a laugh. "I was so excited." The moral: Happiness comes not from winning, but from assessing what you're capable of and doing it."
SO not boring! Can I be you when I grow up?
Seriously, I'm trying so hard not to learn to spin. You are making it sooooo difficult to resist. The fact that I live two hours drive away from The Mannings and know of a spinning guild that meets the last Saturday of every month only fifteen minutes from my home is not making my resistance very strong.
I've already purchased a drop spindle.
And some roving.
And taken one afternoon class.
But I can only spin when I'm within fifty feet of another spinner who is in the process of spinning.
I'm doomed, right?
the fact that i can come across little gems like "as fidgety as a two year old caught eating coffee beans" makes reading your blog a pleasure regardless of the monotony of spinning (which i happen to find intriguing, especially when you add a history lesson) :)
It's very pretty! I can imagine the satisfaction of what it turns out to be from roving...just beautiful!
Well there ya go. I knew there must be a good reason why I say FRIG whenever my single breaks. Clearly I must be of Norse origins.
Even though I've wanted to spin for as long as I can remember, your blog is part of why I actually started doing it instead of just thinking it'd be nice to do "some day."
Keep on showing us yarn pr0n! Because while all knitters may not be spinners, all knitters love ogling gorgeous yarns -- and that can't be done without spinners.
Also, I've been working on a masters in Old Testament, so the ancient Near East is very fascinating to me. Cloth was wealth. It wasn't until I began spindle spinning that I really understood -- beyond cognitively -- why that is.
I don't shear sheep. I don't prepare fleece. I don't even dye most of my stuff. I order what I want in the blends I want already prepared and carded into nice, featherwisp rovings -- and I still spun for 6 hours to get 40m of lumpy 2-ply thick and thin silk. I didn't even MAKE anything with it. I just spun it, washed it, skeined it and admired how pretty it is, even though by most standards, it's very badly spun. ("Most" being "everyone but mine." ^_~)
So yeah. I totally get why people had one tunic, if that.
Totally Not Boring. I love seeing the batts turned into fiber, and am just beginning to get a feel for how the colors of the batt translates into the color of the yarn. So fascinating.
Besides . . . I'm not going to be getting into spinning for at least several years, and I've got to be able to do it vicariously somehow, don't I? (I love reading Amy's Booger Blog, but the more, the merrier.)
I love this post! The oldness of spinning, and the magic of it, is exactly what I love about spinning too. And I'm a very new spinner. More than happy to see spinning post after spinning post here!
I read you for the comfort of your humanity. The pictures are just a bonus.
Only dull people think spinning is dull. I love it for all the same reasons you do, along with things like breadmaking, weaving, sewing by hand, growing vegetables successfully, making tea, clocks that need to be wound, cooking from scratch and low-tech fishing. Ancient things are wonderful.
Humans figured out how to spin about the same time they figured out how to grow crops and make beer. No accident, that.
Not boring at all! Really rather inspiring! *fighting the urge*