Unspun fiber lives a life of grand anticipation. “what will I become? 2-ply, thick-n-thin, navajo 3-ply, cabled, what what???” you can almost see it wiggling in its various containers “pick me, pick me”. The spinner needs to keep the fiber at bay for a while, get to know it, dream about it, think of how to use the finished yarn. One doesn’t just grab the fiber, sit down to a spinning wheel and start spinning — then you are at the mercy of caprice! With some fibers, one needs to take a little more time to mull. These things must be done “delicately” or you’ll ruin the spell!
I have a ‘fair’ amount of unspun fiber all in various stages of becoming, and almost becoming. I am a SPINNER, it is a great responsibility, the structure of the universe depends upon making the right choices, and using the right fiber for the right job. You understand??
Let’s take a journey into the sanctuary that is the fiber room. Napping in the small trunk you will find Gotland purchased just north of Detroit — it was raw and filled with the sweet aroma of lanolin, I still remember it — I had it processed and it is waiting for something special – I bought a little extra of the same type of fiber from copper moose, just to make sure I’ll have enough of it for that something special….it is currently being prepared to run through the drum carder, the first stage of becoming …… something …. special.
Resting comfortably in the BIG trunk we have some merino/kid mohair, it is still trying to recover from the emotional upset of being wrenched away from its owner during a divorce struggle and sold to a local yarn shop. As soon as it is ready, I’m thinking of something …. fine … and … lacy. Kid mohair deserves no less.
Fiber First Aide
This brings me to the odyssey of the Ashland Bay Merino – 1 pound each of Merino one dyed a plum color, one with colors of the Mojave desert. This past summer I was finally ready to spin it, it would become 2 ply, 1-ply the solid plum color, 1-ply the Mojave for an interesting and subtle interplay of color, along with the satin softness of merino. I set up my wheel, chose the correct whorl, pre-drafted the fiber (this coaxes it and prepares it for the onslaught of twist) ALAS — the fiber was stripped of ALL oils, stretched, and lifeless, no crimp, no lanolin. Sorrow. I was at a loss, until my husband suggested I blend it with another fiber. As fate would have it, I had 1 pound a Corriedale mix from an Ohio farmer, soft, springy, itching to become yarn, and 1 pound of a dark Corriedale called Twister, rich in lanolin, kinky and twisty. They both offered their individuality to bring the merino back to life. I measured out 20 g. fiber balls, 50:50 full of life Ccorriedale, lifeless merino, it now awaits the drum carder and will become “Cherry Cordial”.
Can you see, dear reader, how the fiber starts to have a life and a destiny of its own??? This is why you must let it rest, mellow, ripen, dare I say ferment.
There are more tales to be told of life in the Fiber room, while experimenting with Brown Border Leicester and Dyed mohair, the silk hidden in the closet popped a thought into my consciousness, why not blend that with white merino and white alpaca. Another moment of magic, made possible by a generous stash of different types of fiber. Are you seeing the logic??? We must keep the fiber room full, to encourage the in-dwelling of the creative spirit
I could go on, and on, and on …… So many fibers, so many possibilities, so many colors and textures to be explored. ahhhh it is heaven for a fiber addict like me.