Spun Around

I’ve been working towards an announcement here for some time.  The delay has been due to some hesitancy on my part and, quite honestly, a complete lack of solid writing time on all other parts involved.  Then, a magic combination happened, Labor Day weekend + receiving a nice note from WordPress thanking me for being here for 5 full years.  It got me to thinking and helped me to decide to finally, once and for all, write the post and, in doing so, add one more subject to this very random blog!

Alright.  Here we go.  I’m a spinner.  Sure, I spin stories but, well, in a gender-bender style twist, it would appear I also spin wool. (My friend whom I lovingly call Chair-Spinner will, no doubt, find this immensely entertaining.)

My fascination with the craft showed up over a year ago when I saw a historical reenactor doing so with turkish spindle at a local “frontier festival.”  Thinking my wife might enjoy something like this I showed her and we purchased a handmade spindle and some wool roving.  Taking it home it was looked at and then, I bet you see this coming, placed in a closet for the next year without being used.

Time passed and, at a gathering, I happened to watch another friend of mine using a drop spindle to ply together handspun yarn.  She seemed so peaceful and at ease as she worked.  I thought it looked incredibly meditative and asked her if it was.  She agreed and the seed was planted when she told me that you can find everything you need to learn on Youtube.  Over the next few day I dusted off the spindle, bought some wool at a yarn store (not even knowing that it was called roving) and set about trying to figure this damn stuff out.  Once I was able to get past the learning curve I found she was right.  It was calming, meditative.  I fell right in and now it’s a little over a year later.

Spindle

I spin every day and I learn.  In the morning I  use it to think over my upcoming, always busy work day and in the evening it helps me settle down.  I have skeins of spun yarn starting to fill up a storage bin and I have piles of roving ready to spin. I have two-plied yarn wrapped around a homemade knitty-knotty and I have dye pots sitting on the back porch.

Wait.  What? Dye pots?

Yeah, this is where I admit that because of all this handspinning business I’ve combined it with my love of wilderness foraging and bushcraft.  (In gamer speak, I’m pretty sure, even though I’ve not figured out how to turn into a bear, I’m a multi-classed Ranger/Druid.)   What all this means is that I forage for items that make good natural dyes and then dye my own handspun wool.  Currently, I’ve just begun harvesting the local pokeberries so as to make a nice purple/burgundy set of yarn for my wife.

dyepot

Brewing up some Goldenrod. More on that soon.

So, yeah, I’m a spinner.  The good news (or maybe the bad news, you decide) is that I’m going to be talking a lot more about all of the above here.  I won’t be talking about the spinning as much as the process of making dyes, the experiments and the results.  In short, I’ll be using the blog as a journal of sorts.  And, yes, I’ll be keeping everything under appropriate categories and tags.

I wouldn’t want to mix my geekery with my fabric craft now would I?

creeper

Final_Fantasy_Malboro_by_Phantasmfreud

Of course not.

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Posted on September 1, 2013, in Bushcraft Foraging, Nature, Ramblings, Spinning and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. OOOh! Spinning is surprisingly meditative, isn’t it. Dd12 and I learned how to use the drop spindle at a historical demonstration last year & enjoyed making our first little ball of yarn. Then we ran out of roving and the spindles went up into the Shelves of Forgetting. Oops. Let me know if you figure out how to make the pokeberry color stay purple. It makes a beautiful, brilliant purple ink but it fades quickly (days to months, depending on paper, temperature, etc.) to brown. Fermenting with iron, on the other hand, turns the ink black and tarry. That, in fact, is on the lists for Homeschool Day 1 this year: pick poke and make ink. The children can design their own experimental inks, and I am going to try an iron mordant to try to reproduce 2011’s black inky goodness.

    • Love it! I’ve done some walnut ink and some pokeberry ink as well. I’ve got a jar of iron mordant that’s been sitting in the sun for about two weeks. Looking forward to experimenting! For the pokeberry, I usually use an alum mordant. What I made has not been washed too often and the current project involves a scarf which, hopefully, won’t need washed TOO much. ;D Keep me posted on the inkiness!

  2. ps. I love the crocheted creeper!

  3. Coyote-Who-Sees, my friend, I always discerned that you were a renaissance man. But, this is impressive. I should have known that the depth of your curiosity was this immense and I applaud you for seeking out this knowledge. I smile as I see that you are walking the path of a true human being. I’ve been putting off weaving a tumpline for a long time now. Thank you for re-kindling my interest…I may finish it yet.
    I hear the trees calling my name and I hope to answer them soon…

  4. Oh! This is so wonderful to read! Spinning is so much fun! I love it and I’m glad you love it. Dying is great too. Oh, do post your adventures – I would love to see them.
    I will give one piece of unsolicited, unhappy advice, though, and that would be to give up on the pokeberries. Sadly, despite their gorgeous color, they do not make a stable dye. Whatever you dye will turn brown within months, if not sooner. Also, as I’m sure you know, they are poisonous. I read that it was just the seeds, but then a biologist friend told me that the juice contains endocrine disruptors, so I would research the an be careful.

    • Thanks, Kasi! I’ve got a ton of adventures to write up, I just need the time to do it!! Hard to forage that as of late.

      I made some last year and dyed alum mordanted handspun yarn. It took like a charm and has been stable. Now, it’s not been washed and I’ve heard that pokeberry does not wash well so maybe that’s it? Our plan is to use the yarn for items that may not be washed AS much like scarves, a winter hat, or a throw. That sort of thing.

  5. Congratulations on completing the task of actually starting and sticking with a new project! So the tools of the trade sat in a closet for a year, big deal. You’ve got the momentum going, so learn away and I’ll expect to see you and the missus in hand-woven attire in the future. By the way, I’ve some local and not-so-local friends involved in this sort of work, so let me know if you want to enlarge your circle of knowledge any by learning of them and what they’ve done. I’ve seen listings for a spinners’ guild meeting in the public library’s calendar from time-to-time, but found the ‘Bloomington Spinners & Weavers Guild’ here: http://www.bloomspinweave.org/ Good luck on this!

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