Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Flying the Spinster Flag

Some people have noticed I've been a little absent lately. Thanks to those of you who sent me little notes and virtual smiles, etc. What can I say - other than it has been one of those weeks wherein you begin with the best intentions. Your plans are well made, considering the constant juggling act of homesteading, homeschooling, the herd, the fiber store, etc., etc., the knitting, etc., etc., the holiday of gorging wherein everyone delights in those yummy gifts you've made and you pretend that you didn't just picture in your head taking the leg off the bird and banging them over the head with it....I'm sure ya'll know what I'm talking about. Not every holiday can go well. A Halloween of smashing handmade costume success, good times with friends new and old, and lots of candy loot can easily be followed by a miserably rainy one with kids cranky and crying over the loss of staying power in the candy bank and someone forgets their tail so you cut your purse strap off and stick it to their costume with a safety pin that was holding your wallet together. One year, the turkey and fixins can be great and the next they can still be great but the atmosphere lacks in that 'gee, mum, thanks for beating your arms off on these cakes, pies, casseroles, etc warmth'(no electric mixer cuz the inverter wouldn't like that at all).

handspun loop 018So, I refrained from posting any howlers leading up to the splendid day of piggery in honor of the one remaining southern hospitality that I can't seem to shake no matter how I wish to be brave - if you can't say anything nice, don't say nuthin'. Instead, I took to the spinning wheel. Sure, I should have been skeining up sock yarns for the shop. But, those of you who laugh nervously when I say that spinning is sometimes the only thing that keeps me out of jail can attest to the serious and honest nature in which I declare that fact and how convincing it seems. I needed something different than the regular ole 2 ply but my sense of adventure wanes when I'm, say, heading out the door to get all the last minute fixins for their meal and ship out the last of the packages before the holiday with fifteen minutes until the post office closes and someone says something to someone else that hurts their feelings so instead of three dressed kids and a helpful partner I have one kid crying and he won't tell me why, one refusing to wear the shirt that is nice and clean and me refusing to let him wear the one that has cheese sauce all over it, insert one teenager screaming that we always ruin her life by acting like a bunch of dumb babies - and a man in total panic cringing in the corner whilst I take it all in - waiting for his opportunity to ask the big questions like 'hey (I see you're taking this all real well so I though I'd ask you now) do you think we're still gonna go or should we go another day?' So, at the onset of the shopping portion of this pig day (gee, am I a little bitter?) I could only venture into a 2 ply with one strand spun of my 'Queen Mermaid' batts and one strand of my mermaid dyed silk roving. I mean, it's not like it's toilet paper or anything. It's beautiful and blue and green and shimmery with the glitz and silk and soft and makes you feel at peace even when everyone in your house is acting like a donkey. After that, I realized my mistake. I mean, I love the 'Queen Mermaid' like a sister but on a day like that I needed two things - someone to make me feel good in the instant gratification way and someone to lie to me. handspun loop 014 I pulled out the 70/30 Cotswold/silk batts the next day and spun up one strand that I plied with a cashmere/wool lace yarn strung with genuine rainbow fluorite gemstones and some silver glass beads. Okay, that was instantly gratifying because it took all my concentration to string the beads on and plying the thing was like a visual orgasm....nough said about which of those needs it met. Still, I needed someone to lie to me. I needed someone to say that there wasn't a teenager stomping around being mad at me for something I have yet to be shown in the crystal ball but suffering her disdain anyway. I needed someone to tell me that the hay would hold out for another week and we wouldn't need to sell a lung or kidney or something. I needed someone to tell me there wasn't a donkey still cringing in the corner waiting for me to get everything tucked in before he woke upthought about it and realized that being this much of a team also means he can help settle the domestic chaos, too. Lemons! Bring me more lemons! handspun loop 006 Nope, I dug deep into my crabby ole self and found the perfect smooth talker - purple silk. Spun her up and plied her because I wanted the sort of color that is consistent but brave and makes your eyes swear devotion the moment they look at it.

By the following day, this would be the day that began with birds and pumpkin guts and the corn casserole that things 2 and 3 like and the bean casserole that thing 1 likes and mix, beat, cook, STEW, I was well aware that I needed a straight shot of something more potent in the spinning department. To reflect the true state of my mind at the moment - I decided this may be the perfect time, after all, to perfect the loop spinning method. Most books say you HAVE to have mohair - this is not so. Cotswold and silk will also give you nice, loopy little loops. handspun loop 002 Cheery little things that make you giggle so you forget to growl. I started with loops last week when I used up some spare batts that I blended with some rose alpaca to make a green, gray, blue loopy thing. And they say I'm not psychic. I mean, was it not a portent of what was ahead? Had I stuck with gray, though, I think I might have just jumped with the the potatoes and boiled and mashed myself. So, I went to the glistening, pure, sweet and harmless white cotswold silk batts ...plied with a 50/50 silk/tencel strand and gently pleasing. handspun loop 003 There was some 'queen mermaid' still on the shelf screaming, 'what, what did I do to deserve this' so I spun it up as well and looped it and then got really ambitious and strung the tencel silk with some shells and glass bead and plied it again. Do you think this means I'm a little uhm....intense?

handspun loop 016So, I hope you and yours had a splendid Thanksgiving. We survived it and the extra marshmallows and cups of hot chocolate, coffee, chai I snuck in over the last few days have been absolute lifesavers. There is no more left-over turkey and the pie dish sits, clean, on the shelf where I hope it will stay for at least a little while. Thank every force in the universe that it is over...now we move on to the BIG ONE. Just imagine the artistic inspiration that could be lingering in my immediate future. Be a little worried if my next post has silk plied with barbed wire or something.