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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wild Cards

A while back, I had this idea.....

It happened after a few shows. When I go to shows, I always take my wheel. The reasons are diverse but they basically boil down to two things: 1) spinning keeps me relaxed and there's nothing more tragic to watch than a nervous XSoutherner - trust me on this. We say dumb things, we step on our tongues, lick our shoes, and generally act inappropriately. The only difference between us and current Southerners is that the pool of freaks people around us is so entirely lacking in comforting company that it only serves to make us MORE nervous and, well, you can see where this is going.... and 2) I love to talk about spinning. Seriously, I have been known to steer the most far-off ideas and conversations back to the real core of every one's existence - the making of a yarn.

It particularly pleases me to talk about spinning with someone who is a spinner, wants to be, or has a distant third cousin 12 times removed from someone who once touched a skein of yarn and lived to tell about it. So, while at a show and talking to a couple of spinners about batts, roving, sweaters - you know, the spice of life, one of them mentioned a stash of plain roving and some miscellaneous batts. "No problem," I said, "just work them together around a ply or two of the plain ole roving in your stash and you'll have a stunning sweater." Eyebrows raised, gasps of doubt were emitted from the corner. I suddenly felt revealed for the spinner simpleton that I really am.

I can't help it. I have an over-active survival instinct and it definitely carries over to my spinning stash. I can't let anything go unloved. In addition, I think it looks stunning. From that point on in the show, I began testing the waters with other people - gently prying into their spinner minds and seeing if my suggestion was as crazy as I had come to believe it was. I mean, I've done it many times and I can't think of a time I've been really unhappy with it but, still, I was feeling a bit silly by the end of the day when only a couple of people had confessed to mixing and matching batts to make a unique yarn.

sagebrush battsSimultaneously, I was feeling a bit stifled - wanting to play around with some color ideas and not be boxed in with a formula. Still, because I'm a woman who wants it all - I wanted to ensure that some consistency remained so that the colors were trustworthy and somewhat reliable. These two things sort of merged together and, I got the wild cards idea. Of course, it was an idea so I tried it out to make it a reality, and I loved the reality. So, I promptly forgot about it (isn't that what happens to most good ideas?). The idea kept coming back, sort of creeping its way into my spinning on a regular basis and, alas, some wild cards were made.

wild cards 010This set just reached out and grabbed me right off the batt, I mean, bat. I quickly snatched some for myself. A combo of merino, bamboo, silk, and general fiber infusions of magical sparkles, shines, and eye massages to elicit moans. The idea behind it all being that you can do sooooo many things with this set of three batts, which, incidentally, should produce enough yarn for a pair of socks, a shawl, a scarf and hat set, or some awesome mittens. So, it's a good size. I could spin each batt into singles for a silky soft yarn or I could spin them all in halves and ply two halves together for matching 2 ply yarns. Or, I could spin each batt fine and navajo ply them for 3 separate skeins - or, I could ply them all together, which I did here. Mmmmmm, I love this color mix.

wild cards 020I also navajo plied a bit of each batt so that I can have some accents for my next shawl - a worsted wgt Danish Tie Shawl. I've been wanting to make one for some time but keep getting started on something else. So, I'm being good and finishing the Treasure Chest Shawl before I start it. Right now, I'm deeply entrenched in the process of 'getting to know' (aka - petting and drooling on) the yarns. And, as ya'll know, this will, in fact, be my third attempt to make a Danish Tie Shawl. The first one began before I'd even ever seen one - another of those quirky ideas I hatched whilst trying to find a way to wear a shawl without it falling off. That one got ripped because I discovered that loopy mohair yarn does not make fine morning coffee knitting and I started to feel self-conscious about my attempt to make a tie back shawl as compared to the pattern that came out in Spin-Off a bit later. I thought of making one of those with my Treasure Chest Shawl but, as you all know, I abandoned all pattern following for the 'organic' knitting experience. I'm still not sorry about that. The most peculiar thing has happened, though, I have this shawl about 3/4 of the way knit and, in addition to the short row yoke that I sort of 'fell upon' to make the neck raise higher and the shawl stay on better, I also seem to have started knitting some wings onto it in the front. It may turn out to be shaped similarly to the Danish Tie Shawls after all. Trust me to walk in the door arse backwards nearly every time. It keeps life a mystery, so I won't complain.

Thanks for all the anniversary well wishes. We made our home improvement materials trip and then we came home to prepare for Kyle - who has brought us much rain and some chaos but, for the most part, we are dry, safe, and eating chocolate just in case (wink).