June 30, 2018

My Taste in Yarn

     I had this on my profile on Ravelry, but got to thinking it was a bit long.  So I copied it here and trimmed what I have on Ravelry.


     I'm Canadian, from Vancouver Island, B.C. and since I'm far from home and expect I'll eventually move back, I'm trying to keep the amount of equipment and fibre I collect to a minimum.  What, did you just laugh?
     I also try to limit my WIPs, and focus on finishing.  
     I am a handspinner first, other crafts come second.  I use drop spindles to spin yarn, not a spinning wheel.  I have rarely bought yarn for knitting but that is starting to change.  I like to weave with handspun wool or commercial linen yarn.  I can do an obscure technique with yarn called språng (braiding on stretched threads).  I adore the process, the product, and the research aspect.  Many of the YouTube videos I've posted are about how to do språng.
     I like to choose breed-specific wool and make the yarn's structure suit the project.  The look of lustrous long-staple wool appeals to me most.  It's too bad longwools are often scratchy and hard to find or expensive in yarn form.  I try to buy breed-specific wool or yarn that is traceable to a region or flock.  My exception (and my favourite breed) is Blueface Leicester wool, which is usually imported in bulk. 
     I really love linen cloth, whether woven or knitted.  I would wear linen everything if I could.  I am not sure I will ever get around to learning how to spin flax.  Not keen on cotton, silk, or short stapled fibres like cashmere or merino.  I use a bit of hemp yarn for dish cloths.  
     I admire Kathryn Alexander's use of energized singles in woven cloth.
     I like knitting stockinette in the round on double points, and I like the way stockinette looks.  I dislike the look of garter stitch.  I think embossed exchange patterns are very pretty, such as in Svetlana Volkova's Anemone for example.  I like to follow patterns I can memorize and do without much concentration, whether knitting, weaving, or doing språng.  
     I care more for texture and structure than I care for colour.  I do like colour.  I like royal blue, electric blue, ice blue, fuchsia, scarlet, hot pink, emerald, lemon yellow, dark grey, pure white, burgundy, teal, clear turquoise, British racing green, and sapphire.  
     I consider myself to be on a synthetic dye diet.  I wear as much un-dyed or naturally-dyed clothing as I can and I work primarily with un-dyed or naturally-dyed yarn.  I make exceptions for gift items.  I've stocked up on naturally-coloured wool to spin and yarn to knit, and I've increased my plant-based dyeing skills and knowledge.  
     I admire Rebecca Burgess' original fibreshed project.  For a year Burgess wore only clothes made of undyed, naturally-coloured, and naturally-dyed fibres from her area.  All the labour came from her area too.  The criteria for fibreshed (and the tagline of her Fibershed organization and its affiliates) is local fibre, local dyes, local labour.  Here is an interview about Burgess' original wardrobe project:



     I love the guilds and group I belong to.  I joined my handspinning guild near the end of 2008 and they got me from the ground up.  The members taught me how to spin, knit, dye, and shop for supplies and tools.  They fed me how-to books and videos.  I took weaving classes from one of the members.  My Ravelry projects page has some embarrassingly basic and lumpy stuff, the yarn equivalent of baby pictures.  Språng I learned by myself from books.  
     I inform, advise, and encourage people as they begin to use drop spindles.  At festivals and guild meetings, friends send aspirants my way.  It's great!  I enjoy giving people useful information about handspinning and språng.

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