500k images from 2016 and only 12k in we are in Scotland. What happened the past few years? I shoot a lot. To answer would take more effort than I am willing to invest. I got ways to track this down.
Funny, I don’t wear wool much. I don’t eat lamb much either. And, I never gave a thought to how thread/yarn was made on a machine. Nowadays I pay a lot of attention. It amazes me at what can be done by machine and how much more efficient it be from doing it by hand. It’s a hobby right? Productive? Worth doing it some more? I would not know. I photograph. Colleen spins and weaves. We collaborate. I take her to Scotland. There have been a lot of pictures since these were taken.
AHA! I knew it would come to me… eventually. The two star pics were open and in around 12k were the Scotland picks. It makes sense. I was not too worried about culling my two star images. Mystery solved. No more work for me to do.
From here to there
I’m obsessing over my spinning. From here to there – fleece, to roving, to yarn. We do make a varied product from fine to rough, coarse to fine. Impressive! I never in my wildest dream thought I would spin yarn. Colleen does. Did. And she introduced me to the art. Am I good? Who knows? It’s all relative. I am not a machine and cannot produce fine yarn all even and uniform. It is the imperfection that make it handmade and special. No two skeins are the same. And who would buy it? Would I ever sell it? Ha ha! Currently, I have four spinning wheels in production with various fiber rovings we have washed and carded. Unless you spin the terms mean nothing to you. It is like the language of photography with f-stops and ISO. No matter. It is the photo and the yarn – the end product – which garners the attention and interest.
Since I met Colleen it has been a very interesting journey…
The term “stash’ refers to the accumulation of yarn and fiber a spinner, weaver, or knitter accrues in anticipation of a project as yet undetermined. You might get where this thought process is going. It is like a proverbial savings account… the bigger the better.
I idly spoke with Colleen… guilty! We have fiber related things in every room of the house including but not limited to – the bedroom (looms); the bathroom (spinning wheel); basement ( fiber, loom, etc); elevator (yes, an elevator, full of fiber); studio (looms, fiber); office (spinning wheels, fiber); living room (assorted everything); dining room (spinning wheels); kitchen … do I need to go on?
Oh gee! It all snuck up upon us with our realizing we are pretty much overrun by fiber related things. I did not label the rooms for you. Suffice to say we have an embarrassment of materials and equipment. It’s not my fault. I am simply the “getaway driver.” Yeah yeah, no one would believe that I do not aid and abet Colleen’s obsession. Ummm… did I mention (did you notice) the bathroom? The foyer?
There was the old saying: “He who has the most toys when he dies, wins.”
Less is more
Maine. Colleen would move there in a heartbeat. I don’t have another move in me. Where I am is just fine. We can go anywhere. Been there, done that, I lived in Maine. It’s a long way from family. The healthcare is not the greatest. It’s nice to visit and then go home. I will admit that I was never in the Co-Op store while I lived there…. ditto, the yarn store. Damarascotta was a pass-thru town for me – Colleen’s favorite. “Pop” went to U of M. Fall colors – minimal. Red’s? We never ate there and never have. Runaround Pond, my refuge of peace and tranquility, sharing it is a very personal thing. Very! I’m glad we could and we did. Yes, we live to eat. Today? I ran backwards in my catalog to choose. Too many pics, not enough time. But, we try to make every moment count.
Middle of no where nowhere
I have a parochial view of the Midwest. Biased. For sure. I have been thru but never been there. Passing thru is all I wish to partake. Yarn Barn – a destination. ?! Colleen knows it as in tourist destination – for spinners and weavers. Yawn! With newfound knowledge and interest I am looking at spinning wheels in a different light. Schact and Ashford – hallowed names in spinning wheels. Ho hum. They are sold but not made in the store. But to touch and feel…. Ha ha. We did not buy a wheel. And, I did not get a haircut. It is like antique stores. You never know what you may find that you did not need until now. Me? I’m gettin’ back in the car and takin’ Colleen. Need her? You bet!!
It goes like this
The end point is spinning yarn. A sheep fleece is processed from shearing to spun yarn. You start by sorting and picking it. It has lanolin (grease) that needs to be washed clean. Along the way Colleen took locks to weave into a rug. I combed (carded) the rest and prepared it for spinning. Yarn is the product. Weaving comes next. I know way more than I ever intended to learn. It’s craft. In my wildest dreams I never expected to spin fiber. Fun? I sheepishly replied, “Yes!”
Do over… again
We have been on an extended road trip. I chased fall color and cover bridges. Colleen chased fiber. Fiber? As in wool and fleece from sheep. Sheep? Yes, there are a myriad of rare sheep with fleeces she covets. ?? Polworth? Teeswater? It’s an endangered breed in the US. TMI!! We made it to the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Fair. It went on as scheduled despite Covid. Yes, we got big rain. There were prizes at the auction – another spinning wheel! Ha ha. (I/Colleen won one.) There was the fleece barn, Colleen’s candy store. Llama, pajama, an interloper! Yarn?! Tons. It was more knitter’s fair than weaver/spinner. There was a line (out the door!!!) to purchase this year’s (yarn) color. There was the one room school (revisited). We – Colleen and I – almost went to one. We did sit in this style school desk in elementary school. So, why not – recreate the image of where we met. Again. And, yes, it is my regret – I wish she’d have grabbed on and held me close those many years ago. What a difference fate could have dealt. Such a good time, too many pictures, wistful, and hoping for a do over – life.
By default I am becoming a spinner. There are spinning wheels and there are spinning wheels. To me they are like rental cars. I’ve never driven a Porsche. But I can drive a car. Aren’t they all alike? Ha ha! But true enough, I eat to live not live to eat. Mostly. Spinning is getting to the product – yarn. When you look at a skein you don’t know what wheel it was spun on. But I suppose you can have a lot of fun getting there. it’s too early for me to be able to appreciate the differences. Now, if we were to discuss cameras… well, right about now, I have more than a few. And they all have a role in different circumstances. I might use one differently depending on the subject or lighting. Perhaps someday I will know spinning wheels too.
In order to get yarn you start with a sheared fleece. The fleece is washed. It’s turned into roving. Then, it’s spun. After that you knit or weave. If you skip the spinning, you can felt. Felt? The would be pressing the fibers together until they form a sheet of fiber all on their own. Like art, this is the raw material for creating a myriad of things. I’m more interested in the process than in creating art. People like came to buy the raw materials. Sometimes it’s the journey more than the destination. It’s all here. If you know fiber – ie spin and weave or knit – then you recognized the various states I mention. Otherwise, enjoy the patterns and color.
Fiber, it’s a new world for me. I’m following the process. The interim step is the spun fiber. It’s made into wondrous things – cloth. Pattern is a big part of the process. And this requires multicolored and multi-textured spun material. It’s a fascinating process. I like the graphical component. I like order. Some of the material seems ethereal. Try to focus. The woven products are myriad. Industrialization has made cloth inexpensive. We take it for granted in the everyday products we purchase for almost nothing. Synthetic and throw away it’s hard to believe that the craft is ages old. We value the handwoven and pay pennies for our everyday cloth. You shop Walmart for the price not the quality.