Sunday, January 30, 2011

Small Steps to a Great Journey

Some of you know that I am pretty into crafting.....and those of you who really know me know that "pretty into" is a huge understatement. One of my favorite crafts is spinning, something I've been doing for a relatively short time - about 5ish years. I say relatively short because I've been knitting for 24 years now which tends to be my main craft of comparison. With spinning, especially when you start on a drop spindle, you're not left with huge amounts of finished product - especially if you're using top/roving/fleece that you've been handed off of someone else's tuft. 

Being left with smallish balls of what I first spun, and then little balls of my later handspun that I'd used on projects, I wondered what to do with them. I mean, they aren't great. The yarn is thick and thin, there isn't enough left for another project, and some of what I started with was really bottom of the barrel stuff.

So what do I do with it?

Today, while cleaning my Fiboreum, I found a few of these little balls as well as some larger balls that I may actually be able to get a project out of yet. My first thought was to make them into butterflies and then put them into a journal or something. I mean, I do have a scrapbook that I bought just for the purpose (as well as a shelf full of blank journals to use). I started a knitting/spinning journal back in 2008, and I liked what I did, but the truth is that I didn't keep up with it enough and it just isn't the same without pictures, which I've never been good about taking and pasting in.  So, a spinning journal was out.  I briefly considered putting the little balls into some vases or something. You know, display it. But such small amounts didn't seem like they would look very good, and I was cleaning my office while unpacking and trying to clear out clutter to begin with. What would be the point in spreading out the clutter? So that was out. What was left? I supposed I could start a spinning blog - take some pictures and then post them and then get rid of the scraps of my spinning with a clear conscience - or donate them or something. There would be a record then, so that should be enough. But, really, I'm pretty bad at keeping even one blog that covers knitting and spinning, so I doubt that I would be able to keep that up. Besides, blogging takes away from knitting and spinning time anyway, right?

So, in a brief moment of whimsy (yes, I experience whimsy), I grabbed one of the little balls and cast on a few stitches with it, knit until it was gone. I really liked knitting with it - and I remembered it - it was the first thing I spun on my very first wheel - an Ashford Joy. It was thick and thin and low quality wool - and I had made a pair of socks out of it on size 3s or so that I still have. But I loved the feel of knitting with it and the memories that came back as well as, I admit, the enjoyment of my own industriousness in creating something that I could use. I mean, really, how cool is that?  When that bit was done, I grabbed another ball - this one was blue and white. I made it when I had first learned to drop spindle. I had spun each color separately on my first drop spindle while at the Renaissance Fair the year I met my Fiancee. I think it was my very first spinning. If it wasn't it was close to it.  After I finished that second ball, I grabbed a third, the same blue, but plied with grey this time, from the same summer. But I had a long strip from the first two balls, so I bound off the second ball and, with the third, picked up and knit along one of the edges of the strip.

After that, I knew what I was doing. I was making a memory quilt from my own handspun. I had figured out what I was going to do with it, and it was something that not only was incredibly satisfying in that it allowed me to relive the memories of what I had spun and when as well as what I had made with the yarn originally, but it allowed me to find a use for the odds and ends that suits my personal ethic of reusing and recycling and using what I already have to make things which I can use in another form. 
Each little piece of handspun that I use to make this blanket is a small step. But I think it's a great journey to make a blanket, especially with yarn that will range from about a worsted to a lace. And, in knitting this, I will get to see how my own spinning improves. Below is a picture of my first 3 steps.


Anonymous said...

Your idea is so great! I can't wait to see more pictures of it.

Personally, I have plied the leftover singles from spinning projects together and made little mitered squares, which I'll sew together and make a wall hanging. It's always awesome to have a tangible reminder of your journey through a craft.

Miss Kalendar said...

I'd love to see a picture of your wall-hanging with the mitred squares!