Joining the Modern Age

It’s been a while since I was on this here blog…but I do have a good reason – honest! I have been busy joining the ‘modern age’!

As a lady who spends her time knitting, spinning and weaving, I don’t normally have much time, or need, for techno stuff and have never really been that bothered about it. However, I recently decided to get a bit jiggy with all this modern hoo-haa mallarkey and opened an Etsy¬†shop…which led to me having to learn a great deal of new skills pretty flippin’ quickly. Not only that, but in order to remain current and ‘with it’, I have had to invest in some new tech and learn how to use it.

It has not been pretty!

For example…I bought myself a phone, that I think has an app for launching rockets into space on it somewhere, and when I got it home and started putting it together it gave instructions which went something like ‘place the sim card into x slot’ etc…well, I couldn’t find the sim card for love nor money! So, I took it back to the shop…and the lady behind the counter showed me that the sim card was already in the phone…and then she put the battery in for me…and then she showed me how to turn it on, in case I had a problem with that as well. After that it only took me about 3 hours to figure out how to actually phone someone on it!

I can just about use it now….but really I would rather be knitting, spinning or weaving..

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There is a silver lining to this though…one thing about having an Etsy shop is that I need to stock it and ‘keep it fresh’, so I have a REALLY good excuse to sit down at my wheel, loom or with my needles and make stuff – bliss!!

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Why Do I Spin?

I was asked a question on Ravelry the other day, which made me stop and think…the question was ‘why do I spin my own yarn?’

To be honest, I was quite taken aback to be asked this – and judging from 99.9% of the replies to this question from other Ravellers, I was not alone in being surprised. There were also a great many answers from other spinners…which ranged from ‘its meditative’ and ‘its relaxing’ to ‘it allows me to make exactly what I want’ and also ‘its cheaper’. But why did I start spinning?

It started last year, when I was looking for some yarn to weave with. Something a bit mad and funky to use as a focal point in a shawl. I knew what I wanted, but I couldn’t find it, and I spent a LONG time looking…I found something similar but it wasn’t right, so I decided that I may be better off learning how to spin and producing my own yarn.

After putting out a request for a spinning teacher on Ravelry, I was lucky to be contacted by a lady who lives just up the road who was willing to teach me (and for that I will be eternally grateful), and it just kind of snowballed from there. My early attempts were a complete monstrosity, but I hung in there and soon got the hang of it and started to use my own yarn in my weaving and knitting. It was a revelation!

I firmly believe that using a handspun yarn in a project gives it a bit of an edge. Most of the yarns can’t be replicated, so each item is a true original piece, and there is something about the texture of a handspun yarn which I think is beautiful….and, yeah, it is meditative and relaxing once you master the foot and hand co-ordination and get into the rhythm of it. I can also make yarn exactly how thick I want in the colours I want – what’s not to like?

But then, I also started thinking about my stash of yarn…there is very little in there that is from one of the major yarn producers such as Debbie Bliss, Wendy, King Cole or any number of other firms…nope, most of mine is from independent hand-dyers or from people who farm their own sheep/alpacas and then get the fleece spun up in a textile mill. I just like the uniqueness of it all…and, as I don’t tend to knit jumpers, I don’t need to buy a bazillion balls all in one yarn which can get expensive (mainly cos I am a yarn snob, and don’t tend to buy acrylic yarn)

As an example, earlier this week I made up a ‘Frankenskein’ yarn out of some odd bits and bobs that I had left over from other projects…I just spun up whatever came out of the box regardless of colour and then plied two bobbins of yarn together….the result is not something you would find in a bricks and mortar yarn shop…and I like that..

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….So, I guess I spin because I like unique yarn that tells a bit of a story.