March 2009

Knittin’ Mama: Predrafting 101.

I was a little premature in buying that pound of Merino top (oh, but the discount… the spinning-goodness… the excuses pile up, now don’t they?)

What to do with it? I got it, and realized: it’s not exactly ready to spin. I really can’t afford combs (have you seen the prices?) I’m a poor just-out-of-college-kid trying to make it in the world: so my own two hands and Google were my best shot at predrafting all of this (holy crap–a lot!!) Merino…
All this to say, the Knittin’ Mama link is an easy-peasy solution to my ignorance.


I’m a total slug and have been these past few days. I’m groggy and tired and tired of being groggy, sick and tired!

All spinning has been on hold; rather, the research aspect–I’m learning a lot by doing, though! Thanks to those who have filled out the questionnaire and thanks to the poll-takers… I am playing with the direction this writing might take. Right now there are a lot of directions I could go: spinning as in the industry (manufacturers and spinning entrepreneurs–and that has about a billion different directional possibilities in itself!!); spinning as a cultural demographic… I really think I will include as much history in America as I can (for instance, DM offered the tidbit that a lot of spinning interest was revived around 1976 because of the bicentennial anniversary of the US). However, spinning’s traditional role in America seems to be a scarce subject– unless you count the takeover of mass-production spinning methods that overtook the art during the industrial revolution.

Instead of discussing how spinning by hand became nearly obsolete, I want to show how the art of handspinning has been preserved… how we have come to be a nation within a nation of closely “knit” women (and men) who, in general, have a passion for fiber and for tradition (because I think there lies a strong correlation between our obsessions and our respect for the histories of our obsessions).

I’ve been spinning some navy blue stuff up and it looks lovely thus far. I plyed my first little bit of yarn and it looks… creative.

That’s all, folks. Thanks for listening (reading) my little thought-meanderings!

Well, a long time ago, I stumbled across this picture:

(Click image to go to the original blog-poster's site--more info there)

(Click image to go to the original blog-poster's site--more info there!)

Now I know a lot more–and though it was cool then, it’s cooler now. This woman, according to the blogger who posted this (and gives all the rightful credits) is Spanish… but my fun fact for today is actually about Armenian spinning/knitting:

According to Priscilla A. Gibons-Roberts, author of Spinning in the Old Way (I gave link here), the Armenians spun socks out of fine wool–but tiny little “barbs” that caused socks to be itchy and uncomfortable were unavoidable results of spinning the wool. The solution? Put the finished sock on a sock-blocker, inside out, and run the sole of the sock over open flame. The open flames literally singed the little slubby and uncomfortable “barbs” off of the sock–resulting in a comfier fitting sock.


I wish I had a picture of this. I searched, dear reader, I really did.

All for now– I am still, unfortunately sick.


What a handy dandy little page… I’m trying to figure out how to ply things together now…and this made some sense. All for now!

Spinning At The Museum at Westford Museum – Visual Arts –

Geez. I don’t think I can get to Boston by then. But if I could….

I have some strain of some nasty sickness.

Nonetheless, I have been a busy, busy beaver. I’m still collecting questionnaires from fellow spinners– if you’re interested in filling out a quick questionnaire please let me know in the comments box. It’s 5 questions long and you can be as wordy or concise as you like. I’ve gleaned a lot of good information from some local friends but really wish I could step outside this balmy, humid and hot sub-tropic region! I’m trying to figure out a way for people to access it online and get it to me somehow….if anyone has any ideas for doing that, you can leave a comment, too.

Also, that book about top-whorl spindles? Very cool…some great info and some great inspiration for my research, both.

Back to it!

I blogged super-quickly about this earlier…but here are some pics:

Like I said before, perhaps these are toooo pink, but I’ll keep at it. I did a second batch, and am significantly more happy with the results.

I’ll admit: no cold-process soap here. That would be the cooler, more in-depth and time-consuming for of soap-making; it’s the “made from scratch” process that is, well, too difficult for me right now.

lovely mini roses

lovely mini roses

So I’m making my batches from the Melt & Pour stuff. It’s high-quality, from a soap-supply company I discovered online that immediately made me want to try this.


Hmmm….what will I find next?

An interesting site

It’s all about the history of the spindle–how the “Great Wheel” came to be the “Great Wheel,” and how the drop spindle its self is thought to have come about. Information like this is fascinating–but where is the information about later histories? Social histories? I know it’s out there…

If you know of any resources, books, or what-nots…please let me know!

D recommended Knitting in America and a few others… I picked up Spinning the Old Way… we’ll see how helpful that is. Stay tuned… still researching!

Oh, and thanks to D for filling out the Spinner’s Questionnaire! That will be uber-super helpful… and thanks to those who have taken the poll… I’ve been simmering these ideas while I knit.

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