Monday, February 19, 2018

The Pests Patrol

No, I don't have bugs in the wool...well, kind of. Not bugs, but cats and this season's house lamb, appropriately named Purl. Since my spinning lesson last month in which I finally got the hang of spinning, I've tried to sit down at and spin a few minutes every day. Audio books, not so good, but Ottmar Leibert , UsefulTree or Ray LaMontagne--absolutely.

There's something meditative about settling in at the wheel, focusing on the mantra of pinch, draft slide and letting the mind go to become lost in the feel of the fiber as it passes through my fingers. I try to evoke images of the end product, a pair of thick socks that rise a few inches above the ankle, thick enough to pad my winter boots, especially the ones that snap into the bindings of my cross country skis, which sadly, I've only been able to use once this year.

I finished the gray roving and successfully spun it off the bobbin on the spindle to a storage bobbin. That new Milwaukee drill came in handy for more than just hanging gates. With trepidation, I pulled out one of the bats I carded from the Tunis ram's wool last summer and sat down in front of the wheel with an empty bobbin. Just like that, I was one step closer to my socks as the bat transformed into a full bobbin over the course of several days.
Since I did not scour the wool, using only a mild detergent, not all of the lanolin was washed out of the fiber. When I spin my own carded bats from the ram's fleece my fingers become soft as the traces of "grease" permeate my skin.

At the same time, I've been practicing knitting. I frogged it (rip it, rip it) at least a dozen times before mastering the German twist cast-on to prevent the gap when knitting in the round. I'm about done with a hat now in the final stages as I attempt to switch from connected needles to double pointed for the final few rows. Megs insists on helping making it all but impossible to proceed.

But tonight as I sat down to spin, the critters decided that it would be more fun to chase each other through the wheel as I treadled, to grab at the roving and to bat at the hook. Purl took it a step further, punching me on the legs with her nose as if to say, "Play with me! Give me a bottle!" Finally, she sat at my feet for a few precious moments as I realized the wool I was spinning was her grandfather's and some day in the not too distant future I will shear her wool, too, eventually spinning it into yarn and making something for myself or those I love. And that is the ultimate satisfaction of this journey. Onward to the next step...plying.

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