Between the weather (ick, although miraculously we're still getting cooler night air - I'm thankful) and being really busy with work stuff, I haven't been doing much that's blogworthy. Do you really want to see the umpteenth batch of handwashed Polwarth fleece? If you really do, I'm sorry. I couldn't get a decent picture.
I'm working on the SOB shawl in fits and starts. Now that the rows are close to 300 sts each, every row is taking longer, and I don't always have the time I need to knit (or SSK, or K2tog, and purl, and yarnover, etc.) across an entire row. However, it hasn't been ripped yet. Which is saying something, all things considered.
I'm somewhere around the 2nd or 3rd charted row of Chart 5. Which is just like charts 4, 3, and 2. As I said, sometimes simple (or boring) is good.
Last night at about 11 o'clock, I was sitting on my deck (love the deck, its the reason we rented the apartment) and enjoying the cool air, the slight drizzle, and the newly planted herbs that Jon had worked on in the evening. Needless to say, it was quite dark. Except for the streetlights.... well, it was 11pm. You can imagine. I went and checked on the fleece that was out there drying all day, trying to decide by feel if it was ready to be brought in yet or not [my deck is partially roofed - a little drizzle won't touch the fleece].
I'm not really a technical spinner. I just enjoy the process of spinning - spindle, wheel, wool - whatever combination suits me just fine. I like the feel of the wool turning into something and the hypnotic spin of the whorl, that's all.
When I walked away with a lock of Polworth - dry, by the way - I sat and played with it for a minute. And realized that I could, by the ambient light of the streetlamps, see just enough of the lock to maybe make spinning possible. So, I ran inside and grabbed a spindle.
Okay, I realize that this is a little weird. I sat outside at very close to midnight in the very near pitch-dark and spun. Because..... well, I thought that I could. Not the best spinning I've done, but not horrible either.
At any rate, the point of all of this, in a roundabout way, is about fiber prep. I've been hand-washing fleece in my kitchen sink, and waiting (sometimes for two days) for it to dry outside in the shade. And I often wonder what in the world I'm doing with the fleece, here in Brooklyn, and why I don't just send it all out to be processed.
My spinning-in-the-dark proved it to me. I know its not perfect, and its only about 2 yards or so, but the hand-washed Polworth is better than any processed fiber I've spun in the past few weeks - and I've spun or at least sampled quite a few, bought at various festivals this spring. It flowed through my hands, even without flicking or combing open the locks - the wool itself was the experience, pretty much unadulterated.
I spun straight from the locks, freshly washed. No combing, carding, or processing at all. And even so, it was better than some of the drumcarded stuff that I've bought. I know, not all ready to spin wools are processed equally. And not everyone has time or the patience to wash greasy fleece. But I love (loveloveLOVE) working with wool that I've started 'from scratch and seeing it turn into yarn. The experience just reinforced my determination to do things from A to Z, myself. And maybe get a drumcarder - because I'm realistic like that.