Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lankadontti's tweed yarn

"I may be a highly trained historian, but I am an amazing craftswoman!" And humble, of course. Regardless, I feel this is one of the best ways I express who I am. History and handicrafts entwined and even symbiotic. Of course historical crafts are a big part of this. I am pretty dedicated to the knowledge of declining craft skills, and textile crafts in my own case. While I am in principle all about a) doing crafts, b) learning crafts, c) teaching craft, d) preserving this valuable knowledge, and doing this in my own life, there are some aspects I am very much less interested in:

Dyeing. Spinning.

I feel guilty for just not being super interested in these vital aspects of textile-crafts. I would love to be able to summon the interest and energy to do natural dyes from wode, onion skins, or even synthetic dyeing, like using KoolAid. And while spinning is actually quite fun, I am so not up to plying... 

I know. Pathetic. 

I try to console myself with the knowledge that I do know how to do these, where to find information and even help, and I have done it. In a post-apocalyptic society, I will be able to process fibers from sheep to sweater. Less confidently flax to frock, but given some time, I can do it. And seeds. And sheep. How I would obtain these in post-apocalyptic America is of course a mystery...

The lovely Laura from Lankadontti and Sanavyyhti, has once again stepped in and inspired me! And challenged me to re-examine my lack of enthusiasm for spinning: She has this month published, as the part of her series "instructions of the month" (on Sanavyyhti), a wonderful guide to do-it-yourself tweed yarn (in Finnish)! Not only are the results fabulously beautiful, but she uses leftover yarn in a very interesting and creative way. She cards in snibbles of leftover yarn into washed and cleaned wool, and spins it by hand into amazing and varied yarn - tweed! What really caught my attention here is the variability and beauty of random leftovers, and the encouragement to see even the smallest snibbles as an opportunity for creativity and fiber filled joy and beauty.

Waste is always unwelcome, and creative uses for leftover yarns are a fora for imagination and playfulness, just like Sanna Vatanen's great patterns and ideas in Neulo. Virkaa. Kirjo. Jämälangasta! (Helsinki; WSOY) show us. I will add Laura's pattern to my pool of inspiration for what to do with my leftovers. In fact, I kind of want to go home and dig out the little snippets I threw away when finishing off my middle Nephew's socks the other day, or a pair of Owl Mitts! I thought: "These pieces are surely too small to use for anything, even in Sanna's book..." (Sanna is a friend of my sister's, and a godmother to one of my Nephews, so I take the liberty of calling her by her first name - name dropping!). Little did I know.... Never again (well, never say never, but you know what I mean) will little snippets be thrown away - no! I will start a special snibbly-wibbly ziplock bag when I get home, just for the eventuality that there may be some tweeding of yarn in my life.

Will I actually sit down and make my own delicious tweed yarn? Will I spin it? Ply it? Who knows. Maybe. As I sit here in the Blue Dog Café the Yale Hall of Graduate Studies, taking a break from revising my third Dissertation chapter, it seems simultaneously imminent and exciting, far off and impossible. But my sister has the tools to prep wool, and I may be spending some time in Finland some day not in the too improbable future. Perhaps if I get Enough Done (tm) on my Diss, Laura will come to our summer cottage with me and we will drink tea, chat, and make tweed yarn...

 This image belongs to Laura Hämäri at Sanavyyhti.

Addenda a couple of hours later:

Of course I have now, two pages of Diss having been miraculously produced, spent my break googling hand carders, like these offered by Webs. America's Yarn Store... If I had the money (insert tune from Fiddler on the Roof for If I was a Rich Man...)...

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