How rare it can be, to spend an entire day enjoying one's hobby.
This last Saturday, I did a booth at a local craft fair. I can not avoid the anticipation of sales, when I price and package any item I plan to put in the booth. However, I knew ahead that this craft fair, at a local high school was really not the venue for handspun yarns. I had a few other items too, mostly wreaths, and flower arrangements and a few Christmas ornaments. But the bulk of the items were handspun yarns, in wool or alpaca or angora.
And my spinning wheel, not for sale of course, but as usual a focal point to the booth. I sit and spin, people pass by and either stand and watch, or approach and ask questions. I explain often just how the wheel is making the yarn (no it technically is not thread) or that I am spinning and not weaving, (or as one lady told her child, sewing). I try to give them the amazement I still feel, that all fabrics made before the machinery age started in just this fashion. All fabrics, including the viking sails!
So I spun all day. I filled two bobbins of lace weight singles on my Ashford lace flyer with a soft wool purchased as mill end batts from Jaggerspun yarns. I am not sure what breed of wool they use, but it is merino soft, yet has very little of the merino bounce that I hate. I was very happy with the yarn that it produced. It is slightly off white, and I probably will dye the yarn after I have plied it. I hope to make a lace shawl with the yarn.
Which brings me back to all the yarn I tried to sell. Most of it, I have no plans for whatsoever. One bag I packaged up reluctantly, I love the color of the yarn. Lucky me that it did not sell! Now I really do need to make something from it.
The problem I run into is that I tend to buy rovings in one pound lots. And I find I can at the most, make anywhere from 300 to 650 yards of 2 ply yarn from that pound, depending on how thick I spin it. Some of the yarns I had for sale are very bulky. That's what knitters love right now, a soft bulky, interestingly textured yarn to turn into a scarf over a weekend. But the yardage on the bulky yarns are barely 200 yards, enough
for a scarf but not much else. Even spinning finer and getting the 650 yards is not really enough for any adult knitted project. A shawl needs at least a 1000 yards, and a sweater 2000 yards. It becomes clear why I have not used these yarns myself.
I have one bag of yarn stored away that I hope to use to knit me a sweater. The wool was purchased raw, I washed the fiber and then spun the yarn. I have not checked the specific amount of yarn I have, however, I spun the entire fleece, probably 3.5 pound of usuable fiber. I still may not have enough for a sweater! It's no wonder knitters run to Wallmart to buy six of the one pound balls of acrylic to knit anything.
Still, I love knitting with handspun yarn. It has a feel to it while knitting that I just do not feel from any commercial yarn. The fact that I come up with smaller amounts only challenges me to find patterns adaptable to mulitple colors.
And I will never stop spinning, even if I never use the yarn. I realized after spending the whole day at the spinning wheel, just how much I had missed it. I had not spun anything since about April, and during the winter I often spin a couple of ounces a day. When I don't do that, I miss the tactile experience of the fiber in my hands, I miss the visual experience of the colors developing in the yarn, and most of all I miss the relaxing mediative state of the whole spinning process. Here's to an early new years resolution, let there be some spinning in my life, if not everyday, then often.