We all keep things quiet on our blogs. It’s sensible – after all, if you’re not comfortable standing on a lion in Trafalgar Square and yelling whatever it is out into the crowds, you shouldn’t be publishing it on t’internet.
Excuse me, I need a quick woolly shot to calm me down.
That’s better. And that’s not mine, it’s from the Natural Dye company’s stall at Wondewrwool Wales, but it should be mine (if I could crochet). It would use a lot of yarn. Ahem.
Maybe we keep shtum because we’re embarrassed about something. Maybe it’s because we have problems with cyberstalkers. Maybe it’s because we’re not who we appear to be – perhaps I’m not really really a serial knitter and fleece-hoarder, but a 25-stone red-neck unemployed stevedore called Bubba. Oh, OK, I am a serial knitter and fleece-hoarder. I admit it.
But I’ve got people coming to stay, and yet again it’s thrown me into a wool-based tizzy. I’m sure that’s the right word; I’ve been flapping around the house like a twit, moving from one thing to another, attempting to make things look vaguely normal. Instead of which I’ve been forced to come to terms with the extent of my stash and the fact that I have become the woolly equivalent of a mad cat lady. This was going to be a serious post on spinning in the eighteenth century, just before industrialization (it’s fascinating, honestly), but it’s time to reveal the extent of the problem. Let’s start at the beginning.
There are three unwashed fleeces outside (one isn’t really useable, so it’s going on the rhubarb), and a bit of another. One’s just been washed:
and has moved inside where it’s joined the other six washed fleeces. One of these, a Shetland, is almost all either carded or spun. The rest are in a huge wicker basket, stashed under my sewing table, and I know what I’m going to do with all of them. Eventually.
There’s the commercial yarn. There’s quite a bit of this, even when I forget some of it. One large laundry basket, several other baskets, a Rowan carrier bag full of shawl skeins hidden behind the sofa and, of course, the works in progress (hangs head in shame). At present there are:
• a mitten. Just the one, the other is a little bit up the wrist – and then I stopped. I don’t like mittens myself, but it’s for a craft fair. Possibly in 2016.
• a long stole in green angora. This has been frogged once as I began it before my hand injury and have lost the pattern in the intervening two years. It was immense, but not immense enough to be useful as, say, a parachute, and I couldn’t work the pattern out. Also I lost the will to live.
• the beginnings of a new sweater, pending the spinning of two Black Welsh fleeces and the creation of an Einstein coat (of which more later).
• a multicoloured double cowl in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift. This is within sight of being finished but I can only do a couple of lines a night because it’s a) 500,000 stitches or so to a row, b) on small needles and that’s all my hands can take, though they’re still improving.
• the ‘oooo shit’ bag.
This is a shoulder bag, for felting, knitted with my recently hand-dyed wool:
It’s called the ‘oooo shit’ bag because that’s what I said when I started knitting. The Black Hand Gang had taken over. That dye – probably the logwood – comes off flesh much less easily than it comes off wool (except when you touch something like a white-painted wall), is all I can say. Apart from ‘oooo shit’, that is.
• a very fine triangular shawl based on an Evelyn Clark pattern. This was also begun before the hand injury, and I haven’t had the courage to pick it up since. Mind you, I think my hands could cope with it now, and I know exactly where I am in the lace because I – let’s have some awed hush and wonder, please – kept notes. Yikes.
• Another stole, also frogged and started again, due to a stupid error on the lace pattern which I had to rewrite in order to get it to work. It was from Jamieson and Smith, and I’m surprised no one had noticed. I had to frog it after I hurled it from me with great force and most of it came off the needles somewhere up near the ceiling, but it would have needed ripping out anyway. Just as well I’m an experienced lace knitter; it could have put off a newbie for ever. I’ll pick it up some day.
I think that’s it for WIPs. I prefer to think of them as WIPs, rather than UFOs (unfinished objects), despite the last one, because I will get round to them. I will.
Then there’s the dyed roving I buy, to which I am very susceptible:
This is but a little of it. Oh lordy. I’ve just seen a box of carded fluff on the armchair. And there’s a basket of fluff in the spare room I need to move as well. It’s just as well I have a loft…
Oh yes, there are a couple more fleeces up in the loft, in an old metal trunk. They’re intended for cushion stuffing as they’re not really good enough to spin. And then there’s all the paraphernalia: needles, wool winders, skein holders, boxes of bits and pieces, gauge swatches. At least I’ve only the one spinning wheel. Now.
See? Definitely in mad cat lady territory. Help! Hang on, I’ve just thought of a positive side, apart from insulation. I’ve no actual sheep…