It’s been a busy summer. Nothing wrong with that; what with work and trying to stop the garden from turning into the Gobi Desert, I’ve been rushed off my feet. It was quite a relief to find myself spending three weeks with friends in a craft pop-up in Harlech. In the building behind the bunting.
(It was once a library, but one non-visitor announced loudly ‘I’m not going in there, it smells of old chapels’. A: no, it doesn’t, and B: what had terrified him so much about old chapels? The writer in me nearly dashed out and asked.)
I always take my spinning wheel, a good reference book on sheep, and some samples of differently coloured fleece. If nothing else, it gives me something else to do when we’re quiet (knitting all the time would just lead to more hand trouble, must vary my craft, must vary my craft, must… you get the picture).
So many people are fascinated by the process, and most of them have never seen anyone spinning before, though I did – to our mutual surprise – encounter another Louet user, a delightful Dutch visitor. The fleeces are particularly fascinating to children (so soft, and they are all washed, of course), and thrilled a couple from Chicago who had been wondering what ‘all the small black animals in the fields were’. Zwartbles, often, now, but some are Black Welsh Mountains. If I’d spent my life in Chicago I’d not expect black sheep, either. Lake-effect snow, yes; getting your scarf frozen to your face in the few blocks between where you are staying and the Art Institute where you’re working, yes; seeing commuters skiing in the street, yes. Black sheep, no, not necessarily.
But I don’t necessarily spin fleece, though. It’s the idea of prepping it; I’d never have enough for a day’s spinning – part of a day spinning, ahem – without prepping it on site, as it were, and the thought of what a determined nine-year-old boy could do to his younger brother with a drum carder makes my blood run cold. They’re bad enough with an unsupervised spinning wheel. So I take fluff. And this year I had some mystery fluff (I’d inherited it) which turned out to be Wingham’s cashmere and silk blend. All 700g of it. Spun like a dream, too.
As you might expect. Sigh. Plied wonderfully as well.
Now, of course, the question is what to knit with it. I intended to keep it DK weight, but it turned out more 4 ply or sport weight equivalent; it wanted to be fine. I had also intended to dye it, possibly with madder, but I’m loving the natural cream’n’gleam effect of the undyed fibre. I can feel a shawl coming on.
When I’ve finished the sweater on the needles at the mo. And the other shawl on the other needles. Oh yes, and when I’ve finished spinning the last 100g.