Are filled with crafting and creating, when I’m not futzing around online, reading or watching Netflix, but I haven’t always been a crafty soul…
In my youth I was more concerned with other things and trying to sort out yarn and needles, hooks and string or anything other than my mildly artistic doodling was overwhelming. I groused for years that I lacked the skills to save my life if crochet or knitting were involved. Reading, music, life in general took front stage and the attempts to craft were put in the closet of my mind.
Fast forward to my mid 20’s. I found myself pregnant and desiring to make items for my soon to be child. Knitting was still too complex to fuddle through, yet crochet seemed more approachable. Success happened, soon I was creating gifts for cousins also expecting, toys, blankets and clothes for my son… Crafting was happening! That once complex means of creating things by hand wasn’t quite so complex and distant in my life, I was thrilled and began learning as much as I could about it. New stitches, reading patterns and charts, collecting hooks and patterns soon paved the way to my creating patterns to share with others. I could do this, finally I was a crafty person that could make items that even my very skilled great aunt approved of!
Time slid away with crochet being my only crafting outlet until by my early 30’s I was interested in the skill of hand-spinning. Taking a spindle or a spinning wheel and fiber and creating hand crafted yarn. A friend of mine had learned how to do this in an art program in university, she did it often while we sat over coffee and chatted, I was enthralled by the craft and desperately wanted a spinning wheel of my own. Another friend happened upon a spinning wheel at a local yard sale and called me about it, arranged for them to hold it until I could get there and for approximately a 1/4 of the price brand new, I had my own spinning wheel. Within a week I was spinning as if I had been doing it for years, producing my own yarns from fiber I acquired from online groups and sources that introduced me everything from raw fleece to clean and processed fiber. Over the years I have tried so many of them… different kinds of wool, mohair, silk, cashmere, angora, dog fur and so much more. Thick, medium and fine yarns accumulated in my baskets, they didn’t translate to crochet as well as I hoped, so they languished, waiting for a purpose.
Within 6 months of starting my journey as a spinner, I found a particularly large set of needles and took a chance in buying them as a gift for my friend. Instead, she used them to teach me how to knit. These large needles and a couple of strands of thick yarn, her patience, a little trial and error and some practice doing just the knit stitch and there I was knitting! I could do it, I could process it, it wasn’t nearly as hard as my young self had convinced me it was… There went I with much practice, learning new stitches and new things about this craft, deciphering patterns, collecting the various types and sizes of needles. I could now knit. The joke was on me and I was teased about how I could now knit to save my life – LOL. I didn’t care, I was having fun, I was exploring this new field in my skill set and having a grand time.
Now all these years later, I don’t crochet as much as I once did, knitting has taken over as my craft of choice… Slippers, socks hats, mitts, scarves, cowls, shawls and even a sweater among the things I crafted on my needles in the intervening years. There is a fairly large stash of yarns hidden and tucked away in odd spots of the house to feed the habit with, sometimes I go on the odd foray to the store to buy something for a specific project, otherwise I try to stick to what already lives here. As well, I have a fair stash of hand-spun yarns, in spite of how much I have sold or gifted to other knitters. Years of spinning have produced a lot of finished skeins of my hand-crafted yarns and I have even taken to knitting things in it for myself and others, instead of holding on to it for “something special in the future”… My future is now and the yarns are finding a use in my knitting finally.
I have a half dozen items for myself, I’ve done several items for my daughter-in-law, a couple for my son, an item or three for friends as gifts. Creating things by hand, even as far as creating the basic components from scratch is like therapy for me, the joy and accomplishment that comes from it is so much greater than I could have imagined all those years ago when I bemoaned my lack of skills. Sometime it takes time, maturity and the right teachers to make it happen. I have to say, I am plenty glad that all that and more have been a part of my life.
I look forward to sharing some of what I do in the future… Hope you will enjoy taking that journey with me.
For anyone that isn’t a spinner that needs to wash out skeins after they are finished being spun, who like me, waits until I have a bunch [or a couple dozen] of them to do all together and make the effort worth the time, you can take a pass on this blog if you want…
For anyone who is, please read on… I got a brilliant light bulb moment back about 6 months ago and finally tested my theory out the whole way and I have to say it saved me a ton of stress and angst. I use the washing machine, fill it with hot soapy water, soak them awhile, spin them out, add a bit of vinegar to the rinse water, soak again, spin out again and then hang them to dry. While they are all going through that washing, rinsing, being all wet cycle, my paper tags can’t stay with each skein and then I lose track of what each one is and yardages on each, etc. Memory like a sieve most days, some of you have to hear me on this…
anyway, brilliant idea came about when I realized there were a pile of bread tags in a dish that we had been saving for some reason no one could remember and I was going to toss them out when I happened upon the idea of using them as ID tags for my skeins.
I picked out the white tags with no printing on them and with a sharpie marker I started labelling them “A, B, C, D, …” and so on until I got to R [ran out of tags at that point], then I grabbed hinged ring to keep them all together and neat while not in use. All I needed was a notebook and I started ID’ing my skeins and listing all the pertinent information on that skein under the letter on the bread tag.
Finally got to a point where I really needed wash the skeins I had finished, or make up more bread tags and tossed all my skeins into a wash & rinse cycle… Lo & behold! There are all my skeins, clearly tagged and now I just have to refer to my notebook to create paper labels for each one once they are dry and ready for sale or storage.
How easy [and cool] is that!