Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Life of Yarn - on the tree

Hanging freshly dyed wool out to dry, I was struck by the ridiculousness of the sight: huge swaths of brightly colored fiber, adorning a unassuming tree.
From the parking lot, my tree seems harmless, the dogwood of any normal resident:On closer inspection, it becomes obvious these residents are a bit more colorful.
And by the time you get to my door, it becomes clear that this is a house of those possessed;
possessed by a need to drape everything in color, to soak up the bright summer, to imbue the yarn-world with sunny goodness.
This weekend I dyed pounds of wool, all in bright, happy colors, mostly in semi-solids, as seen above. While I stood outside, hanging dripping wool, I thought about the path these fibers take on their way to becoming yarn. I have, through this blog, tried to delineate this path. I shared the path from inspiration to finished yarn, and I've shared moments from visits to the original source - sheep and alpacas. But I still find that an incomplete picture of the real process.
Most knitters and crocheters know that yarn starts on an animal's back and through some magic alchemy becomes the yarn they hold in their hands. This path can take so many forms that it in sharing one path, I am necessarily omitting the other possible paths. Obviously commercial yarn - sold from farmer to wool pool, processed (usually with chemicals), cleaned, combed, dyed and spun by huge machines - has path so different from handspun yarn that they are barely the same product.
Even the yarns I create take different paths - some from mill-ends, some from local farms, some recycled from Nepalese women's co-ops! I either handdye it in many shades, making the color decisions at the dye pot, or I kettle dye it in bright solids and decide on the color combinations at the wheel. The fiber above will be the latter - many times throughout the next few weeks I'll grab a handful of various colors and combine them in new and inspiring ways.

The time in the sun is just a moment in the fibers life, next stop: the wheel!


idyll hands said...

I want a dogwood that grows fiber died by BlondeChicken! :) Oh, and while the dogwood Gods are listening, can it be one of those pink/red dogwoods? Thanks.