Friday, August 23, 2013

An Ode to Handspun

Happy Friday, everyone. While I’ve been busy working on behind-the-scenes stuff, I’ve also been reading and working on one of my latest Le Bateau versions, using Andrea’s handspun. It’s coming along.

I am almost done with the body of the shawl. I am thoroughly enjoying working with this latest installment of Andrea’s handspun (I’ve worked on two other projects using her handspun).
Andrea isn’t the only person who has generously provided me with handspun yarn, and I’m finding that I pay more attention to the yarn qualities when I’m using handspun – it’s a small insight into the person behind the spinning. The ebb and flow of each minute of each day gets reflected in a handspinners’ yarn: unplanned thick and thin qualities can be a reflection of weariness or distraction; uneven plying perhaps indicating precious, fleeting minutes at the wheel; perfect, smooth handspun one measure of persistence, practice, or just a lot of spare time.  Each handspinners’ end result has a unique personality, and that absolutely gets reflected in the finished project. It is definitely not cookie cutter, and in that lies handspun yarn’s greatest benefit.
I’ve made some rather simple adjustments as I’ve progressed on this Le Bateau as a result of the yarn, in order to highlight its best qualities. These simple adjustments have been on the fly, in response to how the yarn revealed itself to me. I also am definitely more mindful as it slips through my fingers, knowing that there’s a unique story to this yarn.
I mentioned that I’ve been reading. Matthew B. Crawford’s Shop Class as Soulcraft has dovetailed nicely with my Le Bateau project. Crawford briefly historically traces how we’ve separated the thinking from the doing in the workplace. While I don’t really consider Andrea’s shawl project work per se, it is on a continuum of activities from which I derive a certain portion of my livelihood. It is easy to take materials for granted, especially yarn that is now predominantly mass produced. Yet remaining mindful of materials can uniquely inform the process of a project. It can also increase my design and technical skills, as long as I’m open to it.
All that from handspun and a book. Thanks Andrea and Michael.
As I encourage you to head on over to Wisdom Begins in Wonder and check out what other gifts the fiberistas have on offer this Friday, I leave you with my latest design, published in the fall special edition of Crochet! Magazine. It's the Les Lignes Area Rug, and I'm mighty pleased with how it turned out:
It works up rather easily in two pieces, then seamed and edged. It's quite warm, and the texture of the design really feels good underfoot.
And there you have it this Friday from my little corner of the blogosphere.


  1. I love your rug. However, I love your insight into the hand-spun yarn more. You are not only an artist with yarn, fiber and paint, but also with words. :-)

  2. What a neat way to describe handspun. You really gave it a personality and identity stamp with those words.
    That rug design is so cool! Super awesome.

  3. Your rug is so stylish. I love it. And your shawl looks like such fine wool, it looks very intricate.

  4. oh, Denise, this post is beautiful. It's like you were spying my wheel.