Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor of Love

Today is Labor Day. As with most of you, I’ve tried my hand at many forms of work. These days, I work at what I love: fiber arts. I spend most of my days spinning, knitting, teaching, preparing to teach, writing, and contemplating the wonders of fiber. I am lucky that way. Not everyone can do the work they really really want to do.

The flip side of my labor of love is that it requires that I live on a financial shoe-string. I have simplified and downsized a lot over the past few years. I will likely continue to do so. I’m not complaining: I find it satisfying, not constraining. (Hey! That rhymes!)

Last week I “labored” on what I think is an adorable pair of wrist warmers. Last year, I had spun a yarn that I describe as an “intermittent wrap yarn”. It’s a two-ply yarn where one ply intermittently wraps around the other ply. The wraps alternate between the two plies. In her book, The Essentials of Yarn Design for Handspinners, Mabel Ross labeled this type of yarn “Cloud” yarn. It doesn’t look particularly cloud-like to me, but what’s in a name (“A rose by any other name….”)?

This particular yarn was made from two rovings that I’d purchased from Hidden Valley Farm & Woolen Mill
; one of the rovings was 80% Coopworth wool and 20% mohair; the other roving was 80% coopworth and 20% silk. Here’s a picture of the yarn. To try to show you the “wraps”, I wound the yarn around a piece of paper and then took a not-very-good picture of it on my flat bed scanner.

I recently swatched the skein, using a slip-stitch idea that Jacey Boggs
had briefly mentioned in her wonderful article on “cocoon” yarns for Spin-Off (Spring 2011, pp44-47). “…work up to the cocoon, then slip as many stitches as it takes to make up the length of the cocoon – usually two to four – then continue knitting. The result here is a cocoon stretched over the top of your stitches – visually stimulating and incredibly unique.”

I loved the result when I applied it to my intermittent wraps. With only 1 skein (3.25 oz, 104 yards), I was limited in what I could make with my yarn. I decided on wrist wraps. I used the skeleton of a mitten idea from Ann Budd’s
The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns.

I’m keepin’ these babies for myself. I can hardly wait for cold weather!

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