Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thoughts on why I spin and knit

Lately I have been contemplating why I create/craft things. I learned to knit because I thought producing a knitted fabric would be cool. It is rather neat to take to sticks and some string and create a fabric that stretches and returns to an unstretched state. I crocheted for a many years and the fabric that creates is just so solid, I guess. It is great for blankets I think. Knitting you can make so many more things that are great and useful. Well, once you get to know knitters many turn out to be spinners too.

Once a few years ago, our women's group hosted a lady who spun yarn. She demonstrated how she did it and it was just fascinating to watch a piece of fluff become some else that was useable and helpful. For some reason what she did always stuck with me. The only place I heard about spinning was in the Bible and fairy tales. But it always seemed like magic. In this day and age of computers and other technology to make our lives easier; it is sometimes nice to return to a craft that makes you appreciate what you have. I don't have to spin and knit to provide warm clothing for my family. But I can do it as a way to remember that once this was the only way to have any clothes at all and thus appreciate that I can go to a store to get what I need.

Now, I have 2 spinning wheels and 5 spindles, not mention alot of wool and other fibers around the house. It is a hobby that I can do just about any where and do too. I take my knitting everywhere. The other day I was knitting at our local pool and a little girl came up to me and asked what I was doing...I said "making socks" She said "making socks....I have never seen anyone making socks" She watched for bit but went on her way. It makes me think that I am sort of an ambassdor of knitting to people who may have never seen a grandmother or mother knitting anymore. It makes me sad too that not many people know someone who knits. If we don't pass this craft on to the next generation it may be lost.

All I know is I can happily amuse myself without electricity for many hours at a time. I produce something at the end of that time that is unique and not perfect. My kids ask about what I do so they at least know how something is made. Autumn is saying she knows more about fiber than she wants to know because of me. Jacob enjoys learning to spin. He likes the mechanics of it. Seth just likes watching the spinning. Even David is interested in the process too. He helps me with my wheels and when I ply he helps with the tangles.

I would love to go a retreat and learn more about knitting and spinning but that is a great cost and time is also an issue between work and the kids. But someday I will do that. So when you see a sheep, alpaca, or goat or see that cashmere or wool sweater think of me. I will spinning and knitting something I think.
Left: handspun Alpaca Right: hand knit lace shawl.