Sunday, July 22, 2012

Spin Culture

     How in the world does fiber/hair/fur become an interest for anyone?  Or rather an entire subculture filled with farmers, dyers, spinners, knitters, crocheters, felters, weavers, etc, etc...?  It seems pretty odd when you think about it; realizing the wool worn in our clothing, used in our blankets, rugs, and lots of other everyday items comes from, well, the wool right off the back of a dirty and smelly sheep grazing around at some farm in the middle of where ever.  What is so interesting about that?  Perhaps it is the ability to change something from dirty and smelly to something beautiful and colorful; perhaps it is the sense of fulfillment one gets when feeling the numerous textures of all the different fibers; perhaps it is simply the action of being able to make something from or almost from scratch by hand knowing it was made by you.

     There are so many reasons for those to become involved in the business of fibers in one way or another, which may explain why it pretty much is an entirely different subculture composed of it's own terminology and pow wow meetings called "knitting groups," and "spinning groups."  Oh and let's not forget the knitting and spinning guilds located across the country in I believe pretty much every state within the U.S, not to mention areas outside the U.S.  Because there are so many reasons one may find interest in this field of fiber, I have chosen to begin this blog with what initially intrigued me.  

     I began with knitting, therefore I would have to say it was partially the experience of feeling the different textures sliding through my fingers as I knit each stitch, although I also believe the simple repetitive motion of knitting helped me to feel relaxed...perhaps because I had something to keep my hands occupied which really comes in handy with an ex-smoker. 

     Not long after I discovered knitting, I immersed myself with spinning.  I became determined to make my own yarn because I wanted to be able to create yarn that could not be purchased at your local yarn shop.  In other words, I was bored knitting with yarn that was basically the same throughout; I wanted something a little more unpredictable to knit with.  Once I finally got the hang of spinning, I fell in love with the feel of the different fibers going through my fingers; I even fell in love with watching how they change from the state of fluffy wool to yarn as the fibers twisted together.  It was and is fascinating to me.  

     Finally I have found that I love working with the fiber essentially from the ground up.  Something about feeling the raw fiber, then washing it and dyeing it in order to see how each of the different fibers react is so intriguing to me.  I'm realizing there is so much that can be done with dyes, and it is a learning process which does take lots of trial and error.  This is part of what makes dying fiber so interesting; there are so many different outcomes; it is kind of like opening a present after shaking it which gives you an idea of what might be inside, but you can't really be sure until it's opened.  There are different results almost every time which of course is what makes dyeing amazing, yet also once this technique is perfected and records are kept, these awesome results can not only be obtained randomly, but they can be repeated.  

     My love of fiber derives from the idea of being able to create any texture and color combination I want in order to eventually have it turned into something completely unique to both work with in the art of knitting/crocheting/etc. and to have as a final product.  No matter how hard someone might try, nothing can ever be dyed and spun precisely the same way, nor is fiber going to always be the same in general, therefore the result is having something that is like no other; one of its kind.  That is my inspiration.