“There is very little “bad” yarn out there. It is “bad” when we make
inappropriate choices. We have to learn to identify yarns with the
characteristics we want to work with in order to make textiles that
will perform their function.”
Author – “Magic in the Water: Wet Finishing Handwovens”
Seminar teacher – “A Good Yarn”
“As final maxims: never forget the material you are working with, and try always to use it for doing what it can do best: if you feel yourself hampered by the material in which you are working, instead of being helped by it, you have so far not learned your business, any more than a would-be poet has, who complains of the hardship of writing in measure and rhyme. The special limitations of the material should be a pleasure to you, not a hindrance: a designer, therefore, should always thoroughly understand the processes of the special manufacture he is dealing with, or the result will be a mere tour de force. On the other hand, it is the pleasure in understanding the capabilities of a special material, and using them for suggesting (not imitating) natural beauty and incident, that gives the raison d’être of decorative art.”
William Morris “Textiles” (1893)
One of my daily reads is the Yahoo group Weaving digest. It’s a vibrant group willing to share a wealth of information and knowledge. Laura Fry posted the first statement which was followed by another person posting the quote by William Morris.
With the spinning I’ve been doing for weaving and knitting these resonated with what I’m learning as I totter down new paths of learning and not just doing, which is my wont.
Last week I spun 2 ounces of merino to knit a bag with the intention of felting it. On Sunday I decided to add a few bands of white. I’d purchased a few ounces of icelandic wool at OFFF which I hadn’t tried spinning yet. Since most of the spinning I’ve done these past months has been for weaving I’ve gotten into spinning a finer, tighter yarn, which has carried over into the yarns I spun this past week for knitting. I should have spun lighter, loftier yarn. Especially the icelandic which I regret not using the spindle for.
The spindle gives me much more control and consistency throughout the entire batch. With the wheel there is a tendency to over-twist. I was on a roll and wanted to spin, ply and set the twist all within a couple hours. Knitting with the icelandic yarn yesterday I realized there’s too much twist. I should have taken a page from Willow‘s post a couple days ago – there are second chances. Rather than continuing to knit ahead, the yarn should have been run back through the wheel untwisting it some. (Check out her blog, this is a month for daily posts of a “Thankful Month”.)
It’s not that my yarn is “bad”, it would make excellent warp yarn, but it was spun without serious contemplation of what technique and tools I should use for the best end results.
(No time for taking, editing and uploading pictures. We’ve been swamped with a flood of orders through Stitch Diva‘s sale on some of our products, which ends today.)