An Old New Project

There are over 600 pictures still needing to be sorted through, deciding which to share, which to archive for family and which to delete. The task is so overwhelming that I’ve practically ignored them since loading them to the laptop a week ago once back home from vacation.

Two years, almost to the date, found us driving east along I-84 to Idaho to visit our son and family. Sleep played hide and seek with me the night before we left and I woke dreading the 8 hour drive, but two things happened that made it a pleasure: 1) after leaving the predawn fogs of the Willamette Valley behind the weather was lovely the rest of the drive 2) Ed offered to drive for the first 2 hours! I was thrilled at the unexpected gift of being able to enjoy the scenery to my heart’s content, and knit! Long-time readers will know that Ed hates driving, especially for long distances. We ended up trading off every two hours which made for an enjoyable trip and little exhaustion or stiffness (for me anyway). Rather than write one long post I plan to break the knitting and the trip into a series of posts over the next week or so.

The project in my traveling bag has been over two years in the making. Not due to an intricate, dazzling pattern, or any superfine spinning. No, this is a project that given the right frame of mind should have been completed in a short time frame.  Over two years ago I glibly agreed  to a spinning exchange at the monthly spinning group: each participant brings 4 ounces of fiber from her stash in an anomynous paper bag and blindly picks another bag to take home, spin then make something for the person who’d provided the fiber, (labelled inside the stapled bag). Not sure if I heard the instructions wrong or if some people were extra generous. There was a whooping 8 ounces plus stuffed tightly inside the bag I choose. Well over four ounces of handcarded creamy yellow unknown wool that felt slightly sticky and harsh, and four ounces of handcarded grey wool with gold sparkly filaments carded throughout.

Neither color nor feel appealed to me. I had no idea how it should be spun, nor what to make with the resulting yarn. I put the bag in my stash and mostly forgot about it, except for haunting guilty moments. When the December meeting rolled around I apologized for not having it done. Everyone was very gracious and understanding. Last year, as spring rolled towards summer and I determined to spin the wool. What at first seemed to be a battle turned into a pleasure once I realized the yellow wool wanted to be spun woolen, lofty and big. Once that was sorted out the spinning fairly flew through my hands and onto the bobbins. Soon the grey wool was also spinning at a much more rapid pace than I’d thought possible. A valuable lesson: just because a color, and or feel doesn’t speak to a person while still in carded form, doesn’t mean that it’s “junk” wool which is what I’d unwittingly labelled the two wools. What I’d seriously dreaded spinning became a satisfying pleasure.  After spinning the grey wool I sampled plying the two colored together deciding in favor of keeping the colors separate. Being too thick to ply easily on the wheel I got out the Navajo spindle and had a blast.

I’d wrapped two singles into a plying ball on my Bristlecone  nostepinne and plyed away a few evenings. After a setting soak and hanging to dry I still didn’t know what to make with it so set it away. Another year passed.

Early September customer wrote asking if Ed could make a special tool. We were immediately intrigued, especially since I’d been wondering about something of similar fashion. Ed made the tool for her and modified my size P hook. Perfect for using with the wool while in the car!

(Action picture taken balancing the camera while in the car.)

One term that was coined is Knook: knit + hook, the process known (among other names) Knooking. Ed’s been busy again making spindles, hairpin lace looms and Tunisian Flex hooks that he hasn’t had time to make any more so we’re not quite in production mode for the knooks yet, but one of these days I hope to put some up on the website. Once I get more adept I’d like to make a short video for YouTube. The bag has been put on the back burner (once again!). Arriving at son’s house I turned my attention to making a sweater for Faith’s birthday which is just under 2 weeks away. (What am I doing updating this blog when I should be knitting!)

A glimpse ahead, Grammie making cookies with the grandchildren.


Author: Wanda J

I never dreamed my life would be entangled with fiber and the tools used to produce fibery items. When I bought a boat shuttle used in weaving Ed looked at it, decided to make a better one and the rest is history. For a decade he made shuttles, crochet hooks, knitting needles, until his spindles became so popular that he had to devote his time to making them, as well as Walking Wheels. Free time is spent reading, trying to coax food from the ground, and playing in the creek near our place. I love long walks and camping far from crowds. Playing a fiddle beside a stream or with good friends brings sweetness to my soul. Sundays are set aside for worshiping God with our small Quaker meeting.

5 thoughts on “An Old New Project”

  1. seems like you made that yarn so you could test the hook for the customer…it looks very soft…

    I long to do cooking with my grandchildren, it is nearly a year since I’ve seen them, far too long 😦

    Is that cookie dough in that tub? Did you make it? Looks like a good thing to keep in the fridge!

  2. Grandma = cookies! I love that equation, and I think my grandkids do, too!
    Looks like you had a fun trip! I prefer straight roads. As my hubby does all the driving, I only miss knitting time on all these curvy roads of Northern California and Southern Oregon!
    I have the kiddies all measured, and I have all the yarn standing by for
    holiday hats, sweater, a poncho for the granddaughter….ready to start….sooooooon!

  3. Interesting essay on spinning ‘unloved’ wool. I’ll have to look in my fiber stash with new eyes.

    What am I doing, sitting here reading your delightful blog, when I should be knitting and knitting a baby sweater I hope to give as a gift TOMORROW?!

  4. Nice to see what you are working on Wanda!

    And so nice to see your grandchildren! Growing!!!!

    Seems like only a few short years ago that Faith was being born…sigh…soon she will be “knooking” too :0)

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