unique yarns and handknits, made with traditional skills
Well, here we are already nearly halfway into February, and tonight there will be a lunar eclipse. Let’s watch and see if we can see it, if skies are clear of cloud.
Since the New Year holiday has been over, and all go here. There’s spinning (with breaks, of course) going on for a good part of every day, now. Last year at the Made in Islay and Jura craft markets, it was the first time I’d attended each week rather than taking part in one-off events. As sales were going well, keeping up a good level of yarn skein stock meant that some midnight spinning was going on…
So this year the theme is preparation, and I am finishing plenty of yarn skeins over the winter before the craft markets begin again in the Spring. That way, keeping up yarn stock won’t have to be done too quickly.
Friends and customers sometimes ask why I don’t sell yarns from an online shop? The reason is that I’m the one person who does all the wool preparation; selecting, cleaning and washing fleeces, blending and carding or combing fibres ready to spin. Then there are the hours of the spinning itself, done on my traditional wheels. First one single is spun and then another, then the singles are put together through the wheel again to ply the two into one yarn. The new yarn is then skeined off the bobbin, the new skein is tied off and then hand-washed, sometimes over-dyed. Afterwards, the yarns are hung outdoors to dry in the fresh Hebridean air. Finally, the new skeins will be weighed and labelled, and only then are my yarns ready for sale and/or knitting.
My yarns are unique and special because I am very particular that everything is as beautiful and of as excellent a quality as I can make them, and this all takes time. Lots of time. It is creative and enjoyable work, but would not be enjoyable if pressures of time and production of large quantities were ‘breathing down my neck’ all the while. My handspun yarns are my art, and churning out large quantities of identical yarns can best be left to the industrial spinning mills where there is the mechanical equipment and capacity to do so. I wish to keep the unique, artisan aspect of handspinning, rather than becoming merely a cog in a larger production wheel.