Lately I’ve been busy with an experiment. A few months back I had the opportunity of buying some beautiful strands of natural coloured handspun yarn. I was especially appealed by the craftsmanship of the spinner and the idea that it had been spun from greasy wool straight from the sheep. I mean, how ecobasic can you get? Maybe I should ask the spinner if she knows the sheep personally!
At first I laid the strands on my worktop just to be able to look at them. The colours varied from a light gray to a deep dark brown, all from one sheep, amazing! I could see the two thin single spun threads twisting around each other. Ebony and ivory wrapping up together at times, alternated with a calm grayish mix. Obviously the fibres had been spun randomly.
After a couple of weeks I wanted to know if my knitting machine could handle this type of yarn. She could but it was hard labour for my old mechanical darling. I got a dense though supple piece of jersey. Very suitable for outdoor wearing, very suitable for a coat in fact.
I started off having not the slightest idea what would become of it. Therefore I decided to keep it plain and simple, just to see how the yarn would look and feel. Every strand turned out to be a surprise so I soon enough gave up trying to control the colouring sequence, impossible!
The coat is warm and a little water repellent. It closes with four used buttons and a sash. It has two pockets and a deep shawl collar. For the collar I first knitted a long cord from single spun thread. Afterwards I knitted the cord by hand with very thick needles to a collar. All in all I consider it an interesting experiment.
For your information, the spinner is 88 years of age and lives a monastic life. She confided spinning is a meditative occupation to her. When I asked if she would like to teach me how to spin she was delighted. She hurried to get her spare spinning wheel repaired and gave me a basket full of raw wool. Now every once in a while I visit the monastery and we spin for an hour or so and talk about life … and death. O yes, her spinning lessons are very educational.