Friday, 15 June 2018

Finding My Thing

I have been drawn to textiles and creative crafting since I was a child. I made my first dress at age 12 with no help and no supervision. I wore it to a party, no one yelled OMG you made your dress yourself!! So I guess it passed muster. Sadly there was no obvious career opportunities for a girl who liked to play with fabrics and threads. Over the years I have dabbled with other crafts, bobbin lace making, tatting, crochet, knitting, quilting, cross stitch, embroidery and now spinning... and lastly felting.

Raw wool before carding

I like playing with wool. In fact the more I play with it the better I get to like it. Does that make sense? I should explain. I have a small stash of fibre from other areas and some from other animals. Since I am fairly new to spinning I thought it important to be able to compare the local wool with what is already out there.The more I play with fancy fibres the more I understand what an exceptional product the local merino wool is.

Wet felted flowers

It doesn't win for being the softest, its not alpaca, but it's really nice honest good hard wearing wool. It's also not too tough or scratchy but I understand that many people prefer not to wear pure wool against bare skin.  That's ok. It's wool - intended for jackets, cardigans, jumpers etc.

Detail of child's poncho

When you have alot of hobbies it can be difficult to get really good at just one. Sometimes you have to keep it simple. Pull back a bit and concentrate on perfecting something fairly basic - the impact is often greater with less. So. I guess wool is definitely my thing, and I thought knitting would be the best use of it but having sustained an rsi injury from repeated knitting now I'm not so sure.  But that's ok too, wool can be used for so much!

Hoodie for baby with wool covered buttons

I recently sent some wool to an online friend for her to spin it and let me know what she thought. At first she waxed lyrical about how lovely it was then she mixed it with a commercially prepared merino and some sparkly fibre and then she spun it.  It was ok. Yeah you can tell I was disappointed. You see I felt that the wool was beautiful in it's own right and didn't need any bells and whistles and certainly not sparkles! OK perhaps I should have sent her more than I did but I feel sure she still would have thrown sparkles at it.

Experimental mock fairisle

I have only recently begun experimenting with colours and I like it more and more.  This I think is definately IT.  Wool! Yes wonderfully woolly wool. It can be spun and then knit or crochet or woven on various different types of loom, it can be wet felted, it can be needle felted into sculptures or shapes. The possibilities for playing with colours are literally endless and as a medium for creative expression it has been sadly relegated to the mundane, the lowly utalitarian - a position it does not deserve. Here are some of the qualities inherent in natural wool. 

1. 100% natural.
2.  Renewable sustainable product (sheep's fleece regrows every year right?)
3. Biodegradable - at the end of it's natural life it can be composted or dug into the garden.
4.  Environmentally friendly product using less energy to produce than synthetic yarns and being natural it does not contain any petrochemicals.
5.  Wool is fire resistant and meets fire prevention regulations without the need for chemical treatment.
6.  Wool fabrics trap air between their fibres making them super warm in cold weather and conversely in summer they help the body stay cool.
7.  Wool repels water sufficiently to be called shower proof - naturally.
8. Woollen fabrics do not crease or wrinkle easily. The fibres have crimp or memory that enables them to bounce back to their original shape.
9.  Wool is durable and hard wearing - different breeds of sheep give different types of wool with varying softness Vs durability. There's a wool suitable for every project!
10. Wool comes in lots of natural colours but also takes dye really well - fortunately there are literally hundreds of colours to choose from.
11. What you can do with wool is only limited by your imagination.


 So... let's hear it for wool! Hip hip....

Wet felted book cover




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