21 July, 2007

Spindles Etc.

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:30 pm by rynserenity

Still AntChris here — your real Knerdy Knitter will be back soon (the 25th or so). Meanwhile, let’s try to write a shorter post this time!

spindle.jpg

These are the implements of torture. Medieval, aren’t they?

No, it is not torture, but it does require patience to learn. The silly string you see coiled up there is the first, rough, play-with-it draft of something that will one day be yarn. But not anytime soon.

I’m a big fool-around-with-it-until-you-get-the-hang-of-it person, so I let it get wider and narrower and run out and go back and pull it all apart and start it all again. Ryn, of course, immediately started spinning out beautiful, even, usable yarn — I mean right away! I’d be jealous except that there’d be no point.

That first guest post was clearly too long, so I’ll summarize what I’m hoping to solicit from knowledgeable readers. Topics:

– Reweaving (repairing holes in knitted pieces).

– Loom weaving (of woolen yarn).

– Shearing-to-finished-product processing and dyeing of the fiber by old-fashioned, natural means.

– Ah yes! Real Knitter jokes, if there are any (or if anyone has made one up).

There are a few more offerings: One, I was just wondering how old knitting is, and thanks to the existence of search engines, I can tell you:

It depends on how you define “knitting” (surprise surprise). But this is a very interesting page on the antiquity and archeology of these things. Sounds like the art had been going for a long time before the date of these samples — between 1000 and 1400 CE (=AD more or less) — since the patterns and techniques are already sophisticated, and we know textiles don’t preserve well (so the older ones have disintegrated).
She also mentions nalbinding, which I have done some of, but with very fine-gauge silver wire. You pull the knit piece (tubular, “knit” around a dowel) through a draw plate (used for drawing out plain wire to a finer gauge) and it collapses it down to “Viking knit” chain, which has a lovely herringbone pattern. If I can get a picture, I’ll post it.

Nalbinding was originally for making clothing, and I can attest, it’s easy.

I’m sure the original knitting needles weren’t made of metal but of wood or bone. I was thinking it would be fun to have some of those.  Ah, the good old days.  I’m just an old-fashioned girl… like, upper Paleolithic…

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2 Comments »

  1. Mae said,

    I would LOVE to learn how to spin, congrats on taking the first step towards spindom!!!
    Unfortunately, money holds me back… plus the dreaded thought of enlarging my stash to massive quantities!
    Some day… when I’m not a poor student… ^_^

  2. AntChris said,

    Maybe I shouldn’t encourage you, Mae, but it’s so tempting!

    If you can get hold of a spindle — they can’t be expensive, look at mine! — and a hunk of batting or whatever we call it, you can just use your fingers to twist out a long enough strand to tie a slip knot in. That slip knot goes through the little divot at the top end of the spindle. The rest of your batting is already connected to it. So once you’ve tied the knot, you just sit in a chair with the spindle hanging down toward the floor, and spin it! Hold the hank of batting in one hand and play with feeding it into the spinning spindle, and see how often you have to give the spindle a twist to keep it going, how much to loosen the batting that’s on its way in, etc. To add more batting, you just mix it in with your fingers. And when you run out, or if you mess up, you can just pull the yarn off and “unspin” it with your fingers until it’s mere fluff again, and start over!

    It’s easy! And you could do a lot of it yourself. That’s all I’m sayin’…

    Hope you get to spindom one way or another. Thanks for writing!

    AntChris


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