Monday, September 29, 2008

And at last. . .

The second winner is Megan! Another non-knitter (I believe?) Megan and Bop, send me your head circumference and color of preference!

Now, PAY ATTENTION, the last give away will only be chosen from THIS POST, so be sure to comment on THIS POST. The last give away will be the yarn from this story. If you are not a knitter, I will knit you a hat (or possibly something else) from this yarn for you.

And now, the final part of Yarn of Yarnnation #4.

My day did come, nearly a week after we first arrived. I was packaged together with a pound of tropical orange merino and a pound of shady green merino. We were given our new plastic bags and compacted into a box. In the dark, unable to observe our journey we began our dreaded travel.

Several times a day we were moved, dropped, or slid across some surface, but mostly we just bumped along in trucks and vans. We noticed gradual changes in the air. It warmed a bit as we traveled; it rained for a day or so. It warmed again, and at last we were deposited outside somewhere I knew because I could hear birds chattering and the breeze flowing through the trees.

There we sat, waiting, wondering, reminding one another to breath. It was certainly less than an hour, but it was an seemingly interminable hour. Footsteps approached and a female voice called out in clear excitement, “It’s here!”

She scooped us up and in a few short moments our box was opened. Accustomed to the lightless box, we had been pulled from our bags and laid across a warm smooth surface before we realized that we were once again in a human home. As I took in my latest surroundings I wondered how my nerves could possibly withstand yet another move. What could we possibly be doing here? I realized that I no longer feared what was to come, I just couldn't bear the unknown any longer.

After this new woman had released us from our box and our bags she repackaged us in our plastic bags, but not so tight and carried us up a flight of stairs and into a tiny room. She placed us on a shelf and left us there. Still, we had no answers and my despair began to overpower me. I didn't know how I could continue.

Then I heard it, other wool, lots of wool, calling out to me and to my friends. "Hey there, what's wrong?" "Oh dear, they don't know why their here!" "Oh, lovelies, just calm down, there, there, you are in a great place." A beautiful bundle of Alpaca fluffed up next to me and when she was sure she had my attention she asked where we'd come from.
I told her our story, how we had been so happy on the farm, that we were so excited to be be spun and knit, and how we had been torn away at the last moment. . . Then I was shaking, I couldn't go on. Orange finished the story of our journey and our fear. There was silence and then Gray-green spoke in a quiet, almost lifeless voice. "Where are we now? Do you know what will become of us?"

For a brief tense moment there was not a sound, and then everyone was talking excitedly all at once. I couldn't tell what they were saying, it was all a jumble, but it was a happy jumble, it was a joyful noise mixed with lovely laughter. That babel of happiness lifted me. Even before the large bundle of Corriedale raised his voice to calm the crowd, I knew that I was home, that I was in a good place. The Corridedale said that our story wasn't usual among the wool in the closet. Most of them had been raised from lambhood to become hand spinning wool. Some of them had been hand dyed, some had not. Some had been combed, some had been carded. Some of the wool had come there right off the sheep, and hadn't even been washed, some had been combined with other wools and even with silk or bamboo, which I learned didn't grow on sheep at all, but came from worms and plants!

All of the wool that we had joined was there waiting to be spun, by hand. . . spun by hand. I didn't know what to say, I didn't know that wool was ever spun by hand anymore. I had heard that it had been long ago, that it was a very special and personal experience, but technology had streamlined the process. I couldn't hardly believe where I had landed. It felt like a dream.

For the next several days I would wake up in fright, thinking I was still in a dark, moving box, awaiting my doom. There was always someone there to sooth me, comfort me, and remind me that I didn't need to be afraid anymore. During the days I talked with so many different kinds of wool, Jacob, Wensleydale, Llama, Cormo, and many more. There was also a great deal of commercially spun yarn there, some of it had been spun for the purpose of being hand knit (can you imagine? being hand knit!) Some had even been mill ends like me. They had been spun into yarn, but then left over after the garments they had been slated to become were finished. They were very happy to be in the closet as well. We always felt we had a special bond, those of us who didn't grow up knowing that this would be our destiny, not even knowing that such a place existed.

One day I even learned that there was hand-spun yarn living in the closet, and what is more, there was even some hand-spun yarn in the closet that had been knit into something very special. I learned from the other wool that there were more than just this one closet, that there were other closets, and drawers and baskets where fiber in various forms spent time. The Duchess (as our spinner was called) often pulled fiber and yarn out of the closet, moved it around, put it back. There was a lot of travel within the house, and even out of the house, but thankfully, the fiber always returned with The Duchess, or sometimes, went to live with another knitter or spinner, in their closets. It was a long time before I could even think about what it would be like when my time came to be spun. I couldn't really imagine it, and I was so happy in the closet, that I didn't worry about when it would be.

Eventually, the Duchess did pulled me from the closet and I squealed a little in anticipation. I sat in another basket near a lot of hand-spun yarn for several weeks. We talked about what it was like, they told me where they had come from. Orange was even there. She had been spun into a sock weight and knew that the Duchess was planning on knitting socks with her! It was a lovely retreat.

I would by lying if I said that I wasn't a little bit impatient. . . but now that I was down in the living area I could see that with that cute little human crawling around, the Duchess didn't get much time to spin anymore. I knew she would get to me eventually.


Then one evening she pulled me from my bag. She began to sort my long since tangled fibers, and I remembered with horror the anxiety that had brought me to tie my fibers in knots and bunch them up in masses. She carefully removed all of these areas, and it felt wonderful to be rid of them, like I had been in pain and didn't even know it until it was gone. Then she began pre-drafting me. Stretching my fibers, letting the air in, loosening my strands. It was the most delightful sensation. Somewhat like what my tips felt when my sheep used to run, only it was everywhere.



Next she held me close to the wheel and I held my breath. It seemed so long ago that I had been in front of that big spinning machine, and now, here I was again in front of a spinning machine, only this one was small and lovely. She even had a name, the Duchess called her Tara.

I was laid close to an old spun piece of wool who cheerfully introduced herself as the lead, and told me that she would lead me through the flyer and onto the bobbin. As the wheel began to spin so did she. She warmly encouraged me to relax and enjoy every moment. My fibers naturally grabbed onto her and then we were off, flying, spinning, dancing through space. With each turn of the wheel the Duchess would slide her hands over a few more of my fibers, pulling them further apart, until I was nearly weightless, almost floating in mid-air. There were a few times I even though my fibers wouldn't stay locked together we were so open, but they always did!
I was being spun! I was being spun, by hand! Oh, the feeling in indescribable, to be so open and then in short dizzy moment, twisted together again in a strong straight line. It was so empowering.



At long last, I was once again that young fleece on the sheep, knowing that I was going to be something special!



Monday, September 22, 2008

It's coming. . .

Just want to let you all know that it's written, but there are some photos that go with it that need to be arranged. Soon, soon, soon. . .

Friday, September 12, 2008

Part Two

Again, sorry to keep you waiting so long. The random number generator chose Bop. Since I'm pretty sure that you don't knit or crochet, Bop, how about a knit hat? Email me the circumference of your head and a color preference.

Don't forget to comment on the next two posts, there are still two prizes left!

And now. . . Part Two.

What was happening? Why was I not being spun into yarn at this exact moment? My mind was whirling. I was frantic. I peered through the clear plastic bag and my senses were suddenly heightened with emotions the farm had never prepared me for. Anger, fear, confusion, and disbelief each crashed over me one after another.

I did my best to calm myself and gather my senses. Soon enough I realized that I had been flung into a pile of other plastic bag bound fiber. The anxiety seemed to cause our plastic bags to quiver. The terrified whispers soon reached me. We had become something called “mill ends.” No one knew exactly what that meant or what would become of us. The few permanent wool residents of the mill only knew that soon we would be taken away. They never had learned what became of the pitied mill ends.

What is it about an unknown future that consumes us with fear? As we stare into the dark cave of what is to come, we dig in, twisting and writhing against our lack of knowledge. I was so fretful I began tying pieces of my fiber into tiny little knots.

It was not long before a jolly looking woman gathered us together and shoved us roughly into her grubby mini-van. There was total silence for the entirety of the thirty minute trip. Each of us were preoccupied with the imagined terrors we knew we were about to face.

The back of the mini van opened and the jolly looking woman began to hum as she pulled us quickly from our transport. I forced myself to take in my surroundings and was astonished. This was a residence, not a felt or rug making factory, not a furniture or pillow assembly facility. There were dusty gray skies, cold fresh air, and tufts of green poking up through snow, much like the pastures of my youth. I began to wonder how any of the terrors that we had imagined could happen in a place like this. Perhaps our dread was unfounded?

The woman was met at the door, to what I soon learned was her home, by a man who pecked her happily on the cheek. He took half of her load and inquired about the day’s procurement, by which he meant us. Jenna, as he called her, told him that it was a lot of beautiful merino, she had gotten it for a song, and it would go fast.

Ah, there- I had started to feel that my fate might not be so tragic, but this cozy little home was not our final destination. Determined not to let my hopes rise, to stave myself against what was to come, I did not let myself consider what it meant as Jenna and her husband opened each of our bags, quickly but carefully sorted us, then placed us into plastic bins.

In those bins, comfortable, but tense, we waited. One day, two days, then fiber began to disappear. Jenna would weigh out an amount of one or several colors, pack them into new clean plastic and then package them into a cardboard box before carrying them from the house. Before we had been united in our tragedy, but now, we were to be sectioned off, sent bit by bit over time to our final demise. My fear continued to crystallize. Each time Jenna approached the bins I wondered, would it be me this time? Would I go alone or with others? When would my time come? I was sure that my fibers would become brittle and break from the strain.

I know, I know

I'm sorry, I'm dealing with a little more than I can handle right now, including finals and changing over to a new computer.  It's coming soon, I promise.  

Thursday, September 04, 2008

300th post!

That's right, it's a big day for us here in Yarnnation, and I have spent a great deal of time preparing for the occasion (and you just thought I was madly chasing after Little Sir with a half read text book in my hand, didn't you?) Well you all should know by now that my delusional beliefs about how much sleep I need are very powerful!

In honor of the occasion I will post the first of a three part Yarn of Yarnnation. As always, a commenter will be chosen at random to receive a gift from the abundant natural resources of our lovely little land. The bonus this time, I will choose one commenter for each part of the series. So, three of you will actually get a happy little package in the mail! YEAH!

No without further adieu. . .

You would think that young wool would be protected from the wider world while we are still “in the pasture,” but really, we hear about life after shearing. You know, the sweaters that the shepherdess wears, the horse blankets, the children’s hats and mittens, they tell us stories.

We understand from a very young age that not all wool will be put to work as something glamorous, or even desirable. It depends on the breed of the sheep you grow on as well as how well you take care of yourself, and even the skill and dedication of your shepherdess.

Well, my batch knew we had what it takes to become something special. We were merino, after all. The sweaters warned us to take care to keep hay out of our locks, the gray Aran often told us of the merino dress sweater she shared a closet with. At night I dreamed of that merino sweater's escapades, and each day I rededicated myself to tightening my crimp. We all dreamt of the sweaters, wraps and scarves that we hoped to become.

Shearing day finally came, and we were all terribly excited. We shook all the vegetation we could from our lanolin slicked locks and whispered excitedly as we were loaded onto a truck.

We arrived at a mill and the uncomfortable transition from fleece to fiber began. The scouring and the combing were far from enjoyable. While I found being lanolin free rather enjoyable, being soaked in water without my grease was alarming to say the least. Having my locks split apart was a bit frightening, but after the initial shock it was fun getting to know other fleeces' locks.

We all speculated about what color we would be dyed and what weight we would be spun. At long last I was picked as part of a batch that was dyed a lichen green and spun to a four ply fingering weight. While we never knew exactly what we would be knit into, as that happened in a different factory, we knew that a light weight meant that we were destined to be something delicate, something to be treasured!

I was near the end of my section and was able to watch much of batch be gleefully transformed into perfect even singles and then plied into a shiny, drapey yarn. My anticipation grew the more I watched. I was going to be something so beautiful! Suddenly I was being lifted toward the machines, my dreams were on the verge of realization, I felt as though I were floating on a cloud. That heavenly anticipation was jolted from me when suddenly the machinery stopped, and so did my heart.

I was pulled roughly from mid air where I was hanging and stuffed into a plastic bag. My locks which had been so carefully combed, slipped and slid across one another and were soon just short of a tangled mess. However, the state of my locks was nothing in comparison to my psyche as my carefully planned and hard earned dreams were unceremoniously ripped from me.

What was happening? Why was I not being spun into yarn at this exact moment? My mind was whirling. I was frantic. I peered through the clear plastic bag and my senses were suddenly heightened with emotions the farm had never prepared me for. Anger, fear, confusion, and disbelief each crashed over me one after another.

To be continued. . .