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I MADE YARN!!! FROM A SHEEP!

Okay, well not completely from a sheep. I didn’t shear the sheep or skirt the fleece. But I washed this fleece, carded it, spun it on a spindle, plied it, and finished it. I’ve seen these shirts that say something like: “Knitting: It’s not a hobby. It’s a post-apocalypse life skill.” To this I say, true, but you know what’s even more useful? Spinning. Someone make a spindle-oriented shirt with that saying, and I will buy it. (Well, provided it’s soft and has a baby doll fit–I have no interest in your crappy, iron-on, boxy, stiff man-tees, internet.) If you only know how to knit, you’re only useful until all the yarn stores have been raided clean or destroyed. But if you know how to spin, well. Maybe you won’t get eaten when the canned soup runs out. Spinners can turn sheep into sweaters without killing them. It’s amazing.

This first yarn of mine, unsurprisingly, is terrible. It’s uneven and lumpy and thick and scratchy, which I am trying very hard not to be discouraged about yet. There’s a fair amount that happens between spindle and finished skein–I just wish I knew which parts of the process are in most need of modification.

This is the yarn before plying:

I wound it from my spindle with the ball winder John got me for Christmas. (Oh, by the way, have I said Hallelujah! yet? I love that thing.) I was astonished to find that my yarn did not break even once. This worried me, especially considering how much moving around yarn does in the finishing process. Spindle to ball, ball to spindle, spindle to niddy-noddy…

John and I made this niddy-noddy. It has…issues. I’m a little worried that this is one of those cases where I tried to be cheap by doing something myself and end up spending not only the time and money on the DIM project (oh, apt acronym), but then eventually the money on a professionally-crafted item.  This one was not standing up well to the forces put upon it when I tried to take the yarn off, but I did somehow manage to get the yarn from the niddy-noddy into the bath.

Wait, what? You want me to put my WOOL yarn into a hot bath and agitate it? Are you crazy? Do you know how much time I spent spinning that stuff? And now you want me to subject it to the ever-feared felting conditions? Yes, apparently. Yes. I have decided that knitters greatly exaggerate the ease with which wool felts in order to put the fear of felt into non-knitters who become responsible for painstakingly crafted wool garment. That being said: Cho, if you put those gloves through the wash, I will beat you with whatever comes out.

Somehow, through all this abuse, fleece manages to survive and emerge strengthened into this:

Did I mention that I made that?

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