Saturday, February 16, 2008
Maybe It's in the Genes
I like fiber and it might just be in my genes. I like all types of fiber from the rustic variety shown above to the super refined silk that I recently used in my Silver Birch Hat. It's just fun for me to experiment with the different fibers and textures. I also want to learn to spin someday and I recently took the first step by subscribing to Spin-Off, a magazine focused on spinning and working with handspun yarns. I can't wait for my first issue!
Why I say it might be in the genes is because my paternal grandmother used to spin yarn and knit for her family. She was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1898 to parents that emigrated from Sweden and Norway, respectively. In her mid-twenties she married a local farmer from rural Minnesota (just outside Swanville) where they raised six children during the great depression (an oxymoron if I ever heard one). By necessity she would spin wool and knit for the family as well as bake bread and perform all the other tasks that go with living on a farm. Then, when my dad was in the 3rd grade, a fire destroyed their shed along with her spinning wheel. Many years later (in the 1950s) knowing that his mother felt badly about losing her spinning wheel, my dad borrowed a spinning wheel and made her a new one - complete with inlaid woodwork.
I find it fascinating how in such a relatively short time our society and way of life has changed so dramatically. What used to be a sign of poverty - to wear homespun wool - is now a luxury item known as handspun yarn.
My paternal grandmother, incidentally, is the one who taught me to crochet when I was a child. Moreover, my father still has that spinning wheel tucked away in the attic and someday I hope it will be mine!
Where was I? Oh, yes, I like to experiment with fiber and the Gesta vest is my experiment with angora. The Gesta vest is knit with Noro's Kochoran (pictured above) a worsted weight yarn comprised of 50% wool; 20% silk; and 30% angora. But it's the angora component that defines this yarn in my view. It's very fluffy, warm, and does not have much memory. Although I don't think I would use this yarn again for that reason (lack of memory), it's a fun yarn and I'm glad I made this vest!
Pattern Specs: Gesta Vest; Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton, Hand Knitting Collection, Book Number Two; 3 skeins Kochoran; US 10.5 needles.
PS The pin I'm wearing is made from fine bone china by Crown English. I love china flowers and this pins adds a finishing touch to lots of my outfits!