Saturday, March 19, 2011

Being Rumpelstiltskin

I grew up with a surname that was difficult for people to pronounce, let alone spell. My entire childhood was spent helping people to pronounce it and spell it. Sometimes, I just learned to answer to some approximation of it. "What does that say? What is your name?" I sort of felt like Rumpelstiltskin, waiting for people to guess what my name was.

Later on, I remember reading the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale in a book. A miller tells people that his daughter can spin straw into gold. The king hears of this, and takes the daughter, shuts her in a room and tells her that she must spin all the straw in the tower into gold in three nights, or she will be killed. Rumpelstiltskin appears and spins the straw for her, but when she can not repay him, he demands her first child, and she agrees. When the child is born, she refuses to give it to him, but he asks her to guess his name, and if she does, she can keep the child...

I am not a little man who likes to blackmail miller's daughters, but this week, I sort of felt like Rumplestiltskin with my new spinning project.

This is 100g of Blue Faced Leicester superwash roving from Sweet Georgia yarns, dyed in beautiful yellow tones. Spinning it has been a treat, but I've also had to re-learn how to draft such nice, even fibres. I have no idea what it will become, but I'm enjoying watching the yarn form into sold columns of gold. I love this table full of sunshine...

I did finish a skein of the blue and purple pencil roving that I've been working on for the past few weeks. It took me a long time because I have only been spinning at work during my lunch hours these days. It's been a lot easier to do that than to knit at work, because it doesn't require so much of my concentration, and I don't have to worry about losing my place in a pattern. I can just spin, spin, spin...

Anyway, this skein is my first go at a plied yarn, that is, yarn that is made of at least two strands of spun yarn twisted together. It was tougher to do than I thought, but very satisfying in the end. The fibre itself was pretty difficult to spin at first, because I had to get used to the wool and the firestar (shiny nylon) drafting together... it was quite uneven and rough, with lots of bits sticking out in all directions. It's only a small skein, and I still have about 5g of the singles left, but it's all in one ball and I'm not sure I want to go through the trouble of re-balling it into two balls to ply together. Still, I'm proud of it, and like to show it off, even if it's hard to photograph the colours.

It's been working well making time to spin during my lunch hour. It means I get at least 30 minutes of practice almost every day. I'm still no pro, but it's been a relaxing way to learn a skill. I've made sure not to give myself any time limits, and to just spin for the enjoyment of it.

And no, I don't have any current plans for this little skein of yarn. And no, I don't know what I'll make with that yellow fibre. It probably will end up being a slightly larger skein than the one I just finished, so it won't be anything huge... but it'll be mine!

I am still toying around with the idea of getting a spinning wheel... maybe one day. I wouldn't be able to spin at work anymore, but it would be easier to get a sweater's worth of yarn out of it. On the other hand, my technique still needs work, and I like how easy it is to slow down on the spindle and how easy it is for me to fix uneven parts. It might be just as easy on a wheel, I don't know, but it's still a pipe dream for me at the moment. If I did get one, then I guess it would be easier to spin straw into gold... but that's a skill that seems to be reserved for little men who blackmail miller's daughters!
Today I brew, tomorrow I bake;
And then the Prince child I could take;
But that can't be my secret game,
For Rumpelstiltskin's not my name!
P.S. Did you know that Rumpelstiltskin is part of Window's spellcheck? Who knew?


YarnKettle said...

You make beautiful yarn! I have heard that spinning is very rhythmic and hypnotic. Sounds like a good way to spend 30 minutes a day. Enjoy yourself!
No, I did not know that Rumpelstiltskin is part of Window's spellcheck.

AdrieneJ said...

@YarnKettle: Thanks! It is hypnotic, but I can't say I've quite got the rhythm part down yet. I'll have to keep working on it!