Saturday, September 17, 2011

When I Think of Camels...

When I think about the first memory I have of a camel, I remember my brother telling me that camels had humps, and that dromedary camels are the ones that only have one hump. I think I must have been about five or six years old, and it's something that has stuck with me ever since. Isn't is strange what your brain holds onto?

I also remember singing children's songs about camels (and why does poor Alice have to lug around so many humps?).

In high school, I remember a teacher telling us about going on vacation to Egypt and describing a horrible fellow tourist that insisted on teasing a camel until it spat on him. I can still hear his voice echoing in his room as he mimicked the tourist's voice, "Agatha! Agatha! It's got in my mouth!"

And, of course, I remember the weirdest sight of a camel I'd ever seen: a camel "parked" on the side of the road in Tunisia, waiting for his rider to come out of the medina.


A memory I certainly did not have was what camel down might feel like. I imagine camels to be sort of hairy, scruffy creatures, so even when I read that you could make yarn from camel down, my brain just didn't take it in. "Hm," I said... and read on.

The disbelief that I would get anything interesting from camel down continued, even as I was learning to spin it. It was a lot of work, and it needed a lot of twist, and it looked and felt like twisty, hairy twine. I was not really that impressed by it, but I soldiered on with it because I didn't want to give up on it.

As an aside, two sandwich bags full of camel down is a bit like Mary Poppin's carpet bag. It didn't look like much, even though I had full knowledge that I'd purchased 100g of it, more than enough for a decent skein of yarn. You open them up, and the stuff just keeps coming out, like someone had gone into my spinning bag and secretly unspun it and put it back in the sandwich bag each night. Camel down messes with your head, dudes.
By the time I finished spinning all this camel down, I was well tired of it, but I decided to go ahead and ply it according to plan after all. I finished it up on Sunday evening, set the twist, et voila:


It's a beauty! I haven't measured yardage for it yet, but it's a darn good skein of yarn.

So, dromedaries, Alice, Agatha, and parked camels have brought me to this knowledge: a Mary Poppins bag of camel down makes a darn good skein of yarn. And that's it.

Not earth-shattering by any means, but now I've got something else to file into my brain to recall when I think of camels!

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