We are currently in the process of taking out a rather mongrel hedge and replacing it with a fence. The hedge seems to consist of all sorts of different bushes and trees cut to hedge size. Every now and then, as we pull out the hedge 8 feet at a time, we come across a decent sized tree trunk and branches; these have been going into the “save” pile.
Above is a spoon cut from the hedge. It sits on the remainder of the branch it came from. I am eternally fascinated with taking a raw piece of wood and turning it into a functional object. As the wood has a mind of its own, you never quite know what you will get.
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Sometimes the Classified Ads in the newspaper provide new experiences you don’t expect. Back in the summer my dad came across an ad in the paper, “bags of wool for sale, $20.00”. He knew I had been doing all sorts of knitting projects and thought I might be interested. It did seem interesting. We called up the seller and arranged to buy a bag. She didn’t know much about the wool, she was selling it for her sister who had bought it from a neighbor in rural Alberta. Genuine mystery wool. I wasn’t too sure how I was going to use it, maybe felt it or worse case use it for stuffing……well a lot of stuffing as it was a huge bag the size of a garbage bag stuffed tight.
Initially I used the wool to stuff a few mini crochet toys, this didn’t make a dent in the bag of wool. Then one day in late August I took a trip to a woolen mill and in the shop Turkish spindles. were being sold. I had watched a few tutorials on-line of spinning with them, so I decided to risk the $25 and buy a spindle and see if it would work with the mystery wool.
With plans to try spinning the mystery wool I started popping bits of fleece in random dye pots as I dyed yarn or fabric. There was no real plan, I just thought it would be more fun to try and spin the wool if it was colored.
I will admit it took a little to get the hang of spinning the fleece. The hook on the spindle gave me some trouble. I actually took the good old X-Acto knife to the hook to allow it to grab the yarn better; I may still have to carve out the hook portion a little more. The first tiny ball of yarn took forever, but as I spun more and more it went a lot quicker and easier.
I spun seven small balls in total, enough to give me a taste of spinning with the spindle.
The next step was to ply the yarns together. I was really looking forward to seeing the colors combine. The concept of plying was easy, the only issue is that the hook doesn’t seem to hold the yarn in place very well and keeps slipping off. I tried all sorts of fancy tying, winding and twisting, I even briefly attempted holding the yarn in place with an elastic band (did not work!), but the yarn kept slipping off.
I am continuing to persevere with the plying. The mixed colors look great and will be so fun to knit up. I am wondering if I need to pick up a separate spindle for plying, perhaps a spindle that has a metal hook instead of a carved wooden hook. I am thinking that may work more successfully with plying such a chunky yarn. Still, I think it has been a fairly successful first time spinning experience with mystery wool.
Last night I completed “The Star Money”, a flurry of beads and stitching. This piece is based on the Grimm’s fairy Tale of the same name. The piece measures 17 inches by 17 inches. I have shared a few more details on this piece over at my other blog.
Artwork by Debra Hunter
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada