Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Language of Spinning

My latest project, chronicled in my designer group on Ravelry, deals with spindle whorls. Not just any spindle whorls, OLD spindle whorls. Digging through archaeological records has been an awesome blast into the past (both mine and the history of the craft)!

Many of the whorls I’ve been looking at have either been on auction sites or in foreign museums. While Google so generously translates many of the pages, now, I’ve been discovering a fatal flaw: it doesn’t know many knitting or spinning terms. It seems baffled when it comes across a spindle or a whorl or a spinning wheel, and a good deal of the time I find myself rushing to copy and paste into a translation website (often another failed adventure) or popping on Ravelry and asking for translation help.

Ravelry is, as always, a treasure trove.

The Swedish word for spindle whorl? Sländtrissa. It’s a compound word. Slända is spindle (the spinning kind, not the manufacturing kind) and trissa is disk. A spindle disk. And the Swedish (particularly Sami) whorls? Yep, you guessed it. They’re the flat kind of whorl (vice the ball or other more unusual shapes).

Arabic? They use the same word for spinning wheel and spindle, as far as I can find. Mighzal (mim, ghayn, zin, lam, for those following along… I need to get this thing set up for some Arabic!)

I want a phrasebook geared just for fiber crafts, with a section for a dozen different languages. Pick up the book, and you can finally knit that amazing German pattern, or figure out what that old Latvian chart direction is saying, or heck, maybe try to do some Japanese crochet patterns. The research that would be involved in such a thing would be immense, but the gratitude of millions of befuddled knitters… now THAT would be a prize.

TdF 2013

Tour de Fleece comes around once a year. This time, I’m just trying to spin, anything at all, any moments during the day. I’ve been digging in to deep, dark reaches of my stash and chain plying anything within reach.

Gradient Alpaca

100% Alpaca, a gradient, about 100 yards of squooshy, bulky love. Roving purchased at Maryland Sheep and Wool 2010, from Painted Spring Farm.

White Fluff

Unknown wool/mohair blend mill ends, a gift from a friend. Bulky and destined to be a cabled pillow for a wedding gift.

I love the zen of chain plying, the loops spinning into a thick and squishy yarn. As my skill at it has grown, I find I want to chain ply EVERYTHING, even things that would probably be best served by a traditional two-ply. It will be difficult to convince myself not to chain ply the wool/silk blend from Ashford on the wheel right now, even though it wants to be a delicate two-ply for lace.

Time Management

“How in the world do you knit that much?! Don’t you have kids?”

It’s a common question. I knit a lot. I mean, a lot. But I sort of feel I have to. When I don’t knit for a few days, I feel like I’ve lost my motivation for other things. Knitting gets me through the tough times being at home with two boys less than two years apart. Don’t get me wrong, I love my boys, but sometimes the frustration mounts… and a time-out for Mom to knit two rows can get me centered.

I do my knitting in little spurts. A row here, a repeat there. An hour of naptime knitting, two hours after bedtime or so. It adds up. Not to mention my Knitting Day: on Sunday, I go to knitting group and work at the LYS, and sometimes teach a class after. That’s a whole day devoted to my favorite thing in the whole wide world.

Plus, I knit fast. Really fast.