Wednesday, May 14, 2008

SHF Report #2: It Was the Fibre Fumes...

One of the many interesting events at the Shepherd's Harvest Sheep and Wool Festival each year is the Fiber Sandwich. This is a charity event/auction to benefit Heifer, International - a wonderful organization which falls between 'giving a man a fish' and 'teaching a man to fish' by actually giving people the means with which to 'fish'. In this case, that means that we have the opportunity to gift families, schools, and communities with a farm animal or beehive with which they can produce food, clothing, and/or income for both the present and the future.

The Fiber Sandwich event is a four part process: first fiber producers/vendors donate their fiber/roving; event volunteers spread each donation, one on top of the other, to create a multi-layered 'fiber sandwich', which they then break off in roughly equal chunks; volunteer spinners spin their assigned chunk into a skein of yarn; and the event volunteers auction off the skeins, providing people an opportunity to give to a worthy cause while gaining a unique example of fibre art for themselves.

Which brings us to my Adventure in Spinning. Which goes thusly:

In the throes of one of the fits of impulsive enthusiasm to which I am prone, I volunteered to be a Fiber Sandwich spinner. This in the face of the fact that the Fiber Sandwich was guaranteed to be made up of all sorts of fibres, many of which were bound to be tricky to spin - and I am a novice spinner, having only spun a few ounces of fiber in my life, and that nearly a year ago. But I blithely put myself forward, because I evidently have no regard for man nor beast nor charitable fibre artist.

Once I got a gander at my nice chunk of 'fiber sandwich', I realized the error of my ways. My extremely meagre spinning skills were definitely not up to the demands of spinning fibres that ranged from Corriedale to soy/corn silk to Merino, one after the other. The result was sure to be a brittle, breakable mess that would be fit for neither needle nor loom. Add to that the challenge of somehow coordinating colors ranging from burnt sienna and forest green to baby pink and powder blue - I knew the result of my neophyte bumbling would be an insult to the human retina. And unfortunately I had to attempt the entire on my own instead of consulting my more experienced fellow spinners, many of whom were companiably spinning in a circle arranged at the event site. After all, I had to get back to our table and sell some patterns.

I must do something. But what?

Well, the answer was obvious. Buy a carder!

Once upon a time (in the early 80's) I had bought a pair of hand carders. I can't imagine why, except that I might have thought it would inspire me to save up my nonexistant 'pin money' and someday invest in one of those pretty wheel thingies. Yup, I had a dream...

Well, I was young and idealistic then, and several moves of residency away from my present self. Said carders were now buried under piles and piles of boxes in the attic, and unlikely to ever be unearthed by anyone short of a very determined archaeologist. I checked out hand carders and...

Oof! Really? But they are so *small*, and non-technical, and likely to cause carpal tunnel syndrome!

I balked at spending $70 in order to participate in a one-time charity event. Clearly that would be impractical and ridiculous. And impulsive. I would never do something so silly.

Which is why I did the logical thing, and bought a drum carder. And fleeces. Because I am all about the frugality and practicality.

1 comment:

mrspao said...

I love the expression on the cat's face :) That looks like a vicious piece of weaponery!!