Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I do believe it's true

Alison figured out I was riffing on a song in that last post. It's really called At the Zoo and it's a Simon and Garfunkel tune. Humming that song and thinking about -well-things, I realized I'm happy about some thoughts I've been having about creation and fruition.

I get excited about something that's well done. Beautiful. The funny thing is that could be a piece of music--like this funky honest song "At the Zoo" or a good piece of pie. A round sung in harmony. A ball of yarn that feels oh so good in your hand. A perfectly round tomato. A kiss. A juicy peach. Or, maybe a sheep and the fleece it grows. Yes, a fleece.

Many people (non-spinners) have said to me that since handspun yarn isn't an end product, it isn't as valuable as, say, something "finished" that can be used. I've heard this said as an excuse for a skein's lack of desirability when I'm teaching spinning, when I'm selling handspun yarn in a gallery, when I'm demonstrating. Nothing could be further from the truth for me.

Any knitter, weaver, felter or crocheter knows that yarn can definitely be used, but is complete in itself. It has infinite potential and value. Hence, when I see raw wool at the state fair...ohhh... I practically swoon with all the potential...so much more potential than a finished skein of yarn! The value of each fiber moves me. I imagine the sheep. I imagine the shepherd and the shearer, the guard dogs or llama or donkey and the border collie. A raw fleece is a perfect thing on its own. It's reached fruition. That sheep and its people have created something special.

Here are the fleeces I got this time. Small fleeces, because I've got plenty of fiber as is...but I like variety. I was aiming for interesting stuff. This is a very soft Shetland fleece, and each lock has enormous color variation, from gray to copper. The result is stunning. It will also be stunning if I dye it, because the colors created with each lock will still be magnificent. However, the shepherd nearly keeled over when she heard I might dye it. She thinks it's perfect as is. I may have to honor that.

I got two fleeeces from a crossbred Finn/Shetland/Dorset flock. Apparently they have only a smidgen of Dorset in them, 1/16th or so. The Finn and Shetland make for an amazing combo. The brown fleece is variable, with full Shetland locks (but no guard hair) and little crimpy Finn dreads. It looks mostly like Finn sheep.

The white fleece is from that same flock, and it has the Shetland long locks, a bit of guard hair, and it washed up a beautiful rich white. (this photo is shot in the grease)

Delicious works of art, these fleeces. Those sheep and shepherds should be proud. Since understanding art is ongoing for me, here is a shot of one of my three green peppers. To me, this is good art--it can look perfect now and maybe taste good later too. The professor jokes that our garden produce is very expensive, maybe $50 a tomato. This pepper? Probably $32.50. We don't get a lot out of our garden patch, but we sure do enjoy it!

Our weird squash volunteers continue to mystify. Apparently our squash seeds were just a crossbred wonder. We've got two shapes of butternut squash and a few acorn-y things...and not one of these is bigger than my hand. I left them out in the dining room and guests exclaim over our exotic mini-squash display. "Ohhh. Where did you get those?!" (our mutant garden out back?!)

Finally, I think we're in a partnership here on earth and that creation is an ongoing process. I like to contribute. I was thrilled today when I sent off my proofs to the publisher. That my book is almost ready to be printed made me so excited. Knowing how long it's taken to bring this project to fruition made it feel like such a huge step. When I got home again, I rushed to answer the editor's email. She asked about a photo issue. I looked at the proofs again? And saw a typo I'd missed. Ugh. Thank goodness for the proofreader at the publisher's. We aren't perfect. Creation is a process. Still? It's nice to know our work (the sheep's, the garden's, mine...) bears fruit.

To quote Simon & Garfunkel? I do believe it's true.

Next blog post? Join me as I hop on to the blogtour for Faina Goberstein and Dawn Leeseman's book, Casual, Elegant Knits.

So, is yarn a finished product? Is creation a process? Are mutant squash desirable? Jump in and say what you think!


Blogger Cindy said...

Beautiful fleeces!! Are you going to process them yourself? Cindy

September 16, 2008 at 2:16 PM  
Blogger Mary G said...

Beautiful fleeces, but now I've got that song stuck in my head! (Didn't PS do it for the NYC Zoo?)

September 16, 2008 at 3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's right, Simon and Garfunkel. Taylor had a different zoo song.

I'm totally with you on the fleeces/endless possibilities/swooning thing. It's so true! And handspun yarns are a work of art in their own right, definitely.

September 16, 2008 at 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely wool. When I get fleeces like that, my goal in spinning is to preserve the beauty, and my goal in making something from the yarn is to preserve the beauty. . . .

September 16, 2008 at 9:45 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Oooohhhhhhh.... you are so right on the money.

BTW, what farms produced those fleeces - I'll have to put them on my list to try - especially the coppery one.

Lovely - can't see what you do with them!

September 17, 2008 at 10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a nonknitter and nonspinner, I'd say that yarn is a finished product, just as a pencil is. Each can be beautiful in its own right, but rarely are they as wonderful as when they are artfully engaged in creating another product.

September 17, 2008 at 12:52 PM  

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