when, all of a sudden (isn't always like that?)
this marvelous collection of
Polworth, Cormo, Merino, Debouillet and, I think, Targhee.
from the Ortmann's flock in Wolf Point, Montana,
(These eastern Montana range sheep cope with extreme weather and wild winter winds,
by growing amazingly soft, dense fleece--and the Ortmann's have bred for color.
I'd put in a link if I could find a website...Nancy???)
I didn't have a plan at first--
just a strong desire to work with the fleece--
and with only a few hand fulls of each value,
teasing and carding each separately
seemed a good starting point.
(and since I didn't know how I wanted to proceed)
I also carded the few ounces of
light brown something-or-other --
(not quite as fine but lovely and bouncy)
that a friend had given me a few weeks before.
Also, why not add to the pile
by turning some white fleece
(Targhee/Debouillet also from the Ortmanns)
a kind of periwinkle blue?
I had an indigo pot going after all.
an idea began to form --
a new kind of idea,
an idea that, once acted upon,
could not be undone.
Was it worth the risk?
and caution preferable to rash bravery (sometimes anyway),
I reserved a small selection of all the greys,
blended one batt of the periwinkle with white
(to create another value range),
and set the whole works aside as a separate project
before doing anything drastic with the bulk of the batts.
Once upon a time,
I would have spun each
into its own yarn
for weaving into tapestry.
This was, indeed, why I wanted
the collection of fleece in the first place,
for value has always been elemental to my tapestry practice
and between spring and fall
this new (or maybe very old) idea--
charming, complicated and irresistible--
had wormed its way in.
What I now wanted was:
-fine, bouncy, heathery purple/grey yarn
-to weave on my backstrap loom,
-into yards of warm, flexible fabric
-with an easy drape,
-that I could stitch into next winter's jacket.
Well yeah -- really.
I haven't woven cloth for clothing
since I wove my wedding dress fabric in 1989.
Well, maybe it's time.
And it's not like I'd have have to
buy, or even borrow, a loom.
I spent the better part of the time between June 2016 and June 2017
weaving on a backstrap loom --
at first I wove only tapestry
but eventually devoted myself
to plain, simple, luminous, open cloth.
It was a thrilling,
(especially for a tapestry weaver)
that began as a vague whim,
became an obsession,
grew into an exhibition,
and finally insisted on becoming a comic ).
to make sure I wound my warp correctly,
but I also needed the tale
of Luminist and Storymaker,
to remind me that trusting the yarn is a thing--
even if it is a messy thing,
with no clear outcome.
a mountain of messy blended batts,
a winter's worth of spinning,
and a new project to freak out about.
But hey, that's miles in the future.
the spindle awaits.
And oh golly, is this stuff nice to spin.