Tuesday, 21 January 2014

What am I?

Begonia Swirl in Noro Garden Lite

...and what do you do, Fiona?

When I am asked this I have the "patter" all ready, though it's not a very honest patter.
I reply that I spin wool, alpaca and silk yarns from small land-holders. This IS true.
I usually sense that that phrase is not registering, so I add something technical and important-sounding like, -and I do test-knitting.
Now this is NOT strictly true in the sense that I am employed as a test-knitter, but I do more than the average share of pattern interpreting and gauge-setting.

When I say the latter, men visibly relax as it reassures them that knitting has a reference to their world...especially if they are technical themselves.

But, no, I am still getting used to becoming what I am now...a "Spinster and Dyester" as the term was in older times . The textile world understands...and allows for very small-scale operators like me. 
Others, accountants and engineers, feel the need to mechanise my world....control it!

I am a cottage industry and behold my cottage. It is humble and useful.

The Tin Shed where I spin is beside the house. It has everything except plumbing, so the dyeing gets done in buckets and the dye-stuff goes on the grass.
Today is too windy and rainy for photos...more on the operations there later.

The product line is straight-forward...hand-spuns from the fleeces I have in stock. This always changes.
I sell at markets, mostly in spring and autumn. Right now it is summer and this week we are in cyclone mode so the shed is hot and noisy with gusts of tropical wind. The spinning is not easy in this heat.

Inside the house becomes a refuge, so I knit.

"Corinne" by Crystal Erb adapted for 8ply/sportweight merino
I cannot easily get all the yarns I hear about, so adjusting is normal here. This lovely pattern is worked in garter stitch side-ways so you are knitting from neck to hem around the torso. My adaptation leaves the arm-holes for later. 
The 35cm 30mm Addi Turbo needles I am using are only just the right length.

Don't get me started on local stockists of knitting hardware (needles)...it's the same as the yarns!
Anyway, I am half-way through and determined to be finished by the weekend.

I am strict about hours and meeting deadlines.

I make lists....

...and Isla keeps an eye on me....

And so...

I will work on.

Think about that shed...

Get the time...

Fiona MacBride

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