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The Adventures of two Fibre Artists.

 

 

Contributing Artists
Melangell
EM

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Collie Coinpurse

Several years back on one of my visits to the monastery I was brushing one of the dogs the nuns care for, a collie-mix, and as I emptied each brush I wondered how well it would spin. I brought it home and my first concern was whether this particular fibre would be best to spin in the grease because of it’s texture. It could be less manageable, tricky at best. Because it is a finer fibre, with little crimp it took some getting used to spinning. I had to spin it tighter than I am used to and I was not totally happy with the results, some places were over spun, but even more disappointing was the mud colour, void of anything resembling luster. So before investing too much time into a larger project, I have in mind to knit or weave an icon scarf for the monastery, I decided to try a smaller project, hoping after it is washed, the fibre, would offer something promising. In addition that particular dog that yielded the fibre journeyed beyond this life unexpectedly. The nuns acquired two more collies and have been bringing me fibre after each brushing, so I wanted to make something from the previous dog exclusively, before blending with the others.

Spin-off magazine featured an article on spinning dog fibre several months ago, which included a pattern for a beaded knit coin purse. I thought this would be something they could find a use for that would remind them of their recently departed companion, or it could be good practice. The biggest obstacle was stringing the beads. Because of the incongruity of my first effort at spinning this kind of fibre there were places where passing the yarn through the beads was a real struggle, still, as with any handspun yarn, it knitted very nicely despite the diversity in gauge. It’s amazing how yarn now matter how inconsistent seems to fall into place nicely when creating with it. The finished project was slightly biased due to overspinning but once sewn together, a zipper in place and blocked it kept it’s correct shape, not too bad for a first effort, but the real test, washing. It was amazing how much dirt came from approximately 50 yards, my guess, but what was so pleasing…was what emerged. Beautiful, unexpectedly soft, fibre.
I am constantly awe-inspired by God’s great wonders perceptable in fibre arts. How can anyone not contemplate the animal that offered it’s fibre and the miracle that is each animal that He gave for our use, and care.

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