Sunday, September 13, 2009

Square 58: Danny's chaos

Square 058

Danny is in his second year (of six!) of the Spinning Certificate Program offered by Ontario Handweavers and Spinners at Haliburton School of the Arts. This year he obtained from another student, Alanna, one of her batts of mixed fibres and spun it into some funky yarn for me to use in this blanket. It is the primary yarn in this square, and I added a few solid threads to draw out some of the interesting colours.

Alanna makes the batts from random pieces of fibre leftover from other projects, which resonates nicely with what is happening here at The Yarn. Danny said the different fibres are arranged in layers, and you can see bands of different colours whether you look at it edge on or face on. There is even some glitter!

To spin it into yarn, Danny tried four different methods, with varying degrees of success, and all ended up in the skein he gave me. He prefers to make fine, consistent yarn, but this batt of variable fibres challenged him. It was chaos. He had to welcome and celebrate its variability rather than trying to control it.

Another thing he has learned from spinning is that it doesn't pay off to be too analytical about what your are doing while you are doing it. You have to choose the best method you know to get the results you want from the fibre you have, then start spinning and go with it, let it flow, saving analysis and criticism for the finished product.

The yarn turned out much differently from anything else he has spun, as much as I have seen! This kind of yarn delights me: eccentric and full of surprises, with hints of different colours from which to draw inspiration. I highlighted some of them using burgundy Cascade, pale yellow Létt-Lopi, an unknown green wool remnant, and two yarns new to my collection: an appealing red Ultra Alpaca from Berroco and a delicious deep gold K'acha (merino wool, suri alpaca and silk) from Mirasol.


  1. Hello Van :) I am honored that part of my art has been integrated with Danny's and yours! I just read your blog comment, so I apologize for the delay in responding to you, but I am always amazed how the batts I make transform into different fiber creatures. Please tell Danny that he did a wonderful job, and the fun of the batts is that there is no real rhyme or reason with spinning them. You may get a glittery section, a lumpy section, and then silk for a few feet but it's meant to be a serendipitous spinning experience, and those seeking to control the batt will soon realize to let go and enjoy the process ;)

  2. Hi Alanna, I'm glad you dropped by. I love the yarn Danny made for me from your batt. It almost inspires me to become a spinner myself! In my artistic life I am all about spontaneity and going with the flow (I am not happy unless I free myself to move between prose-writing, poetry, knitting, photography, and whatever other mode seems best suited to express my ideas), while Danny is more focused and controlled. That's interesting when compared to our personalities, because I think he is much more easy-going and I am more intense. That is one of the gifts of creativity: it calls us to explore aspects of ourselves we might not otherwise employ. I thoroughly get your purpose for this fibre, and love having it in this blanket of stories.