knit | look | spin

More thoughts on slow making

September 13, 2015

I have been thinking a lot about slow making recently. The socks were one kind of slow where I knew the process and outcome at the outset but they were long in the making. The Waysides project is another kind of slow, where the outcome was unknown at the beginning and emerged through the process. I am still working on Waysides…at the knitting end. I have plans for a colourwork yoke and have knit up the body in some lovely silver grey sports weight from Jumbuck Wool. I have cast on for the first sleeve and have not a clue yet about the colourwork! So we shall see.

General_Map_Showing_the_Explorations_and_Surveys_of_the_Expedition,_1907-09_WDL95Shackelton’s Map of the Nimrod Expedition. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Another slow project which has been murmuring softly to me since I first heard of it on FiberTrek is the Shackelton craft-along.  Shackelton is a joint CAL organised by FiberTrek and Shineybees. Named for the British Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackelton, it is to be an epic project that pushes you to the limits of your skill and endurance. It will run over a year and half. That is an bold undertaking for a CAL. It has me very intrigued and I have been pondering just what my challenge could be. Perhaps this is the opportunity to tackle my nemesis of spinning, the woollen long draw?



I will make myself survive, just Shackelton’s team did after the Endurance was crushed by pack ice, on my existing stores, spinning only the fleeces I have already. The aim would be to transform these stores into a set of naturally coloured, two ply, woollen spun yarns for a colourwork knitting project. I have begun preparations carding up the remains of a white Finnsheep fleece and have begun carding a dark grey Polwarth fleece. Maybe I will even spin rogue in Spinzilla in early October to get acclimatized for my epic journey.



This would sit nicely against another slow project I have brewing. With both my kiddlies now settled in school, a few months ago, I began a PhD.  Obviously, it is early days but I am interested in focusing on an aspect of the contemporary fibrecraft movement, particularly in how it intersects with ethical consumption.



A PhD is said to be an apprenticeship in the craft of research. This idea sits well with me. Just as I share my other makings with you, I will be sharing this one too and will be needing your advice at various points.

Before I close this post, I would like to encourage you to visit Something From Seaview. Katherine and Polly have written a fascinating joint post about the GiveWraps they have made together and separately. GiveWraps are an alternative to disposable paper wrapping. They are handmade wrapping cloths for gifts that are given away with the gift, to be passed on and on. You will be staggered by their work. It is extraordinary. It is exciting. It is inspiring.