Thursday, September 30, 2010

My name is Kate, and I like to play with thread

I did my first embroidery at about age 5, and learned to knit at 7 or 8. Along the way, I have learned to crochet, learned a wide variety of threaded-needle techniques, learned to spin and dye yarn, pieced quilt tops, started learning to weave, dabbled in kumihimo braiding and beadwork, made a basket, sewed clothes for my kids and myself, reupholstered furniture and made slipcovers and curtains for my home, and generally played with any thread I could get my hands on. This wouldn't have been unusual even 50-100 years ago. But I'm doing it by choice, rather than out of necessity.

I collect thread. Embroidery thread of all kinds, perle cotton, silk floss, crewel and needlepoint wool, sewing thread, quilting thread...because you just never know when you will need a particular thread in a particular color. Besides, I love thread.

I distinctly remember asking my mother for the cotton from the new aspirin bottle, when I was about 5, and drawing and twisting it into thread with my fingers. I had no concept of a spindle or spinning wheel at that point, but something inside me knew that I could make thread. 

So I guess it was fate. 

The collecting thing is probably fate, too, or perhaps more accurately genetic doom. My maternal aunt had two or three bedrooms full of fabric, patterns, and yarn. She's also the one who took me to her neighbor's when I was 5 or 6, where I saw my first loom. My paternal grandfather had a barn full of stuff he'd collected. Random stuff. My dad filled the garage to the rafters, with Random Useful Things. Doom, I say. 

But I digress. 

Here's a some alpaca/silk yarn I spun (US dime for scale) for a scarf exchange a year or two ago, and one end of the finished knitted item, pinned out for blocking. It's the Russian Lace Scarf to Knit, by Galina Khmeleva, from the May/June 2008 issue of PieceWork magazine (Interweave Press). 

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