Category: Dungeon Dimensions

That’s where I’ve been, and I’ve come back with this yarn. You saw where I’d got up to last time, right? Well, here we are with the finished product.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the nature of the yarn got into my head and bred and multiplied and grew, and before I knew it I’d started spinning these amazingly shiny grey Gotland locks into a thick, ugly, barely-holding-together single to ply with the batts I started with.

Grey Gotland locks

The thing with the creatures of the Dungeon Dimensions is that they only have the shape that magic can afford them. Perhaps, then, we could see my focus and attention and intent as being the equivalent, because the more I focused on this yarn the bigger and more out of control it grew. I had to consciously stop it from growing any bigger (and I’m only half done, might I add). I spun about fifty grams each of the batts and black alpaca into a blobby, uneven single and wound a giant plying ball from it; then turned around and did the same with the locks. I carded the locks very roughly, just enough that I could get purchase on the slippery fibre, as the locks wouldn’t spin as they were.

Plying balls

The plying, done on the same Navajo spindle as the singles, was interesting. To get that feeling of the Dungeon Dimensions’ inhabitants’ tenuous grip on physical existence, I spun both singles quite loosely, trying to get *just* enough twist in for the plying phase and have the yarn be soft, soft, soft. I ended up having to tie a few knots in the yarn as I was plying, because the slippery Gotland just wouldn’t play the game. But as I was skeining it, I realised that the knots really did add to the feel of the yarn.

Plied yarn on the Navajo spindle

I washed the skein in very hot water and agitated it viciously – the fibres include almost nothing that will felt readily so I wanted to get as much felting action out of it as possible to help it hang together. It’s come out surprisingly nice. I sewed the “eyes” – the silk cocoons – on when it was dry. Here it is, all 212g and not quite 30m of it!! Sorry for the photo spam, but I really am so in love with this one.


How's those locks???

My absolute favourite shot of this yarn

I’m so pleased with this yarn. I think, as an “art yarn” – i.e. a long piece of spun fibre that illustrates an artistic concept – it is my most successful to date. It’s hideously ugly, barely structurally sound, uneven and quite possibly unusable. But it captures my vision perfectly. I think it would weave really well, given a lot of patience and a gentle hand at the loom. But for now, it is an art piece, and one of which I’m immensely proud.

The Notional Serpent Yarn is kicking my arse, something fierce. I’m still working on it, slowly, but the focus that I need and the patience to spin that gentle single creates a need to release. I think there are different types of of creativity, or at least different modes of creative expression. The serpent yarn needs slow, steady, focus, careful . . . and I was feeling the need to let go and get a little bit wild.

To that end, what better vision to tackle than the Dungeon Dimensions? Pratchett’s treatment of the formless nightmare that underlays human consciousness captured my imagination immediately, snagging on the dark, tangled and malformed parts of my self. But the horror of those oily, seething tentacles is but a mask for the fear we have of possibility. The denizens of the Dungeon Dimensions are potential incarnate, force without form. This is nothing to be afraid of, but rather something to tap into and channel. Therein lies our power, if only we should be so brave as to seize it.

First, of course, there had to be black. Luckily I just attended a knitting retreat, during which I was lucky enough to visit an alpaca mill, Fibre of the Gods, run by the lovely Michael and Hazel, and I bought 200g of their stunning black alpaca roving. It’s so fine and soft and beautiful, and perfect for this yarn because it’s not curly and has a lovely sheen to it. Perfect for black tentacles!

In order to express the “rubbish-soup” idea I had about this yarn, I seized on the opportunity when a fibrey friend offered to customise a set of batts. She was so kind and generous in working with me to make the batts, and the finished result was a deliciously fermented brew of superwash merino, corriedale, merino, carbonised bamboo, silk throwster’s waste and shredded jute. Here – look:

Monica's batts

But you know what? She didn’t just send me the batts – she put in a packet of amazingly beautiful dyed silk cocoons, which I hope to put in the yarn as well.

Silk cocoons!!

And fortuitously, a whole new spindle arrived today! I’ve been so excited to try out a Navajo spindle after RoosterRick was kind enough to work with me to send one all the way here to Australia. Here it is, naked before I put anything on it!

Navajo spindle from RoosterRick