Have you met Igor? He’s a character that plays an important part in a couple of the Discworld books, notably Carpe Jugulum and Thief of Time. I say “he”, but really I should say “they”, because they are a sort of tribe or underclass of servant-industrialists who aid mad scientists, inventors and the undead in their endeavours. They’re based largely on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein creature, and are characterised by their motley physical appearance, their skill as surgeons and laboratory technicians, and often a strong sense of tradition and inheritance. They have a horror of letting perfectly good body parts go to waste. Oh – and they lisp. One of my favourite Igors had a dog he’d sewn together from bits of many dogs … and this uber-dog was, of course, called “Thcrapth”. Reading the Igors’ soliloquies always has me in stitches…
No, seriously. I didn’t mean that. I am stalked by inadvertent puns, I swear.
Igor seemed like a fantastic theme around which to base a yarn. I attended a fantastic workshop this weekend just gone with a lovely dyer and fibre artist called Trudi Pollard, who taught me a new technique of finger spinning/plying. Well, it was new to me. It’s old as the hills, even the Australian ones.
So I got very excited about the idea of making a yarn entirely from (oh god) thcrapth of bits and pieces. I want it to be really rough, really strong and functional and serviceable but ultimately, visually ugly. In my mind it doesn’t consist of spinning fibre, but rather already woven/spun pieces of fibrecraft, featuring broken zippers, maybe some handstitching or buttons or broken jewellery chains…I want this yarn to be the steampunk offcuts and outcasts!
But the most important aspects are going to be fibre content and colour. The fibres must be, primarily, natural. Hemp, ramie, silk, cotton, linen, wool, even hair. For my treatment of the colour issue, I thought I’d attempt something I’ve never done before and do a colour study. I pulled out my Derwent watercolour pencils and scribbled a few of them on a bit of paper. I’ve done a bit of very limited photomanipulation to get the more muted tones I want, but here it is:
Igor yarn colour study
I still have to decide on a perfect name for this yarn. I just loved the Igors’ lines so much that I want to paraphrase one or take a tiny excerpt, so I have to revisit a couple of the books. But right now I have to run to knitting, so I shall talk to you soon!