Friday, December 31, 2004

dreaded locks

The holidays are a great time to visit old friends and family. They also present an opportunity to visit old creations. It is always nice to see that someone is still wearing or using an old scarf, mittens, socks or some other article that was knit up years ago. It is pleasing to know that the gift of years past is still "giving". Sometimes, I find myself looking at the item with fond recollection of moments spent working on know...the type that summons up a season of the year, or the particular music one was listening to at the time the item was being created. Other times (I hate to admit) it is as though I had forgotten I had ever made it, just vaguely recalling it, not quite sure if the memory is even correct...somewhat like meeting someone who knows your name, and you know you have met them before because they look familiar, but you cannot remember where or when, or what their name is.

But either way, fond memory or no memory, it is always interesting to see how the object is holding up. Is the wool pilling? Any holes developing? Is the object holding its shape, or is it rolling or sagging in spots. What about the colors, are they fading? Did the garment shrink?....etc. etc. etc.

This Christmas while visiting with my mother I came across one of these types of issues that I had never seen before. A phenomenon that I like to refer to as the "dreaded locks". This apparently occurs when handspun singles are used to fringe a shawl. This shawl was my first creation on the triloom. I had purchased some beautiful red merino roving and then blended some of it with a dark lavender merino roving. I spun thick and thin singles and wove them on a 5 foot triangle loom. As a beginner, at the time all I was thinking about was color and texture. Structure and function never entered my mind, and I did not consider the fact that the singles would not hold up well as warp threads. They stretched and frayed somewhat, but I was able to compensate for this in the fulling process, so that when the shawl was finished, this did not show up. However, one thing I did not anticipate was how the fringe would behave with the passage of time, ergo, the "dread lock" effect. I believe their formation is caused when the singles slowly disentwine upon themselves and other singles, while twisting onto others. They become a braid like felted matted mass, clumping together in a random fashion and looking somewhat like dread locks. An novel design element, but not what I was going for.

In order to correct this oddity, I had no choice but to clip them off and brush the ends. Interestingly enough, this is also the only remedy for those who decide they no longer wish to wear dread locks in their hair. So, the scissors did the work, and my mother was pleased with the outcome.

So here we are at the end of another year. I am a sucker for those rhyming slogans you always hear tossed around on NY Eve. So far, I have heard "Come Alive in 2005", "We will strive in 2005", and my personal favorite, "Enjoy the ride in 2005". Naturally, I have my own versions of Fiber related slogans. "Double-drive in 2005" or "Navaho Plied in 2005" and finally, "Space Dyed in 2005". Happy New Year!

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