Speaking of Beautiful Things…

I’m making a shrug. No, not this: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This, but with color. Much more color:

shrug
Like a sweater made out of a knitted rectangle  (Photo credit: Lion Brand Yarn Company)

Totally different.

Although you could ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ while wearing a

shrug
shrug.

 

Anyway, I’m knitting a colorful shrug, and almost half of it is silk sari yarn from India.

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Pretty, huh? And heavy, with a very organic feel.

 

Culturally throughout much of the world, spinning is woman’s work, so several women’s development groups and cooperatives have organized economically disadvantaged women in places like Kathmandu, Nepal. They’ve created rewarding cottage industries making silk yarn out of the remnants of new sari silk left on the loom after the sari fabric is cut off. It’s a labor intensive process that involves separating and sorting the fibers, carding and cleaning them, spinning them into yarn, and winding them into skeins.

Usually, the quality of the yarn depends on the skill of the spinner. I’m pretty sure the 6 skeins I used were spun by 5 or 6 people of different skill levels. But there’s something else —

Many of the women who spin silk sari yarn work at home. Like women everywhere, each of us has her own standard of “clean”. While the spinners shown in Nepal are sitting on an immaculate white floor, I’m guessing the women who spun mine in India were not so particular.

For instance:

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This was in just 2 rows worth of the final skein, which varied widely in how tightly it was spun. I’m guessing the spinner was an apprentice. Or stoned.

 

I’ve found an assortment of detritus spun into every skein, from twigs, leaves, and grass, to knotted string, wire, and pointy-pokey bits of wood. Until last night, the creepiest thing I pulled from the silk was a ripped off thumbnail tip that probably belonged to whomever spun the first skein I used. It didn’t occur to me to take a picture of it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Last night, I found this:

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Some kind of beetle leg, right? Each segment is about 5/16″ long.

 

Eeew. Me. You, too, probably

I know beauty sometimes has a dark side. I know beauty can come from anywhere, but usually outshines any darkness it might have come from. Every bit of me looks at this yarn and sees beauty. But now that feeling is tinted with the vision of a beetle’s head staring out at another knitter in some other part of the world.

I want to cringe. And laugh. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Author: Sue Ranscht

I am a writer. Let me tell you a story...

26 thoughts on “Speaking of Beautiful Things…”

    1. Lol! That will be the shot! Thanks, Marcia. Yeah, I taught myself to knit from a book when I was 11 or 12. But the thing that keeps me humble is that Grandma Ranscht taught me how to crochet — THREE TIMES — and I still can’t do it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s funny, I don’t remember being taught how to knit. Maybe I self taught myself as well. I’m not sure how I learned to crochet either. But, I can crochet WAY better than I can knit. I haven’t done either in a long time!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Such luscious colors – maybe that beetle was intended as a snack offering? 😀
    Seriously, I love how you knit together (pun intended) beauty and life and reality etc with those skeins.
    Just a wonder-question: Do those impurities irritate your fingers as you knit?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Laura! So the leg was a little protein to go with the fiber? 😀

      The detritus never made me bleed, but those wires and pointy-pokey bits were the worst. Finding them as the strand passed through my fingers made it easier to remove them, although I found a few that had been well buried, after I was done. It occurred to me after I’d found the first 3 or 4 that it would be painful to feel them in my neck. :/

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you. I have seriously contemplated buying a spinning wheel to make my own yarns and a Navajo loom to weave them into art. I believe someday I will. But I wonder if I could master the method these women use with that hand-held spindle.

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