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Monday, January 10, 2011

"It's a sweater!"

I took up loom knitting this year. I needed a little something to do with my hands. Stop thinking that! Hmph. Anyway, I took up loom knitting because it was creative, clean and I could actually make some things I would use. I enjoy the act of loom knitting, and I like the products.

Anyway, keeping my hands busy does not necessarily keep my mind busy. So, I sits, and knits, and thinks a bit. Sometimes I work on the story line for the novel I am writing. Sometimes I think about blogs I could write. Sometimes I think about travels, or things happening in my life.

Sometimes I even think about knitting. Really. Knitting. It is really just a technique for constructively tangling yarn into useful forms. Where did this whole thing come from? Well, if you read the link, you have about as much idea about that as I do. Of course, this whole thing as I write it piques my curiosity and  I want to learn more about all sorts of clothing. But not right now.

I got to thinking about sweaters. I wondered about all that might be involved in making a sweater. For example, a wool sweater begins with sheep. Somebody has to raise sheep. Now, for a sweater we are interested in the wool. It has to be sheared from the sheep. The wool must be cleaned. Then it is carded (a form of combing) to break the fibers apart and make it fluffy. Now for the spinning. This is a long link, a series of videos, but well produced and informative. Spinning is quite a process.

Prior to spinning the wool can be dyed, as in "dyed in the wool." Spinning can also be done on a wheel. Single threads can be spun together into thicker yarn. This is plying. Eventually you have a yarn that can be knitted. In the case for this blog, knitted into a sweater. There are a lot of videos out there to help teach knitting and how to make knitted things. This information is but a taste.

The point I am making right now is the amount of work that went into creating a sweater, as well as the hours invested to gain expertise in the various production methods. In an era like ours it is possible to go out and get a sweater at a discount house or used clothing store for a few dollars. In just a couple of generations past (and many generations before) making a sweater was a big deal. It was a production that required planning and execution over the course of months. I find that interesting to think about.

So, there you have it. A bit of an answer as to where sweaters come from.

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