Thursday, 19 March 2009

For the woolly-minded

Trying to be coherent, with proper beginnings, middles and ends, seems a bit futile, as every "thread" is woven in amongst so many others, so rather than try to make sense by offering context and prefaces, I'm just going to start: llama shearing. It was on the trail of peacock feathers, that I actually came across three llamas in the sweltering Argentine heat.
"They look hot."
"They are hot. But we don't know how
to shear them."
"And if I find someone who does, what about
the wool?"
"The wool? Have the wool! You'd be doing us
and them a favour."
So, pertaining to a group of weaving women, it wasn't very hard to find a real "puestera" -- someone originally from one of the many rural shareholds dotting the countryside -- and a pair of shears. And quicker than you can say "Alpaca bag", we sheared two of the three llamas, garnering a winter-white and one caramel brown fleece. Having acquired some skill along the way with a drop spindle, I've scoured the internet as how to prepare the wool, but hand carders, wool cleaning and separating tools that look something like wiry dog brushes, (I've never held any before, hand carders, not wiry dog brushes, or wiry dogs, for that matter, but apparently they're basic essentials in Navajo and other North American Indian spinning) are much more difficult to find than llama-shearers... Meanwhile, here is Margarita (la puestera) doing her handiwork.
Where, you might ask, is this going to fit on my CV? Camelid Applications Manager? Flocculence Theory? I don't know, but it makes its own kind of sense to be weaving and spinning and, when I can, writing again. The rest will just have to unravel itself from here.

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