|Sorraia stud colts at play on unseasonably mild December day|
Ravenseyrie - Manitoulin Island
Ontario - Canada
Last November, I wrote a detailed account in the Journal of Ravenseyrie about learning to crochet and how this stimulated a desire within me to also learn to spin my own yarn so that I could make things with the shed winter coats of our "wild" Sorraia horses.
|Set up to blend Sorraia horse hair and sheep wool|
approximately a 50/50 blend
|Silvestre, soaking up the February sun at Ravenseyrie,|
soon he will be shedding his warm, winter coat and I will spin
more yarn from him and his mates!
I titled that entry Spinning Sorraia!...double click on the title and the magic of the internet will take you to that particular creative odyssey.
In this month's journal entry, I would like to share with you what I was inspired to create with the horse hair my friend Annemiek sent me from the Netherlands.
|Rudolf, a dark bay Thoroughbred and good friend of my friend, Annemiek Stuart|
photo credit: Jacolien Frens
|Annemiek's horse, Rudolf, and the Furminator brush she used to collect his shed winter hair|
Annemiek sent a nicely prepared bagful of Rudolf's dark bay hair, scented with earthy essential oils. For a horse-loving-gal such as me, the mingling of Miek's essential oil scents with the natural odeur de cheval had me intoxicated with the desire to card and spin a sample of Rudolf straightaway.
|Annemiek's bag filled with horse hair from Rudolf |
alongside my first hand-carded rolag
75% horse hair/25% sheep wool
|My first spin of Rudolf's hair I did on a homemade spindle|
I asked Miek if she wanted me to spin yarn and send her the finished skeins for her to use, or would she like me to crochet something special? Annemiek opted to have me make something for her.
During the period of several weeks that I was carding and spinning Rudolf's hair, I was all the while thinking about what I might crochet for Miek. I was surprised that Rudolf's hair was a bit more prickly than the hair of our "wild" Sorraia horses - I would have expected it to be softer than the grullo hair. I decided to try blending Rudolf's hair a bit differently and went with 60% horse hair to 40% sheep wool and that helped make the yarn spin more even, but I felt it was still to prickly for making a garment like a hat or a neck warmer. Perhaps a vest might be nice? Hmmm...
...reaching into the tote bag Miek had sent Rudolf's shed winter hair in gave me the idea that the yarn made with Rudolf's hair would perhaps make a very unique and useful fashion bag.
Being still fairly new to crocheting (since October 2014), I had never before made a tote bag and began to research images and patterns until I felt I could cobble together something of my own design. It soon became obvious that there was not a sufficient amount of Rudolf's hair to make enough yarn for the size of bag I had designed, so I decided it would be a great time to use yarn that I had made from thistledown gathered off the Ravenseyrie landscape.
|Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) at Ravenseyrie|
|Handspun yarn made with Thistle Down|
|50% sheep wool/50% thistle down|
|Fashion tote bag made from horse hair and|
I decided that this tote bag would be more finished and useful if I made a liner for it - another new aspect of learning for a gal like me who can hardly sew a button back on correctly. Thankfully, Lynda Noe, an expert quilter/fibre artist has her studio on the lower level of the building where my Ravenseyrie Studio & Art Gallery is located. Back in 2010, Lynda and I had a joint exhibition at the Gore Bay Museum's art gallery. You can read about that show by clicking HERE. With Lynda's input, I was able to make a nice liner for the tote bag that would keep things from poking through the spaces between the crocheted stitches.
|Horse hair fashion tote, with liner sewed in|
Yes, indeed...I felt this was a very nice fashion tote and perhaps the only one made from horsehair yarn! I packed it up and sent it off to the Netherlands in early November, anxious to see if Miek liked what I made for her with Rudolf's hair.
When Annemiek received her package from Canada, she wrote me that she thought making a tote bag with Rudolf yarn was a great idea and sent me a photo of it as soon as she unwrapped it:
|Horsehair fashion tote, safely makes it to its destination in Holland|
Later, Miek sent me photos of when she showed Rudolf the tote bag. She said she thought he liked it but he seemed more curious about the way it smelled than how it looked. (I wash my finished yarn and completed crochet items in water containing lavender oil to deter bugs from making a meal of the fibres.)
|Annemiek gives Rudolf a kiss of thanks for his contribution|
to her wardrobe
I had a great time spinning horse hair again and crocheting it into a tote bag along with homespun thistledown yarn and really appreciated getting a feeling for the differences between Rudolf's hair and the hair of our Sorraias. All the Sorraia yarn that I made from last winter's shed winter coats I am saving and hoping to add more to it this spring when all those lovely wild equines shed once again. I have an idea for a dressy poncho I'd like to make from those varied shades of grey.
|Horsehair yarn from grulla coloured Sorraias|
naturally shed winter undercoats