rumplestiltskin

Image Details: ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ by monsterpants, via Flickr

Rumpelstiltskin was a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, who first published it in 1812. It follows the story of a miller, who lied to the King by saying his daughter was able to spin straw into gold. She couldn’t, and was locked in a tower with a spinning wheel and some straw and told by the King to get on with spinning some bling or she would be executed. As luck would have it (if you can consider being locked in a tower on operation certain death ‘lucky’) there was a sneaky little gnome on hand, who could indeed spin straw into gold, for a fee. The first night it cost a necklace, the second, a ring, and on the third night she had nothing left to offer, so the gnome demanded she hand over her first born child. As you do. As if, being a young, single gnome who can, in fact, spin straw into gold, you would ask for a screaming child. I would have asked for a cartful of straw myself and then gone to Vegas with the proceeds. An-y-way, the King marries the daughter as he’s clearly a golddigger, and they produce the sprog, at which point the gnome returns and demands the Queen hand it over. She doesn’t want to do this, and manages to convince the gnome to give her a chance to win the brat back. He says if she can guess his name correctly, she can keep the child. She has a couple of goes and gets it wrong, so she sends her messenger to spy on the gnome, who overhears him singing a rhyme to himself which includes his name. A bit schoolboy, really. If he’d been getting on with the spinning, he wouldn’t have been found out. So the messenger tells the Queen that the gnome’s name is Rumpelstiltskin and she wins the bargain, leaving Rumpers pretty vexed, so vexed in fact, that in some versions of the story, he rips himself in half. Seriously, just get on with the gold making dude!

Yellow gold?

So, a departure from the proper order ‘from ewe to yarn’ would give Mr Shinybees a fractured aura, but it doesn’t bother me one bit! Being afflicted by perpetual distraction, usually by shiny or glittery things, I tend to drift off onto that which is currently occupying my magpie-like tendancies. In this case, we’ve skipped the washing, carding and dying for now, and cracked straight onto the spinning. I spent a happy afternoon with Knitterscarlet, drumcarding some of the Texel cross fleece she had washed and dyed, with the Babybee in one hand and the carder handle in the other. I don’t consider this to be child labour, as she was watching rather than actually toiling. I am hoping to convince her that winding the drum carder is a proper game once she gets the whole motor skills thing cracked – in fact, I have been teaching her ‘wind the bobbin up’ in the hope it will encourage her down the route of all things yarny. Together, we carded a large pile of lovely bright yellow fleece, and Cath very kindly rewarded my efforts with a couple of batts!

A little blob of the golden fleece.

And here is the lovely Kromski Minstrel (as yet un-named – answers on a postcard please, and not ‘Minnie’, that’s a bit lame…)

The Minstrel in the garden, catching some rays.

This was my second ever solo bobbin of yarn. Cath had done some of the first bobbin I wrote about in an earlier blog, and I spun up some more Welsh Ewe on my own last week, which is the grey stuff on the bobbin on the lazy kate in the picture above. You will have to forgive my lack of proper spinning terminology as I am still a beginner and playing with the stuff is far more interesting than learning the proper words! The Texel cross Badger Face Torwen fibre is slippier than the Welsh Ewe and seems to be softer. The staple length is shorter and it is a bit harder to spin as it is not as forgiving if your hands aren’t going quickly enough and you let it get a bit too thin when drafting. That said, I would say I prefer spinning the Texel cross, mostly because it is yellow, but also because it is easier to draft and I didn’t need to pre-draft it. I’ve no idea yet how it will turn out when plyed – that is definitely something for another lesson, and blog post!

It does actually look a bit like gold. Unfortunately, it aint.