Friday, April 18, 2008

A Time to Spin, Part 9: Random Acts of Plying, and Musings on Pink

In an effort to reduce my expanding collection of singles and make some yarn that might be usable and stronger, I've been doing some plying. I started with the first singles I spun last year, from the first bag of roving I ever bought, plied with some of the DorsetX:

The plying setup, in which the niddy-noddy is demonstrated to be a multi-use tool

What Daniel called the "Strawberry Shortcake yarn," so I now call "Berry Berry Nice":

He named it, he can't un-name it!

I'm enthralled by the stunning pinkness of it all, which is odd, because there is so little pink in my life. Well, not now. I used to like pink. In fact, I was very into pink as a little girl. At age 6, I made my parents paint my bedroom walls pink. I moved out of that room and it became an office while I was in high school, but the pink stayed on a few more years, until after I moved away to university. I have it on good authority that it took several coats of paint to cover the pink.

A stint as the Cheshire Cat in a school play at age ten, combined with a love of all things Cyndi Lauper, meant that my pink phase continued well into my teens. The brighter the better, and when combined with purple, I was a force to be reckoned with.

At some point, it appears that I systematically removed pink from my wardrobe and accessories. When I bought a pink blouse a couple years ago, a friend immediately commented that it was strange to see me in that colour - "not that it looks bad or anything, it looks good! But it's surprising for you, that's all." My husband said something similar.

How did this happen? I can't remember exactly when the anti-pink phase started, but it must have been around high school, when I moved out of my pink room and declared that the title of my autobiography would be My Bridesmaids Will Not Wear Pink.

So sure was I that I designed to keep this declaration intact by avoiding bridemaids altogether. Daniel and I both had a best man, or whatever you would call it when the person who stands for the bride is a guy. We had the word once - the male version of "matron"? Anyhow, my friend Mike, who knew of my declaration, surprised me by wearing pink suspenders in my honour. He's a dear soul, I wish him many fat children.

I guess I've begun to soften my position on pink the last few years. Pink blouse. Pink roving and yarn. Since I've been experimenting with dyeing wool red and discovered how easy it is to get pink with natural dyes (cochineal and brazilwood in particular), pink has, for me, lost some of the "girly" association which has been part of my social conditioning since birth.

I find rebellion against such social conditioning to be an odd and confusing thing: When I recently saw someone describe a colour as "a screaming pink only a little girl and her mother could love," I thought, "Aw, it's not that bad," as if the fact that the mother and daughter would like it made it the wrong shade of pink or something, and if it were a shade of pink that they wouldn't like, that would make it acceptable. Whatever.

I have come to respect the pink. Into everyone's life, a little pink must come. As my parents will tell you (three coats later), pink is persistent. Pink endures.

After all, when red fades, you don't get "light red," right?

Now, if I could only figure out how I'm going to use this yarn. It's so.... pink.

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