cat and a ball of yarn

القطط و الخيوط، صورة ارتبطت في الاذهان و لكن هل فعلا تحب القطط اللهو بالخيوط؟ و لماذا؟
يُقال ان القطط في بيئتها الطبيعية تحب ان تصطاد الثعابين الصغيرة و تطردها من وكرها حماية له، و لقد توارثت القطط هذه العادة الغريزية. حركة الخيط و شكله بينهما شبه كبير لحركة الديدان أو الثعابين الصغيرة و هذا كفيل في ان يوقظ غريزة القطه الدفاعية في إبعاد الكائنات الغير مرحب بها. عموما فإن اللعب بالخيط لا ينصح به للقطط و من الألعاب اللتي يجب ان تكون بها القطة تحت المراقبة و ذلك لما قد تسببه الخيوط من خطر في الاختناق.

Making silk

للحرير ارتباطات عديدة في أذهان الناس وكل هذه الارتباطات متعلقة بصفات الحرير الحسية. فالحرير لباس الملوك و الطبقة الراقية من المجتمع، و الحرير هو مضرب المثل للجلد الناعم الرقيق، و هو لباس أهل الجنة 〈وَلِبَاسُهُمْ فِيهَا حَرِيرٌ〉
فكل هذه الارتباطات تنبع من نعومة الحرير و ندرته.

من أقدم قصص اكتشاف الحرير التي تذكر في كتب التاريخ الصيني، حيث يذكر الفيلسوف الصيني كونفوشيوس بان احد الاميرات كانت تحتسي الشاي تحت ظل شجرة التوت في حديقتها الغناء. فوقعت شرنقة دودة القز في كوبها، و نتيجة حرارة كوب الشاي أدت لذوبان الطبقة الخارجية للشرنقة، حاولت الأميرة إزالة الشرنقة من كوبها فانسل خيط لا متناهي من الحرير من داخل الشرنقة، و هذه قصة أول اكتشاف للحرير و طريقة استخلاصه.
و اليوم لازالت الطريقة نفسها معتمدة لاستخلاص خيوط الحرير و ذلك عن طريق تذويب القشرة الخارجية للشرنقة بالماء الساخن و من ثم استخلاص الخيوط الحريرية و التي قد يبلغ طول الخيط في الشرنقة الواحدة١٦٠٠ متر من الخيط الغير منقطع.

Yarn Display 1

There are many craft and hobby shows held throughout the year. Some are local which are held occasionally and are announced on local websites newspapers; and some are international. International exhibitions and shows can be divided into two categories.

The first category are the craft and hobby fairs that are targeted towards the consumers. Two organisers Knitting and Stitching Shows and the ICHF Events, hold the best fairs that targets crafters. Anyone can visit these events where they can shop and buy at discounted prices. These fairs also hold lovely craft workshops.

The other category are the international exhibitions that target businesses and retailers. These cannot be visited by anyone. A requirement for such exhibitions is the ownership of a craft business. Out of the many held every year H + H Cologne is one of the best and largest. In these international exhibitions one can get new products for the shop and can attend various workshops that help small businesses.

However, the most important feature that international exhibitions can provide which consumer craft fairs cannot provide is predicting the direction of where the craft industry is heading. For example, t-shirt yarn became a trend in 2013 and 2014. The year before that both local and consumer craft fairs did not display such yarn. It is only at international fairs that a few exhibitors offered it. By attending these international fairs one can spot some potential trending products.

As for actual trends, they can be seen with the other type of fairs and shows. Whether it is a trending colour, trending material, or a trending brand; craft shows will definitely have trends be on display. In short, exhibitions for consumers can show current trends while exhibitions for businesses can indicate to the direction of what will or might trend. For any crafter that is trying to keep up with the craft world, it is important to either visit both types of exhibitions of look at any coverage of them which is what will be done on this website.

شركة اسكتلندية نشأت عام ١٨٦٧م تقوم بتصنيع خيوط الكشمير الخالصة ١٠٠٪ و كذلك خيوط الكشمير المخلوطة بمواد خام طبيعية كالقطن و الحري و الكتان.

في هذا الفيديو نبذة عن الشركة و جولة سريعة في المصنع.

Luxury Cotton

Navigating the world of luxury produced items is not as easy as it seems. In certain cases, luxury is a description given to an item due to social and cultural views. In other cases, luxury is the result of the craftsmanship and economy of producing the product.

Take handhelds such as phones as an example; Samsung is considered by many to be more luxurious than Huawei. Can such a view be justified? From an economic view the devices (that are on same market range) cost similarly to produce. Yet a strong held view of luxury is associated only with Samsung. This is also clearer with Apple’s iPhone where it occupies the position of being “the luxurious device to have”.

This leads to the question of this blog post, how can one detangle the term Luxury if it can be received either from the society or the economy of the market? In other words, the term luxury in some instances can be given to a product because it costs more to make and in other instances because society has given it a highly ranked status. How does one know when it is used as a social artefact and how does one know when it is due to having the item cost more to produce?

A better example showing the complication which requires the detangling of luxury can be seen with the Hassleblad Stellar. The digital camera is basically a Sony RX100 but has been accessorised with handgrips made from expensive material such as carbon fiber, mahogany, walnut, padauk wood, and olive wood. In addition to that it comes with a leather bag. Other than these two additions, the two cameras are the exact same item with the Stellar being three time more expensive than Sony’s RX100. Should one state in this case that Hassleblad is a luxury camera due to the brand name (Social Luxury) or the used material (Economy Luxury)?

Detangling the two is important especially with yarn. A luxury yarn should be considered luxurious due to the economy of production not social views. For many yarn lovers, Egyptian cotton is viewed as the most luxurious cotton type. This is well earned because both the soil, plant type, and atmosphere of the Nile River results in having cotton with long fibres. As a result of this fibre, yarn produced from Egyptian cotton can be softer, stronger, and more water resistant. However, it is estimated that only 4% of the worlds cotton is considered Egyptian Cotton that falls under this category. Not every cotton produced in Egypt and labeled Egyptian Cotton is as good as that 4%. Yet people consider such low quality Egyptian cotton luxurious. Its luxury has been obtained socially from the success and value that is found with the higher status Egyptian Cotton.

For that reason it is important to discern between luxury due to economy of production and luxury due to social values in yarn.

Yarn Traceability Poster

Lately the term traceability has been used frequently especially with the spread of single origin coffee and gourmet chocolate. The term is used with products in reference to the ability of knowing the whereabouts of items. In other words, the traceability of chocolate is the details about the chocolate’s history. The history would include information such as place or origin, time of harvest, and processes applied to it.

The details can be broad and sometimes it can be very detailed. As an example of a broad description one can read on any single origin description coffee the following:

Country: Colombia
Altitude: 1400-1450 masal
Harvest: 2017
Process: Natural
Roast Level: Light
Roast Date: 19-04-2018

As an example of a very detailed description would include the following:

Country: Colombia
Producer: Caferino Maca
Terroir: Popayàn
Elevation: 1940-2100mt
Fermentation: Anaerobic washed
Cultivar: Wush Wush
Picked in: June 2017
Landed in: January 2018
Lot size: 700kg
Arrived in: Vacuum Packs
Roast profile by: Rubens Gardelli
Roast Date: 19-04-2018

In addition to these details a whole story is mentioned that gives specific details of farm location, farm climate, farmer work, and history of the beans.

Due to a lack of transparency in the textile industry, a question arises of how traceability is applied, can be applied, should be applied?

Below is a hypothetical proposal of what a yarn tag that applies traceability as its objective should include.

Origin:
Sheep Name:
Mother’s Name:
Father’s Name:
Breed:
Colour:
Age:
Farm:
Shearer:
Shear Process:
Shear Date:
Part of body:
Wash Method:
Washed by:
Spinning Process:
Spinner:
Spinning Date:
Dying Lot:
Dying Date:

There might be more details that can be added but as a starting place at least half of these should be included. Yarn that has seen such care in production entitles itself to be labeled “luxury yarn”.

It is important to note that what is being discussed is not absurd, Australia already has such programs applied to cotton and wool.

Funfact: Origin Coffee attempted an extreme case of traceability where they included names of every single person that came across the coffee beans in the production process.

Spider on its web

For toddlers a spider represents fun time in a nursery rhyme.
For children a spider represents friendship in Charlotte’s Web.
For teens a spider represents a red suit fighting for the good.
For adults a spider is the fear used as a tool to scare.

For Crafters the spider is a role model.

Spinning its own yarn.
Its home stitched in every barn.
Knitting its own bed.
Crocheting with no colours even red.

The Spider is the greatest crafter.

Funfact: Spider’s Silk has been used for a yarn project.

Yarn, coffee, and wool

What is Speciality Coffee?

Coffee can be divided into Speciality Coffee and Commercial Coffee. The division between the two is based on various factors that result in the difference of the quality between the two; where Speciality Coffee is superior to commercial.

Today with the third-wave scene in which the consumer is more informed, Speciality Coffee consumption has flourished. It is reported that “Daily consumption of speciality coffee in America has risen from 9% in 1999 to 34% in 2014”. This rise in speciality coffee consumption led to high market chains like Starbucks and Costa to jump on the bandwagon and raise the quality of their coffee beans.

The division of coffee into Speciality and Commercial coffee is based on a graded 100-point scale where Speciality Coffee represents the coffee graded from 80 to 100. Speciality Coffee can be further divided where beans above 90 have come to be known as “90 plus” (not to be confused with the name of a coffee producer). This category is usually ‘out of this world’ in terms of taste. They have seen exceptional care from producer to the roaster. They are more expensive but worth it.

What does this have to do with yarn?

The yarn world is exactly similar. There are three categories of yarn that are known to knitters and crocheters. The first category is the cheap yarn that is mass produced by one single manufacturer but under different brands or by markets with cheap labour such as China and Turkey. This category is on par with commercial coffee.

The second category includes well-known brands that sell yarn which is a bit more expensive and have much better quality than the commercial yarn. They cost more because of the economics of the yarn market. They do have quality control and are produced with better marketing effort. This category is probably the one mostly used in Kuwait. If a crafter is working on something special than it is this category that is used. Brands such as DMC, Debbie Bliss, and Rowan fall under this category. Yarn made by these company can be seen as start point of Speciality Coffee.

The final category or the “90 plus” category  contains the yarn that is exceptional. These are harder to find. They are not mass produced. They are usually hand-spun and hand dyed. They are distributed either in online shops or local independent shops. You will not find them in John Lewis or in Liberty (London shops).

What does all of this have to do with the blog?

This blog will introduce this exceptional yarn category. The blog will also help in explaining why they are appreciated. As they stand, a crafter might not appreciate them, but with a certain mentality these yarn will be better acknowledged.

Using coffee as an analogy; a regular Speciality Coffee customer won’t appreciate “90 plus” coffee since in few instances it will be very similar to regular speciality coffee. However, if the customer is educated on the economics and production of coffee then appreciating a “90 plus” coffee cup is definite.

Therefore, topics on wool manufacturing and its history will be discussed in this blog. The blog will also shed light at yarn projects and crafters. The appreciation of the category of yarn is a state of mind that is part of a lifestyle. This blog will be showcasing such a lifestyle, from talking about restaurants and hotels that elevate a person’s art knowledge to science topics that can be used to reach the “90 plus” state of mind.

And the story begins….

(Note that some posts will be in Arabic and some will be in English.)