Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Spinning and Thoughts on Softness

    1. 1. b.Yielding readily to pressure or weight.
  1. Smooth or fine to the touch: a soft fabric.
See those definitions above? Both come from the American Heritage Dictionary, and they are both definitions for "soft" Both can apply to yarn, and yet the two definitions have very different meanings.

Do you know how one person can call a yarn soft, and another can call it harsh or scratchy or just not soft? Some of it can come down to personal perceptions, but some of it has to do with the inadequacy of the Mother Tongue for spinners. We need more words for soft.

Sure, we use the word "squooshy" to mean "yielding readily to pressure or weight." But you must admit that squooshy is a bit informal.

And there is no word (that I know of) that has the exclusive meaning of "fine to the touch."

There is one softness of angora, another of targhee, another of merino, another of cormo, another of silk, another of alpaca, and of cashmere....

There is softness of a springy wool, not necessarily the finest, but spun lovingly woolen and plied just so.

There is the softness of a fine wool spun woolen and finished with care, and that is softness upon softness. Or the softness of one fiber complementing another in a blend.

So tell me, my fellow spinners, is there a language out there that we can borrow from, with many words for soft? We sorely need them.


Cary at Serenity Farms said...

Donna, your words are so poetic and melodic and expressive - I love reading your blog! And, in this post, you have captured exactly (I think) that wonder of the feel of fiber in our hands that we can't we can't find the joy to describe.

Maybe it is meant to be a private joy of the soul, only shared wordlessly but with a secret knowing with other fiber folks?

Hugs, Cary

Bonnypurr said...

I wish there was such a language.

I need a word that describes the softness of merino after I've spun something that's a bit rough but I also need a word that describes the roughness of that same merino after the delights of spinning the softest silk :>)