At last, my Wizard of Oz yarn. It’s gigantic; I don't know what the yardage is, yet, but before I started plying and dividing everything into two separate skeins there was at least 1300y spun up for this project, not including all the yardage of commercial yarns that are also in it.
Details below the many pics. I promise I won't be such a bandwidth hog again for a long time.
(rainbow i-cord, with the yarn spun from fiber ptarmic wumpus
dyed for me.)
(The spiral where the Yellow Brick Road begins is at the bottom)
There are also tufts of orange and red fiber sticking out from the section where they're in the Wizard's chambers, representing the flames
The initial idea struck me in the middle of the night, and the details started flooding in, so it had to be done, whether I wanted to do it or not! The concept was to spin a skein of yarn that followed the course of the Wizard of Oz movie, start to finish, in colors, themes, textures, etc. So in theory, a very fast yarnie could put the movie on and start working on the starting end of the skein, and whatever is going on in the movie would be reflected in the yarn they’re working with. I can’t think of any film that is so easily identified and understood by its color schemes, well enough for most people to recognize. There’s an almost instinctual association with Dorothy when we see blue and white gingham and red sequins, for instance.
I’m not a big Oz-o-phile, but I studied the movie intensively for about a month (including its cultural impact, which interests me more than the film itself), and with a large, sturdy paper I created a notebook of colors, patterns, scene progressions, and ideas for possible add-ins and yarns/fibers to use.
When I knew what I wanted to do with each section, I drew a map of the layout of the yarn so I could work on different sections as I saw fit and connect them later on in the right order.
Then came the process of gathering the materials from near and far. Dyed batts that Ravelry members were destashing. Angelina fiber for the ruby slippers, but firestar fiber for the Emerald City, to have the right kind of sparkle for each. Pink tulle for Glinda’s skirt. Curly, golden locks for the Cowardly Lion. Raffia to serve as the Scarecrow’s straw. Metallic gray fiber for the Tin Man (the best answer to this need, after an extensive search, was mulberry silk). Lots and lots of carding, thanks to the LYS welcoming me to hang out and drum-card the days away. The carding was my favorite part of everything. I made yellow bricks for the Yellow Brick Road by just chopping apart a new block of yellow Sculpey and poking a hole through the middle of each chunk.
There are so many tiny details; most don't show up in the photos.
The big challenge was what to do for Munchkinland, since there’s such a hodgepodge of color and activity in those scenes. I was pretty happy with the batts I carded for that section, but had to add a lot of things after my initial spinning.
Some scenes and characters became represented by buttons and beads from my stash; i.e., there are 3 pink buttons for the dancers in The Lullaby League, followed by an orange button, a green button, and a blue button for the Lollipop Guild. The marvelous amydice
crocheted some elements for me in the OTT Wizard of Oz swap:
Some early ideas which didn’t end up happening: a brown fun-fur yarn to represent Toto, metallic wire star garland representing Glinda’s crown, and a tiny death proclamation from the Munchkinland coroner. There simply wasn’t enough room to include every idea I had without it becoming extremely cluttered, and I was out of money to invest any more in the project.
Then there were the many, many hours with my drop spindle. Some of the components, in their early stages:This Pigeonroof Studio fiber
became the base for Kansas: This
fiber from Funky Carolina became the Scarecrow (upper right in the following picture).
I spun several sections during Tour de Fleece, but had trouble deciding on all the little details that my mind hasn’t been up for during the past months (“Should I add this to the yarn? How? Do I ply? N-ply? Auto-wrap? None of the above? Is there too much yardage for this section, as compared to the other sections? How should I join these two yarns? Did I forget something? Is there a nicer finishing method than this?”). There was so much yarn I realized I needed to split it into 2 separate skeins. My closet shelves were full of toilet paper roll bobbins with all these disparate elements of the yarn, for a loooong while.
In this process I became entirely burnt out on spinning, sadly. It’s been a rough year (okay, more than one year, but for varying reasons) and in the past couple months I’ve lost all interest in crafting and creative expression. But I knew I had to finish this handspun; it’s just taking up space and useless otherwise. So on a few “better” days/nights, I finally powered through the rest of it and can say it is done
. I gave up on the joins and ended up just connecting separate yarns with loose overhand knots in some places; whoever ends up with the yarn can undo them and weave in the ends. It would be better if it weren’t finished so hastily, but it’s the best I could bring to it at this point.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to be done with something I’ve made. I swear that I will never again try to be ambitious with my spinning (heh, I say that now, but let's see what I say in another 6 months
). This kind of thing has to be a labor of love, and if you don’t get a lot of enjoyment out of the process then it is not worthwhile, considering how much time, thought and money go into the creating. Further, when I stopped “feeling it” with this project, but kept working at it anyway, it ceased to be a thing of beauty.
At least now the "childbirth" of the whole thing is over with, and I finished instead of giving up altogether.
One more shot of the whole thing...