Portfolio > The Process/Videos

Debbie Barrett-Jones Textiles

After I have spent hours and hours of winding yarn skeins from white cones of yarn, dye all those skeins using a percentage gradation dyeing process each in their own dye bath, rinsing and drying all 27 of those skeins from the lightest of blues gradating to a dark blue; next up is winding each one of those dyed skeins into a usable "yarn ball". One by one, I set the yarn skein back on the metal swift yarn winder, cut the original knot that keeps the yarn skein together, connect one of the loose end threads to the ball yarn winder, and away it goes. As I turn the handle of the ball winder that the yarn on the swift winder is connected to, the swift winder moves round and round; stopping every so often when there is a yarn tangle that needs to be fixed and eventually when the yarn skein is finished winding into a ball.

All the winding for this project took many hours and days to finish. While I am winding I sometimes watch movies or listen to music or audio books, but lately, for this project I found myself listening to nothing but of the sound that the winders make. At first it can feel very uncomfortable not being entertained when doing something so monotonous and "boring". I can also loose my patience, especially when there are tangles in the yarn. But when I try to focus on the present moment as the metal swift and yarn on it goes round and round; I find myself enjoying the quiet, calming and almost meditative state I am able to experience. My worries and the stress that I carry that moment are a little less and I have room to be thankful for more.

These balls of yarn are now in a form that can easily be used in the next step of the weaving process which is winding the yarn on a warping board, to measure out exactly how many individual pieces of yarn I will need for the width and length of each woven textile to then thread on my weaving loom.

Debbie Barrett-Jones Winding Yarn for Lead Bank in the Crossroads Kansas City