Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Homespun Hobbies"

This poem came out of the November 19, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by [personal profile] we_are_spc (Trausio) and [personal profile] readera. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. This poem belongs to the series Arts and Crafts America.


"Homespun Hobbies"


The industrial revolution brought
the invention of the water frame
in 1769, a spinning machine
run by a water-wheel that could
produce many threads at once.

It turned out yard after yard
of fine, strong cotton thread.

However, mass-produced fiber
lacked the comforting feel
of the homespun stuff.

People also disliked
the changes brought
by the factory life.

They decided that
mass-produced goods
were adequate for things
that few people would see,
such as sheets and underwear.

The finer modern cloth was
also nice for sewing machines
which made it easier to sew
clothes for the family.

For the good clothes,
though -- warm sweaters
and shawls, men's suits --
most people preferred
handspun yarn instead.

Some still made yarn to sell,
and it was good for dyeing
at home in creative designs.

Many kept up spinning,
weaving, and knitting
as hobbies instead of
professional crafts.

When they went visiting,
they brought along baskets
of wool to card or yarn
to knit into sweaters.

Sometimes they got
together in yard parties
to festoon the bushes
with freshly-dyed skeins.

Even after the synthetics
came along with brilliant colors
and impossibly long fibers that
weren't good for home spinning,
people worked them into the craft
in their own way with freestyle
and patchwork knitting.

The snipped ends got
dropped into baskets of
mixed fiber and recycled
into yarns with new and
interesting qualities.

Nothing could stop
the homespun hobbies.

* * *

Notes:

Spinning is the art of turning loose fiber into cord. Hand spinning uses a hook, drop spindle, or spinning wheel for this purpose. It makes a fun hobby. Learn how to start spinning.

The water frame uses hydropower to drive a spinning wheel to make thread or yarn, many strands at the same time.

One way to recycle yarn is to add cut ends of finished yarn to fiber that gets spun into new yarn, creating a confetti effect.
Tags: crafts, cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, history, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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