February 19, 2009

Have You Any Wool?

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , , , , at 7:52 pm by Jenn

The last two days have been pretty much devoted to the search of wool and spinning materials here in Baku.  Cande and I set out yesterday on an adventure to find the 8 km Bazaar that was just outside the city of Baku.  Cande drove and I attempted to navigate, though in a town where the street names change like the weather or the streets just simply aren’t marked that’s a near impossible task. 

After what seemed like hours we finally arrived at our destination.  It actually was hours, but the funny thing is that we passed the bazaar, stopped and asked directions just one block away and then spent the next several hours on a wild wool chase around the 8 km district.  We finally by a stroke of luck (and the need for gas) arrived at the bazaar and were able to locate a shop that sold fleece.  Here are a few pictures for all you wool lovers….eat your heart out!

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This woman spoke no Russian, only Azeri, but somehow between Cande, me, and the Spin It book that I thankfully brought with me we were able to communicate that we each wanted 2 kilograms of washed wool.  There was washed wool, and unwashed wool, and each kind had a couple of different price ranges.  We chose the 6 manat wash wool because it was cleaner than the 4 manat washed wool  (in the bag to the right of the woman with the blue stripes) and the fibers were longer.  I’m not sure what kind of wool this is, the only thing I know is that it is 100% Azerbaijan sheep wool. 

This shop was actually a shop where the woman makes mattresses or stuffed duvets.  You tell her if you want it for one person or two people, you pick the fabric, she stuffs the fabric with wool, sews it up right there and off you go.  She seemed kind of disappointed that we wanted to take the wool with us.

So our mission for the day was accomplished.  Here’s a picture of me with our big score for the day.  Nothing brings a bigger smile to my face then yarn fibery goodness!  Also notice the sidewalk, grass and green trees…we are definitely not in Baku.

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So that was yesterday’s fun.  Today we set out to find the carders that we need to comb the wool to make it nice and pretty and ready for spinning.  That task proved to me a little more difficult although my housekeeper and several other locals insisted that we would be able to find the wheels and carders in the Old City. 

Our first stop was to Samir’s carpet shop.  Today was the first time I met Samir.  His shop is right next to the Maiden Tower.  If you are standing on the Boulevard looking at the Maiden Tower and look to the left, there you’ll find Samir.  Doctor by education, carpet guy by passion.  LOVE HIM!  He really was the most fascinating man to speak to.  He is proof that you should do what you love.  He said that the money isn’t important to him.  What’s important to him is that he pass down the stories of his culture…the stories of carpet making so that others may appreciate the art of his native Azerbaijan.  He must have pulled out 20 carpets for us to see.  Some silk, some sheep wool, some goat wool, some chemical dyed, most natural dyed and ALL beautiful.  We had чай (tea, pronounced ch-eye).  We had a lesson about the various symbols, natural items used to make the colors, all sorts of things.  Samir even had an antique carder and spinning wheel in his shop.  The wool carder wasn’t a hand carder it was more of a stationery carder…similar to this (why didn’t I take a picture?)

lashingoncoopworth

The spinning wheel (which I also didn’t take a picture of was about 80 years old and was priced at around 300 manat.  A little too rich for my blood, but I’ll keep looking.

Here are a couple of pictures from inside the carpet shop. 

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End result of the day was that we didn’t find the carder or the spinning wheel but we did find a woman who makes carpets around the corner from the Lebanese restaurant in Fountain square.  Really nice lady once she realized we were serious about learning about carpet making, yarn, etc.  Language again was a barrier, but hand signals, pointing and cell phones (to call for translation) worked pretty well.  Cande may start taking lessons from her, I probably will be gone by the time the woman has time in her schedule.

So there you have it .  Two fun filled days of fibery fun.  I just knew with all of these sheep there had to be some fleece around here somewhere and by George we found it….8 km Bazaar.  Now what am I going to do with it?

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7 Comments »

  1. capitana42 said,

    Jenn! You’re so pretty! (I’ve never seen a picture of you!) And, SCORE about all the fleece! Happy spinning!

    Thanks Katie! You made my day! All that fleece is awesome isn’t it?

  2. Heather said,

    Hey – that’s not bad – two bags full (ha ha!)!!! It doesn’t look as bad as I thought!!! I think I’d have a hard time containing myself in that room – oh, the possibilities!!!

    If the carpet guy has more of the tools you saw, or knows where to get them, they are actually what I call “combs” and will work just fine on raw fleece like you have!!! Get one!!!! It’s like picking out a fro – you just manhandle it until the wool is straight and “comb-able” and then pull bits of it through a “ditz” (small hole) to get roving sized bits, then spin away!!! That would work great if you can’t find hand carders or a machine to do it for you!

    The chisalka was 100 manat, so needless to say, I don’t own it. I used Max’s comb and brush and just “made do”….it’s good enough for making wool to dye and felt.

    :O)

  3. Jen D said,

    Way to get out there and get yours! You never stop 🙂 Always interesting to see and hear what you are up to.

    I try to keep my fans entertained! LOL.

  4. Mom said,

    I will show those carpets to Dr Miranda tomorrow. They are truly beautiful!!

    The pictures really don’t do them justice. The colors are BEAUTIFUL, and all NATURAL.

  5. Jessica said,

    What a score. And an adventure. You’ll have to take me out there someday!

    I’m ready when you are!

  6. Christine said,

    Dang am I sooo jealous!! When/where did you learn spinning? I would so die for one of those stuffed duvets.

    The stuffed duvet would great if the wool weren’t so poopy. You’d really have to clean it before stuffing. I can send some your way anytime! Let me know.

  7. Ms. Angie said,

    Damn, lady! That’s a lot of wool in those two bags! What are you going to make with it all? I can’t wait to see the pictures of what you do with it.

    It is a LOT OF WOOL. I am going to clean it and dye it and attempt to make a felted rug. That’s this week’s plan anyway!


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