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spinning and marinating

January 19th, 2011

Handspun - Jan 19

I’m doing a lot of spinning right now, largely because I’m between knitting projects. I’m pondering how I want to approach a matched tank to go with Ravinia, and until I know how I’m going to start, there’s really no sense of casting on or even taking notes.

I call this phase ‘marinating’. I’ve got the yarn, I’ve got the idea, and now I just need to wait until it’s ready to be cooked up.

Handspun - Jan 19

A lot of the joy for spinning for me is that it feels deliciously low-commitment. Sure, it takes some time to spin up and ply several bobbins worth. And yes, I have to make some choices ahead of time. Whorl, twist, WPI, technique. But it’s all so very… well… mechanical. After the mechanics are established, all I have to do is just spin.

Over the weekend I returned to this batch of fiber. I’d spun the first bobbin maybe a year or two ago, and it’s just been waiting for me to get back to it. The fiber is some I picked up at SOAR in 2007. It’s some wool and silk (or maybe bamboo?) blend from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. I’ve lost the tags, and can’t really be sure of anything other than it was delightful to work with.

I’ve gotten in the habit of splitting my roving into 2 (or 3) sections of equal weight prior to beginning any new project. This helps me know when to start that second bobbin, and reduces that annoying bit of leftover single when finished plying. In this case, I was just hoping I’d done that when I started the first bobbin!

Things turned out fine. I spun the second bobbin while watching football last sunday. (GO Bears!) And plied that night, because I simply couldn’t wait.

I’m pleased to have gotten over 400 yards out of this. It’s plenty for a nice cozy pair of socks, and the colours are really exciting to me when plied.

Handspun - Jan 19

But, there’s a second reason I’ve been spending more time with my wheel these days.

I find it’s really easy on my brain. With so few decisions, I can just dive into the project and let my fingers work while my brain focuses on just that small area between my two hands. And so, the yarn develops just a few inches at a time, and I have to remember to keep my feet moving at just the right pace, at just the speed the yarn can take.

I think, in this way, it’s a lot like the grieving process. It can’t be rushed, or sped along. Trying to go faster only makes for bigger mistakes, and a bigger mess to clean up later on. And it’s easiest to handle if you just focus on that one inch at a time, focus on just that part you can hold onto.

I think, in a way, that grieving – at least my grieving – is all about spinning myself back together.

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9 Responses to “spinning and marinating”

  1. Natalie Says:

    I’ve been super productive spinning lately too. Ideas are marinating and I’m waiting for the brain to kick in & the knitting mojo to return.

  2. Sherri Says:

    Whenever I have too much on my mind I head to the wheel. It occupies my “busy” mind and lets me just wander from thought to thought. I have long conversations with Lucille and Lillith (my wheels). Sometimes we argue, sometimes we sing. But we keep coming back to each other.

  3. Elizabeth Says:

    I found spinning very soothing after my dad died too. It took me quite a while to be able to knit anything more complex than stocking stitch socks. My wheel just kept drawing me in. I’m glad you’ve found a way to feel a bit better.

  4. juniperjune Says:

    lovely post, lovely yarn.

  5. Chrystie Says:

    I totally want to steal that yarn. It’s gorgeous. But since I’m so far away, I’ll just send you a virtual hug. 🙂

  6. Kourtney Says:

    You know, I did a lot of spindle spinning after I lost my stepdad. I never really thought about it, I just did it because I found it comforting. Great post.

  7. Holly Says:

    How eloquently put. I, like so many others, have been thinking of you and your loss. It must be hard to say anything and impossible to say nothing. I’m glad you can reflect on the process while still in it and also share with others here.

  8. Lyrel Says:

    Amy, I am so sorry to read of your loss. Have just lost my father as well, and have found it very ‘unraveling’ too. It has made me question nearly every decision I have every made, I think, and like you I pick up the phone, and then remember that he is not there to call any more. And it doesn’t matter that he was over 90.

    I really appreciated your phrase:
    “I think, in a way, that grieving – at least my grieving – is all about spinning myself back together.”
    It will help me. Thank you for sharing that.

    I hope that you and all your family are doing ok.

  9. Jaime Says:

    The yarn is beautiful. And the comparison to grief is so easy to feel.

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