Monday, July 2, 2012

Why I Spin Wool (& why you should too, maybe)

When I tell people that I spin wool into yarn I almost always get one of two reactions. There are the crunchy, granola-eating, farmy people that think it's just too cool, and then there are the people that are genuinely surprised that I would bother. After all, anyone can go to the craft store and buy almost any kind of yarn imaginable in a rainbow of colors to make their socks, sweaters, or blankets. More to the point you can go to a department store and just buy some socks ready to wear for a couple of dollars.

Plus, I'm busy. They know I'm busy because they're busy. Everyone is busy. It's a chronic condition of our society.

And that's why I spin.

That's Martha on the left and Elizabeth on the right.  Of course my spinning wheels have names.  All spinners name their wheels.  Seriously.

No, my tree isn't still up.  This picture is from just before Christmas, I swear!

Being busy is not a good way to live. You can't think on things and reflect on happenings if you're always rushing to the next thing.

That's the first reason I spin. To slow down. There's something meditative about fiber sliding through your fingers, steadily working the treadle, and the quiet blur of the wheel turning. I find when I spin that it's not only me that's affected. My husband will pause in the doorway and take in the sight of me. The children are drawn to watch and ask (again) if I will show them how. My youngest child is autistic. Have I shared that yet? Well, he is. He's 8 years old and doesn't speak yet, but words are coming slowly. My autistic child will come and sit on the floor right in front of the wheel and hold his face mere inches away to feel the air move and look through the spokes. It slows the whole family down. Just like magic.


Another reason I spin is the intense pride and satisfaction I get from finishing something. This feeling greatly adds to my well-being. And it lasts for years. I made a quilt just before I got married 16 years ago. I still get a rush when I see one of my children sleeping under it. Almost as though the quilt is an extension of me, of my arms wrapped around my child.

Oh, now I'm getting all wistful and sappy. That is so not me!

So, maybe, you should spin too. Or crochet. Or knit. Or quilt. Or paint. Or you could be scatter brained eclectic, like me, and do all of the above.

If you think spinning could be your thing, I suggest you go to The Joy of Handspinning.  There are videos of different techniques.  The author has a real knack for teaching.  I learned from that site and other videos on youtube!  I still don't know any other spinners in real life.

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