Spinning with grace

 

“is this the way? is this how you hold it, Aunt Pat? Do I pinch like this?” I was sweating.  In my mind, teaching my 5 year old niece, Grace, to spin had been such a lyrical task.  I would show her the wool, the colors, and the textures, and I would explain how the wool came to be sheared, and dyed and carded.  And together we would learn the parts of the spinning wheel, and I would show her how the flyer spun the wool and wound it onto the bobbin.

It wasn’t going that way at all- she was miles ahead of me and treadling the wheel at warp speed.  I was trying to catch up with her thought processes, still wondering in some small corner of my mind, why she wasn’t enamored into stillness by the colors and the textures of the wool.  Determined to recover, I entreated her to treadle more slowly, giving the wool a chance to spin before it was consumed by the flyer orifice and bobbin.  She slowed a bit.

Taking this small window of opportunity- this itty bitty breather- I asked her to stop.  I peeled a narrow rope of wool from the roving.  Handing one end to her, we drafted from both ends, like a spaghetti noodle between two.  At that point, we pulled it apart in the middle.  With her focused on drafting, i was able to demonstrate how much stronger the wool was when it is twisted, rather than the fibers laying side by side.  This made the critical impression.  She showed everyone else in the house, even her next door friend, what ‘strong wool’ we were making.

Teaching can be challenging. But so often what you teach isn’t the craft itself, but the qualities associated with it- patience, diligence, craftsmanship, and appreciation for other’s work. Grace will never look at machine made yarn in the same way.  And I found that the only way to teach effectively was to abandon my lofty ideas of how it was going to go, and roll up my sleeves, catch up and get to the objective of the whole thing- making strong wool.

tomorrow we are dying with Kool-Aid, and carding…

a whiter shade of pale

embrace?

so i am letting my hair go gray…i have been naturally graying since i was in my late 20s, but chose to disguise it.  For someone who values authenticity above most other qualities…coloring my hair just didn’t match with me…not to say there is anything wrong with coloring your hair- just didn’t fit for me anymore…  So last November I declared myself ‘done’…my last temporary color of raspberry creme was destined to grow out and be cut off, leaving room my my own natural color, which just happens to be gray at this point in my life.

I tried this ten years ago, when I was 40.  I decided to let my hair grow out long again- to wear it in a long gray braid down my back…such a mother earth, hippie thing to do…Quite frankly, it looked horrible…and perhaps I just wasn’t ready.

and then Merrilee, one of my high school classmates, who is my “friend” on Facebook turned me on to a website called Going Gray Looking Great .  There are people on there that say  we have to get used to the new color, to stop looking for our old color and to embrace the new one…so i have just been trying to ’embrace’ haha, i mean, how often do you just GET a new hair color- a surprise- that you haven’t chosen off of a chart, or off the cover of a box in the Walmart haircolor aisle?

every day i check my roots and see how much longer before my raspberry creme is just all cut off and I am gloriously gray.

this really has nothing to do with creativity- much more to do with courage to be…but creativity springs from many things and one is courage 🙂

enjoy this chilly first day of summer

PS. the beautiful picture of a wolf is from Zahradka Art…seemed to embody my message of courage and being gray 🙂

color junkie

Inspiration is a message in a bottle from the distant shore, a window into the other world, a tap of the muse’s finger, the grace of the gods.  It comes when you least expect it.  ~ Phil Cousineau

Update: my etsy shop has a creation called “message in a bottle“- check it out 🙂

so there is a woman on Etsy.com, her profile name is ‘girlwithasword’ and she is from Iowa, and her yarns are … words escape me, they are mouth wateringly gorgeous…and its the colors, some are earthy and some are soft and warm, and some are what you would see at sunset in the Grand Canyon… and they inspired me!

(Imagine ‘superman music’) Dant-tuh- DA! I want to BE Girl with a Sword! I want a houseful of beautiful yarn like that! I want overflowing baskets of it hither and yon in my house!  I can do that, right!?

So I bought Kool-Aid, and Rit dye and got out my wool and kettles and set to dying!

I found out that Kool-Aid does a stunningly silent job of dying.  You wouldn’t expect that, but it does!  Kool-Aid is underrated!  And here is the miraculous part, you add the Kool-aid to the hot water, dissolve it, add the wool, let it sit til cool, and when you go back to take out the wool, the water is clear (whisper ‘its like magic’)…and your wool is brilliantly colored.  I made Orange Orange, and Blue Raspberry and several others.

Rit dye does OK, but it doesn’t do the clear water trick, and its harder on the wool- feels more like your hair when you bleach it or dye it too much…sort of damaged.

And so i have all of these awesome colors of wool! While they were drying, i visited them, held them next to one another, matched them up and fawned over them.

And you know what? I don’t want to be Girl With A Sword anymore… I like my stuff better, and my colors are more me…that is inspiration from another, when you are moved to get up off of your butt and create something…even if you want (dant-duh-DA) to be someone else for a moment…in the end, if you are you again, its OK 🙂

PS…how’d you like that message in a bottle quote? Did you see how i did that? 🙂