if my spinning wheel could talk

spinning wheelput away for the summer? put away for the summer!? Seriously??? why? Just when I want to party, and dance! When there all kinds of summer festivals for fiber, when the colors of the outdoors are vivid and lush…when I could be inspired by the colors of the flowers and trees– stuck in a dusty corner of the dining room…life is so unfair.

In the winter, then I am suitable company, I guess. When her creativity runs low…when she looks out at the snow and knits. The colors of winter are soft greys and undyed wool…instead there are skeins of indigo blues, rich purples and deep greens, miles of yarn traveling through my flyer, winding on my bobbins. I see her out there in the kitchen, up to her elbows in wool, and dye…wrapping multi colored bundles of wool in Saran Wrap and boiling them, like a witch at her cauldron….the steam making me wish we could open the windows. Yellows that look like freshly ground mustard seed, greens the color of a dark forest path, the trees canopied overhead closing out the sky…

We travel through time and continents in the dark of winter, the rhythm of the treadle and unspoken stories between us…

Advertisements

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…

Top Clicks

  • None