“i knew you would want this…”

I spun for 2 hours yesterday…no music on, no TV, no distraction…just the whirring of the wheel…it was a precious time- felt like it was one of those fluffy dandelions that is captured in the glass paperweight… safe, soundless and insulated.

last fall when i returned to school for the year, my dear friend Karen came to me with a garbage bag in her arms.  She presented it to me and said, “I knew you would want this.”  Turns out she had sheared her llama, Bella, and apparently at some point in time, I had told her that if she ever did clip Bella that I would love the fleece.  I had no recollection of this, but that’s not unusual…i say things like that.  So here i was… with several pounds of unwashed unpicked llama fleece.  I ventured a look in the bag when I got home.  Yep.  That’s what it was.  I stashed it in the waterheater room.  Every so often I would glance at that trash bag and wonder about what i was going to do with it…and then would be distracted by something more urgent.  I had absolutely no idea what i was going to do with this fleece- I didn’t spin, i didn’t knit, i didn’t crochet…in fact, i didn’t know really anything about fleece, except for one failed attempt to make a drop spindle from a Mother Earth News article years ago…and so it sat…and i ignored it.

…until someone mentioned a spinning class in Hot Springs in March…and the rest is history 🙂

life has changed in the past year…my empty nest is full for a time…

so thankful for this quiet tactile colorful art, that allows me to be creative during this time in my life…and so thankful for a friend who “knew you would want this”, even if i didn’t.

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spinning…centering

Spinning with Journi

Spinning with Journi

So as I alluded to earlier, I took a class in how to spin wool this past winter.  Only 3 of us and the teacher.  One of the other two students, a lady named Janet, had a spinning wheel and wanted to take the class so she could make sure she was doing things right.  The other woman said she knitted quite alot and for some reason, I felt that she also knew how to spin.  I was thinking…”oh shoot, I am the only one who doesn’t know what is going on here…”

And I was very nervous about trying to learn something new…want to learn myself, without someone standing over me.   i tend to drop out of stuff that doesn’t come easy- i get embarrassed that I can’t be perfect immediately.

Initially I probably would have had more luck trying to spin with my feet, because it felt just that awkward.  Our teacher was really good not hovering, she helped if you wanted help, but mostly she let us work it out ourselves.  Janet was a stellar spinner, one hand pulled the wool from the wad she had in her other hand, and fed it toward the spinning flyer in this slow methodical rhythm.  Looking at her, she seemed to be actually relaxed, not stressed about doing it ‘right’, sortof looked like she was even having fun.

And then Terry, our teacher, brought out some raw unprocessed wool…wool that just been sheared off the sheep and bagged.  She gave us each a handful and told us to try it out…my breath caught as I rubbed that wool between my fingers.

We raised sheep when I was a girl, and they got sheared every year on Mother’s Day.  It was always hot, and dusty in the shearing shed.  My job was to bundle the sheep’s wool after the fleece was clipped free of the sheep and she ran bleating back to the herd.  We had this paper-like twine that I wrapped around the big bunch of wool…around and around like wrapping a gift with ribbon.  Going around the back of the large bundle of wool forced me to bury my face in the wool, using both arms to try to keep the wool up and out of the dirt.  The wool stuck to my sweaty face, fibers in my mouth, nose, eyes and the creases of my neck.  It was loud in the shed with the noises of the electric shearing clippers, sheep bleating, men shouting.

Just the feeling of the wool in my hand brought all of this flooding back and I was speechless…and a bit teary.  Until that moment, i never connected spinning with anything other than a nice earth-mother type of craft that I wanted to learn.

I pulled the leader out on my bobbin, threaded it thru the orifice and feathered some of the brown sunburnt wool onto the leader.  I started the wheel spinning with my hand and with the wad of wool in my right hand, I pulled and fed it toward the orifice with my left.   It was working…I could hardly believe it.  The spun wool was winding onto the bobbin, nice thin yarn like Janet’s…I was delighted.

Focus…

center…

when i began the class, I was all over the place…worrying about how inept I looked, admiring other people’s skills, feeling out of place and ridiculous.  Feeling that wool somehow grounded me.  When we are feeling ‘all over the place’, worrying about others…and not finding that place of energy, quiet and ideas inside ourselves…we are not feeding our creativity.  We are pouring it down the drain.

What grounds you? centers you? focuses you?

What activity helps you find that place of energy, quiet and ideas inside of yourself?

(I added a picture of Journi and I spinning llama wool yesterday…she likes to sit with me :))

have a brilliant day,

pat

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