Sunday, January 9, 2011

I Like it Standing Up

How's that for a blog post title?

So, what I am referring to is spinning, and more specifically, spindle spinning.

I wrote a few weeks ago about a class I took at Make One Yarns, and how much I enjoyed it. Since then, I really hadn't been spinning much. I felt like I should really devote time to it, with no vacations or time off in between.

When we got back to our own place last weekend, I decided I should try to do at least half an hour of spinning each day. That way, I could train my fingers and eyes and muscles a little bit at a time.

Of course, that coincided with a few other resolutions:

1) To laugh every day.
2) To wear a pair of pretty shoes once a week.
3) To never look down on someone just because we do not share the same insecurities.
4) To do some yoga practice once a day.

The first three were not really going to affect my spinning time (well, maybe #1 would, since I don't know if I would do it if I was having one of my grumpy days), but I for sure wanted to make time for yoga. I'm by no means some superyogi, but it does me good to stretch and relax and breathe deeply each day, since I'm one of these people who stores their emotions in their muscles.

Anyway, this week, I managed to spin 4 out of the last 6 days. I was making some pretty good progress, using the park and draft method. Yesterday, though, I decided to try spinning while standing up, to give the spindle the opportunity to spin for longer, and for me to practice drafting (or stretching out the fibres) while the spindle was in motion, rather than stopping it to give me time to arrange the fibres.

It was waaaaay better to do it standing up.

There are some provisos, though, at least for me. Since I'm still a beginner, it's important for me to do this with pre-drafted fibre. This means that the fibre needs to be pre-prepared: divided into manageable chunks, split down the middle to make it thinner and easier to draft, and then pre-drafted (or stretched) so that I didn't have to work so quickly to get it to my preferred thickness before the twist in the spindle snatched it up. Here's what that looks like.

I'm still working on it, and I'm going to try to do some more this afternoon. You'll notice that there are no photos of me spinning. That's because it's really difficult to take photos of that without losing concentration, or without me knocking anything over!

Here's a photo of my spindle with the superwash merino I am spinning. I've got about 50 grams of it all together, and I'm going to try plying it when I'm finished.

Ok, so why does this matter? Why am I not learning to spin on a wheel, and producing larger amounts of yarn for me to play with?

I'm not really sure.

I think I am enamoured by the ancient tradition that a spindle is connected to. I like knowing that I'm doing something that people have been doing, for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. I like knowing that I can do this anywhere: in the car, at work, in a park, and not have to be encumbered by equipment.

That's not to say I won't ever try a spinning wheel. In fact, my friend Tara announced at our last knitting night that she has a spinning wheel coming in the mail, and I think I might have started drooling. How cool! Another toy! Maybe it'll be something I try out in a year or so, who knows?

That's another thing: who knows what any of us will be doing in a year?

If you're a regular blog reader, you've probably come across lots of bloggers taking stock of the past year and summing it all up in a nice tidy post. I've resisted that this year. In fact, I've always resisted it. Part of the reason is that there are some parts of the past year I'd rather not go over again, but the main reason is that I prefer not to tempt fate by listing all the things that happened in the past, and then listing all the things I hope to happen in the future. I'm learning to take things day by day, moment to moment, because then, I can truly be present in what is happening to me. It means that I can concentrate on living, rather than worrying about what is going to happen, or dreading the difficult days ahead. Life's too short for all that worry.

At least, that's the plan. I hope I can keep it up.

In the midst of all this spinning, I've also been working away on my Red Emperor, which I am loving so far:

I'm loving the different tones of red in that yarn, and I think it'll be a beauty, once I get it done. I have to hand it to Hasmii, from Rocky Mountain Dyeworks. It's 400 metres of heaven! And maybe, if I get really good at spinning, I can spin my own 400 metres of heaven, or purgatory, or whatever.

And I'm pretty sure I'll be doing it standing up.

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