Spinning My Wheels

I stepped into an elevator. I was the only one in it and as the door closed I looked for a button to push. One single silver button was barely visible in the oddly painted interior of this elevator. I pushed it and immediately I began going up. But not for long. The elevator stopped. I pressed the button again and it began to go down. Or at least it felt like “we” were going down. The elevator stopped again and while searching for the button to push, I realized you couldn’t really tell where the door was due to the all over sponged paint job inside the elevator. Finding the button, I pushed it and once again I could feel the elevator going up, the familiar whirring sound of gears and machinery, letting me know I was indeed moving. Or was I?

This time the elevator didn’t stop. It just kept right on going…up…I felt sure. I began to hear voices outside the elevator. Two men. One was perhaps an elevator mechanic, the other the owner of the building. They seemed to be discussing what was wrong with the elevator. Theories and possible solutions were being bantered about as I continued to go up and I began to worry that the elevator might not stop, like the one in Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

I looked up and saw that there was no ceiling to the elevator. There was however, a roof belonging to the building but I was in no danger of busting through the roof because the elevator was not moving after all! There was the sensation of movement, the sounds of an elevator working, but in fact “we” weren’t going anywhere…stalled at the ceiling while others tried to figure out how to fix it.

This morning’s dream seems all too true as I have found myself saying to a friend or two that I feel like I’m “spinning my wheels”. Each time these words have inadvertently flown out of my mouth, a little grin begins at the corners, for I realize that indeed I HAVE been spinning my wheels, and my drop spindles and support spindles. I typically think of this expression – spinning my wheels – as a description of being stuck in a muddy hole and the vehicle’s tires being unable to get any traction. Going nowhere fast. All the work and daily grind, but no forward movement for all our efforts. My elevator dream was in fact a fairly accurate depiction of how life feels for many of us during this pandemic.

Sitting on my desk is a lovely pile of freshly plied yarn. I have left it sitting there, instead of putting it away in a ziplock bag (on account of the cat), to remind me of a simple truth…

Spinning my wheels will, someday, in the end,

yield something beautiful and useful.

I’m holding onto this Golden Thread because most days feel a lot like sitting with wool twisting in my hands over and over and over again. And though I dearly love that repetitive work, it helps me to remember that bobbins are being filled and beautiful yarn is, despite everything, being made for use later. I do look forward to a day when we will be able to see some positive outcomes of our daily “going nowhere” in the elevator of COVID 19.

*****

Dear Reader…I’d love to know how you are holding onto a Golden Thread? What is helping you through the uncertain days? ❤️

“I Will Never…”

I should have known better. It’s happened a couple of times before. I said it years ago…”I will never knit socks.” And then, somehow (I honestly don’t remember what made me pick up teeny tiny needles and start knitting my first sock) I found myself knitting pairs of socks one right after the other.

So I should have known a couple of years ago, NOT to say, “I will never spin.” I was so firmly confident that with the panoply of yarns available, already spun, I would just do myself a favor and stay away from the whole spinning thing. And certainly not bring in another piece of furniture to collect dust in my house. Nope. I will never spin. So I said.

Never say never.

Here’s how it went. One of my students/knitting friends was first and foremost a spinner. Out of a desire to talk to her about her passion, listening to her describe what she was learning, a tiny speck of curiosity took up residence somewhere in my creative world. Of course I told her “I will never spin” and all the whys. Oh a drop spindle? What’s that? Small thing? Doesn’t take up a lot of space? Fun to use, portable…oh really? Hm. Perhaps I could try it. My oldest daughter had recently taken to spinning and was doing great with her drop spindle. So I thought, “Why not?” and bought a spindle and some wool.

Why not indeed?

It’s like a staircase. One step up.  You don’t realize the stair steps are leading you somewhere. You just take that step out of curiosity and voila, another step appears. A fall fiber festival with wool and spindles hanging everywhere, with big neon signs (not really) on them saying Spin Me! More conversations with the spinning friend. A visit to a spinning guild with her on a Sunday afternoon where someone was giving away some of her spindles, demonstrating ways to use them, and ladies sitting at their wheels. Uh oh. Wheels. Those look fascinating. And that lovely sound they make. And look at the gorgeous yarns they spin. Perhaps I could find one that looks compact, not so big and bulky. Oh and maybe I could paint one…I saw that at the Fiber Festival!

Several stair steps later, last summer, I bought a vintage Louet spinning wheel from a local spinner for a super price. Promptly painted it. I kept thinking what if I can’t do it? What if I’m just not able to make this thing work? I sat down to it and began to spin. And wonder of wonders, I took to it right away. A duck to water. That kind of thing. All of a sudden I found the stair step I had climbed was now a broad open field of wool and fiber with little gates leading off to dying wool, eco dying, blending wool, batts, rolags, and braids. A delightful place to spin around in.

This stair step thing is how it goes most of the time. I suppose for some folks, they fall into a new creative outlet hook, line, and sinker, all in one fell swoop. For me, it is often dipping a little toe in and just seeing what the waters are like. Telling myself all the while…”OK, this is alright, but I will never go any further with it.” Ha!

I’m learning…to never say never. Ya just never know! 🙂

‘Round the World & Going Again

When I was a young girl, my dad had a sing-song chant he would say every now and then:

Jennifer, Jennifer my girlfriend…

‘Round the world and goin’ again!

I loved this little ditty and I looked forward to actually traveling around the world someday. Though I have not traveled nearly as much as I had once dreamed, I do feel that in some way, I get to go ’round the world through my passion for all things yarn.

From knitting pursuits that take me to Norway, Scotland, England and elsewhere through Fair Isle stitching…

…to Guatemala, Bolivia, and other places where the Backstrap Loom thrives…

…to New Zealand where my Rigid Heddle Loom came from…

…to Japan where Saori Weaving originated. And to Chapel Hill, NC where I learned to use a Saori Loom just a week or so ago…

…to numerous lands and cultures, even Native American, where the drop spindle is used…

…and to dreaming of supported spindles and their origins in Russia, Tibet and elsewhere. I also think it would be fun to make yarn on a Turkish spindle. Who knows where else I will get to travel  from the comfort of my studio in North Carolina?

So you can see that my Summer of Weaving continues to enchant and inspire!  I did have a momentary itch return to my fingers yesterday for knitting fair isle mittens and holiday ornaments. There was something in the air, quite literally, as it sprinkled rain and a few leaves were falling from our birch tree. A first whiff of autumn. And I still have my little twiggy tree adorned with the Arne & Carlos Julekuler I knitted last year. Making & creativity have always, for me, been inspired by the seasons. It all comes full circle, with new adventures along the way. Yes indeed…for this yarn and fiber loving gal…Around the World and Going Again!