Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Thursday, April 17, 2003  

There is a SpinningAngel. What a relief to know, for no matter how much I should like to take lessons, in spite of the fact that I will find a spinning teacher, the bulking truth about my spinning is that I will have to teach myself most of what I learn. I am not talking about putting in time, practicing. I am speaking of teaching myself how to do what I want to do with wheel and fiber. This is not, by any description, a bad thing. It is merely a truth about my situation - that of someone with a full time job in a rural location and a modest salary.

SpinningAngels are akin to WifeAngels - those sprites who leap into your mouth and say something you would not ever have said, but which is exactly the combination of words to engender 100% of the result you want, without compromising your integrity or wounding an Other’s sensibilities in any way. The ability to do this - or perhaps I should say, when this happens in my life, it is so obviously not a learned skill on my part, but a matter of divine intervention, that I can only deduce, from such occasional occurrences, that there is a WifeAngel.

I am sure there are HusbandAngels, but I suspect that they disguise themselves as puppies so that tender hearts will melt and forgive long before there is any reason to do so.

I am struggling these days with my spinning. The recent effort in fine spinning was only a partial success. Thank goodness all the satisfaction came during the process and all the dissatisfaction developed after the skein had been washed and the twist set. Usually my handspun yarns get better looking after the twist is set - in fact, they have always surprised me with their beauty. This time, though, all the flaws in my spinning blossomed as the wool dried. The yarn looks both unevenly drafted and underspun. I am sure it will knit up into something very lovely. It is not hideous, you see, but merely amateurish. so - for heaven’s sake, Bess! what makes you think your first skein of fine spun yarn is going to look professional? Well, I don’t think that, but I need to figure out what it is I’ve done wrong and even if I can identify the flaws, I am not sure I know how to correct them.

Fortunately, the SpinningAngel visited me last night. She guided me through the stack of Spin-Off magazines that arrived on Monday to the Summer 1997 issue with its article by Rita Buchanan on Habitual Spinning. Ms. Buchanan discusses our propensity to spin the same type of yarn over and over and examines both plusses and minuses of this familiar trait. She differentiates between habitual spinning and focused spinning - spinning with thought. Spinning is such a hypnotic and soothing task that it’s easy to buzz off at the wheel and just keep doing the same thing over and over. Great, if what you are doing creates what you want - not so great if you don’t like your results. A highly skilled, thinking spinner may do all her thinking at the beginning of a project - then slide into habitual spinning, although not so deep into the zone that she doesn’t check her progress from time to time. The thinking spinner will also challenge herself to master several habitual yarns, giving herself the freedom and power to direct her spinning towards her desired end. Most of all, the thinking spinner must be willing to try something new.
(i.e. put the new drive band on your wheel, bess, so you can use both whorls)

Ms. Buchanan recommends finding a teacher and this I shall do. Maryland Sheep and Wool is coming up in a few weeks. This year I’ll do a little preparation. Because it is such a sensory event, it would be easy to go and just thrum with emotions, reeling and drooling from booth to booth. Instead, I will arm myself with some technical questions, study the show handbook for likely sources for answers, and put a little method into my viewing. There is no chance I will miss out on the emotional overload experience, but I hope to come home with some specific knowledge as well. In June I hope to attend the meeting of the Fredericksburg spinners guild. Fingers crossed there will be someone who will take me under her wing and help me shorten the learning curve.

In the mean time, I am ready for my next spinning project. I don’t have anything specific in mind and I do have several limitations within which I must work.

· I must use fiber from my stash (no shopping right now-must save up for Md. Sheep & Wool)
· I must spin enough to actually knit something with
· It must be of a high enough quality to please me with the results

Let us hope the SpinningAngel sits on my shoulder while I attempt this.

And let us hope the WifeAngel is smiling with satisfaction today, for it is our 29th wedding anniversary. She should feel pride in a job well done.

posted by Bess | 5:58 AM