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


How wonderful to have a friend to share so much with for so many years. That's something to treasure. And beautiful work with the handspindle!

By Anonymous Cathy in Va., at 11:05 PM  

Wow, if I hadn't had my own perfect week-and-a-half in western NC, I'd be awfully envious of your perfect spinning weekend. And look at that incredibly fine hand-spindled yarn you made! Impressive! I need to sit at the feet of the master (you) and observe some more, I think!

I'm already having withdrawals after my great time in Asheville and NC, and am dying to go spindle (and wheel?) shopping sometime soon....


By Blogger Mary, at 1:30 PM  

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Monday, November 05, 2007  

(Some spindling was also done this weekend - this is aplaca silk lace-to-be)

Oh La. Sorry – long boring post about me.

Had to get it out, though. Tomorrow I may be more interesting.

Ahhhh. A weekend of pure bliss comes along now and then and when it does, one ought to just open up and savor it. I promise you. I did. Sweet pleasure and friendship, beautiful surroundings and comfort, stimulating talk and activities, complete trust and relaxation.


How ever am I going to pull myself together enough to march through this week? Ah well. I shall just have to do so. But today will feel a little like that first day back to work after a vacation.

Way back long long ago – on Labor Day of 1971 – I moved my meager possessions into a dormitory in Richmond. My transition from living at home teenager to on my own college student was very rocky and were it not for the calm determination of Mama might not have been nearly so productive. But for sure – when I moved into that dorm room – I had no place to go back to. The main bridges were burned in glorious crazy French/Irish madness, echoing all the stupidity of Belfast or the Paris riots.

VCU – the college I attended, was an old satellite school, spun off of either UVA or W&M – I forget which – and it occupied a delightful section of the city full of old 19th century townhouses with bay windows, castle turrets, double-door parlors and balconies. That part of the city, destined for slumhood by the two-car family's love affair with the plasticized suburbs of post war America, got a shot in the arm by the influx of intellectuals that cluster around a university so that. instead, a perfect city neighborhood with an artsy flavor spread west towards TheBoulevard. TheFan, it is called and, in spite of the soulless brick piles a school that has gotten too big for its britches is determined to spew down Broad Street, I believe it is safe from destruction. It is probably also now priced out of the student pocketbook, but it's not going to be bulldozed to make way for someone's monument to mammon. At least, not for now.

I love this part of town. I'm more homesick for that neighborhood than for any other place I ever lived. It represented the opportunity to live with one toe in the Romantic Past and one toe in a southern city's version of Haight Ashbury. Such a Bessish thing – to try to multi-task like that.

Look a bird!

I only remember actually meeting my roommate on that move-in day – a sullen dumpy girl who never liked me, moved out as fast as she could and whose name is lost to me now. I was a slob – but I was also never present and am sure I took up less than half the room because I was also as poor as a church mouse. I had a very few clothes, a violin and a dinky record player and two records I played over and over and over ... if I was present.

But I did notice the other faces moving onto that 18th floor cluster of bedrooms and late teenage hormones. That first night, in one of the cafeterias, I recognized a girl from across the halls and plunked myself and my tray of highly processed carbs down with her and her roommate. It was the beginning of my longest and oldest friendship – since I didn't meet BD till 2 days later.

R has been my friend all of my adult life. Our lives have not taken parallel paths but we've both found our way, at 55 and almost 55, to beautiful places, loving relationships, joyful pleasures. We each admire the other and we both love each other's mates. It's a wonderfully rewarding relationship and this past weekend we got to spend solid time together. Not enough solid time, but some sweet fun.

It was R who was the knitter in those early days and I lusted over the beautiful things she made, though she, of course never saw anything special in her crafting but instead admired my sewing skills. What's nice is that now we still admire each other's talents but we don't dismiss our own so much. I took up spinning sooner, though and she has been just a wee bit intimidated by it. At FFF, though, we both bought gorgeous spindles and I sent her my Melba Montgomery video on drop spindling, which did for her exactly what it did for me – opened up that magic door to spinning nirvana. This weekend she brought her spindle and her wheel and some lovely wool, I am guessing Romney roving – and we had a long slow afternoon of spidle plying and wheel spinning lessons. All that drop spindle hand knowledge transferred right into her wheel spinning and within minutes she was making the kind of yarn she had dreamed of making. Lots of it. Even after we took a break to go out and enjoy the afternoon sunshine, her hands could pick up where she left off and spin more great yarn!

But the thrill of remembered skills was not hers alone. I too, had been away from any of my wheels for months and months. I honestly can't remember when I last worked with Bella – and I was beginning to wonder if I remembered how to use her. She was DUSTY! I have a pound of beautiful Border Leicester, bought from J last January – and it was unspun – so I know I hadn't touched a wheel since then.

R's visit was just the prompt I needed to take my beauty out for a “spin”. That wheel is simply gorgeous, spins like an ocean breeze and best of all – the new arrangements in my house allow me to sit on the couch and spin. (my couch has mobile back pillows – lots of them -for propping up aging backs) This means I can watch movies and spin at the same time – while I gaze at my library shelf of knitting books.

That was another fun thing we got to do this weekend. Now that my books are all so tidily arranged I could pull them out and share them with R.Look at this! Oh! Wait till you see this!!” echoed through the house all day. BD sometimes sat and watched us flutter into ecstasy about cables or ruffles or twisted ribs, smiling as if he were looking at some sort of foreign fauna, but most of the time he was taking J out on the river or letting her drive him to town. They talked literature and poetry which is exactly right for a poet and a 17 year old.

All too soon it was time to say good bye. I'm still feeling the tug of friendship, pleasure, memories, and love that binds R to me and has done so for 36 years. A very rich full weekend. Somehow I have to squeeze myself back into a Library Director mold in 3 hours, and ride that rail through the weekend. I am sure I shall manage but oh how glad I am to have had this sweet weekend.


posted by Bess | 7:11 AM