This past week, I deviated a bit from my goal of "one project, start to finish, every week." But some projects are worth an extra week or two, especially if you're starting from scratch. So last week, while Jason was out of the house for an evening of Ticket to Ride with some friends, I stayed home, put on Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, and did some spinning. I got the tension on my spinning wheel just right and ended up with some of the most beautiful, delicate, even, 2-ply hand-spun yarn ever, if I do say so myself. Okay, maybe not ever, but still pretty dang good. Now all I need is a week or two at home to gather some plants and make some dye in a cast iron pot over a fire in the backyard. Then, once the wool is dry, I need a solid couple of days (and some patience) to sit down with Amy or my mom and actually learn how to knit something other than straight knit-stitch scarves. I don't really enjoy the knitting part, which is probably why I stopped at the yarn-making step last week.
But I do very much enjoy spinning. The gentle rhythm of my double treadle, the changing texture as I stretch the soft roving and feel it tighten under my fingers as it spins, the tension of hold and release as the yarn is pulled onto the bobbin, the reminder that I will produce good results if I can just keep my feet from speeding too quickly ahead. It's simple, therapeutic, relaxing work.
I forget all that when I let the wheel rest too long gathering dust in my living room. It becomes a mere decoration, an accessory. My eyes glance over it as something that naturally belongs in my home because I grew up with spinning wheels in the living room, on the bend in the staircase, in my mother's bedroom, in the barn. I'm always surprised when guests come over, and that is one of the first things they comment on. "What is that? Is that a spinning wheel? Like in Rumpelstiltskin? Can you work it?" It makes me grateful for my parents, the rich tradition of craftsmanship they raised me in, the value they placed on taking the time to start from scratch, and the skills that they taught me to honor and preserve history with my hands.