27 May 2017

Twist, Grist, and WPI.

There's more to spinning than it would seem.

You can delve feverishly into the intricate nuances of handspinning. The mechanics and measurements. The vocabulary. How to draft, ply, balance, wash, and set it. Dyed vs ecru, fingering vs bulky, roving vs batt vs rolag and so on and so forth.

There is a whole world of interesting textile talk backed by history and tradition blended seamlessly with respectful innovation.

But in the living room, with my feet on the wheel and the roving wrapped gingerly around my forearm like a gauntlet, there is so much more going on.

Spinning is for the senses.

And memory is rooted in senses.

While the modestly prepped llama fiber breathes through my fingers, I watch the twist travel up toward my left hand. I hear the treadles pump, the wheel rotate, the flyer spin. I smell the wool and its wash. Feel the bits of VM flick to the floor.

Part of my mind goes to peace. Smooth, repetitive, artistic motions. In one way precise and monitored, in one way relaxed and accepting of flaws and slubs.

Part goes to the movie on the screen, recognizing that in the gentle motion of the growing bobbin, I am rooted and connected to the space around me and the creatures and people who give me this hobby. To those in the room who watch the graceful cycle with me. To the hum and sounds of the room. Like watching a relative cook on a lazy morning - wordlessly, familiar, with love.

Part of me reflects.

That morning at 6 am in 2012 when I had finished two ounces of karakul, rough, grippy, and smelly. Yarn that felt like straw and must have been strong. Yarn spun in a panic, in denial, in pain. Bent over toward the wheel when I could no longer sit up straight. Crying as I spun yard by yard closer to not being able to ignore it. Yard by yard toward the inevitable. The phone call. The ER. The morphine. The ultrasound. The blood on the ground, on my legs, on the toilet seat, on the gown.

Missing the fiber bar and spin in at the yarn shop.

The bag with the circular needles and handspun that I'll never touch or pick up again.

The two days in fugue.

Thinking about getting back to work. Buying more fiber. Refusing what happened. Too much to process. Just spin. Just feel that peace. Just feel, smell, touch, twist, grist, wpi.

This is my full circle. In the moments that the wheel spins, I am peacefully nodding to those moments and acknowledging that I am still that woman, the wool is still wool, the earth is still the earth. It won't be right. But look at me - I am still.

I still am.

And the wheel spins.

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