Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Spindle Love

This post has sadly been languishing in my edit list for quite some time. After spending a delightful hour last night with my spindle, I decided that it needed to be published today! (We'll not discuss how long ago I started it.....) As you know, this is my beloved Golding spindle - a 1.3 oz, 2.5 inch butterfly that I bought a little over a year ago. I'd been spinning since I was 14, but had never used a spindle before. In the year or so prior to my purchase, though, I had been exposed repeatedly to several local spindle spinners - including some brilliant spinners in the guild - and had become fascinated with the process. Curiosity, and a desire to better understand my craft, led me to my first spindle. Why a Golding? Because everyone I know says they are the best.

My spindle and I had a roughish start, though. I read a few books, selected some fun fiber and winged it on my own. It was fun....but I never really got the hang of it, and when le Tour de Fleece 2008 was over I transferred the little bit I had spun onto a bobbin so that I could finish the fiber on my wheel. This summer, thanks to Le Tour De Fleece and some rather tacky fiber which - while not exactly fun to work with - gave me control, I finally discovered that I love to work with my spindle.
The result was that I decided that I was definitely a spindle spinner. I also decided that if I was going to take this seriously I needed to have a variety of spindles in different sizes and weights so that I could have more versatility.

Of course I went right back to Golding, finishing my little family of spindles out with a 2 inch - .45 oz Cherry Tsunami, a 3 inch - 1.9 oz Celtic Ring, and a 3.5 inch - 2 oz Midnight Sky. They arrived while the girls were camping in the backyard of my parents' home.

Here is the entire family together. Aren't they beautiful! Practical use aside, they are truly little works of art.

It's all well and good to have a perfect tool, though, if you don't know how to properly use it. Fortunately, I have access to a wealth of knowledge through some of my guild friends. Even better, Jenny agreed to meet with me for a blissfully child-free hour of spinning. (Yes, this is the same Jenny who is my daughter's weaving teacher!) I have it on very good authority that Jenny is quite the expert with spindles - and she's an excellent teacher, too.
And oh...what a difference an hour makes! Yes, it is very true that there are many wonderful books available to help you learn any number of arts and crafts, BUT one should never underestimate the value of working with another human being. In one hour I picked up several tricks that both helped to make spindling quite easy for me and also corrected the few problems I had developed by going at it on my own.
My spindle and a small bag of fiber now go everywhere with me, and I've become quite attached to this very quiet, deliberate, slow and meditative process. It's something I needed...even if I didn't know that before I started.
When asked recently why I bothered, I explained that all of the other handwork I do is about speed, technical proficiency and production. (Which is a bit humorous given how much of a process knitter I tend to be.) When I spin, I am able to let go of the need for perfection. When I work with the spindle I can let go of the rest so that I can fully experience and enjoy the process. It takes me out of my head, and into a peaceful place where I can just be.
The Green Woman and I sincerely hope that you have that place, too.


Jenny said...

Lovely post! You have really blossomed as a spindle spinner. And thank you for your compliments too.

Shelda said...

That tree spindle with the silver moon and stars is stunning. Too bad I don't spin!