July 15, 2008

I'm flying a plane

No actually, that's just a desperately interesting title to lift the tedium of another entry about spinning.

Spritelybatt1507-1

Spritely Goods batt, Merino and firestar in "Bursage"

I'm beginning to feel dreadful about it, worried that the parade of rovings, batts, singles and yarn of various plies is going to eventually wear on you, my gentle reader. I worry that in as much as I love yarn and I know you love yarn, that at some point saying "Hey look, I turned this into this" will begin to make you as fidgety as a two year old caught eating coffee beans, seeing as how many of you aren't spinners, and don't care to be, but I am helplessly caught in all of this.

Spritelylayer1507-1

Hiding in layers, the sparkly firestar and tones of green.

I love to spin, for starters. I love many, many elements of it the same way that I love knitting. I love the act of creation that it is, I love waving my hands around (as with knitting, for a very long time) and then sitting back and looking at what has happened and realizing that I have done magic again. Slow magic, but magic. Turning one thing into another. Yarn into socks is almost the same feeling as wool into yarn... spinning feels as clever and validating as knitting... especially when I get it right. The fact that I don't get it right very often because I have so much left to learn only makes it more thrilling when I actually get what I wanted... or at least something good. Add to that the thrilling oldness of spinning, and I am entirely in it's thrall.

Spritelysing1507

Fine singles, half of the batt on each bobbin.

Knitting, as we do it now (and excluding the crafts that inspired it's birth, like nålebinding) is probably about 1000 years old, at best. By human standards, it is young. So young that there is no goddess who knit, no patron saint for knitters, no Greek or Roman myth that has knitting as it's plot line- nor even a word for knitting in any ancient language. The first time that a reference to knitting is made in a play was in Shakespeare's time. Knitting is a new human thing. Very new.

Spinning on the other hand, has been with humans for just about as long as there have been humans. Spindle whorls have been found dating back to Neolithic times. The ancient Egyptians said that Isis taught women to spin, the Greeks said it was Athene and Artemis. There is the Germanic Goddess Holda, Japanese Goddess Amaterasu, Norse Goddess Frigg. Native peoples on the continent where I live have long believed in a Spider woman who spun and wove and taught people these skills, along with bringing them the sun, or the moon or fire. Africa has Anansi, the spider and spinner... even the Greek Fates themselves, the Moirae began with Clotho... who spun the thread of life. Spinning is old. Spinning is so old. Spinning is so old that there is virtually no historic event that you can think of that did not have spinning as a part of it.

Lacesprt1507-1

60g (2 oz) of laceweight, shades of green with sparkles like dew. 200m.

Mummies are wrapped in cloth made from handspun. Confucius gave advice wearing clothes of handspun. Socrates thought, Ceasar ruled, Hannibal crossed the alps with his elephants, Euclid fathered Geometry, The battle of Hastings was fought in handspun. Columbus sailed to the new world with sails of handspun. Imagine a time, up until not very long ago, that if you needed thread or yarn for anything in your life, it was handspun - All handspun. I can't imagine it. It takes hours and hours for me to make yarn - and I don't even have to deal with sheep, shearing, skirting, scouring or carding, unless I want to - and I'm not even making good yarn. I am at an entire loss to conceive of a world where I spin enough for my product to be woven (or knitted) into all the clothes, sheets, blankets or even sails that my family needed. It is magical.

Totally magical, and so I'm sort of sorry for the boring parade of wee skein after skein, parading by as the blog grows ever more dull in these weeks where I'm doing a lot of spinning, but when you think of all the history that has come before my rovings, batts, singles and skeins... maybe think for a little on how this is a vitally important piece of humanity....

Spriteskein31507

It's not really all that boring... is it?

Posted by Stephanie at July 15, 2008 3:00 PM