While the sun shines

This morning when I got up and looked upon my domain, I realized that I was screwed, and started in on the hopeless list of things I can’t possibly accomplish in one day. I began with Item #1. Drink Coffee.  (Sometimes I put things on my list that I know I’m going to do, just so that I can cross them off. #2 was “Cross off drinking coffee”. See that? I got to cross out two tasks in one.) While I was drinking coffee, I was sort of gazing wistfully at my wheel and feeling bad about how long it’s been since I sat at it. Truth be told, we moved it to our bedroom to make room for the Christmas tree, and it didn’t come back down until yesterday. (I’d feel worse about that, but at least I don’t still have the tree up.) It occurred to me that if I wasn’t going to get everything done anyway, then maybe it didn’t matter if one more thing didn’t get done, and I took my coffee, my roving, and my phone over to the wheel, plunked myself in the sunbeam that was shining in through amazingly dirty windows (that’s what I took off the list. Clean windows) and listened to an audiobook and had a little bit of a spin.

nerdroving 2016-04-20

Nerd Girl Yarns roving, 100% Cheviot, in the colourway “I will not eat them Sam I am.”

nerdrovingspin 2016-04-20

Looks nice, right? Sure it does. It looks like a nice normal person sitting there, listening to a book and having a really relaxed morning, which I absolutely did, for just about an hour before I let all the stuff I have to do start creeping in around the edges again. Then I worked, and packed (I’m flying out tomorrow, and those of you I’ll be teaching wouldn’t appreciate a whole day at the wheel) and then this afternoon I had another twenty minutes where I neglected important things (I decided I could write emails in the airport in the morning instead – likely a tactical error, considering that I’ll be there before 5am, but it was a nice thing to say to myself) and I feel amazingly sane, undeservedly organized, and pretty happy.

I’d forgotten that spinning can be like that. It’s so tidy, and orderly, and such an efficient act of transformation- like dusting something with a lot of dust on it. Big change, easily had. No waiting. Very, very good for the soul, if bad for the windows.

PS. The details about the June Knit-Play-Cook Retreat are up, and it’s so funny that today – the day I’m talking about spinning, I’m opening a retreat just for knitters. (Well, I mean, spinners can come and all, but you don’t have to be one. This is the one retreat a year we do without a spinning component.) We’ve had some cancellations on our “hold me a spot list” so there’s some places wide open.

86 thoughts on “While the sun shines

  1. I’ve stopped making a ‘to-do’ list. It depresses the be-jesus out of me how much I see needs done. Then I do nothing…then I get the vicious circle going with depression and doing nothing.

    So I only write down what I accomplish. The goal is 10 things per day. Getting dressed and making the bed are right there on the ‘accomplished list’ along with brushing teeth and combing hair. And some days that is a struggle.

    If spinning soothes your soul, then you should make time for it.

  2. Hi Stephanie … I’m not a spinner, so I was completely surprised to see that the bright coloured roving came out to such a lovely, soft yarn. It’s absolutely magic! And how great that you knew how to do this magic! Hope you have a wonderful time at your next event.
    Kind regards,

  3. I think you chose your priorities wisely and with great regard for yourself. Those windows? You can’t clean windows when the sun is shining on them anyways. Wait till a cloudy day.

  4. I knew you were busy with lots happening and in addition going to Colorado this weekend. I hope you have a lovely time and enjoy the Front Range!

  5. You’re spinning should be a bright spot. I can see by what you got done that it is. Windows will get washed when it rains, right? So long as there is food in the house, clean clothes to wear, it’s all good. My windows could use a good wash but I’m not willing to climb a ladder to do the ones that don’t tilt in. Besides we have a dog and a cat that sneeze on them the minute they are spotless.

    Enjoy your trip. Love the cowl from yesterday.

    • Had to laugh out loud! My large dog and my kitties ALL leave nose prints on my windows. In the case of the dog a bit of slobber is included free of charge. Drives me crazy cuz I really do like clean windows.

      • OMG I burst out laughing at these sentiments too. My dog offers a an assortment of nose art around the house windows too. Still prints on frosted glass panels by the entry door; swipes along my windows in short quick strokes as she scans the backyard for squirrels, and exuberant sneeze patterns around allergy season.

  6. Spinning is good. You’re making yarn and preserving sanity, Packing is good too. Even nudists have to pack sunscreen and flip-flops!

    As for the “to-do” list: You’ll be fine as long as you can honestly say you’ve done the items that read “Hug Joe,” “Hug Girls,” “Feed Family (Especially cat)”, “Call Mom/MIL,” etc. Most of the other things can wait!

  7. I, too, find spinning to be so calming and centering. I’ll admit that sometimes I also sit down at my wheel and spin a bit when I’m feeling frazzled — I’m convinced that my wheel does a bit of hypnosis on me.

  8. Hey Steph, I moved to Pittsburgh in September, lived in an apartment with my beloved husband while our new home was built. Moved into the house in January, and still haven’t finished unpacking. Instead I’ve been taking care of our first grandchild, Sabrina, full time. It’s been a joy but also exhausting. (There’s a reason that childbearing years are in the first half of our lives!) I finally realized that making lists is helpful and I too make sure that I have things on it that I can cross off. Kudos to you for taking time to spin. I need to be reminded that it’s ok to stop and take time to work/play with the things I love. By the way, what book were you listening too? I haven’t watched much TV since I got hooked on audio books.

    • We have not had a television since 1991. Astounding the reaction from people if it comes up in conversation. Various versions of ‘I couldn’t live without it’ (really?) to I would love to get rid of ours (back of car, charity shop). But the one that astounds me still, and actually makes me quite sad, is the question ‘but what do you do?’

  9. Yes, but what book were you listening to?? Always looking for a good suggestion to while away the hours while I knit…! Just finished Major Pettigrew, getting ready for her next book, should be good! I’m very interested to see what the roving looks like as yarn; can you tell, the way the color is applied, how it will be (will it variegate, or stripe?) or is it just a complete surprise? Just wondering! I think you made the right choice by the way. Have a safe trip!

  10. Aw Stephanie,
    Lists are great and also great to throw away. Dirty windows do still let light in… Taking time to smell (and drink!) the coffee and spin the roving is balance. I do have concerns about your arse if you don’t start doing more training rides, but I don’t worry about dirty windows. Balance is what it’s all about.. Hang in there. The blog-o-sphere will make it if you take a break. We won’t love it, but we’ll make do.

  11. I’ve been so crazy busy that although I usually check the Blog each morning, I haven’t checked for 2 or 3 days and to get two blogs was a “yay!” moment…thanks!!!

  12. I had the privilege of fondling hand spun naturally dyed Cheviot deep in the highlands of Scotland (in the Cairngorms) last June. It felt very sturdy!
    I’m glad I’m not the only one who writes stuff on the to-do list just to cross it off…

  13. I did exactly that today. I looked around, realized I was screwed, and took a deep breath… and picked up my spindle and spun. I spun just enough to feel better but not quite enough to feel horribly guilty, and went back to work. I kept my spindle by me, just so I could pat it and remember.
    As you say: Spinning is like that.

  14. I’ll write things on my to-do list after I’ve done them just for the joy of crossing it off. Small pleasures right? The yarn in progress looks softly muted and lovely. I have one pair of Cheviot wool socks and I love them as they wear like iron.

  15. An easier-than-usual way to clean the outside of windows is to attach a bottle of Windex Outdoor to a garden hose and spray away. It works wonders!

    I make a list every evening of what I need to do or where I need to go the following day, otherwise I’ve found myself out running errands and forgetting a stop I intended to make to pick up something. Weekends are often my list-less days. The satisfaction of checking items off the list keeps me motivated. (Understand that some days the list is short.)

    If you don’t take time to do something just for yourself, you can end up running on empty. Good for you for stopping to re-charge your battery by spinning!

  16. Love the name of that yarn!!

    I don’t spin. I’d love to try it, but no funds for it right now. Know what I love? Making cakes. I get out my yarn swift and ball winder and wind everything in sight. I love those neat little stackable cakes! It is very relaxing and rewarding for me!

    Hm . . . guess that is spinning of one kind! 🙂

    • I do that too!!
      I love my ball winder and swift and use them when I need just a little fibre in my life but my knitting is away/frustrating/got eaten by a bird who stole it out of my car what knitting. :))

  17. I, too, had to dig out my wheel so I can do demonstration for some kindergarten students on Friday. I cleaned off the dust today and oiled it in preparation for practicing tomorrow. Wish me luck!

  18. I was doing so well on the billions of yards of fine for a cabled yarn (want to see how close the color changes fall for in a roving split four times) and my drive band started to unravel. Been weeks. Ten minute job (not counting noting finding the twine). Maybe today. Anybody asks why is m not doing what I oughta, I’ll send ’em you r way.

  19. What’s the saying? Put on your own oxygen mask first. Self-care is just as important as to-do lists and way more important than windows. I’m sure your family appreciates your choice even if they don’t quite realize it.

    I’m currently back to work subbing in the local schools after 20+ years at home. The hardest part is the boredom – watching kids do worksheets can be excruciating. I’ve started bringing my current sock (on dons), which fascinates the kids no end.

    • I’m starting to think the Gansey was unraveled and turned into something else long ago. But I’m glad you still remember it!

  20. I am so sorry about Prince. you were my second thought after I processed how it affects my own life. I wish you love and healing.

  21. Heard about Prince, and I immediately thought of you. Hugs to you and to all fans of that wonderful genius of music.

  22. I am cranking up ‘Raspberry Beret’ and thinking of you. I am so sorry that Prince has been taken — like many — far too soon xx

  23. Sorry to hear that Prince had died, and console you in your loss. Many thoughts will be around that in the next few months.

  24. Love the list making trick!
    I don’t spin but your posts make me want to. Sigh.
    Wanted to express my condolences for the loss of your beloved Prince. There are no words or symbols sufficient.

  25. How sad! I just got to the end of the comments and saw all the comments about Prince. Just the other day one of my sons was asking about the song Party like its 1999 which led me to tell him about Prince and then we looked for the song on Youtube to no avail. Then we heard he had been sick on a plane…now this. Too many entertainers that I have enjoyed over the years have passed away recently.

  26. Spinning is for the soul, coffee is for the brain. Your priorities are perfect. Especially the part about spinning in the sunbeam with an audiobook.

  27. Adding my condolences on the death of Prince, thought of you immediately. I understand after my daughter “lost” David Bowie earlier this year.

  28. As I drove past the Embassy Suites in Loveland today, blasting Prince as I went, I thought of you and your Prince clause. I had Alan Rickman as my clause (even though he was 24 years older), so I know how you must be feeling right now. It’s been a sad year 🙁

    But I do hope that you can still enjoy your time in the Sweetheart City with many knitters to comfort you & cheer you up!

  29. My condolences also on the loss of your Prince. You were the first person I thought of when I heard the news. RIP.

  30. My condolences on the death of Prince. Like many others who posted here, I thought of you first when I heard the news.

  31. I’m sorry about Prince. As someone said on a tragic day, “you can’t be Irish without knowing the world is going to break your heart. But we thought we had a little more time.”

  32. I thought of you after hearing the incredibly devastating news that Prince passed away. I’m so sorry. He was a gift to us all and is gone far too soon. I just wanted to send you a virtual hug, because I know you’re hurting like I’m hurting, like so many of us are hurting. **hugs**

  33. Thinking of you today. Times like this I wish you were my ‘in real life’ friend instead of a virtual knitting friend. I’ve gotten texts and emails of condolences from friends and family who knew what Prince meant to me but it would be nice to talk to someone about how fantastic he was and the void his passing is leaving. I loved him too (in that way that teenagers idolize and love musicians – but it’s never changed ya know?). I think I may need to cast on some Purple Rain socks or a Raspberry Beret. It may help. Actually I’m sure it will. Knitting always helps.

  34. My deepest sympathies to you, on the sudden loss of Prince, and to others who were his fans, also. Although not a ‘great’ fan myself (I may be … ~gulp~ … too old??), your enthusiasm made him very real to me.

    I am saddened that his passing will bring grief to so many, but especially saddened to know you are one of them.

  35. My condolences on the loss of your almost-boyfriend. Like many other posters, I thought of you first when I heard the news.

  36. I just got home from Quebec City and just heard about Prince. Totally devastated. Loved his music since the beginning. A very sad day. I feel your pain.

  37. So sorry about Prince. It’s just a tragedy. Something must have gone terribly wrong, for someone near my age to die of the flu. When I said this to my mother, she made me promise that I would get my flu shot first thing tomorrow. I guess a mother’s work is never done, no matter how old you are.

  38. When I heard the news, I came here first to send you some love. Here’s a hug ().
    It’s been a very rough year, hasn’t it?

  39. Dear Stephanie,

    I turned on the radio and they were talking about Prince and about how great his music was. It took me whole minutes to realize that they were talking about him in the past tense. A slow, creeping horror washed over me. It can’t be, I thought. No no no no, I said out loud. Then one of the voices said how sad he was that Prince had died. And I lost it. Because what you wrote about him perfectly described my feelings too. When the wave of emotion ebbed slightly, I thought of you. I know you are hurting right now, like everyone who loved that amazing, undefinable, unconquerable human being. Every knitter who has ever loved him is hugging you in their hearts right now, right along with me.

  40. I see I’m not the first to come to say how sorry I am at the loss of your favorite musical genius–and he was one.

    I hope you get to spin more soon. It does help, in its own way. Beautiful yarn you’ve made.

  41. So sorry you lost prince. Hard to believe he is gone! I thought of you as I was driving. Condolences. But his music lives on.

    It is more durable than the stacks of sweaters I will leave behind as my life of work.

  42. Thinking of you on hearing of Prince’s passing. I hope you feel hugged and supported and understood by ‘us’. Long-term love and inspiration and respect for someone we don’t “know” is not well understood, but know we care that you’ll be grieving, Steph.

  43. Stephanie,
    I thought of you immediately when I heard the news yesterday. I know how much you loved Prince and his music. I have been blasting his music since yesterday and humming them to myself. What a loss to the world. Thankfully his beautiful words, music and talent will live on. I saw Stevie Wonder on the news this morning and he could barely sign a short portion of “Purple Rain” before choking up. I never got to see Prince in person. You are lucky to have seen him several times. Love to you and your family.

  44. I seem to remember my wheel at about 10pm at night. Then I spin till just before midnight. All my wheels have their own room and I just know they are angry that I spend no time with them. My great wheel throws it’s drive band in protest and my CPW squeeks and squawks in anger that I have not oiled it or fixed it’s damaged front maiden leather bearing. I will do all once the sewing is done! Please everyone…be patient!


  45. Every time I cleaned windows a bird would throw itself against one and die so I stopped cleaning them to preserve the dwindling bird population.

  46. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought of you first when I heard the news about Prince. Thinking of you today.

  47. Stephanie implies/suggests (says outright) that non-knitters have no way of understanding the psychological/philosophical significance of stash. I keep my stash hidden from all visitors by stashing it all over the house. That way, a non-knitter accidentally finding it has no idea of how much more may exist in forgotten back corners of closets and cabinets. Anything not completed can technically be called stash, because until the project is totally finished it can be ripped out, and at that point is legally stash. My resolution for 2016 is to drastically reduce my stash by actually finishing as many UFOs as possible. I don’t need more yarn, what I really need is more self-discipline.

  48. Today we were driving with our windows down, listening to Prince on the radio. And this big ol’ pick-up truck pulled up beside us, blasting another Prince tune! We felt a bit of kinship there for a second. Such sad news, of course I thought of you immediately, and all of his very close fans – he really had a devoted following. I read above about knitting a raspberry beret, I am going to look into that. I hope you are doing okay. What a year of losses.

  49. Dear Stephanie – Our hearts broke a little bit with the news of Prince’s death. Mine, all my friends from those crazy dancing days, yours, and so many others. No one compares to Prince, and now the stories of his generosity and kindness are coming out, and it makes the loss that much sadder. Thank you for writing so eloquently about him. Virtual hugs (( ))

  50. When I win the grand prize lottery or Publisher’s Clearing house I’m going to sign up for every single cool retreat, and I’d like to take a total stranger along, just for S’s & G’s. Now don’t everyone line up at once, and play nice. I think I would like to start with this one, but there are a couple international fibery retreats that I must include. Yep, It’s not (whispering) .. but when. Just sayin’

  51. We wanna play in the sunshine
    We wanna be free
    Without the help of a Margarita or Exstacy
    We wanna kick like we used 2
    Sign up on the dotted line
    We gonna dance every dance
    Like it’s gonna be the last time
    We got 2
    Play in the sunshine
    Turn all the lights up 2 10
    I want 2 meet U, kiss U, love U, and miss U
    Do it all over again, do it all over again
    We gonna play in the sunshine
    We’re gonna get over
    I’m feelin’ kind of lucky 2 night
    I’m gonna find my 4-leaf clover
    Before my life is done
    Some way, some how, I’m gonna have fun

  52. Just adding my regrets upon the loss of Prince. He really was one of a kind! I grew up in the eighties and listened to his music at every school dance. We will remember him with you. Peace and light wherever you happen to be. 🙂

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