Thursday, March 19, 2015

Heeding the Call

I don't talk about my religious life on the blog very often.  I've mentioned it off and on throughout the years, but generally I keep the talk to knitting.

Sometimes, though, (and this has happened before), my religious life and my fiber-arts smack straight into each other.   

I suppose that's to be expected when the feminine form of the divine that I find myself most drawn to is, Herself, a fiber artist.

Handy that we have our very own Parthenon, no?

So last year, right before Seder (I know, I know, but it's like that here), I made a trip to our Parthenon to see Athena.   I spent some time in Her temple, knitting.  Like you do.

And while I was there I got the very strong sense that I need to learn to spin.  It's not because She wants or needs me to spin yarn to make a robe, or anything like that. It isn't about the product particularly at all.  It's about the act, the activity of learning a new craft -- this craft in particular.  

Well, okay then.  I'll learn to spin.

I spent a few hours with a drop spindle and came up with the tiniest bit of what could only be very generously called yarn.   It was a little awful, but I made it while trying to learn something new, so there's value in that (even if the yarn itself was fairly ugly).   When we did our picnic at the park for Panathenaia (say that three times fast), I took it and left it in Her temple.

"Alright.  Now learn to spin."

I didn't really think it was going to be that easy.

Last fall Koren and I made pilgrimage to SAFF, so I signed up for a beginning spinning class. On a wheel and everything.   This is far enough outside of my comfort zone that it gave me the heebies just thinking about it.

The class was lovely, the teacher more so, and I fell in love.  I left SAFF with a burning desire to own a wheel of my own and this skein of seriously funky yarn.

Real spinners only wish they could make "art yarn" like this.
I talked it over with Carl, and what with one thing, another, Christmas, and that other thing, a wheel for me just wasn't in the cards.

I did, however, ask him to start trolling Craigslist, just in case.   You would be amazed by the number of planters pretending to be "antique spinning wheels" there are in the greater Nashville area.  I mean seriously.

I had this idea though.  Every step closer I took to learning to spin, the more I felt like I was on the right track.  So I decided that if it was meant to be, if Athena wanted me to be a spinner, she'd help the right tools come to me.

I decided that my budget was about $400 (no matter how badly I wanted a wheel like the Lendrum I learned on).   Craigslist was a vast sea of nothing, and while  I knew I could get a new wheel from The Woolery for about $400, it would be a wheel I'd never tried before, and well, it would be the Yugo of wheels, basically.  Not even the Honda of wheels; the Yugo.  So I set the matter aside until annual bonus time.

Fast forward several months, and bonus time rolls around.   I'm researching my options, asking a lot of questions, looking for local places where I can go and try some wheels out.  That sort of thing. Carl and I decided to check Craigslist one last time, y'know, just in case.  In the back of my head was still this idea that Athena would help make this work.

So all of the sudden, in the middle of the fifteen or so ads for "antique" wheels that looked like they needed ferns planted in them, was this dude selling his mom's old Schacht Matchless.

It's about twenty years old, and didn't have any extra bobbins, no kate, nothing but the one bobbin, a spot or two of rust, and a rotting drive band.

Dude took $400 for it.  His mom inherited it years ago, but she "doesn't do that stuff," so she'd asked him to try to sell it. At the end of the day, everyone was happy.  Thank you, Athena.   

We got it home, cleaned it up, oiled the parts that wanted oiled, and I started playing.

Seriously, I have no idea what I'm doing here.

Look!  2 oz (and about 40 yards) of yarn!  It's mystery fiber that I picked up at Fiber in the 'Boro to play with last fall.

I am quite pleased by how much it looks like yarn.  Yarn that is simultaneously both over- and under-spun, mind you, but yarn nonetheless.

I hope -- I think -- Athena is pleased.

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