Friday, October 27, 2006

Back to It

I got back to the spinning wheel today. It's been months, possibly a year since I last used it. And man it shows. I have decided to start from scratch, relearning it. Fortunately I have the Alden Amos book on spinning. If you have any notions of going out and buying a wheel I recommend this book. It's serious. Everything from preparing raw fiber to a discussion of wheels to finishing. And written with humor. I know that you Muggles think it's a bit nuts spinning in this day and age when you can get almost any yarn for yourself but there is something very special about spinning your own. You feel pretty darn good. Like the first time you bake a whole cake from scratch. It's a very real, tangible thing that you accomplished. When I was at the fair this past weekend I saw some expert spinners from a guild. Amazing what they can do.
And it doesn't escape me that it is just a touch ironic, like spending tons of money on candles. A hundred years ago they welcomed electricity and women everywhere were more than happy to buy store bought clothes. Hand made items became the province of the poor and now they are a luxury. No one who works two jobs to put food on the table is going to take the time to knit a sweater by hand, unless she really loves the labor. And that is partly what makes these things so precious, the time that is put into them along with the sweat and occasional tear. They are a labor of love, even if it is only our love for the craft. Most crafters do like to give though. We even give when we know the gift will not be properly appreciated. Because that doesn't matter, or it shouldn't. We give because we want to, because we can't help ourselves.

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