Thursday, September 18, 2008
a visiting yarn-goddess-in-training
She pulls out a big crazy ball of yarn with fringes and way-long needles, claiming the object "doesn't know yet what it wants to be," and I see kindredness. I don't knit freeform, but I make yarn for no reason at all, for "something, someday." We've talked about spinning before, and now she is here. I run get the spindles. She puts down the knitting.
Time to play.
I place a length of fiber in her left hand and give the spindle a twirl. And we name things. But she's a natural-- it all comes easily.
Spinning employs its own language, just like any sport or craft, and we find a way to talk like beginners: the roving, the draft triangle, slip and airy-ness. When the weight of the spindle tears the fiber and the whole thing falls on the floor, we pass on the age-old joke, "that's why it's called a DROP SPINDLE."
I hope I look that happy.
What I love? She is not content, yet, because there is more to know. Madeleine asks to ply a length of yarn and my guest gleams "I want to do that, too." Typically I'd say "it's not a beginner-thing, it's an intermediate-thing." But look at her. Like I'd tell her she's a beginner. (I don't think so.) She spins enough to fill the spindle, so we can "ply."
Then we wind the stuff around her hand. When we find both ends, we gently remove the pile of yarn from her thumb, from her pinky, and she spins them together: voila, 2-ply thick-and-thin yarn.
Good fiber artist, she asks "what do I do to make it stay spun?" Hah! We wet it gently, hang it from the door to "set the twist," and let it dry. She's been through the whole process in a little over one hour. (Savant!)
While the yarn is drying, I pull out the tiny spinning wheel-- kids want to take turns spinning pencil roving into yarn. I'm good with that.
My friend with the spindle-talent takes a brief look, but she doesn't need to know any more today. I'm good with that, too.
She returns to knitting her Blue Thing. But now she knows how.
The yarn goddess goes home and pulls her own bag from the closet, spins her own stash of fiber, with her own spindle.
And then she spins some more.
This makes me very happy. I can't say why. I will be happier, too, if I play with yarn more this year, and weave and spin my life together, the words on the page and the stuff winding onto the spindle. Both are necessary; both are good. Both.