Monday, January 25, 2010

a rose is a rose!

I have added another child to the family, so to speak. Her name is Rose and she is a lovely girl. She is bigger than my first one, so I guess you could say a big sister to my first wheel. She was a birthday present from me to me, crazy huh! I am hoping she will be able to help me spin my fleece better and so far I am enjoying spinning on her. I am finding her a tiny bit easier to work on than the Little Gem, the smaller Wheel that I have, in terms of treadling her foot pedals. I had been looking at a few places to buy her and found the Little Red Mitten in St. Thomas. They had a very good price and Matt, the husband of Joan, who also owns the store bought it to me as he was attending a hocky game in Toronto.

It was a bit on the funny side, I think, as we decided to meet at Yorkdale Mall, one of the swankiest malls in all of Toronto. Here Matt and I were, sitting on the polished marble and oak benches, fashionable shoppers walking by with their purchases, while he explained the mechanics of my new wheel to me. I noticed a few people looking at us and I wondered what they thought of it all. I wonder if they even knew that we were talking about a spinning wheel. An old fashioned spinning wheel, abeit the latest in spinning technology from Majacraft, in such a place devoted to high fashion and consumerism. I think we spinners should set up in shpping malls and talk to people about spinning sweaters by hand and see what they think of it...

I almost have a bobbin full of my fleece and have knitted up a sample and it looks pretty good. I am a bit fearful of the scrachiness factor but am proceeding and am going to show it to some ladies at my spinning guild tonight to see what they think of it.

I also spun some angora rabbit fur with sari fabric on the wheel and have decided to ply it on the other wheel so she doesn't feel left out. I decided to put it in the muffin tin for artistic effect! I reminds me of a Monet painting somehow....

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

the carding camino

Happy New Year!

From January to June 2010 is my SLF. My self funded leave. I decided to take some time off from work and have been looking forward to it for over two years, but now I am not sure why and there is a feeling of anticlimax in the air. It is not really retirement, not really a holiday. My life is still the same -- still the same old errands to run, the same dog food to buy, the same driver's license to renew, watching the same dear hubby play solitare, the same old same old. The same grey January.What a whiner I am.

I wanted time and now I have it. But my fleece looms large. But instead of starting it on Monday like I thought I would, I organized my kitchen utensil drawer.

Something else did happen on Monday. I spent the aftenoon with my good friend and excellent writer Mooncattie and he gave me a gentle lecture and some inspiration. He told me that this time off was to be looked at as my personal Camino -- a journey at the start that you don't know where it will take you. There are all kinds of books about women discovering themselves on the on the six week walk of the Camino from Shirley Maclaine's crazy book where she gets pregnant with an alien baby to the recent bitchy henfest account about a bunch of women from Hamilton. Then there is also the one about the MBA who gets downsized and leaves rocks on the path. Many of the women seem to find true love (or alien babies) in the process. But I don't need to find love as I have my lovely hubby. And I don't need to find an alien baby. At one point, I was thinking of doing the walk, but the more I read about it, the more cliched it became. So how do carding and the Camino fit in to teach us about ourselves and lead us to self discovery? I don't have the answer to that one. YET.

So now my fleece seems like an insurmountable journey, like the Camino. It has been sitting in the basement, three bags full, for over six months. Getting compacted and less spinnable by the month - I am not honoring the fleece and not honoring nature in the process. Yesterday, I made a pact with myself. You can only watch your Six Feet Under reruns while carding. How pathetic. And how symbolic of our society is this -- rewarding yourself by watching tv and using the clever diversion of the stories of hollywood to take your mind off of your life.

I can see why machines have taken over from us as labour saving devices. Hand cranking the old gal of a carder pictured above for two hours is a lot of work. I looked at my book on carding and I see that I am overloading the machine it in my hurry to be done. This is not a process that can be rushed. It is time to slow down and not take things so fast -- I see this is symbolic of my life as I, like most folks I know, am always rushing about to finish things in a frantic mode and usually spraining my ankle in the process. Time to slow down and smell the flowers. Or, in this case, pick the vegetation out of the fleece and think of the fleece from a sheep named Aysia in Orillia I hope to become a sweater.

Anyway, I caught up on my show yesterday and I did some carding and ended up with almost 20 rolags to spin. Now I see how this will go. Card and spin. Card and spin. More to come as soon as my wrist recovers from the winding of the carding machine.