Thursday, November 5, 2009

Do you see that grin?

That's the grin of a mad person, as my parents will readily tell you. I'm back home for a couple of days during the half-term holiday, and I've taken this opportunity to treat myself. Ignoring the bag of half-complete crochet projects, the piles of yarn waiting to be worked, the stacks of fabric and patterns, I embarked on a completely new craft - spinning.

Spinning is something I've been interested in for a while, if only for the historical world it seems to open up. For centuries, nay, millennia, spinning was a constant in the lives of women. While you're gossiping, you're spinning. Rocking the baby to sleep? Spinning. Hence the distaff sex (a distaff being a stick used to hold unspun, prepared wool). At university, I studied fairy tales, in which the symbolism of the wheel or spindle is more complex than might at first appear. I learned how to spin at a Viking history event in York, aimed at people approximately ten years younger than me, and I've been dying to have a proper go ever since. Thus the purchase of a spindle and some wool.

I've actually got a spinning wheel upstairs - it's very old, bought from a local charity shop by my mother for my 21st birthday (best present ever!) but before I work out how or even if it works, I wanted to learn the basics with a drop spindle. Which is very appropriately named, I find. But the great thing about spinning is if you make a mistake, it's relatively easy to fix it (although very hard to fix it neatly).

Now my yarn is thinner and more even, with fewer slubs, and I'm starting to plan all the fabulous things I can make with it. I really should finish my last blanket before I embark on a new one, shouldn't I? But craft isn't supposed to be sensible!

The rest of my trip has thus far consisted of crossing many things off my to-do-list (currently several years long) and enjoying the very welcome luxuries of: Georgette Heyer, bath-tubs, Haagen-Dazs ice cream and my own, fabulous bed. In various permutations and combinations.

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