A young girl sits at the feet of the women in her family. They are talking of news, blooming romances, and how the weather is going to affect the crops this harvest. As she listens she twirls her own little spindle with a bit of fleece her mother gave her to stay occupied. She drafts it out and gives her spindle a twirl, watching the fiber grab onto itself and twist into a tight string. As she plays with her bit of fleece, she daydreams of the day when her mother will show her how to do it on the wheel. It seems to the girl that her mother, grandmother, and aunts posses some sort of magic with the way their feet treadle, hands draft, and the bobbin fills seemingly with no effort at all. The magic doesn’t end there. It continues as the skeins of yarn are wound, the twist is set and they take up their magical needles or the loom that transform the yarn into fabric of all sorts. They don’t keep all of the yarns for themselves. Most of the skeins are sold at market. Other mothers and grandmothers purchase them to make their own fabrics. She is proud when playing with a friend that is wearing a new sweater that was made from the yarn her family spun. There are not many that have this skill,nor the patience for it. It is time-consuming laborious work. And yet, as she looks at the faces of the women sitting here now, she doesn’t see tired and worn, she sees happy and content. Yes, the girl decides that spinning yarn must be magical, and she will do it someday. Maybe even now with her bit of yarn she has made, the magic has begun to grow inside her. Perhaps, it is already there, and is just waiting for her to open the right door to find it.
I really love imagining this little historical setting. Every once in a while life slows just enough for me to get a glimpse of a different way of life. It doesn’t have to be so different though. We are working on cutting out the time filling extras of the modern world and replacing it with the satisfying work that fulfills the measure of our creation.
Learning to spin and raising fiber animals is something I am taking seriously. Someday it just might be a life-sustaining skill, not a hobby. Honestly, I have a long way to go. I have a few skeins I would call a success, but am a long way from being able to supply myself enough yarn to support my love of knitting. I am however, diligently working on supporting my fellow spinners by trying to only purchase handspun yarns this year. Lucky for me, I live in a time when it is easily found on the Internet and in an area where there are two yarn shops within an hours drive.