Saith Me… Lumps and Bumps and Even Patches

Handspun yarn is much like life. The beauty is found in the lumps and bumps as well as in the smooth sections.

 

Spinning and knitting in small scale can be a fun way to try out new ideas. Working with small gauge needles when the hands no longer cooperate all the time can be a challenge, but I am learning to embrace that challenge. The speed and dexterity of my youth may be long gone, but patience and determination have become my companions.

Baby Sweater - Hooded02

Doll Sweaters 02

Artisans and Their Worth

Too often artisans are viewed as having less worth than their mechanical counterparts. In truth, an artisan is not only someone who can create an item of practicality and beauty, but they are often the keepers of the history of the craft they love. Their work is priceless, even when they do place a price tag on it. Handcrafted should never be devalued, nor should people be surprised when a lovely piece of work is priced much higher than the average person might wish to pay. Whether it is the hobbyist or the professional, handcrafted work is much more than just an average mass produced item found in a retail store.

Artisans

Fiber Arts – It is Therapy

What other kind of therapy produces a final product in addition to providing health benefits?

What other therapy can be shared so readily with others without stigma or a doctor’s pre-activity approval?

So in a way, we are not only on the receiving end of therapeutic treatment but we are also becoming the therapist!

 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . .

FYI: I cannot view, nor do I endorse any of the ads that are shown on my blog.

Daily Fiber… Addiction of a Healthy Kind

A discussion on the addictive nature of working with fiber, particularly in the spinning of fiber into yarn, led to the following observation on my part.

Addiction is the only way to truly describe it. It starts with an enabler, “Just give it a try. It won’t hurt. You will like it.” Then moves to where we are looking for suppliers, and then if allowable, we begin to process our own from start to finish. Yes, certainly an addiction.

There really is something wonderfully addictive about working with fiber, wool in particular. When the process begins with a fleece fresh from the sheep and ends with a sweater, one can’t help but feel connected not just to the world we live in today, but the world of yesterday. The feelings generated are hard to describe, but they are so rich and nuanced that indeed we beg for more.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . .

FYI: I cannot view, nor do I endorse any of the ads that are shown on my blog.

Dust Bunnies and Daily Fiber

As an avid spinner of yarn, the woolly kind rather than the literary kind, I have become a magnet for dust bunnies, so much so that they no longer live only under the bed but float around me as I make my way though my day. No amount of housekeeping stays ahead of their reproduction.

When pondering these little bunnies, some made from really bunny fur that follows me in from the rabbit shed, I began to realize they are much like the pithy entries in my blog – random in nature and forming out of the fiber of my life. As I pondered their existence, I realized that they truly were representative of a subculture of my life. They are the children of the fiber that surrounds me and while they do not share in the greatness of their progenitors, they have a value of their own.

Pithyponderings began as a place where my random thoughts were shared. Pithyhistory began as a place where my love of history, particularly diplomatic history could be shared. Rather than creating a third blog on fiber arts and the dust bunnies the pursuit creates, I have decided to establish a category in this blog for such random posts – Dust Bunnies and Daily Fiber.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . .

FYI: I cannot view, nor do I endorse any of the ads that are shown on my blog.

Spinning: A Lesson in Quality not Quantity

I decided to participate in Spinzilla 2014. When I signed up I thought it would be a week full of fiber, documentaries, and miles of yarn produced by my fingers and the power of my feet. I set a lofty goal of competing against last years ‘most yarn spun’ winner; a goal that was manageable if I remained dedicated to the task.

I envisioned hours of listening to my TV enlighten me about historical people and events while I spun brightly colored clouds of wool into sleek strands of yarn. The only thing that would prevent me from making miles of wool yarn was my own battle with fatigue. I was enticed by the thought of competing to win, something I seldom allowed myself to do physically since the fibromyalgia made itself known. I knew this would be a challenge – my challenge. Years ago I held notions of competing to win, but running was the center of that dream. Life, some good and some bad, interfered with pursuing such notions. I learned to enjoy the ride, not the speed in which I made the journey.

Spinning wool into yarn has been my therapy, and my joy. My feet no longer travel miles of asphalt, but they do propel me through miles of yarn. Whereas other exercises exhaust me after minutes, spinning can go on for hours without creating the fibro fatigue or fog so common with exercise. When I push it, I do get stiff, but it is a stiffness from activity and not from the fibromyalgia. This in itself is a blessing.

The week of Spinzilla began not as I expected, rather as unexpected as I could have imagined. A family emergency cost me most of the first day. Unexpected company, delightful company but unexpected, took up most of the third day, and fatigue coupled with a personal commitment dominated the fifth day. It was on that day that I finally decided that quality time with friends and family was more important than the miles of yarn I could produce. It was not a great epiphany, not earthshattering or new, but a simple quiet reminder that more fun could be had by enjoying the ride than in competing for a prize. With this renewed commitment to quality in life, I decided to join a group of spinners at the Denver Art Museum (DAM) for a massive spin-in demonstration on the seventh and final day of Spinzilla.

Typically I avoid crowds, particularly crowds where socialization is expected. Challenging myself to spin miles of yarn is easy compared to the challenge of overcoming a deep feeling of social fear and awkwardness, a fear which has increased rather than decreased with age and accomplishment. My husband, a.k.a. my spinning pit crew for an event that will require the transport of a wheel and other assorted supplies, encouraged me to embark on this challenge. Not much of a social butterfly himself but not from anxiety, rather by choice, my husband gently persuaded me to try something new; something I longed to do but from which I held myself back. He reminded me that my college’s moto, and something I try to live by, is Vita Abundantior, life more abundant.

There is little I can do to adjust the quantity of life which I get to live, but there are endless ways in which I can increase the quality of that time. All I have to do is make an effort and embrace the opportunities presented on my journey. The drive time and Spinzilla at the DAM will not aid me in the accumulation of yarn miles, but it will add quality to my life, and despite my anxieties I suspect I will have loads of fun.

Spinzilla 2014

 

 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . .

FYI: I cannot view, nor do I endorse any of the ads that are shown on my blog.

Reflecting on the Early Days of a Fiber Artist

Many years ago, when my daughter was still very young, my husband and I were given two enormous, white, couch pillows. Crayons in hand, my daughter without my permission turned one of the pillows into her canvas. In reflection, I must admit that on that day so many years ago I was clueless as to how much fun coloring on fabric could be. Now all these years later, I chuckle when I think of the bins, tubs, and boxes of paints, dyes, inks, and crayons that I have supplied my daughter; all of which she uses with my permission to color cotton, wool, and silk fabric.

Fabric Painting

Fabric Marbling with Dye

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

 . . . . . . . .

FYI: I cannot view, nor do I endorse any of the ads that are shown on my blog.