Monday, February 23, 2015

spinning-one day at a time

Yesterday I taught my first 'intro to hand spinning workshop with a drop spindle' since 2011.  It was a blast!  The weather outside was so cold (-45 windchill) that the Professor's car wouldn't start.  (It started later, after we'd plugged the block heater in for a good long was just too cold.)

Our boys were suited up in snow pants, boots, lots of layers under the parka and more just to go to their dance class, so they took my car. After the dance class, we did a quick shuffle.  Boys were rushed inside to have a hot lunch.  I rushed outside with all my gear to the car that would start to teach my class.

Luckily, we all made it on time.  Every single one of my registered students showed up, even the one from Brandon, 2 hours away. Every class is different; this one was full of experienced fiber arts folks, who basically started spinning and kept on like they had been born to it.  It was a delight!

Also this week, my essay Reading the Whole Megillah came out in the Jewish Post & News. 

Surprisingly, there is a thread that ties all of this together.  These days, if I want to be prepared to teach a class, I have to start days in advance.  My work time is limited...and always has to be flexible.  So, for instance, last Thursday, I had a medical appointment with a specialist.  That morning, one of the boys woke up a bit under the weather, and his brother decided he wanted to stay home from preschool to keep him company.  Since I had this doctor's appointment, the Professor cancelled his workday to stay home with twins.  I maneuvered the cold weather and got myself to the appointment and made it home.  (Also got a local and 4 stitches while there, but all is well for now and nothing to worry about.)  Between the kids missing school, the mom who needed to rest after her appointment, and the cold, the whole day was just shot.  I had to budget every hour and every moment between Friday and Sunday to be sure my teaching supplies were ready to go.

I've learned from this "having twins experience" to take it one moment at a time.  The essay on Purim is about that too, in some ways.  In Jewish tradition, we read (or don't read!) the same sacred texts every year.  Over the years, we read different things in the same texts.  One time I read the Book of Esther on the floor in a crowded airport when my plane was delayed due to bad weather...other years, I heard it in other ways.  Maturity, life changes, different surroundings--these all cause us to read a text differently, whether it is a novel or a part of a religious tradition.

Finally, these photos:  When the boys were babies, perhaps in the fall of 2011?  or fall 2012?  A business named Rovings in our area that specialized in importing Polwarth wool from Australia and processing it for handspinners began to downsize and had a big sale.  The professor's father was visiting and they decided to help me get to the sale.  It was a bright sunny day and the babies mostly napped in the car while I went inside.

I bought a lot of yarn, a raw fleece (still unopened!) and a 'dyed in the locks' fleece that had won a prize.  The colors were amazing.  I rarely buy dyed fiber like this, but I loved the colors.  When the boys were about 18 months or 2 years old, I moved a spinning wheel down to our basement playroom space.  I started spinning this Polwarth wool, one lock at a time, whenever I had a moment.

Recently, I finally finished spinning up all the wool (maybe 2 lbs total) and I have now plied most of it for a total spinning process time of roughly 2 years.  I am doing a 3 ply, approximately worsted weight and this is what the first batch of washed skeins looks like.  I love it. 

In the old days, before twins, I could spin a pound of clean wool in a week, and still get lots of other things done.  Now, I guess it takes years...but I can still do it.  Little by little.  Bird by bird.    I am reminded of Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.  I'll finish with a quote from that, and you'll see what I mean.

"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was  ten years old at the time, was trying to get a  report on birds written that he'd had three months to  write. It was due the next day. We were out at our  family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen  table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper  and pencils and unopened books on birds,  immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my  father sat down beside him, put his arm around my  brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy.  Just take it bird by bird.'"

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Blogger Alison said...

The days are so long and the years are so short. It sounds to me like you've got a good handle on things. Lovely yarn, too!

February 23, 2015 at 5:45 PM  

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