You'll have to forgive me, for I have my mind and eye on one thing and one thing only these days. I have no idea how I'll find anything different to share with you for the rest of this week. Nor do I have any idea how I'll manage to come up with something to make for dinner tonight (there'll be popcorn for lunch, don't you worry). This wheel and I....oh, my heart, I can barely find the words.
I've already told you that when the wheel arrived last fall, I had grand hopes of sitting down at it and just 'getting it', which most certainly didn't happen. I spent many times in the month that followed watching online videos, reading books and cursing at myself. There may - I will confess - even have been one dramatic moment (likely following a little bit of BBC miniseries streaming - currently on season three of Lark Rise to Candleford, such goodness) in which I threw myself on the sofa, hand to my forehead and declared with a self-pitying sob, "Maybe I'm just not a spinner!"
No, no. It's just this thing called practice, that's all. And a little bit of real life instruction. A week ago, I spent some time with a lovely local sheep farmer/spinner extraordinaire. Just a few minutes with Marty (at A Wrinkle in Thyme Farm), and it all began to make sense. Back at home, with a commitment to practicing, it wasn't long before it no longer felt like practice requiring concentration and commitment, but instead more like a meditation I wanted more and more of.
After spinning up what I had already washed and carded of Cinnamon from our first shearing, we got to the business of washing and carding the rest of that fleece. That's precisely how this weekend of ours went - washing and drying, carding and spinning, plying and setting the twist and drying some more. Along the way, I discovered a most excellent hand carder right in this very house, who has completely taken over that step of the process and declared making rolags "the most fun thing ever!". I've also found a baby who put herself to sleep (I kid you not) with her head on Mama's lap, bouncing up and down as I work the pedals. And another one who can't resist adding a beat and some lyrics each time he sits near the 'whirr' of the wheel. (I do so love the whirr of that wheel.)
I feel a little silly talking such "magic" about my discovery of a simple twist - one that's hardly rocket science, one that's been practiced by so many people all over the world for thousands of years, spinning wool from their own sheep without much fuss. But perhaps therein lies the magic. And in the manifestation of a dream so long in the making. It's this simple little thing, really - twisting fiber at a wheel in front of a woodstove on a very cold winters day, the sheep I spy out my window, the sound and sight of five children playing and squabbling all around me, and the man I love at my side. In moments like this, of which I've had many these past days - everything else, anything else - blurs and fades to the background. My focus is sharp, and I feel like there's a little bit of magic at work right here, right now.