Sunday, October 7, 2007

Handspinning Yarn and Dreams and More & Scattering Stars Like Dust...

We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust...

Jalal ad-Din Rumi quotes (Persian Poet and Mystic, 1207-1273

Handspinning using 6 different hand-dyed rovings
to create my Wabi Sabi Handspun Yarn...

The handspinning of yarn is an amazing alchemy. Sheep's wool coming dirty, full of lanolin, needing to be cleaned. The dyeing of the fibers, the spinning of it, and finally what was once the thick coat of the sheep might be a shawl, a scarf, a sweater, so many other things. I do FreeForm work which means that when I do a piece of fiber art I use and combine many different techniques from knitting, crochet, weaving, spoolknitting, embroidery, embellishment of many kinds and more. Each of my handspun yarns has very many different fibers and colors in it and it is akin, in my mind, to "... scattering stars like dust..." as you take the different colors, textures, types of fiber (in this yarn there are at least 4 different types of wool plus llama...) It is a sublime experience. Ask Sampson, my pug. He was trying to eat fiber and I had to pull it out of his teeth. Who'd have thought a pug would like fiber?

The real fun for me now is that I used to exclusively make handspun yarn to sell and still will sell a little of it. I even do handspun by special order. But now that I am into making and selling fiber art exclusively through etsy (you can see some at the bottom of this page with a link to the
etsy shop, Dragonfly Cottage Design Studio), 10% of all of my sales going to Mid-Atlantic Pug Rescue, no matter what the item, I am spinning mainly for myself to make items to sell. I love working with my own handspun yarn. It is thick and soft and lush and now, when I handspin yarn I know what I'm spinning for. If I am making a snake, say, I imagine her in my dreams and as I spin I am grabbing rovings from all over the place. A bit of this, a bit of that, OH, wouldn't THAT feel lovely, Oh! just look at that blend of colors, and maybe I will grab that too!

And so today I have been spinning a good bit of the day as I finish two other snakes that will go up this week. I have a few more snakes to make that are calling to me but I have also jumped ahead in my mind to art dolls and other things.

People have asked me if I could teach them spin and I can only laugh, kindly. You see, my dear friend Alissa came for a visit and demonstrated handspinning on a spindle for me. I have had 3 wheels (still have two) but could never get into wheel spinning. Then, in December of 2004 I fell down the stairs and broke both feet, badly. I was in two casts for six months, then a wheel chair and then crutches and it was a whole year before I could walk unaided. I spent most of that time in my big overstuffed chair with a huge ottoman (usually filled with dogs) and my son came over and set me up. I have a long folding table, like a card table but rectangular. It just fit perfectly over the ottoman with a little room to spare so he got my computer set up on it, notebooks and pens, jars of spindles and I had a huge basket of fiber beside me. I spun for a year and developed my own style of spinning and it was wonky (on purpose) and as all of my work has been, for some long time, about the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi Sabi, the imperfect perfect, I have called my yarn "Wabi Sabi Handspun Yarn" ever since.

The thing is, because I had to spin
sideways in the chair with the table pulled up to me, I was, unable to let the drop spindle drop, I developed a very peculiar way of spinning. It not only works to for me because of my penchant for blending many, many fibers into one yarn, it has become very comfortable for me. But I think it would mystify and confuse anyone wanting to learn. I am sitting here now at my computer with my spindle in my lap and the piles of fiber you see above all around me. I have fallen in love with spinning all over again and will be spinning quite a lot, and yes, some of those yarns will end up in the shop.

I love spinning yarns outside...

Handspun natural fiber yarns just fit in with the natural world...

I also make
Wabi Sabi Wooly Wonder Luxury Batts. I am going to return to making them very soon and they too will be in the etsy store. They are very large, much larger than your usual batt, and have up to 12 fibers and more, with magical filaments and all kinds of natural fibers. All ingredients are listed, and I have sold them as fast as I could make them. I am most anxious to get back to them...

This batt was called "Catching Angels Unawares..."

"Harvest Moon..."

"Purple Dreams"

"Leprechaun's Delight"

Batt-making as I do it take many hours. It is hard work, enchanting work, a deep delight. I have missed it and my dear friend Noreen has been encouraging me to make them again for some time. As in all things, things rise again in their own right and proper time, and spinning and batt-making has come back into my life now. The deeper I go into my fiber work the more I feel the stars that have scattered in my life coming together, all of a piece, and oh, what a brilliant sight it is. I am filled with gratitude, I am humbled, I feel overflowing joy. I am a writer and a fiberwoman. It is one of the deepest things I do. I have come back home...

Warm Regards and Deepest Blessings to All,


AND ~ You can purchase the above spindle/fiber image on a whole host of items at my Cafe Press store. Mugs, t-shirts, gift items, more. Here's the tote bag and the image is printed on both sides of the bag. Simply click on this link to go to Dragonfly Cottage's Wabi Sabi World...

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