Many years retrospect . . .

I want to set some goals for myself. I’ve always struggled with goals, but it shouldn’t be difficult if something is a only a certain win, involving no sacrifice, only focus. One of my goals is spinning intentionally. This is actually a trend I’ve heard about a lot lately, a buzz phrase so to speak. I know how to spin, I know how to knit, but decades have passed where I have done so little to bring the two together. So now its time to bring the two together as they are meant to be . . . to spin for a project in mind. . . to me, that is what is spinning with intention. My secondary goal is to purchase far less yarn, and to use up what I have, so that eventually I will be reliant on spinning for projects. Stopping the addictive yarn buying, and making do, will involve a serious concentrated effort, and in future recreational yarn purchases will be a much rarer event.

Backstory: I learned to spin in the Autumn of 1987, when I joined a spinning group which I attended for many years, and which I posted about way back in my blog archives, and the first thing I spun on a borrowed spinning wheel, was about a pound of washed uncarded Lincoln-Corriedale locks from Joanie. She helped me dye the locks of fleece in a pot with splotches of different colors of Rit Dye, then steamed gently. I then spun directly from the dyed locks. Then learned to ply. Then last, my mother taught me how to knit my first vest with my new hand-spun, during the last spring season she was alive. It was a simple improvised pieced thing with two fronts and a back, bands picked up and worked at finish. I don’t think I even blocked the vest after I finished, having been the first thing I ever knit, but just put it on and hardly took it off. Here I was back then about 1989, must have been a while after the vest was finished . . .

Decades pass. A few years ago, having gotten somewhat decent at knitting I designed my Calidez Vest pattern, inspired from that very vest of old days, a connection to my mother.

Another backstory: Shortly after the wildfire of Oct 2017, Lynette who lived on the other side of the Bay, brought up to me and gave her Ashford Traditional spinning wheel along with many bobbins and even fiber! Also happening at this time; all kinds of fiber was sent to me from an Upper Napa Valley spinning group, (which I attended only once) and ashamedly I didn’t keep track and lost those contacts through my horribly unsettled transient months. If any of you reading this are or were a part of that generous Calistoga group in Autumn 2017, you know who you are, and I’m sending you hugs of gratitude! Its been several years now, but I finally feel I am back into my feet. I am dedicating this whole new focus of Spinning With Intention to everybody who has been nudging me along, and I realize only now how much :to tears: that I miss spinning, like I use to, way back in that decade before I knit much, when I spun just to spin beautiful hopeful skeins. After revisiting the blending board project of summer of 2019 . . .

jenjoycedesign© Rose Blend 1

and then moving into our house and promptly forgetting about it most of the year, I have finally finished the spinning . . .

Finished result is a homogenized dusty rose pink. The color of Love.

Almost 500 grams of my own tweed blend hand-spun yarn. What a lot of work! You wouldn’t know it by looking at the photos, but what I have been doing for ultra soft and fluffy yarn lately is scouring the skeins right off the plying bobbin. I guess the effect is similar to a felted tweed sort of thing, but I don’t let the yarns stick to each other, am just careful enough in the scouring to felt only a tiny bit. Moz taught me the “thwacking” trick; grabbing the skein and sailing it through the air, and whacking it really hard against a smooth surface, like on the inside of the bathtub, at 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, etc, which straightens out all the strands just before hanging out to dry so nothing is crumpled. Of course, when fully dry I must re-skein everything to get all the partially stuck fibers dislodged, and then to let it rest without even the tension of a ball, just a nice relaxed skein for a few days, before starting to knit it. Super lovely yarn if you ask me.

Scoured tweed is my thing, and since I’m not making yarn for anybody but myself, I think this way the yarn gets a head start in the world of hard wear, and like I mentioned, it really ends up terrifically fluffy, soft, and airy. Just like they do with the waulking of the wool in the woven tweed. Soon I will be casting on my first intentionally spun-to-knit project since that time over thirty years ago, with a Calidez Vest with my own tweedy handspun!

Thank you with a heart burst of gratitude to Lynette who brought me the best spinning wheel I could have imagined for myself, Lori-Go-Lightly (who broadcast my wildfire tragedy on a Ravelry spinning group and through her efforts I was recipient of so much generosity via Ravelry pattern buyers and her Upvalley Spinners who sent me a big box of fiber, Adele for sending me her Ashford Blending Board to use as well as a gift of a lovely drop spindle to keep me going, and of course, and last but not at all least, thanks to Bernard & Joanie for sending me the above photo recently and reminding me who I was & what mattered, and for helping me span the decades. I am coming full-circle now, into my roots.

jenjoycedesign© spinning in a room 2
Spinning in newly rebuilt loft room , September 2019

16 thoughts on “Many years retrospect . . .

  1. Wonderful, wonderful. Love the vest and the tweedy yarn. What an idea. Must try. I’m sure the finished project with be joyous with such a color. Inspired myself to get back into spinning. Little by little I’m getting back in there. Finished spinning up an old carded batt from a batt carding gathering so long back. It’s actually plied and skeined up now. Promised myself to finish off two small almost done items on the needles before knitting anything new…so perhaps today! Blessings on our lives. Blessing on the land, Blessings on all beings.

    • Maureen, I should thank you too, for bringing me back into spinning after all those years between 🙂 I can’t imagine you ever having taken a break from spinning! xx

  2. What a glorious post.
    In every, single way.
    Just when we are convinced the circle is forever broken…
    the stars align, the twists unkink, the stretched to breaking retracts to a healthy and wholesome bounce and we can see that indeed, the circle never was unbroken.
    Sweet. sweet. sweet…
    Thank you
    Cheers Karin

    • Regina, thank you! Hey, so I clicked the link and landed in your blog, and I only got as far as you talking to the kid in your principle’s office, who was wearing the Pokemon t-shirt. You crack me up! xx

    • Oh, I get it now… the dog was the spinning host’s dog. My love is a German Shepherd who I lost recently to very old age(can’t stop crying over her) But I LOVE YOUR DOG , which I saw when I checked out your blog ( not many of us old-school bloggers anymore!) and I realize like never before I have such an incredible soft-spot for old dogs. I guess because I’m feeling old(er) . Thank you for stopping in.

  3. Oh Jen, this is such a lovely story of your journey! I learnt to spin on 1978 but it’s only been the last twenty years that I’ve got more serious about it and I am too wanting to spin intentionally. I have to rush off but I want to read this again later xxx

    • Tracy, thank you! That is great that we both learned to spin back before the internet’s craft renaissance, and we had our little nucleus of local people to hang out with in flesh. A room full of whirring wheels is a thing to experience, and internet just doesn’t touch that.
      My solo whirring wheel hearkens back to the old days though, as I recall everything so fresh and new, and I expected so much of myself knowing so little. I guess I know more now, but still am fragile against expectations, so I am in a way, the same person. (Just that vest would not fit me now!) I hope you are spinning away there in your nest in the world, and hope to hear from you again soon. xx

      • Back home again now and reread your post and checked out the links.
        Yes, I just participated in BritSpin here in the UK last weekend. Although all online it was fun to be part of. Never done that kind of thing before.
        I hadn’t forgotten your tweed posts so it’s great to see the outcome.

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