Archive / February, 2019

Untangling The Skein

Pulled this little lovely out of its storage bag. Now I need to reclaim it.

It’s a lovely wheel. It really is. I remember when I bought it. At the urging of my incredibly-talented late friend, Maiysha, I acquired a second wheel. My first was the CS2 I sold last week. It was a good wheel, and perfect for the art-yarn styles of spinning I was interested in, but I wanted something I could do more with, and the CS2 isn’t a good wheel for thin spinning. So… this creature. It’s a Majacraft Aura. It’s lovely, truly. It’s just… Well, it has baggage.

The wheel was kinda sort of a gift from my almost-ex. I say “almost” because we’re not technically divorced yet. It’s complicated, just like my relationship to this wheel. It wasn’t really a gift. Not in the traditional sense. It was timed to arrive around our “wool anniversary”. I told a pretty story about how he’d gotten it for me, and how darling that was. But that’s what it was: a story. The reality was that the wheel was acquired, like so many things, in an attempt to soothe a hurt, and patch a wound, and fill a hole that was only getting deeper by the year. By year seven, our marriage was basically dead in the water. But I continued to prop it, and him, up, and puppet the dead stories around as if there were life in them still. And to prop myself up, to fortify myself against the crushing weight of the sadness and loneliness and deadness in my own being, I bought things. Like the things could make me happy somehow…

Now he’s gone (again). And so are a lot of the things, habits, people and patches for old holes I now have to actually mend. I want to be able to just freely enjoy the dang thing, but I never have. It’s why I fought with the CS2 to spin thinner than it was designed for. The CS2 was something I bought for myself without pretense or a story or a need to convince myself I had an actual happy life and decent partner… a role he possibly never wanted to play anyway. The CS2 didn’t have feelings. This thing definitely does, if not in and of itself, then certainly by virtue of all I’ve projected onto it. And so, like so much of the unraveling and reclaiming I’ve had to do since my husband abandoned the children and I again, I have to confront the reality of this object, as it actually is, and decide what I’m going to do about it.

When my not-yet-ex abandoned us the first time, I found ChumpLady and her brilliant post Untangling the Skein of Fuckedupedness, and I felt seen. I have spent well over a decade of my life trying to decode and unravel and understand the manipulative, abusive, neglectful, hurtful, damaging behaviors that existed in my marriage. I wanted to solve the problem. I think that’s fair, and my intentions were good. I wanted to create the life I wanted for myself and my children and my “happy family”. I wanted it so badly I was willing to lie to myself about what it actually was, and go to great lengths to spin fantastic tales about how things could appear to be, but actually weren’t. The end result, of course, was that I was chronically exhausted in ways I didn’t even realize until he left again and I finally decided to STOP.

So, what to do with that now? Where does the story go from here, and how will it end? And that’s where this tired Yarnie finds herself today: what new yarn to spin from this mess? The only thing I know is that I’ve finally given up hope of untangling that messy skein. It’s not my work to do, and I’d never succeed, no matter how much effort I sank into that work. The owner of that skein of fuckedupedness may like it just the way it is. It’s not for me, and so I move forward, ready to spin my own yarn. Hopefully in a healthier, less codependent way this time.

In less metaphorical news, here’s some actual yarn.

Little Fluffy Clouds

This week’s washed wool: A lamb Cotswold

I sold a wheel this week. Life circumstances are such that I needed the funds more than I needed the wheel. It was an Ashford Country Spinner 2, the first wheel I’d purchased for myself after learning to spin. I learned on a Louet S10, graciously loaned to me by a kind neighbor who taught me how to use it. The CS2 was easier for the art-type yarns I’d fallen in love with making, but has the same tension system as the S10. It was a good wheel, and I enjoyed using it right up to the day I sold it. Its new owner seems to have already fallen in love with it, and named it after me, which was really sweet.

Things here have been tricky lately. There’s a lot going on in my personal life that I don’t blog about, and it tends to muck with my plans in many unfortunate ways. I try to remain hopeful that this, too, shall pass, and that there will be a better normal at some point in the not-to-distant future. For my part, I’m grateful that I’ve established routines and habits that nurture and support me and my family. As a single mom, it’s always a challenge to meet everyone’s needs. For so many years, my needs got pushed aside, or put on “as resources are available” status. No more. Prioritizing my health, in all facets, is critical to the health and well-being of my entire family.

Still haven’t quite figured out how The Yarnicorn is going to fit into that picture. I love what I do, but I worry it may not be enough. For now, I wash the wool, I spin the yarn, I keep up with the industry news… With so much in flux, I really do have to just wait and see. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes. I’m excited to see what it may become.

Fluff and stuff

Stripped batts, ready to spin

This has been a demanding week, and I’m glad it’s Friday. There’s a lot of turmoil in my life right now, and sometimes it’s hard to see the light at the end of what feels like an endless slog through a dark tunnel that *might* be full of spiders. One of the things that helps to keep me grounded is a daily commitment to spin yarn for 15 minutes. Sometimes, I spin for a lot longer, but on rough days, I set a timer for 15 minutes and then I’m out. The process of spinning yarn is grounding to me, and the softness of good wool is soothing. Playing with bright colors can brighten my mood, and mixing them up shows me of how beauty can be created by contrast.

There’s also a reminder in this practice: little things add up. Keeping each of my “spinning appointments” means I’ll eventually see finished yarn. 15 minutes isn’t much, but over time, it makes many skeins. That’s an important reminder for my brain, which likes to have everything figured out in advance and gets super frustrated when that’s simply not possible. All I have to do is keep showing up and putting in good work, and there will most often be something neat to show for it at the end.

Tension

New singles yarn on the niddy-noddy always looks so perfect! Everything is in order, in straight rows under even tension, and it all looks organized.
But as soon as I let go of that tension knob on the niddy noddy, all of the stored energy in the yarn wakes up and coils and it gets all kinds of chaotic. This is usually when I start to panic that I’ve overspun my yarn and everything is ruined.
Instead of freaking out, I put the new yarn into a warm bath. I have learned that this approach is useful for both yarn freakouts, and human freakouts, too.
And nearly every time, unless something has truly gone wonky, a bath and a bit of adjusting will render even the silliest of singles into a more organized skein. There’s a bit of twist to it still; it’s got no ply to move against, so that twist energy will always give it a bit of direction. But it’s a perfectly serviceable singles skein.
This is one of the things I like best about making yarn. The process is soothing, and a call to be patient, and a lesson in how things are created over time. But there are all these little hidden secrets in it, too. I started for the yarn, but have stayed for the deeper meaning.
Every skein tells a story.