Hellena Post - Creatrix

I've tried on so many uniforms and badges that now I'm just me - mother of 8 children and all that entails, flowmad, and human animal parent. Writer of this living book of a blog, philosopher, and creatrix of hand dyed and spun crocheted wearable art. I gave up polite conversation years ago, and now I dive into the big one's.....birth, sex, great wellness, life, passion, death and rebirth.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Spinning, spinning, spinning....

I've been spinning.  A lot in fact.  If you were a spinner, you'd get that spinning 28 skeins of yarn whilst keeping our house functional and the kids alive and happy is actually quite a big deal.  I haven't spun seriously for about 3 years now, with twins and heartbreak and extreme parenting in the way, so my yarn stash was dwindling and quite depressing, and now I've got a PALETTE!!  And am being reminded all over again how much I love spinning, what a magical meditation it is, and the sensuality of my craft.

There's Flo the Coaster that we should be decking out, and a house to sort through and possessions to thin out.........and I'm spinning.  We got back from South Australia with all these lush fleeces from my breeder and dealer Catherine, and we couldn't help ourselves so Currawong pulled them out to have a look, and then as Jess had brought up all his wool dyes he HAD to make sure that he still had his toe in with creating gorgeous dyepots, and then they were laying all round the house drying and ASKING FOR IT!!  So I had to start spinning.  I was forced into it.  My family had almost forgotten what Hellena Post Spinster & Creatrix was like.  The younger boys didn't even know what spinning was!!  Had to remedy that one too.   They didn't know to dread the phrase "I'll just finish this handful!!"  And Zarra didn't know that he could be co-opted into spinning justification by sitting so sweetly on my lap while I spun.   See how my circumstances have pushed me into a corner??

Maybe you'd be addicted like me if you could taste the way it works for me.  Right back in the beginning when I started to spin I thought there was only one way to do spinning, and I thought that the way I found to do it was just being lazy.  I remember reading an book about spinning from the 70's, where this woman wrote “EVERY spinster knows that fleeces have to be dyed, washed and then carded before being spun…”  And it seemed like every spinster did….except me.  I didn’t quite get the mild horror that the elder ladies treated their unwashed fleeces with.  And the need to tame, domesticate, wash and comb a fleece before playing with it.  I LOVED the smell of the sheepy ex inhabitants of my fleeces.  I loved the lanolin softening my skin.  And once I dared to spin from the raw fleece, without combing and carding and washing and all the other processes a ‘proper’ spinster would do……I was totally smitten.  And realized that there was no ‘right’ way, only my way to find.

You see, spinning is full of metaphors.  Every single staple of fleece on a sheeps back is connected.  If you poke your finger into the fleece on a sheeps back, it will shiver and quake it’s fleece, cause every touch pulls interconnected hairs all over it’s body.  And you can comb and card that connection out…..or follow it. 

When you add dye to that connection, or more specifically a chaotically rainbow dye job with blossoms of colour that mix and meld into fluffy little outposts of sublime hues……then you’re not only chasing the connection within the fleece, but also getting pulled on a colourful journey that’s a challenge to navigate. 

To be able to feel the hitches, to smooth out the bits that try and all come together, to turn the fleece around and twist and turn it so that it wont get tangled on the way.  To watch as the connection pulls you through blues and greens and surprise purples.   Catherines fleeces are so clean that the odd seed or bit of hay is an interesting obstacle to the clear strong path of the yarn being spun.  And the action of spinning and watching for snags takes up all the attention and time of your front brain.  Your busy brain.  The one that likes to yabber at you all the time.  Shuts it up quite nicely, so that ole back brain or subconscious can spread out a bit.  Take a bit of room to think and ponder and bring things to your attention.  It was good enough for Mahatma Ghandi as his form of meditation, and it’s good enough for me!

And here’s where some real flashy magic of spinning comes in.  With the finished yarn.  That hasn’t been dipped in sulphuric acid to remove the lanolin and vegetable matter like they do in commercial mills.  That has been through your hands a few times during the spinning process, and is now a lovely long continuous yarn.  That can be made into something.  And then unmade.  Made again in a totally new form.  And then maybe even pulled apart again.  And this process can go on ad infinitum.  Taking the yarn, and making and unmaking it, creating a form and then unraveling it, some forms being functional but not beautiful, and some being beautiful but non functional.  See what I mean about the metaphors?

And I’m going to surprise you all by keeping this short. 

Well short for me anyway :)