September is a crazy stupid busy month. The last of the fleece that will be spun up and knitted over winter needs to be scoured whilst there is still power coming out of the PV panels and sunshine to dry it before storing. The garden is banging out so much fruit and veg that needs eating (yum my favourite thing), freezing, pickling and jamming/chutnifying. There is no more room in the freezer, the pantry is nearly full, as is the workshop. The green tomato chutney is on the hob as I write and this weekend is all about Christmas booze. Sloe gin, damson vodka and getting the cider on the go. Oh I’m very amused when I read about ‘Slow Living’. An oxymoron? You tell me. I can’t move fast enough nor have enough time in September.
Its just about over now and I have some space to focus on Spinzilla. Spinzilla kicks of next week 5 – 11 October – go Team HSN UK! Which incidentally also coincides with UK Wool Week 2015. I’ve been thinking about my own personal challenge. I have two. The first is to spin enough yarn for two projects. A cardigan with some cabling in Castle Milk Moorit and a circular shawl that has been in my head for a year but more on that one in another post. My other personal challenge is to speed up my spinning. Yes, I am well aware that this may appear contradictory to my own ethics.
The fundamental reason I spin is the very slowness of the whole process. Particularly if you are working with raw fleece fresh from the farm. It allows for a very deep connection with the things made. From what the weather was like when I collected it, who I have to thank for providing it and the conversations we may have had, to the very sheep it came from embedded in the smell of its fleece and how it feels in my hand. Everything made is unique and has a story woven into its making.
As an activity spinning is a repetitive, mindful activity that I find totally immersive and (mostly) relaxing. My mind is occupied enough for it to loosen its focus on the brain babbling and helps deal with anxiety. This is well observed, creative activities, such as spinning and knitting, can ease stress, help with anxiety, depression and pain may counter the effects of stress-related diseases (see for example this review by Gutman and Schindler 2007).
Spinning faster is not necessarily a contradiction. During a week of intensive spinning (a luxury that life very rarely affords) I want to work at improving my hand (drafting) and feet (treadling) co-ordination so I don’t have to concentrate so much, to let the rhythm take over, and the mind to become freer. The whole spinning process ought to become not only more productive but, more importantly a more relaxed and deeper meditative experience.
The spinners nirvana. A perfect state of bliss. Just ask any spinner.
From competitive spinning comes the road to enlightenment…who knew.