Through the stunned afternoon, when it's too hot to think
and the muse of this inland ocean still waits for a name,
and from the salt, dark room, the tight horizon line
catches nothing, I wait. Chairs sweat. paper crumples the floor.
A lizard gasps on the wall. The sea glares like zinc.
Then, in the door light: not Nike loosening her sandal,
but a girl slapping sand from her foot, one hand on the frame.
Walcott, Midsummer XXV
In the right mood, the prosaic looms mythic and immense.
Spinning is good for me, I think. The breathing, the rhythm, the tiny adjustments of hands or feet to maintain consistency, the ability to see with the fingers - improvement at these things seems to me to come from deep intimacy between producer and process and product, from long experience, from plain old practice. Less room for scholarship and pedantry; more for doing. I'm absolutely forbidding myself to go about this in the way I do everything else - no excessive treadle-counting or twist angle-checking for me - and instead, to try any and everything I can, avoiding freaking out about waste or imperfections and learning from the mistakes. Monumental, in its way.
When I first started thinking about buying a wheel (which happened with rather alarming speed after my very first encounter with a spindle), I decided that portability and versatility were my biggest priorities. As I did some research, though, it became clear that true portability necessarily comes at the expense of drive wheel size and, hence, versatility. At Maryland Sheep and Wool, at Spinning Day at The Mannings, I tried all kinds of wheels - nearly all the Ashfords, the adorable Merlin Hitchhiker, Louets, and lots of others. The Lendrum was high on my list for a long time - pretty portable, lots of ratios - but then I sat down at the Schacht.
I'm happy that it'll do everything I'll ever want to do, of course, but my reaction to it was a lot more visceral, more intuitive, than I expected. Everything about it is immensely appealing to me, on a level I can't quite explain - the sturdiness of the build, the heft of the wood, the way the flyer assembles, the responsiveness to the smallest adjustments. It feels precise, know what I mean? There's nothing crude about it - and on top of everything else, I think it's a great-looking piece of furniture.
I guess I'm not much used to extravagance - it must have gone to my head, since I went kind of crazy at the store today. I've got:
More bedtime reading than you can shake a stick at;
Luscious alpaca in a warm, naturally tweedy brown;
The most lustruous, softest, daintiest silk top you ever saw - I'm thinking of dyeing this in deep, tonal shades of blue and green for a shawl pattern I've been dreaming about;
And some Euroflax in this delicious melony color (curiously named terra cotta - not in my world, it isn't) for a pattern I'm anxious to start working out. Sketching and swatching tonight...that is, if I can tear myself away from the wheel for two or three minutes altogether.
There has been a little knitting around here - just a very little though, in the form of (gasp!) socks. Test-knitting, in fact, for a charming little set of patterns coming this week.
For the third time in as many weeks, some enterprising spammer has cleverly put my email into the "reply to" field of his messages. This spells annoyance for lots of people, I'm sure - not least for me, having gotten thousands of returned emails from bad addresses in the space of a few hours each time. If you've sent me an actual email in the past few days, it may very well have been thrown out with the mass junk deletions I've had to do - please do try again!