Handspinning: The Art of Letting Go


 

Lydia Handspinning

I once took my spinning wheel to a nearby farm for a weekend event. People traveled from urban areas to see, taste, and touch local agriculture. I sat under my canopy selling yarn and offering spinning demonstrations while looking out over a corral of alpacas. A man and woman on holiday from the East Coast eyed my wheel with curiosity. When I asked if either of them would like to try it the woman excitedly sat down. I helped her feel the rhythm of the wheel and the movement of the roving. She quickly progressed to drafting when I noticed the tension mounting in her shoulders and brow. The roving was moving faster than she wanted. Her response was to grasp it tighter, as if forcing it to stay would allow her more time to do the work of drafting. Instead, the uncooperative roving turned to knots as tighter and tighter it twisted onto itself. Her husband stepped in closer, put his hand on her shoulder, and pointed to each knot as it moved towards the bobbin. “Look”, he said “there goes Joey off to kindergarten. Let him go. And there he is with his driver’s license. It’s okay, let go.” In a sacred moment of understanding they looked at each other, then explained how their only child was leaving for college that summer and the hardest part was simply letting go.

You cannot successfully spin a yarn without letting go over and over again.

In the exact moment in which roving becomes yarn there is a life in it much like a thin stream of water falling over a smooth stone. It bounces, it wobbles, it rushes into it's new form. Controlling the consistency of the yarn is a matter of feeling for the right number of fibers, keeping up its momentum, and then at the perfect moment, letting go. Wether by hand or machine, this is the point when the chosen number of fibers have been loosened from the roving and allowed to join the energy of the twist. No matter what shape it becomes, it's letting go that allows great change to take place.

No matter the circumstance, life is in constant motion.
Why not take up handspinning? 
It will unavoidably teach you the art of letting go.

1 comment


  • Jenna Hinds

    I just discovered your website and blog. What a beautiful story of how your mill came to be. And what a wonderful perspective on hand spinning. We raise Finnsheep and I crochet, and am attempting to learn to knit so, hand spinning is something that I would love to learn. Your blog post and website has inspired me to learn more about it. Thank you.


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