Sunday, 11 January 2009

The Idea of Perfection

I like to do things well. I like to do things well easily. If it takes a lot of effort for me to do it well, I tend to give it up. 

The other thing is, for a lot of us, knitting was learned in childhood. Lots of things were hard in childhood and we just accepted they were hard because we were children and we persevered. At least that's how I think it went. I know I learned to knit. I don't really remember how. I recall a really lumpy, uneven scarf for my dad but I don't remember making it. The struggle of learning to make those stitches is a memory lost in the mists of time. 

Today I went to an all day intensive workshop (the first of three sessions) to learn to spin. Quite a few months ago now, Jen loaned me a spinning wheel. Around that time, Julie gave me a book on learning to spin. A few times, I sat down with the book and the wheel and tried to figure it out but some things are better learned with someone showing you how.


It was a small class. Just me and a couple of friends - Nettie and Carrie.

Being so small, it was less a class and more an all day conversation with a lot of treadling and some wool-play thrown in. Nice, huh?

For the most part, yes. It was lovely to hang out with other wannabe-spinners, the teachers, Leigh and Susan and a really nice doggie


Seriously though, today really challenged me. Really, really challenged me. Spinning did not come easily. While beside me Carrie and Nettie, who are both slightly more experienced than me, began well, I kept cursing under my breath and needing to stand up and take a break.

It was that hard.

That said, there were some great lessons to be learned.

Turning this raw fleece


into something workable


was eye opening and a sign of the kinds of transformation ahead of us.

By the end of the day I'd done what Leigh said we needed to do, which was take raw fleece and get it, in some rough form, onto a bobbin.


I did it and there's some achievement in that, even if it's lumpy and nowhere near the idea of perfection I, quite foolishly, seemed to expect of myself.

Getting home, I was so tired but I managed to see some merit in what I'd done and to tell myself that one day does not make a spinner. One week's worth of lessons won't make a spinner either. Time, effort and patience will make a spinner, in the same way that it made a knitter of me.

To be honest, I may never be a spinner. I love knitting and I find plenty of challenge in it. But I'm going to give learning to spin a go and see what I can make of it. I'm just interested enough in the magic that happens in getting the fleece from the sheep to the finished product. Just.