October 30, 2020

Teaching spinning

Tonight I was teaching a friend to spin via video chat, almost a continent away. Her joy as she discovered the scent and feel of wool, the way drafting feels when it's going right, the way twist travels up the fiber... it was so wonderful to see. She did well, and she'll be a good spinner, and she'll be good at fiber magic. But more importantly, she loved it immediately. There's no substitute for that delight, that immediate connection with the spindle, the fiber, and the process. The rest can be learned by nearly anybody, if they stick with it enough.

It all makes me remember sitting in a vendor's tent at the SCA event Gulf Wars, learning to spin from a woman I'd just met, and also the more advanced lessons I got later from Anne, who became my mentor after I met her while giving tarot readings at a bookstore coffee shop. (I was just sitting there, waiting to see if anybody would turn up, and all of a suddent, a voice from nowhere cried out, "Is that a spindle??" And we were immediately friends. Anne was wonderful.) It makes me remember other people I've taught, and other people I've learned from. It's the feeling of a tradition stretching back forty millenia, to the first person who twisted fibers together to make thread. I, too, am twisted as a fiber into that long, long thread.

It's magical.