“Zen emphasizes rigorous self-restraint, meditation-practice, insight into the nature of mind.” Meditation of any sort can help reduce stress.

My Zen time is spinning with my spindles. It is total focus on the single process, it quiets my mind, slows my breathing. That wasn’t always the case, like with any new endeavor, there is a lot of tension involved as you learn the skills, but with time, you relax and it becomes enjoyable. I have been spinning now for over a decade, starting with spindles, moving on to wheels, and for the past 8 months or so, returning to spindles.

When spinning with my spindles, whether in my chair, the car, waiting for an appointment, or out in nature, I feel my shoulders relax, the tension drain from my neck, my breathing focused. It gives my mind a non stressful activity on which to focus, a form of meditation. It ceases to be production and instead, is a serene, peaceful activity. I am still making yarn, but at a much slower pace.

As I am approaching the end of the month, as a spindle is filled and emptied, it isn’t necessarily getting refilled. The Fig Aegean, my largest spindle is resting right now, my newest Ambrosia Wren is filling, the smallest Honduran Rosewood Finch is almost full and will soon sit idle for a few days. The notched shaft bottom whorl in the left of the bowl is my Living History spindle and doesn’t generally spin at home. They rest in a wooden trencher, also from living history, or sometimes a basket or pottery dish depending on my mood. And it all sits on a small hand woven “towel.” The weaving process is still in the tension filling realm as I haven’t gotten good enough at it for it to be relaxing, maybe someday.

In a few weeks, some of my yarn, knits, weaves, body care items will go to Wilderness Road Regional Museum to an Honor System craft display during their Noel Nights weekend. If you are interested, you can reserve a spot for a tour, goodies, and shopping on their website. Twenty percent of my proceeds from that event will be donated to the museum for their operation and educational programming.

Rainy Day activity

A front came through with wind and rain, the warm is gone. We will see two nights in the low to mid 20’s this week. After all, it is mid November.

The day was spent crafting. The men of this family are tall and bearded. Son 1’s face is long and he has to go to campus a few times a week to teach and for meetings. I had made his family some masks late summer and when we had our distanced meet and greet, he expressed that he wished he had a couple that covered more of his beard, and he liked the ones with two ties, so today I played with my pattern to extend the sides by about 3/4″ and used bias tape folded and stitched for ties instead of using elastic loops. Four more larger masks are finished, packed, and will be shipped off to him tomorrow.

In my early fabric purchases, I had gotten two that ended up being lining, but found a use.

This morning during my alone time, I finished spinning most of the frustrating fiber on the wheel, all but a few grams. After the masks were done and packed up, the last little bit was spun and then a major plying session done. The two bobbins of very fine singles ended up a very full bobbin of 2 ply yarn that is 22 wpi, lace weight. This is the second skein I have done recently of soft, smooth, shiny yarn that is thinner than I like to use, so it will look for a new home.

The fiber is 50% Merino wool, 25% baby Camel, 25% Mulberry Silk, so it has great sheen and should knit with great drape. The bobbin couldn’t hold any more. Tomorrow I will measure it off and see what kind of yardage it is.

Tuesday and Wednesday nights, the peas will have to be covered, hopefully to protect them enough to get a small harvest from them. Daytime temperatures this week should be great for some walks and hikes.

The Rain Did It Again

I think we got our month’s worth yesterday and last night. It rained hard enough last night to again clog the ditches and culverts along our road, filled the ditch on the top end of our culvert with road gravel and washed huge ruts down our driveway. Again I have filed a report with VDOT, but they would rather come in and grade and clear ditches half a dozen times a year than do it right the first time. The ditch needs to change sides of the road several times which would involve putting culverts under the road.

I had a package to mail, so we went out to get a newspaper, drop the package in a post box and get carry out lunch. I also needed two flower pots as I made a decision to let the two huge hanging spider plants stay outside for the winter which will result in their demise, but I cut plantlets and brought them in to root to start them over in clean soil in the spring. The plantlets were ready to be planted, so we went to the local nursery to get two terra cotta pots and plastic saucers. The nursery is near the road down to the river so we chose to come home along the river. This is what we found.

The river was over it’s banks, the rocks at the falls totally submerged. We saw a pick up truck go through that overwash on the road, but we wisely turned around and came home on the high road. That isn’t the only low spot, or even the lowest spot on the route home.

Our creeks are rushing, the one at the bottom of the mountain is very full, but not as full as we have seen it a few times.

The rain seems to have tapered off, though it is still thick with gray clouds out.

Yesterday I commented that I didn’t care for the red fiber, it is very slick and not fun to spin on the spindles. Last night I decided to just spin it on the wheel and though it is going faster, it requires so much hand tension to keep it from pulling apart or slipping away, it is still going to take a while. An hour of spinning and my hand, elbow, and shoulder ache. I still have more than half of it to do. The singles are spinning up at about 38 WPI, so it is going to be fine yarn. I hope someone wants a lot of yardage of fine, smooth, soft yarn.

I have plenty of Shetland, Jacob, Coopworth, and Alpaca/Coopworth blend to keep me busy. Not the pretty colors, but much more fun to spin.