Thursday, January 6, 2011

get Spun on St. Distaff Day

Distaff Day is a a rather obscure folk holiday, unless you are a fellow spinner, and then it is like our own holiday for celebrating the craft. In olden times, spinning wheels were put away for the twelve days of Christmas, Christmas being Day One, and brought out again on Saint Distaff's Day, which is January 7. My next spinning project, yarn to make a sweater for my son, is still in the washing and dyeing phase. I won't be bringing my wheel out to spin, but I will be attending The Saint Distaff's Day Annual Spin-In this Saturday which should be great fun with vendors and lots of other spinners attending. Instead of spinning, I want to talk about the book, get Spun by Symeon North that I reviewed for the Black Sheep Newsletter last fall. Art yarn is not really my thing, but surprisingly I found this book to be delightfully illuminating and completely approachable. In answering the question, what makes an art yarn? Symeon says, "When you set out to create yarn that is an object of beauty, then you have an art yarn -even if that yarn is a gray cobweb-weight three-ply. Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder." I personally find this encouraging for choosing to spin that which rings my bell, whatever that may be. At the same time, Symeon emphasizes mastering spinning basics because, "spinning consistently before making art yarn is akin to learning to crawl before you can run." She goes on to say, "The basics may sound boring when you're eager to start creating, but understanding the hows and whys of all kinds of yarns will help you make yarns that look as great after years as when you first dream them up. These are the skills you will return to again and again as your abilities grow." To move forward with my spinning, I'm going to take a few steps back, follow her advice and work more on understanding some of the basics of spinning better. I want to really slow down and be more mindful of all the steps I take in spinning a yarn. As Symeon reminds us, "Every choice you make in spinning can bring the finished yarn closer to the expression of your personal and artistic ideas." Happy St. Distaff's Day to all spinners!

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