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Fiber Arts

April 11, 2011

Several months ago, I started going to a monthly meetings of fellow fiber artists. It’s basically a group of ladies who meet and discuss their various fiber art projects: knitting, crocheting, beading, spinning, felting, sewing (though not much of that), quilting, etc. I’d started knitting I don’t really know how long ago. Not very. It was an attempt to distract myself from thinking about my brother’s death, and it semi-worked.

I enjoy it for the same reason I don’t enjoy it, if that makes any sense. I can’t do anything else while I’m knitting and crocheting because my hands, eyes and mind are fully focused on the task at hand. I have lots of time, but I also have things that need attention, which I can’t give if I’m knitting/crocheting.

That focus is also the positive part of knitting/crocheting. It provides a welcome respite from what are usually overwhelming amounts of worry and stress. I’m a worrier. My mind is always on overdrive and I frequently realize I’ve been clenching muscles in my back, jaw and legs for hours in a response to constant stress. It’s exactly like bracing for the impact of a car accident, for hours, every single day no matter what I’m doing. This is a habit I absolutely need to break if I’m going to find any sort of satisfaction in life aside from brief, passing moments buried in what is otherwise total anxiety.

I’m still in the very beginning stages of learning the different knits and patterns so my thoughts don’t wander as I’m working, because that would mean dropped stitches, or miscounted stitches, or somehow ending up with a scarf that is a good foot wider than it started (I didn’t even know HOW it happened. I just knew I took it apart and did it over and it turned out beautifully).

This last meeting, I got a drop spindle and some beautiful roving (cleaned and carded but otherwise raw wool) and was taught by some awesome ladies how to spin.

Okay. Really? How did I not know about this?!

I love it. It’s hard on my hands and wrists, but so was knitting and crocheting at first because I wasn’t used to moving my hands that way. If it’s anything like that discomfort, it will go away very soon with more practice. When I got home I promptly took out my spindle and roving, and went to town. The furbabies were very helpful, of course.

Actually speaking of the furbabies I think I will have to squirrel away my lovely roving, or they will not rest until they’ve ripped the bag open and eaten the wool. Not kidding. I had to fight off my bear (the 20 pounder) because he caught a whiff of the wool and wouldn’t rest until I’d let him thoroughly check it out. Now he’s staring at me, waiting for me to leave that luscious wool unattended. Not a chance, bear.

I love meeting with these ladies. They are so encouraging and so knowledgeable about everything, it’s amazing. I always feel like I’m not doing something right at the beginning of a new craft or learning a new skill, but they told me I was doing well and overall really boosted my confidence (and I know something new now; always a plus!), which just makes me want to get better and learn more.

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