Saturday, March 08, 2008

To Everything There Is A Purpose

My Other Cheerful Teaching Assistant showed up for the school day yesterday with a print-out of an email she'd received from a friend.  You know the kind I'm talking about.  Every working environment has someone wandering around in it that likes to share the electronic witticisms people send them.  Usually, they find a public bulletin board of some sort and you can ignore it at your leisure.  Sometimes, though, they decide to hand it to you and eagerly gauge your reaction.  Like it or not, you now have to pretend to find the stale jokes to be utterly hilarious.  Even if it is one of those days where menopause humor is not particularly engaging.  Or if you've just gotten your (ridiculously early) invitation to join the American Association Of Retired Persons and are not looking for further evidence of how your bodily failings resemble that of the Not-Ready-For-Hallmark email writer's description.

But, in that time and place you have an audience who happens to be a pretty nice person so you laugh like you might just have an embarrassing, age-related leakage incident at any moment.  It's the right thing to do.  Besides, this saves everyone else from having to see it on the bulletin board in the teacher's room.  It's kind of like throwing yourself on a grenade...

However, it sometimes happens that a gem is hidden in those mass emailings.  It can be worth your while to mine through the layers to discover it.  Sometimes you get lucky.  Yesterday's excavation paid off.  Nestled deep within the text was this timely life lesson:

Remember:  If the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.

Ahhhh...I see now!  Embrace the suck.  The suck grounds us, keeps us present.  It evens the playing field and lets us all be equal in our existence on this planet.

I am embracing this philosophy today.  And it is the only thing that has kept me from hanging myself with my own handspun on several occasions.  It all started so nicely, really.  I finished spinning the last of the merino/silk blend and plying awaited.  Plying always takes longer than I think it is going to...but it is only Saturday so time wasn't really going to be an issue.  But it is taking even longer than I thought.

As so often happens to me, the singles had wound rather loosely on one end of the bobbin while I was spinning.  This tends to be an area where the singles twist back on themselves a bit and don't allow the bobbin to spin as freely on the Lazy Kate as I ply along.  Every once in a while, I even get a broken single thanks to those little snags.  It happens to the best of us.  We persevere.  Except that today's bobbins were not quite on board with the whole concept of "every once in a while" and there was a great deal more of the snarling than I generally encounter.  In fact, there was a whole bunch of it.  Tension became something of an issue.  So much so that I have broken the single in several places at this point.  Normally, I'd just use a felted join and move on with my life.  But the silk doesn't really want to do that, thus every break in the single means the plying is done unless I want to tie it.  And that seems disrespectful somehow.  So, for each break, I wind it off and call it a skein.  Once I figured out what the problem was, I was able to adjust the plying a bit to account for it.  But, I still have more of the wee, little skeins of yarn than I would have liked.

However, the world sucks for a reason and I am all about the suck now.  Just look at all the good things that come from snarled bobbins and lots of little skeins of yarn that aren't useful for anything other than knitting thimble cozies:

*I have learned that I know many more creative terms for describing yarn than I thought.  I can't print any of them here.  But, I certainly have a colorful vocabulary!  What a happy discovery!

*Winding small skeins takes far less time than winding a big one.  And you get to do it so often!  It's like a nice little break in the plying action!

*Broken singles and smaller skeins mean breaking out the little niddy noddy.  And, had I not done that, I wouldn't have learned that it is as horrible as its larger counterpart about releasing the yarn.  The bigger one, the one I like to call The Niddy Noddy Of No Escape, has always been the recipient of much abuse due to its poor construction.  Now I know I can share the hate.

*I learned that I can use that thing for scraping the callouses from my heels as a wood rasp in a pinch.  The little niddy noddy is now re-shaped and much better about letting me remove the yarn.  I'll figure out what to do about my crusty heels later.

*Having to wind the yarn from the bobbin every two seconds means that I get to see what it looks like much sooner.  And I get to show you, too!


Frankly, it's that last one that's really kept me going.  I don't care what's happening with the plying, every time I get to see this finished yarn, I get happy.  It's pretty.  Really pretty.  I spun it nice 'n fine and the silk is all glittery in there.  I like the colors and how they play off each other.  I love how soft it is and how, even before being soak or blocked, it just drapes like a fine yarn should.  I love how it's almost evenly spun.  I love it.  

Besides, I couldn't really hang myself with it.  It would break.  And the suck would drop me right back to earth.



Donna Lee said...

It is pretty yarn. And I loved the email joke. They are usually lame. I have a coworker who likes to share inspirational stories and such. I finally had to tell him to stop sending them. They were too sappy. The very nervy AARP started sending me the card application before I was 49 and now that I am 50 they continue to send me reminders that I am not a member. I guess they can't take a hint.

Beth said...

Hey, I can understand what you're saying now because I took that spinning class today. I was wondering what happened if my singles broke while plying. Of course, they look more like rope than yarn, so breakage probably won't be a problem. :)

Your yarn is so fine! (Fine as in gauge AND fine as in "superior in kind, quality, or appearance.") You do such a nice job with your spinning.

Teri S. said...

Absolutely gorgeous! It's too bad that the singles weren't cooperative. What do you have planned for said handspun?

MathIsBeauty said...

You could maybe use the widdle skeins for baby socks or thumbs for mitts?
First comment, love your blog.

Karen said...

You made lovely yarn!! It's so fine. You really are good at the spinning thing.
Your assistant is a modern philosopher being such insightful observations your way. I shall embrace the suck. It's good.

knitnzu said...

I got one of those nasty little invitations on Friday too... grr grr. Nice yarn!

Cathy said...

Nice yarn!!

I'd like to see how you modified your small niddy noddy. I like my small one - it's made of purple heart and I consider it cute with the spindles.

I solved my big niddy noddy problem by giving it to a grateful new spinner. She'll learn.

Anonymous said...

That's some seriously pretty yarn! When I grown up, I want to be able to spin as well as you do.

Jeanne said...

Oh, the lessons hidden in misfortune! Embrace the suck. Despite the suck, your yarn is beautiful! Well spun, girl!

trek said...

The yarn is looking nice. And the AARP should perhaps focus on people who have a decade or so on you.

Ronni said...

The yarn is gorgeous. You can just slightly overlap the ends and ply on rather than stopping each time. It's true it's not as strong as a proper join in wool but I have seen it work fine. Although naturally, at least to an extent, it depends on the final use.

April said...

I wish I had a bumper sticker with that on it. So true. I bet Buddha said it first.

nancy said...

Beautiful yarn. I would have tied knots. I have decided I hate stopping when plying. Hence the Woolee winder, and knots in my yarn. I do curse when I find them during knitting though. I guess I just delay the cursing until later :)

Mia said...

Nice yarn and I love that quote. I think I may make a poster of it and frame it in my new work "area"