Knitting takes me out of time. Sitting outside yesterday, in the sunlight, listening to the wind in the trees, watching Corbie puppy-out after bees and flies, I could have been anyone, anywhere (read: at least since the advent of knitting). If I ignored the house with its humming electricity at my back, and the cars on the road, and the planes overhead, I could have been anyone, anywhere. It’s a small step to the side to then, through this craft, reach out and touch my ancestors. It ceases to be about knitting specifically and begins to be about textiles in general, and there is something we all have in common: making portable shelter. Taking some raw material (in this case, essentially thread) and creating something that wasn’t there before.
Jo has summarized very eloquently here part of the appeal spinning holds for me: its timelessness. Spinning takes me out of time, and often, out of myself as well. When I am preparing, dyeing, and spinning wool, I could be almost anyone, almost anywhere in the world, at almost any time. Sure, there are a few limitations on this depending on the equipment being used; spinning wheels first appeared in Asia in the 11th century, and in Europe a century later, but the flyer and treadle wheel we all know and love didn’t follow for a few hundred years after that. Spindles, however, have been around for as long as people have been covering their bodies with cloth rather than animal skins. I’m tempted to say this coincided with the switch from being hunter-gatherers to being farmers, but in reality no one knows; people were probably collecting plants such as nettles and retting and spinning those long before sheep entered the picture.
Want to feel closer to your ancestors at this time of turning towards the dark? Take up a traditional craft. Spinning qualifies, but so do sewing and needlework, weaving, carving with non-mechanized tools, candle-making, making herbal preparations using a mortar and pestle, and probably a hundred other things I’m not thinking of at the moment. These crafts take you out of time; they strip away the façade of the modern era and, by so doing, they help to thin the veil.
You can read the rest of Jo’s post here.