Zen is being aware, being in the moment, being mindful of the process.
During the hectic days of last week I could only think about spinning, as there was little time to sit, let alone spin. Thoughts of Emmylou and of how best to learn the process of spinning (as in, more quickly) danced around in my mind. As the week came to a close, I had an awakening of sorts...I realized how unZen-like my approach to spinning had been. Learning to spin, or learn anything new, with the mindset of conquering, controlling. or speeding up the process, will only prolong, or even abate, said process. Friday, when a bit free time opened up, I opened myself up to Emmylou. "Sensei, I sit before you with a humble heart. Please teach me."
Setting ego aside, allowing Emmylou to take over, led to a fulfilling time at the wheel. Spinning became a quiet practice, a purely Zen time, and there were several 'ah ha' moments. Emmylou, the wool and I worked as one, producing yarn along with the best Zen moments of my learning process. Awareness of teadling, the drafting process and the creation of yarn brought a deeper understanding of Emmylou and what we could accomplish together. A second bobbin was quickly filled and it was time to ply.
Comments from my last post (after a rather disasterous try at plying) suggested several things, including "don't use the Lizzy Kate" and "don't use the plying head". They were rejected out right because of curiosity (why does the wheel come with these items if I shouldn't use them?), stubbornness (I CAN do this) and determination (I WILL figure out how to use this wheel). All are traits that may be seen as unZen, but there you have it, it is what it is. When I did manage to set the ego aside, Emmylou became a good teacher. Overall, plying was much easier than the first time around, but there was room for improvement and still, a bit too much 'struggle' in my approach. In any case, the second skein of wheel spun yarn came off the plying bobbin and it was a lovely sight.
Because the process had been fairly successful, I immediately set up to spin the roving I dyed last September. This glorious color has been named 'Citrus in the Sun' and it is one of the happiest colors ever. As long as I stayed mindful of the process the singles looked better, but mindfulness is a discipline that needs to be learned, and there were lapses when the process came undone. By Saturday morning the second bobbin was filled and it was time to try plying again. A few adjustments were made as we started out; where did the Lazy Kate work best, what
settings on the plying head helped or hindered? Within a short period of
time, plying was nearly as easy as spinning and this time around there was not a moment of struggle, the
process was heaven. The yarn that resulted was the best yet.
What a feeling to see that the knowledge of spinning has begun to sink in and the
connection between what I know and what I can accomplish is becoming clearer. Staying in the moment and being aware of all aspects of this process has taught me much about myself and spinning on Emmylou.
Perfection isn't the goal. The need for perfection may stop one from even trying (how can I begin at all if I can't do it perfectly?). Perfection IS unattainable. Life is perfect as it is, spinning is perfect as it is. Behold...three perfect skeins.