Balancing Plans and Inspiration

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that I am at my best with my craft when I listen as much as I plan. Like many, I usually have a plan — what I want to work on and what I want to accomplish and a general timeline for those things. Like maybe fewer, I am someone who tends to stick to those plans. More importantly, though, over the years I’ve learned to always proceed with balance in mind. There has to be a balance between the plan at hand and where curiosity and inspiration takes me.

This week, my wheel and I weren’t connecting as much as I thought. I love the project I’m working on…

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It’s the February Top of the Month Club from Three Waters Farm and I really truly absolutely adore it. I broke it into 4 roughly equal lengthwise pieces and I’m planning to chain ply it. I think it’s going to be a true stunner.

But…

You knew there was a “but” coming, didn’t you?

For a multitude of reasons, I just wasn’t getting the time I’d hoped for with the wheel and when I did, I was tired and we just weren’t clicking.

I turned instead to an experiment I started a few weeks ago: the Turkish spindle.

I’ve been hot and cold with Turkish spindles. Really, spindle spinning finally made sense to me for the first time about 2 and a half years ago with a Turkish spindle, but I have struggled to find the Turkish spindles that I want to spin with regularly. I have bought and subsequently sold or gifted away at least 5 different “Turks” since I first started spinning with them in 2015. I’ve been through a number of very nice ones from very skilled spindle makers, but they just weren’t it.

A few weeks ago, I was ordered something for my wheel or loom from The Woolery and noticed they now carry a few Jenkins Turkish spindles. I’ve heard nothing but good about these and have long assumed if there’s a Turkish spindles that I’m going to get along with long-term, it might just be one made by Jenkins. One thing about spindles over the years is how to interpret the word-of-mouth skinny on them and these babies get nothing but praise. I hopped on The Woolery’s online chat — oh how handy that is! — and I explained what spindles — weight and makers — I like and asked which version of Jenkins they recommend I try. I really wasn’t sure how I should compare them to my beloved top-whorls and sometimes it just helps to ask, you know? I got some great advice, ordered an 18 gram Aegean and a 22 gram Lark. Reassured by the online help I received, I figured if one of those 2 wasn’t my jam, none would be. The beautiful thing about spindles is that if you take good care of them, they really do hold their value and reselling is a breeze.

I got them, I played with them a bit, and instantly loved how they spin. Great news, right?! Even better, it’s reignited my interest in a spindle spinning WIP I’ve had on a low simmer for a while (I’m all about getting through the WIPs lately!).

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This photo shows the Aegean on the right and the Lark on the left. The arms on the Aegean are thinner and wider, giving it a very balanced, spin, but the spin is not especially tight. Think more whimsy, less zoom. The Lark’s arms are more compact and a bit thicker and, as I understand it, was actually designed for tighter spaces, like public transit. Personally, I just love it’s fast, tight spin.

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Yes, it’s undeniably my favorite. As I’ve added yarn to the Aegean, it’s grown on me and I do intend to keep both for the long haul, but the 22 gram Lark has certainly captured my heart. It’s a lot like when I discovered the Bosworth top-whorl short shaft in the 22-25 gram range. It just fits and I love it. And I’ve been spending time daily in my kitchen — where I love to spindle spin — watching the birds, hanging with Moose, and spinning.

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Moose has enjoyed the quality nap time.

This week I also revisited a hibernating WIP, my handpusn Brillig. I started it back last fall and got behind on it and then distracted from it. It’s a long story as to why, but I ripped it back, rewound the yarn so I wouldn’t have to knit from the kinky bits of yarn that had sat on my needles for months and started fresh…

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Simply put, I am so adoring working on it. It is as scrumptious as a knit can get.

So there you have it. Sure, I had planned to finish that bulky sweater and wheel spin this past week, but this is where my inspiration took me. In the grand crafty balancing act, I think I’m crushing it. Sometimes the thing that keeps us going, that keeps us moving forward, if the freedom to veer off the plan. Balancing the plan and inspiration is the name of the game, my friends!

7 thoughts on “Balancing Plans and Inspiration

  1. Kudos on not letting the plan define you! Creativity gets trampled when that happens. I am so intrigued by the spindles and how does that simple contraption work? Plus, they’re beautiful! Loving the final spins with them and good on ya for finishing up Brillig – it’s lovely.

    1. Thank you!

      The spindles are cool, aren’t they?! They work the same way a wheel was, they spin and add twist to the yarn! Someday I will get around to video to share what it all looks like!

    1. The right tools are *always* out there if we look hard enough. It’s true in other areas of life, too. I mean, I just found the perfect sized stir fry pan for us after 15 years of struggling with what I had! It’s always amazing what the right tools can do!

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