Finding North

This weekend was the Grand Depart for the Tour de Fleece and I admittedly got off to a bit of a slow start, but for the very best of reasons. Sometimes friends visit (YAY!) and family adventures take place (YAY!) and the spinning just has to wait or at least proceed at a more modest pace. As much as I love spinning, while I will definitely work on making it fit into my life more easily I won’t ever let it entirely dictate what I’m going to do day-in and day-out. Life will always go on!

In any case, I woke up when the mister was getting ready for work on Saturday and took a little time with my coffee and spindle before the house was up and about…

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We gave our good friend the option to gallivant on Saturday or to stick close to home. We’d shown her our new home & town on Friday and on Saturday she opted to stay home and knit & spin — did I mention she knits and spins, too?! I have the feeling the relaxing involved was as much on her mind as was wanting to let me spin for the Tour. She is, after all, the most thoughtful person I know. I worked on plying my hawser while she worked on spinning her first batt. It was a pretty much as relaxing as it gets.

Sunday was the mister’s day off and I could tell he was feeling a bit restless and needing to go some place special. I packed up my spindle-to-go set and we piled into the adventure mobile. And we wound up here…

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The trails of Copper Falls State Park. It is quite a drive from our house, but extraordinary and worth the trek.

There are the obvious picturesque scenes…

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And the more subtle…

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All around I noticed places where life shouldn’t be able to exist, but it finds a way.

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The vertical fractures in the rock and intense curvature of the roots of this tree were breathtaking. Indeed, this is a place where rigid strength clashes with an very organic desire to find a way to thrive.

As we marveled at the cedar trees around us, thinking about the little red cedar spindle in my pack, my husband pointed to this tree.

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“Look,” he said. “Even the trees spin here.” ❤

As we trekked back from this stand of spinning trees in awe of the natural world, I lingered just long enough to hear a little girl ask her mom, “Mom, which was is North?”

And her mom responded, “I don’t know, honey. I don’t have a compass on my phone.”

I think it struck me because since our move it’s taken me a long time to get my bearings regarding the orientation of the roads around town. There have been many a time I find myself leaning back in my seat to see the little “W” or “E” on the dash when my husband is driving to try to get a better feel for where I am and where I’m going. I definitely have a long way to go.

On the trail, though, I always feel like given a little time, especially on a sunny day, I can figure out the cardinal directions and the general time based on the sun. In college when I would be cross country skiing new trails that’s always how I would navigate.  For me, my place on Earth is something I consider a lot — for location, for weather, even for the different angle of light in the evening. Because I’m such a visual person and science nerd, I am just always considering how my place on Earth affects what the world looks like and how it changes my perspective. Knowing my place in the physical world helps to bind me to the person that I am, as well, and the way I spend my time. Wife, mom, daughter, friend, spinner, knitter, hiker — all these things are impacted by — if you really think about it — my location, my relationship to where North is.  And yet I have never considered my phone as a compass that helps me find North.

After a picnic lunch, we fittingly turned the car North again, this time toward Potato River Falls.

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It was a new-to-us place and it turned out to be the ultimate in happy places for my girl…

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And Moose, who only tried to check in one innocent bystander wading out into the falls. He’s so happy in the water and always so alert to people who might be rescuing.

I had a little company while I spun…

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The best kind of company, actually.

We made our way home, refreshed and exhausted. And after getting the house in order and plants watered, I settled down to prep some fiber and spin.

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I finished plying my hawser and got a respectable amount onto my spindle.

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And I started to dig in to what will be a 2-ply worsted-ish yarn with Superfine Merino from Three Waters Farm. This is one of my absolute favorite colorways — Cafe Diem. After spinning a few fine yarns it’s taking a bit to get back in the worsted frame of mind, but it’s a welcome change.

I’m very hopeful that someone in that little girl’s hiking party was able to help her find North and that she was able to better understand her relationship with her place on Earth. I’m still working on my bearings, to be sure, here in our new home and on all the new trails. I’m still learning the light and how my place in this world has changed, ever so slightly over the past months. Odds are I still won’t ever remember that there’s a compass on my phone, but you can bet that I’m still thinking about finding North.

Places You Can Spin

It was a little over a year ago that I really started to deep dive into spindle spinning. My hip was giving me some trouble and sitting at my wheel was uncomfortable and I was not in a position to get a different wheel, so a very wise person said, “Sarah, have you tried the spindle?” And the rest, as you know, is history. This week, I was reminded why that simple question was instrumental in changing the course of my everyday life. Because, you see, I now carry a spindle almost everywhere with me. I still bring knitting, of course, but there are certain moods and certain spots that are more favorable for one or the other. And this week, it was all about my best spindle spinning spot yet.

Can you believe it?

I was able to sit up on a ledge, so I had a long area in which my spindle could drop. Right next to the waterfall, the kids playing below in some puddles and Mr KS lounging and photographing on some rocks up above. It was just grand and in this moment and in this place, the spindle was just the perfect match.

And the spinning was pretty sweet, too. They are lightly textured rolags so they are super fun to knit with little slubs spun into them. I’m trying very hard to get this spin done and spindles emptied before the Tour de Fleece opens at the beginning of July and this day of spindling definitely helped.

For anyone who might be wondering, for a year or so I had an empty water bottle that I used to transport my spindle project, something super cheap I got on clearance at a local box store. And this spring I upgraded to this…

The other bottle had a huge top and this one is a little more easily portable because the top isn’t quite so bulky. In any case, since I’m often around water, this protects my spinning if I should drop it and it keeps it dry. It has plenty of room — You can’s tell from the photo, but I actually have 2 Golding Ring Spindles and 4 rolags in this thing. I usually don’t carry a ton because I’m not a super fast spindler, but after almost burning through my usual 2 rolags last time we hit the trail I took 4 along with me on our latest outing.

The best part, however, is that it fits right in my backpack side pocket.

If you happen to run into a lady on the trail or around town with this set-up happening, it’s most likely me. Or someone else who is very brilliant and fashionable. OK, I’m kind of joking there, but seriously give anyone you see with a bottle of spindles a hi-five for me because they clearly deserve it.

So if you’re wondering if you should pick up a spindle — whether you aren’t a spinner or you’re proficient with the wheel –I’m thinking the answer might be yes. Because it’s a pretty fantastic way to spend a few hours in a beautiful spot where ever you might be!