Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Monday, 4 July 2011

Alive: Navigating an Obstacle Course

It hit 32 degrees Celsius here yesterday, blazing hot for us.  We walked Morris for half an hour, but the pavement was so hot that he was lifting his feet.  Stubborn bully that he is, he refuses to walk on the much cooler grass.  Home we went, and it was a good thing, too, because shortly after our return, we had a thunderstorm.  During that, some near golf ball sized hail fell.  Had they made contact, those would have hurt, notwithstanding Morris's cement block head. 

Bull terriers tend to ignore situations which don't suit them, so Morris's solution to the discomfort of the heat and humidity is to mope on his wool blanket and illustrate the term, "hang dog:"

I spent most of the day spinning for the Tour de Fleece.  I've finished about 150 grams of black alpaca and alpaca/silk roving I bought from Sharon at Golden Willow several years ago:

There are three batches of roving, each one slightly different than the others.  It's been a while since I spun alpaca roving.  It's beautiful, but it has its challenges.  Alpaca is slippery.  It will slide apart if you don't add sufficient twist, but there is a fine line between under twisting and turning the gorgeous fibre into wire with too much twist.  If you approach alpaca spinning as you do wool spinning, you can find yourself in a spot of trouble quite quickly.  Your knowledge of wool can be an obstacle when you sit down to deal with alpaca.

I spun to the rhythm of Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam, specifically, the album Ten, which contains  powerful songs with masterful lyrics.  Vedder is a poet who has built beauty from horror.  Listen carefully to Alive, Jeremy and Release.  Eddie knows a thing or two about abuse, neglect and abandonment.  He knows the consequences, but he has learned to manage the troubles in life. He's used those obstacles to change and grow.

As I felt the beat of the music and the movement of my spinning wheel, I reflected on how best to learn from difficult circumstances we face in our work and our relationships.  We have choices with the obstacles in our paths.  We can remain behind them, stuck where we are, spinning our wheels in one place because we don't know how to change.  We can stand beside them, letting the obstacles dictate where we go and how we act.  We can go around them, or if need be, we can break right through them, expanding our wisdom and feeling our strength build as we move on to the next challenge.

Learning to learn from challenges applies whether we are spinning, dealing with a crisis or simply navigating a hot, sticky path on a scorching summer's day.  Now, if I could only convince a certain stubborn someone of that!


  1. My husband is a HUGE PJ fan. We frequently have tracks blasting at our house; though his go-to album is No Code. Keep up the spinning! It looks GORGEOUS!

  2. Thanks. I may have ruined the alpaca; it's very heavy and not as soft as I'd hoped. Perhaps PJ wasn't the best choice for soft, lofty alpaca 2 ply!

  3. Poor Morris :(

    Thanks for the tip about the alpaca - I'm planning on spinning the ounce of the stuff you gave me for my mountain stages of the Tour de Fleece

  4. The alpaca turned out better than I thought, but I really should have drafted fewer fibres, used a lighter touch and taken out some of the Z twist before I plied it. Oh, well. Live and learn.