After a lot of foreshadowing by the universe, I have started to teach myself how to hand spin. Eventually I want to incorporate spinning into my practice as a method of trance, attraction, and as a part of seiðr alongside using the spun yarn itself. Right now though, I am just trying to get to the point where I can spin consistently and comfortably enough that I can do it without paying much attention.
I didn’t think I would take to spinning so quickly. There’s a certain rhythm to it, and once you find it, everything else fades away. Watching the fibers come apart, getting just enough for the thread you want, and then releasing and watching it all come together again. It’s fascinating. Mesmerizing. Spinning also happens to be a great way to distract me when I am angry, which is an amazing plus for me considering all the toxicity I’ve had to deal with lately.
Spinning isn’t my first venture into fiber work. I knit and sew fairly well, even if I can’t do anything too fancy. But neither of those feel like spinning does. With sewing I am ever aware of the needle, trying to keep even and not poke myself. With knitting I am always aware of my stitches and often stop check my progress and to recount just in case. Spinning doesn’t have that tenseness to it. It is also incredibly easy to fix a mistake when you spin. Going back and drafting the fibers thinner, twisting splits into one piece, working around the stray knot in the fiber… All of these are incredibly manageable.
I can see why spinning is used for trance. I haven’t even spun that much and I can already feel myself inching closer to that state. There is also a connection I have noticed when I spin. The spindle is one of the humanity’s oldest tools and the drop spindle, which I use, was commonly used in the parts of Europe where my ancestors are from. There’s a weight to that, using a tool that is pretty much unchanged since your ancestors were using it.
In some of the reading I have done on how spinning relates to seiðr, I wasn’t expecting to find such a strong connection between spinning and witchcraft. Art of witches with a distaff were pretty frequently brought up and I plan on digging into more resources once I am back at school. I never put much thought into things like Sleeping Beauty pricking her finger and actual folklore, I guess. But now that I know more about that connection, I feel even more drawn to spinning. There’s more mystery, more to learn, and more to experience. I feel drawn to my disir even stronger. I feel drawn to seiðr even stronger.
I’m looking forward to learning more about spinning and from spinning. But for now, I am enjoying spinning a few grams of yarn at a time. I’ve also gained a lot more appreciation for the clothes I wear and the cloth I buy. Knowing what it takes, and how long it takes to spin just a dozen feet of yarn, uneven as bulky as mine sometimes ends up, really puts the growth of textiles in perspective. It also gives me a much greater appreciation for the many cultures that do still spin and the distinctness of all of their spindles.
If you are at all interested in learning to spin, I say go for it. There are plenty of great starter kits on Etsy and plenty of YouTube videos to help you along. Spinning, along with other fiber crafts, have really made a comeback with the surging interest in DIY projects. I’ve also found spinning with a small spindle more accessible for on the go crafting than knitting can be. It is also beyond satisfying when you make something with yarn you’ve spun. It’s the most satisfied I have been in a long time with a project. Happy spinning!