In 2014, when I took a sabbatical from the university, I bought a spinning wheel. I had tried using the drop spindle, but after numerous YouTube videos and attempts, it just wasn't working (I didn't learn until much later that part of the problem was the spindle itself because it wasn't properly balanced so it didn't spin as effortlessly as it ought to have; I have since used much better spindles. My current favorite is Greensleeves Spindles Miss Marple's Tea Cup. It's a delicate looking drop spindle that spins for days, but I digress). So, I decided to go ahead and invest in a spinning wheel.
There weren't any dealers in the area where I was living, so after a fair amount of research, I settled on ordering a Kromski Prelude from Paradise Fibers. The Prelude was small enough that it wouldn't take up significant real estate in my house. It's also easy to pick up and move, and it's from a well-known spinning wheel manufacturer. Plus, the Kromski wheels are just so incredibly pretty.
The other thing that I found attractive? Because it was being shipped to me from Poland via Paradise Fibers (it was even packed with Polish newspapers to keep the parts from rattling around too much), I had to stain, varnish, and assemble the wheel myself. Yes, I could have paid to have many of these steps done for me, but I chose an unfinished Prelude because, since I had the time, I wanted to know that wheel. I wanted to understand each and every part of it. How the wood felt. How the pieces fit together. Learning the ins and outs of this wheel mattered a great deal to me.
Granted, being patient for each coat of stain and then varnish to dry was not easy because I was so excited when the wheel arrived, but it was so incredibly worth it, and that learning experience remains incredibly valuable to me. So, when the footman cord broke a few years later (not uncommon), I knew how to replace it and how to knot the new footman so that the treadle leg and the pedal weren't rubbing on one another. Or, when I had to replace the brake line, I understood tension and how to thread it properly. I even learned how to tell when the different parts of the wheel needed a little extra attention, a little more spinning wheel oil to function properly.
And I love spinning. It's meditative and soothing. Because it's rhythmic, you can really drift off and not realize just how long you've been sitting there. And it's so cool to have a bobbin full of yarn you spun yourself.
But, as much as I love to spin, over the years, I found myself focusing more on other crafts. Instead of sitting at the wheel, I'd spend my afternoon trying to finish a sweater or my evening crocheting a new amigurumi toy. The wheel was there, and I always meant to get back to it, but instead of literally picking it up and carrying it over to where I was sitting (because it's really easy to carry, btw), I just didn't.
Which is why one of my current goals is to try and spin more. At least once a week. Even if it's only for fifteen minutes (because you can actually spin quite a bit in fifteen minutes). And this past weekend, I did. I picked up the wheel, sat down in front of it, and spun about an ounce of merino wool while watching Lester Holt on the Nightly News.
It felt so good.
And that got me to thinking about our craft projects in general. It's easy to put things off or feel as though you aren't being productive or finishing your projects, but if you set aside five or ten minutes every few days, you'll see some progress. We don't need hours of free time to get in a row or a round or a few turns of the spindle. A handful of moments that we can pull out of our pockets every now and again works.