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The start of the harvest and spinning

Fall is my all-time favorite season. The harvest, colors, spices, sweaters, teas, cider, baking opportunities, fiber projects... so many different things on which to feast one's senses. Fall, especially, is a reminder that the sleep of winter is coming, that we need rest, that nature needs rest, that everything needs rest, but that we can relish in colorful splendor before that rest.

Fall is spooky stories and spiced molasses cookies. Pumpkin leek soup and Trader Joe's Harvest Blend tea. It's pretty tree-scapes and the rustling of dry leaves.

This year is, of course, is the added fact that it is the first fall without my mom, and I struggle when remembering that last fall I started working on the Harvest Cardigan (pattern by TinCan Knits) for her and that she wore it throughout late fall, winter, and early spring before it became too warm and the world went pear-shaped when she started hospice. Last fall she picked apples from my brother's tree so I could can apple pie filling. (Mom loved apple pie.) And, we lamented the loss of most of my tomato plants from hungry deer. Last fall she and I watched Only Murders in the Building on Hulu and speculated on who killed Tim Kono. This year, she passed the day after the first episode of season two premiered.

It's maudlin, I know, to keep writing about my mom's passing and the grieving process, but grief and pain is also a part of the human experience, and if nothing else, this blog is rife with the human experience.

As many of you know, I've had fits and starts with fiber projects since Mom died. I was rather extremely productive after her diagnosis and during her subsequent surgeries and treatments. But throughout much of July, it was a struggle to put the knitting needles together, to even think of picking up a crochet hook. And while I was working slowly on that test knit I've posted about on social, the thing that drew me back to fiber was actually spinning. And specifically the pile of Wonderland Yarns/Frabjous Fibers merino tweed roving in Cactus that I had sitting on my desk in my office at the shop.

Cactus is a lovely blend of deep green, watery blue, cranberry, and raspberry with just a hint of gold. The colors are dark and rich and remind me of a pile of vegetables recently harvested at the Farmer's Market. That, coupled with the chocolately brown tweed flecks that pepper the roving screamed FALL to me, and one day I found myself just wanting to touch the fiber and feel it in my hands, so I did. And when I picked it up, I began to pre-draft it. And when I pre-drafted it, I found myself pulling my Bare Bones spindle out of the basket on my shelf, and suddenly, I was spinning this beautiful roving.

I'm not a particularly fast spinner, nor especially expert at it, but I can spin some pretty lace and fingering singles with a drop spindle or my spinning wheel. And, one Frabjous braid goes a LONG WAY, which is to say I have barely even made a dent in that pile of roving.

And it felt nice. Not quite joyful because I'm not really in a place where that particular emotion is accessible. But the spinning was nice. IS nice, and I find myself spinning just a little bit every day, even when I'm disinclined to knit or crochet or play with one of the new Katrinkles tapestry looms. Maybe I only spin a foot of yarn or maybe more. Maybe I only pre-draft the roving a little. And that's okay because that roving has become a little bit of a touchstone for me, and like fall, it reminds me that everything is cyclic, the wheel turns, and while things may feel a little upside down now, one day, maybe, they'll feel a little less upside down.

All this is to say that I'm trying, and with fall approaching and the fact that I have always relished each and every second of fall, the promise of fall fiber projects has been enough to tempt me to venture out of my inner world a little and focus on the tactile. Soon the air will be filled with the smell of grapes ready to be harvested and tomatoes will need to be canned. I'll probably still be spinning a little on that tweed roving (because I really am a slow spinner), but that's okay, and when I go to can more apple pie filling this year, I'll think of Mom and of how much she loved apple pie and the way she smelled like fresh laundry and our kitchen. I'll remember the way she used to hug me and roll her eyes when I would show her a funny dog or cat video on YouTube or Instagram. And when it hurts too much, I'll just go back to my spindle for a little while and breathe.

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Beautiful writing as always. Embrace the “feels” and go with it. In time the joy will come back. Looking forward to all of us knitting our way through Fall. 🍁

Marcia Farrell
Marcia Farrell

Thanks. I appreciate all of you making this a safe space for difficult emotions.

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