Saturday, January 11, 2003

Welcome to January in Maine, where the temperature rose to a balmy 16 degrees today. The sky was a perfect deep blue with an occasional white puffy cloud that made shadows on the hills as it drifted by. The wind howled most of the day, whipping up any loose snow into a sparkly whirlwind that either ended in the woods or against the house.

I finally began to spin an enormous braid of hand-dyed merino that I bought from Barbara Gentry (of Stony Mountain Fibers) during the Knitter's Review retreat back in November. Only I forgot that it was merino, a fiber I still avoid on the assumption that I'll make a big lumpy mess out of it.

So I spun and spun and spun the most beautiful strands of color, and I didn't even let the yarn set before plying it all together. Barbara Gentry's merino (The results were the cover picture for this week's newsletter.)

Lo and behold, today I brought out the braid and pulled off another yard-long bundle to spin. A tag fluttered to the ground, I picked it up, and saw the words "100% merino" in big glorious letters.

Could it be that - without even realizing it - I've finally become worthy of merino? Or did Barbara do something special to this fiber that made it more manageable than the merinos of yesteryear? Who knows.

But for the moment, I feel like something in my internal odometer went "click" and I advanced to a new level of spinnerly practice.

And speaking of spinning, I owe a profound thanks to Linda Diak of Grafton Fibers. She sent me what is undoubtedly the coolest fiberly gift I have yet to receive: A Knitter's Review drop spindle! a spindle from Grafton FibersIt's the same form as her Mouton du Mois spindles, only instead of a sheep, goat, or rabbit on the top, she painted a lovely ball of yarn and wrote the words "Knitter's Review" around the bottom.

Her package also included a ball of glorious, purple-hued fiber, which I immediately pulled out and sniffed with delight. (Yes, that's my embarrassing fiber-admiring habit - I sniff it with abandon.) Twas a speechless moment that reminded me there are still good people in this world.

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