Escape into a bit of fantasy
Sometimes it is nice to be able to escape into a bit of fantasy—a place filled with quiet moments for reading and knitting. Imagine a place where the music you are listening to is actually your sister playing the piano in the next room; where daily activities might include writing a letter to a dear friend with a pen, a piece of handmade paper, and bottle of ink; where all the clothing touching your skin would have been spun from fiber grown on neighboring farms. We've just celebrated Jane Austen's 237th birthday on December 16th.
What gifts she has given us—narratives that resonate with human experience across time and culture and focus on the light within, despite the challenges faced.
As she said in Mansfield Park, "Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore everybody, not greatly in fault themselves, to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest."
As the days grow shorter and the nights longer (at least here, on this side of the globe)—it is a good time to dwell on the light even a single candle can give. Making things for the people I love helps me hold onto that light—I think about the person I'm making the gift for with every stitch. I wonder if Jane did the same thing when she sewed shirts for her brothers?
I imagine that while she pulled the threaded needle through the cloth, she also thought about the characters in her books. Perhaps she kept pieces of paper in her sewing basket so that she could jot down ideas as she had them. Spinning and knitting helps me get to that meditative space where my most inspired ideas dwell. I wonder if it was like that for Jane Austen as well—instead of the burden that many modern people assume when pondering the life style of a Regency-era woman writer who had to keep up with mending as part of her daily activity. Even when I'm mending clothing (my daughter has favorite socks that must be darned frequently), working with my hands helps to calm me when my mind is whirring. Listening to stories—whether they are audio books or well-loved movies that I don't have to look at to enjoy—also helps soothe me.
And then whenever I pick up the piece, I'm transported to that time while I was making it. It becomes the holder of my thoughts and memories—and if I was listening to a good audio book while I was spinning the yarn, then that narrative becomes embedded in the cloth as well.
Does that happen when you spin?