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Spinning and Weaving

This week I completed a bag. It is not particularly pretty but it is very functional. Did it just happen? No, it was the result of a design and the end result of a series of steps.

My role as a chaplain is often stressful, listening to people’s problems is never easy and often I take some of that pressure home. One of the things that I do to unwind is spin wool. Maybe I don’t fit your mental image of the little old lady and her spinning wheel, but I find it very relaxing and therapeutic! I may not be very good at it and the finished product may still have some grass seeds but the lanolin is good for my hands, the rhythm is good for mind and the process good for my soul.

The trouble is I don’t knit and a heap of beautifully spun wool is not very useful! So, I have recently acquired a weaving loom and I am experimenting with a range of products, starting with scarves and now progressing to bags.

Why do I bother telling you this story? We all need to find ways to enrich our bodies, minds and spirits! Spinning and weaving does that for me! I tend to use lots of fine merino black wool (not just because I get it for nothing from commercial wool producers for whom it is a liability) but because it reminds me that it is OK to be different!

The proverbial black sheep may be shunned in the flock (or at least by the farmer) but his wool is just as fine, the yarn just as versatile and the final product just as warm!

We have a lot in common with sheep, we tend to want to stay in the mob, to blend in, and always wait for someone else to lead, yet as members of the military we need to accept the fact that we are different, we are called to a higher standard and have been given the training to allow us to stand out from the crowd. That is not always easy, but it is necessary. Make sure that you are including in your life opportunities to unwind, setting aside time to enrich your body, mind and spirit. Balance in all three areas is the key. If you need help, you know where to find me!

Chaplain Ian S Whitley

1 comment to Spinning and Weaving

  • Kaz Murray

    Dear padre, don,t ever feel bad or wrong about spinning. I too have found it great as a stress reliever. If you have too much spun wool try and find a local neighborhood house where groups meet and see if they want your spin wool to knit. Even though I knit, I spin more than I can use so my attempts are knitted into soft toys for kids in hospitals.

    You might also like to try drop spindles during quiet times at work. When I get over stressed at work, I get my spindle out and do a quick 5 minutes to settle me. There is a saying with drop spindles ” slower by the minute but quicker by the week” meaning that every 5 minutes here and there add up pretty quickly. It’s small enough to even pop into your pocket.

    Some of the best spinners, even drop spindle spinners are men.

    Ps please update your blog on how your spinning and weaving is going. It’s refreshing to read.

    Good luck

    Kaz murray

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