Friday, September 23, 2011

Generosity I

This has always been one of the most striking aspects of the online handspinning community, especially the art-inclined, spindle-happy, walk-on-the-wild-side crowd with whom I've kept company for the past several years.  Every time I engage in a "swap," I end up receiving way more than I offered, at least to my point of view, and it's  staggering to watch the way people knock themselves out to offer More and More Interesting and More Luxurious in the general swaps on Ravelry.  There's a lively atmosphere of giving which is both refreshing and nourishing, and I literally owe the existence of most of my creative handspun yarns to the generosity of my various fiber friends.
The image above is a random view of my fiber shelves, and almost everything pictured came to me as a gift.  A sampling taken from anywhere else in my fiber storage facility (aka, our apartment) would yield the same ratio of overabundant given things. Sorting through all my fibers in a mass re-organization, I sat and contemplated all those who had given me these bits of fiber, and the feeling of gratitude swelled once again.
I almost hesitate to write about this, because a characteristic of real generosity is that people don't tend to like being called out about it. However, I have been so inundated with gifts since returning from Australia (not to mention in Australia, as you will see), it had to be documented somewhere.
(gratuitous Australia photo, since I mentioned it)
So, before I left town, we already had an ongoing swap in full swing in the Novelty and Art Yarn Spinners group on Ravelry, which had brought the following into my life:
Beautiful grey fibers, a carded batt and killer buttons
from Made by Pixies.
A glorious, endless batt from Funhouse Miki, and one of popsicletote's magical handmade spindles.
A veritable lifetime supply of dyed mohair locks (photo shows only a fraction) from Kat in Perth, who mailed them to my friends in Oz, where they were awaiting my admiration.
Then, on my last day of freedom in the Blue Mountains of NSW, I went to the home and studio of Michelle Snowdon, aka wooldancer.  This was an immersion in fiber wonderland, with handspun yarn by Michelle, her brilliant daughter, and also Lexi Boeger on display around the house, in addition to textiles and handmade toys, beanies, works-in-progress everywhere I looked.  We went out the the studio, where Michelle handed me bag after bag of fiber, including one pre-composed grab bag and one collection of items she had picked out for me.
My personal take-home stash, including a sparkly batt (lower left) carded on the spot by Miss Spinstar.
The luscious grab bag contents, and an undyed skein spun by Spinstar for dyeing experiments.
All the contents of the grab bag are now on this spindle, as of yesterday:
I spun the whole lot, then plied the singles back onto itself, which I may do once more (this is Michelle's influence, she is into prolific plying lately, and it's catching.) I managed to pay for some very small amount of what I took away from Michelle's house - fiber is her business, after all, and I had come there intending to actually purchase some fiber.  But on my way out the door, she lobbed the gift of all gifts at me, and remembering this moment still makes me lose my hold on words (this sentence took a long time to type.)
Handspun yarn by Michelle Snowdon, genius.
I wore it around my neck, and photographed it against the backdrop of the Blue Mountains, whose landscape reflects the colors in the yarn, as I was to observe over the next few weeks of silence.
And you know what?  I thought this was going to be one post, including all the bounty that met me upon my return, but I'm going to stop here and save the rest for its own entry, since this post has gotten so big. How apt that the topic of generosity overflows into more than one entry.