Cross patch, draw the latch,
Sit by the fire and spin;
Take a cup and drink it up,
Then call your neighbors in.
When I learned to spin, the old nursery rhyme rattled around in my head like a bat in daylight and found no comfortable place to alight on. What was that all about, I wondered? Why was she cross? Would she snap at me if I came near her? Would I turn into a cross old lady if I spun? As I sat spinning today on my old Quebec wheel, I queried it again.
I don’t think I could spin if I was in a bad temper. Spinning is calming, centering work and although it can be a solitary activity, I feel humbled and connected to the community of women now and long past. But perhaps I am vain to think so. I spin for pleasure. And although I’ll put many hours of work into a yarn for socks or a sweater, I don’t have to spin interminably to keep my family warm.
I’m spinning today for a pair of socks. 3 ply fingering, kool-ade dyed superwash roving (with nylon). How New Age is that? It’s pretty far removed from the greasy hay pricked animal, these not so honest and humble rovings – all those burrs on the fibre burned off with lye..I don’t even want to know about what else… the grape, cherry, lemon lime, smurf blue cocktail scent over that… but that was fun…
happiness is.. the whirr of the spinning wheel, and handspun socks!
.. and a song to sing about it…
Here’s a lovely ditty ~ Jean Redpath singing O leeze me on my spinning wheel
and this lullaby to keep us from getting cross.
“Mellow the moonlight to shine is beginning
Close by the window young
Eileen is spinning
Bent o’er the fire her blind grandmother sitting
Crooning and moaning and drowsily knitting.
Merrily cheerily noiselessly whirring
Spins the wheel, rings the wheel while the foot’s stirring
Sprightly and lightly and merrily ringing
Sounds the sweet voice of the young maiden singing…”
The Spinning Wheel ~ Irish Lullaby