It has been a really long time since I’ve had a spinning group. Like, since I lived in Maryland, ten years ago. But here in Rankin, in a town of less than 3,000 people, God has gifted me with a spinning friend!
Alide and I have been spinning together regularly for several months now. This summer and fall, we moved our spinning to her beautiful greenhouse, which her husband built for her by their cabin. It was so much fun to sip our tea and spin surrounded by a forest of brilliant green.
Alide is a bit of an expert when it comes to processing qiviut. She’s harvested a good deal of qiviut from muskox pelts over the years and is studying the spinning of it. One night she gave me a wee cloud of it to experiment with, and I spun it into this little butterfly of super-softness.
One current item of discussion is whether to drum card it or spin it from the cloud. Spinning from drum carded is easier, but there seem to be a good deal of nepps that result. I theorized that this was because it should be carded on a finer-toothed drum carder. I knew Rachel had one, so Alide let me take a small batt with me to Vancouver to try out on Rachel’s carder. Long story short, the finer teeth didn’t really help the nepps much, but they didn’t interfere with the spinning.
I spun that wee batt up myself while I was in Vancouver, just to see what it was like, and the nepps were not bothersome to me. With those short, crispy fibers, to me qiviut is asking to be woolen-spun, which is very forgiving anyway. It doesn’t look super-tidy, but it should knit up beautifully.
I didn’t knit up a sample of this, partly because it’s only 42 yards and seems quite precious, but also because…. well, I know this isn’t the last qiviut I’ll be spinning! There is a lot more qiviut spinning in my future, Lord willing, and a lot more learning from and with my friend.
Writing this post reminds me also of the weekly crafting times I had in Iqaluit, at my friend Andreas, and with my Monday night ladies. All those regular gatherings were the highlights of my weeks! These are the ways we share life.
Friendships are always precious, but it’s a truth made more apparent when you live in a very isolated place. The friends you find are especially valuable, and when a person or family leaves town, it makes a big difference. I’m also so thankful for those friendships that have continued to work over long distances.
I’ve had to learn the hard way not to take friends for granted. I praise God for giving me such sweet friendships in the North, both in Rankin and in Iqaluit. Now that we’re in lockdown again, being isolated even from friends in town makes me try even harder to give thanks and to honor the time we do have together.