I’ve been spinning a lot recently.  A bit of cleaning up– finishing up little bits of fiber floating around– and also just the joy of free time.  Translate: fiction reading, spinning, cooking, and gardening.  Recently, I’ve been using the wheal ( a double treadle Schacht, if you want details) more than my spindles and thinking about the differences in mindset.

The wheel inspires meditative contemplation in a way that a spindle does not.  Unconventional meditation, perhaps?The faint whirring sound, combined with the repetition of hand and foot movements, brings the mind into a certain focus.  Very little active thought is needed once you’ve settled into your yarn gauge and speed.  Yet, a certain amount of focus is needed in order to maintain the correct movements.  The simple drafting and pedaling movements require steadiness and persistence, both of which are calming and productive.  I don’t think that even the most hysteric personality would be able to maintain a high level level of tension while spinning a useful yarn.  Rx to reduce anxiety and stress: spin 30 minutes/day.

The spindle, on the other hand, requires more complex thought patterns as the spinner must decide when and how to wind the yarn onto the shaft.  Those actions interrupt the flow of movements, and engages more of the mind, breaking any streams of thought (or requiring the initiation of thoughts).  Spindle-spinning is inherently less calming and somewhat less conducive to contemplation.  Unless, of course, you want to contemplate while walking through the woods or on a pond.

Spin some yarn.  Think some thoughts.  Or, empty your mind of everything other than the whir and drafting fiber (until… surprise! the cat lands on your lap).