The Migration Of Fiber ~ How A Life Comes Together…

A Spindle Full of Maitri’s
Wabi-Sabi Handspun Yarn…

Off the spindle and into a skein…


… Skein into ball …


Yarn knitted into a piece that was
meant to be a wall-hanging or
table mat…



Finally, even a newly finished piece becomes…


… simply part of the fabric of our lives. Hand-
knitted wall hanging above my fiber chair
amidst many of my little looms and more.


I am sitting here rolling a skein of thick, softly spun, kettle-dyed yarn in a color called “Apple Green” into a ball. For the last week I have been going through piles of skeins of yarn and rolling them into balls for the very large crochet project that I have started, a 12′ by 12′ (before felting, so it will shrink some) piece of freeform crochet, and there will be every color and type of yarn, all wools, for the felting. I will be writing a detailed entry with pictures on this piece-in-progress on my Art For Joy blog in the next day or so. I have no pattern, but the rhythm of the work carries me. Winding a loose skein of yarn into a neat ball is an alchemical adventure, as if seeing all the disparate parts of our lives and winding them together they become a neat little universe. I think this happens at midlife, all of the myriad bits and pieces and experiences, people, places, and things that have come before start to congeal and we begin to become whole human beings. Not babies learning how to walk, not young people, tremblingly making choices about their lives, worrying that they will make a mistake or not knowing what to do at all. Not the elderly at the end of their earth-walk who are looking out over the ocean of time, preparing to cross the sea to a distant shore we cannot imagine. No, at midlife we know there is no one way, no wrong way, that one choice doesn’t nail our life down forever, and that we become more “of a piece” as the years roll along. And so it is for me right now.

At 54 I have raised my children, the first of the grandchildren has come along and is already four, and I have moved into a time of life that, like a loosely wound skein whose ends are seemingly lost or hard to find, the yarn going every which way, has been, or is in the process of being, sorted out and rolled into ball. Balls become undone of course, or change shape and form like the little pictorial story above, and we keep reshaping it as we go. This is how life comes together, I think. It is not a straight path but a wavy one, to and fro. Don’t worry that your life should be going in a straight line. It won’t happen, and it shouldn’t. Maybe that is why I am a fiber artist. There are infinite possibilities, every time I start a new piece I am surprised what the outcome will be. To me, life is just like that saying, “It isn’t the end that matters but the journey that matters in the end.” I am a peregrinator, always traveling onward, picking up bits of this and bits of that to spin into my yarns to make the magic carpet I will ride through the rest of my days. Ah yes, now I know exactly what this rather mystical piece I’m crocheting is, so large and brightly colored and yes, magic! It is a Magic Carpet, one that will record the journey it took to get to that new home, and one that will inspire me all the days of my life. Perhaps I shall spend my life making magic carpets. Crocheted, Knitted, Woven, it doesn’t matter. Just meditate deeply on the piece before you, then close your eyes, and feel yourself lifting up off of the earth and being wafted on the airwaves of life. Magic Carpet, that’s it! I am a purveyor of magic carpets, dreams, secrets, and hidden things in vintage teapots that carry the Secret Of Life. Yes. That’s exactly what I am!



Lately I have been imagining the house I will move into one day when I leave here. There are endless possibilities of course, but I want something, well, unusual. However large the overall size I want to feel vast open spaces where there is a flow and all the birds, dogs, books, fibers, art, food and cooking utensils, bedroom and all the rest of the living space feels alive and vibrant. I have come upon an idea, just today. Ecologically sound, not expensive, and yes, unusual. I am delighted, and will talk more about that as the time rolls along.

So what do I have, what am I, what will I do? These are the questions I have asked myself for years but could never answer. Now I know there is no one answer that will fit, except what we know in this moment. In this moment I am a mother, a daughter, a friend, a writer, an artist, a gardener and a woman who lives alone with many animals. At this very moment I am a woman sitting writing in the dark save two small lamps next to me, listening to a chorus of three pugs snoring. I am looking around at my little cottage which, though small, seemed charmingly spacious enough for me when I moved in with one dog and three parrots 6 1/2 years ago. The family has grown! And my life as a fiber artist has grown and takes up a LOT of space here. I want room for it all. The fiber has migrated all throughout my life in myriad ways and I am all the better for it, but it doesn’t leave much room to walk about and live in. We are, all of us, human, animal, and inanimate objects, outgrowing this space. We are in the chrysalis state, having lived in the cocoon long enough, we will soon emerge, like the butterfly, and take flight.

Flying is not something you necessarily do in the sky, as a bird, an airplane, a kite. or even, alas, a magic carpet. True flight takes place internally. It is that time when we are breaking the bonds we created ourselves, it is a sense of freedom, inner freedom, when we shake off the world’s expectations of us and allow ourselves to truly be. I am not here to impress anyone, I simply want to be myself, unencumbered by other people’s expectations about who or how I should be. I can never listen to Frank Sinatra singing “My Way” without crying. It touches me so deeply. And that’s what I want to do — not only live my life on my own terms, but in a way — and I just realized in this instant something I’ve been trying to get to — I want to live my life and share it through my work in a way that shows other people that it is possible to follow your dreams and to be what your heart desires. It doesn’t come swiftly or easily, but every step along the way is important. You can’t skip one, even the hard times allow us to deepen and strengthen for what will lie ahead. I have done a lifetime of work in that direction, and while there will always be new things to learn, new lessons to grapple with, we can celebrate life in every moment. It needn’t even be a big deal. I am winding a skein of apple green yarn into a ball. I will crochet it, along with countless other yarns of many colors, into a huge tapestry that will hang on the wall of my new unusual, perfectly wonderful, outrageous, magnificent home. I will plant a wild unruly cottage garden all around and have a fenced yard where the dogs can romp around with me. It makes me giddy to think about it.

This life of mine is so precious to me. Just the other morning I was fast asleep, on the big couch downstairs here amongst all of the animals, which I usually do, and I am used to Sampson, the pugalug, sleeping on my feet or on my person. Well, I have a lavender eye pillow to keep the light from waking me as it streams in four French Doors that lead out to the patio, so I couldn’t see, but I could feel something very strange. My inner, muddled, still sleepy dialogue went something like this… “Something feels funny. I guess it’s Sampson. (He sleeps with me and, puglike, will keep working himself up from my feet to practically under my arm, feeling as if he were hermetically sealed to my body which he practically is anyway.) No. It wasn’t Samspon. It was far more delicate, and sort of felt like a chicken scratching about in the dirt. I reached down, eye pillow still firmly in place, and felt this “thing.” It happened to be Blossom, the Greater Sulfur Crested cockatoo who had, Houdini-like, completely unbolted one of the doors that hold her foodcups in and climbed out through the blankets and quilts that cover her very large cage, hopped over to the couch, walked over Sampson who wouldn’t wake up if the atom bomb went off in here, and walked up and happily nestled on my stomach. She had her head under the old quilt I was covered with and was searching about for nesting material, ever so delicately, and gently, I may have not even noticed she was there. When I felt feathers, not fur, I took the eye pillow off, half sat up, looked at the cockatoo on my stomach and the pug on my feet and laughed. Blossom turned around, looked at me, and said in a cheery voice, “Hi Blossom Bird.” Hello indeed. The dogs all came running and the parrots talking and Mama was up now, looking at the holes in the once precious vintage quilt and arm of the couch with fluff everywhere. Blossom wants badly to build a nest and have a family. Living with her has turned my world upside down and inside out, but truth be told it already was anyway, so what’s the difference if you are awakened by a cockatoo when there’s already a pug on your feet. This, too, is part of the fabric of my life, and this section has been crocheted in bright colors in my tapestry of dreams. No longer earthbound, not I!

I wish you all the equivalent of a cockatoo on your tummy and a pug on your feet. Of an over-crowded cottage bursting at the seams, of flowers growing wildly in the garden and brightly colored yarns everywhere. We are not neat, but neither is life. We are happy, and that’s what matters. May you find your joy, live your bliss, and love your days, each and every moment. I shall now go back to winding my yarn…

Maitri

If you enjoy this blog a donation would be deeply appreciated to help me continue to bring “Maitri’s Heart” to you. Thank you, and many deep blessings to one and all…

Comments

  1. What beautiful thoughts…

    Much joy to you, dear Maitri.

  2. Your cottage sounds wonderful! And I love the big colorful ball of yarn that became something magical to put on your wall! I to, am asking, what’s next in my mid-life time…ah, to create something new and exciting!

  3. Wow ~ That was quite a post! Thanks for sharing all that info! I am so totally drawn to the amazing colors you use. . . they are so yummy! Maybe I ought to take up knitting again. I will definitely be watching to see what you come up with next. An to you also. . . May you find your joy, live your bliss, and love your days, each and every moment!

Leave a Comment

*