The Fireside Effect

Fall is here. After a hot summer that seemed to go on, and on, and on, I am loving the cool. I feel best when I am cool, just at the edge of cold. At this temperature I can gleefully think of snuggling in woolies: handknit sweaters, hats, scarves, mittens, socks, handwoven shawls. The love of fiber comes raging into full body contact. This is the Fireside Effect, this desire to sit, wrapped in warmth basked in the amber air of firelight, hovering near the edge of cold, spinning and weaving through the long sleep of nature.

And in truth, wool and the feel of natural fibers worked by hand echoes back to my earliest memories. Prepare yourself. My mother had two Vicuña pelts. I know, shocking, right? She always had a very guilty pleasure of the pair, passed down from her grandfather. One one hand, she was truly distressed that the endangered soul-filled dark-eyed little creatures (wild ancestor to alpacas) lost their lives for the prize of their coat. On the other, her fiber inclined fingers sought out the fibergasmic feel of them. One of my earliest memories is of her laying me down on one of the hides, naked and just out of a warm bath. The utter comfort, exquisite softness, and weightlessness of that singular physical sensation is with me still. I feel it every time my hands come in contact fiber – whether it is sheep’s wool, alpaca, yak, silk, cotton, or a blend thereof. The feel pulls me along from my beginning. So, I recreate that thread, that tie that bound, spinning weaving knitting the fabric of my every day.

Somewhere between chilled and the too chilled state that sends me skipping for the closet for a wool wrap or a sweater, I am in seek of hot tea. Hot tea joins with wool in winter when the Fireside Effect is at its height a couple months from now, hands ever seeking warmth and texture. I yearn to look up and see fat snowflakes silently falling, gathering over trees and ground, the loudness of quiet growing, everything softening as the snow deepens. But for now, I sip my tea and watch the leaves turn, wondering at how to image in tapestry, how to imagine into wool.

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