Monday, November 20, 2006

Brief Encounter

It was the first day in weeks without a pressing deadline looming. Dolores had taken the sock yarn down to the Art Institute for the Charles Sheeler exhibit. The laundry was finished, the dishes clean, and no visitors were expected. I poured a tall glass of milk, neat, and curled up on the sofa under an old plaid blanket and cracked open a fresh new arrival, Cecil Beaton's unexpurgated diaries.

"Ahem," said the Spinning Wheel.

I dropped the book and covered my eyes with my hands, uttering an oath unfit for delicate ears.

"Well, excuse me for breathing," said the Spinning Wheel.

"Would it be too much to ask," I sighed, "for one lousy day free of Magic Realism?"

"I just work here," said the Spinning Wheel. "Or rather, I just sit here, which is the root of the matter."

"Maybe you could go complain to the vacuum cleaner. He doesn't get out enough either."

"So I've noticed," said the Wheel. "But I do not wish to discuss the state of your housekeeping. Instead, pray observe my bobbin." It walked over to the sofa and leaned forward. "You will notice, please, that the red leader is still visible. This is the same red leader tied upon the bobbin by Mr. Ted Myatt when he visited."

"Yeah? So?"

"Mr. Myatt's memorable stay took place in high summer. If you will look outside, you will notice the trees are bare of leaves and the wind blows cold. Summer is but a memory. Fall is more than half-spent. The Feast of Saint Lucy fast approaches."

"You want me to make cookies?"

"I want to you realize that since I had the all-too-brief pleasure of being oiled and caressed by Mr. Myatt's capable hands, I've sat here untouched and untreadled. You have well-nigh twenty pounds of lovely roving and top sitting in a storage bin, and yet I am less regarded than the magazine rack in the bathroom."

"What has the magazine rack been telling you?"

"Don't change the subject," said the Wheel, sternly. "Are you ever going to use me again, or are you not?"

"Well, you know, it's been so busy at work and there was the Knit-In and everything, and–"

"Prevarication ill becomes you."

"I'll spin a little bit tonight."

"Tonight won't do. I think I've waited long enough. Either you show me some attention right this minute, or I'm reporting you to Merike Saarnit."

"Just let me finish this chapter."

"Do you want me to put this orifice hook to uses never intended by the nice people at Ashford?"

"Fine, okay, swell, whatever, let me go get some roving." I heaved myself off the sofa and headed for the bedroom closet.

"I want the merino from Rabbitch!" screamed the Wheel. "Don't even come near me with that cheap mixed-breed shit you got free from eBay."

I remember sitting down with the merino, and giving the treadle a tentative push. And then things began to spin, faster and faster. The room blurred. Dizziness struck, hard. I felt as though I were the Wheel whined for more...more...more...

I blacked out.

And then all at once I woke up with a start, flat on my back in bed. Dolores and Harry were bending over me as my eyes fluttered open.

"He's alive!" shouted Harry.

"Oh, thank goodness," I sighed. "Dolores, I had the most ridiculous dream. The spinning to was...talking..."

"Totally whacked, man" said Harry.

"Yeah," said Dolores. "That's a good one. You musta had something spicy for lunch again, right?"

"That must be it," I agreed.

"You'll never learn. I'll go fetch the Peptol Bismol," she said. "You go put your feet up and Harry will get you a hot water bottle."

"Much obliged," I said, and toddled into the living room.

And...there it was.




Knitt'nLissa said...

Gracious, Franklin, that's beautimous. I'm glad that all of the people who live in your head are having such a great time!

Joanna said...

Oh Franklin, you scare me .... I just got my Ashford Traditional this week, do you think they all talk?

Aidan said...

I have a crenellated rolling pin to be used in making croissants and puff pastry. It has been lecturing me lately as well. Keep spinning!

loomatic said...

just to get this straight. . . the yarn and the sheep were taking care of you and explaining that the spinner wasn't talking. . . ok.

omg, i shit you not, my veri is glamuqt.

Rebecca said...

I need more "Magical Realism" in my day!

--Deb said...

That is one poetic spinning wheel you've got there . . . poetic with an edge!

no-blog-rachel said...

"Do you want me to put this orifice hook to uses never intended by the nice people at Ashford?"

I don't understand. If they never intended certain uses, why would they call it an 'orifice hook'?

Bee-yoo-tiful yarn you're spinning!

LaurieM said...

Beats having Rumpelstiltskin do it for you.

Karen said...

So let me get this straight (pardon the pun):

When my Louet wheel arrives from the nice ebay seller in Holland,
I'll have to use a Dutch-English dictionary to translate its imperatives?!

And I don't even know how to spin yet!


junior_goddess said...

Rheeeet-rheeet-rheeet! My gosh, you've been doing msuhroomscoke with Lewis Carroll again, haven't you?

The yarn is lovely, Franklin!

La Cabeza Grande said...

"You can sure spin quite an enjoyable yarn there Mr. Habit," she said, grinning sheepishly.

Heather said...

la cabeza, oy! ;-)

Franklin, well done on the yarn! I'm impressed.

Anne said...

I love an educated spinning wheel ;-)

Will you make us cookies? Since you brought it up and all...

Michael said...

You, my good sir, have a distincly admirable talent for narrative. I always love reading your writing (first heard you on Cast-On). And the fact you knit as well? *swoon*

P.S. male knitters, unite!

Ann said...

What kind of cookies?

Yarngirl said...

Ah Ha!! And here I thought I was going a little crazy thinking my wheel flat out tripped me when I walked past it the other day - I believe the wheels are rebelling.....

jill said...

Heavens. I think my Schacht has a little too much of that Colorado mellow vibe going to get too militant.

Of course, I did feed him some of Carol's roving just on Sunday - and also figured out the rudiments of Navajo plying, so maybe it won't leave me to go skiing anytime soon.

the fiddlin' fool said...

You seriously have twenty pounds of roving? Because that's a sh**load.

Sean said...

Yeah, Franklin is spinning again. Isn't it difficult to maintain all of these needy hobbies?

Hope you're well.

angie cox said...

Easy , just play with a box of matches in a casual way if it gets cheeky again.

ted said...

You got something free from eBay?

Mary Peed said...

We should get your spinning wheel and my spinning wheel together to see if they make little Babe spinning wheels. Maybe it'll keep them occupied enough to quit yelling at us. Mine is expressing extreme jealousy about the many knitting projects I have for christmas. I've promised to spend the entire month of Jan with it, if it'll just leave me alone until the sweaters and the hats are done.

Rachel H said...

My Haldane is only keeping quiet because the book I'm trying to read right now is titled Spinning Wheels, Spinners and Spinning. Too much longer away from her though and I'm afraid I shall receive a tongue lashing of a manner only a Scot is capable of.

That's mighty fine work considering you've been away from the wheel for so long, sir.

jodi said...

Too bad you can't rig the thing up like a player piano, so it'll run itself.

Rabbitch said...

You only have twenty pounds of roving? Darling, how can you bear it!

I'm sure I still have your address over here ...

dragon knitter said...

my spinning wheel is rebelling against me, apparently i've been neglecting it. i'm trying to spin some laceweight, a nd while it went great the first time i sat down, when i sat down yesterday, it kept breaking, argh!

and my wheel talks too

Lee Ann said...

My Hitchhiker just looks at me and says, "Dude. You work too much."

We will not discuss what Mademoiselle Antique HEN says to me. It ain't fit for polite conversation.

Cortster said...

Very nicely done, Franklin! Monsieur Myatt, I'm sure, is proud of you.

We never did mention that the wheel can get a bit..cranky, shall we say...if we neglect them too long or too often. On the other hand, the roving can get a bit resentful as well but you had them in bins so no wonder you didn't hear them.

You are going to have some lovely yarn there. Well done! Well done!

Jennifer said...

Uh oh, my poor, neglegted spindle is going to start talking soon...

Carol said...

ROFLMAO-While admiring the beautiful yarn, however it got there ;)

Spinneret said...

With St. Lucy fast approaching you are most fortunate the Wheel didn't expect you to light your hair on fire. But again, that is for the "youngest" daughter of the house, and Dolores doesn't make the cut.

mlj1954 said...

NOTE TO SELF: must remember to not be drinking anything while reading Franklin's blog.

Ah, I so enjoy your entries. Give your wheel a good push for me and maybe I'll finish something this year.

David said...

When spinning wheels go a'roving...

Mia said...

You are wonderful. And so is the yarn you spun. I felt very sorry for the wheel while reading, and I am glad you took pity on it!

MonicaPDX said...

ROFLMAO! And the comments, oh dear. Lovely, lovely singles. Any ideas what it'll be for yet? ::ducking::

You know, I was just looking over one of my wheels last night, also majorly neglected. I've got you beat by years, Franklin; years. I repeat. Years. But it didn't say one solitary thing to me. Now I'm afraid. What could it possibly be planning? I don't even want to think about the one that's been hidden in my closet. ::faintly:: I just thought of the looms. Can knitting needles survive defenestration by other fiber equipment?

(And verification 'mqtini'? What, I s/be drinking while commenting? I already go on enough!)

loomatic said...

well i knew i should have explaine my comment. . . i thought glamuqt was funny because it read 'glam, you cutie' as though i were commenting on . . . how glamorous some cutie was. . . or something. and i wasn't drinking while commenting becaused i learned to never a) blog drunk or b) read this blog with liquids in my mouth lest they end up all over the monitor.

denny Mcmillan said...

spike the wheel's oil.

Holly said...

That is a beautifully fine piece of spinning! For early wheel-work, it boggles the mind (and gives me hope that I won't make a complete bollocks of things when I get my wheel).

*high five*

FiberQat said...

My Majacraft Suzie resides in a lovely quilted bag. Muffles the screams for attention. When she gets too rambunctious, I tell her Buster will chew off her drive band again and other things if she doesn't behave.

Lovely yarn both on the bobbin and the blog, Franklin.

Anonymous said...

You are great! You just made my day!

Bev in TN said...

And I was beginning to think that Delores didn't have your best interests at's good to see the softer sider of her, although I do quite like her wicked witticisms. Happy turkey day to you, or tofu or whatever it is that Buddhists eat on Thanksgiving Day.

HatboxRose said...

"It walked over to the sofa and leaned forward. "

Shades of Fantasia's broom and bucket sequence, with music and all, thank you.

Jeanne said...

Gol-Dang, Franklin, you're funny! You've never failed yet to provide me with the belly laugh I've sorely needed. Have a Happy Midwestern Indiana Thanksgiving from your neighbor in Ohio.

My Ashford Traveller is gonna be travelling out of the bedroom since I'm now fearing for my life after reading this...

laura gayle said...

That's lovely yarn, Franklin! And your voice isn't at all squeaky. Loved your Cast On contribution.

I've been wanting to learn how to spin, but if the wheel talks, perhaps not.

Lori Witzel said...

OMG, I bow before your magical Magic Realism and your surreal wit.

The word-play and imagery is quite well-wrought and unsettlingly funny. (I suppose one could say you have a gift for the Fiber Optics, but one would need to be shot at dawn for a bad pun like that.)

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