Falling Into The Maelström
For more than 15 years I have had a love affair with fiber. My earliest memory of the craft was watching my grandmother working with her crochet hook and magically turn string into something pretty. Oddly enough, this seed lay dormant inside of me until I was in my late twenties. Only then was there was a spark. My name is Jennifer Wuebbels.
I was like everyone else, going to work faithfully every day and taking care of my family. My child was getting older and I had more free time and absolutely nothing to do with it. At least, nothing that I liked to do. I needed a hobby. I needed to be productive. I wanted to create something. I didn't really have a talent that I knew of. So one day I was rereading one of my favorite childhood books "The Long Winter" by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I remember a part of the book when Christmas was near and the main character in the book would sneak into the barn to knit gifts for her family. She spoke of how her fingers were freezing while manipulating the wooden needles (that she had made herself) in order to create the stitches. She suffered through it because she had no money for gifts. This was all she had to give. But it was the most precious gift, I thought. Because each garment had been created with love for a single person. I remember thinking "I want to do THAT!" Only, not freezing in a barn. Although the setting does inspire me to knit warm things!
Over the next few months I poured over a book that promised to teach me to knit in a single day. Well, it didn't happen in a day. It didn't happen in a week. I got frustrated. There were no YouTube videos. My grandma was the only one that I knew who crafted with yarn but she only crocheted. And she lived far away. So I persevered over the next couple of weeks and determinedly produced a very scary looking scarf that my sweet little child wore proudly because "Mommy made it just for me". I did it. I knew how to cast on. I could make a knit stitch, a purl stitch. I could bind off. It had begun.
Over the next few years I developed quite a taste for yarn. Oh, the luxury fibers! Soft Merino, Silks, Llama, Baby Alpaca, Baby Camel and....Cashmere. And a heck of a stash. Confidentially, I haven't even knit with much of the yarn I bought back then. Those hanks are still sitting in my collection, dreaming of what they could become.
Then one day it happened. I walked into my local yarn shop on a cool fall weekend even though my pocketbook said I had absolutely no business being there. I perused the shelves and petted the skeins. When no one was looking I would hold the yarn up to my nose and inhale deeply. I loved the smell of wool. My husband caught me and looked at me like I was needing an intervention. Bashfully, I put the skein down and walked towards a new display I had not seen before. A large table with an antique looking contraption sitting upon it. It had knobs, pedals and was made of weathered wood that spoke of years of loving use. A contraption with a large wheel. I wondered how it worked. I had never thought about how yarn was made. Then it happened. I had fallen into the MAELSTRÖM.