Gosh, I might even get this done this year. O.O
If you’ve been reading this blog for very long, you’ll know that I do a lot of fibre arts. I spin, I knit, and (more recently) I’ve begun to weave. I’m currently halfway through a knitting project that uses yarn that I spun on the drop-spindle my wife made for me. I’m only halfway done, though, because I’ve had to spin more yarn (and will need to spin yet more before I can get on with the knitting) due to running out part-way through.
The project is a pair of opera-length gauntlets (fingerless mitts) that are meant to be worn over my leather gloves. I’ll be reinforcing the thumb hole with some black leather lacing once I’ve got both guantlets done, but this is what the first one looks like.
Yarn was spun by me. Gauntlet was knitted by me. I did not make the needles or dye the roving or raise the sheep, though. None the less, still proud of them. :-)
That’s all well and good, of course. And if I’m really quick (and get all my other projects done in time), I’ll be able to wear them out for Fancy Anniversary Dinner on the 20th (one day early – our friends are taking us out).
But why “yarn” for a Pagan
Well, spinning, weaving, and various other fibre arts have long (long, long, long
) been associated with the Fates, and – for similar reasons – also with Witchcraft. Leaving aside the whole business of spinning someone’s life-thread out and then cutting it off, yarn (and other threads) are good for binding spells – whether we’re talking about keeping someone in a particular position (stay-away bindings where the twists and knots are meant to throw confusion at your stalker) or more symbolic bindings like, say, handfasting cords, where the ritual binding is symbolic of a bond that already exists. Likewise, repetitive tasks lend themselves well to trance work and, not to put too fine a point on it, give you a handy rope to tie yourself to your own body with. You can always follow it back if you get lost, right? (Just be careful who else is following it).
Beyond that, like anything you make yourself (yes, we’re into hand-spinning and handy-crafts now), you can add whatever ingredients you need. My opera gauntlets are just a fashion/warmth item – nothing particularly Special other than that my handspun yarn happened to match a new-to-me three-quarter-sleeve coat perfectly
– but you can choose specific plant-based dyes for their magical properties (e.g.: a skein of yarn dyed deep blue using black turtle beans would be a particularly apropriate “year king” winter-themed yarn; a scarf made from yarn dyed a deep roan brown using red onion skins would be a wonderful gift to impart courage and good luck as well as warmth) or else simply opt for specific colours in order to achieve a particular end (E.G.: knit green and gold mittens – whether you spun the yarn yourself or not – to call abundance and wealth into your hands).
My goal is to weave my own family tartan
, partly because I just seriously want to, and partly because it’s a way of honouring my ancestors in a really concrete way.
So there you have it.
Use spinning, knitting (go for a simple pattern or NO pattern at all), weaving, and other repetitive acts of fibre creation to help induce trances for pathwalking and similar!
Dye your (handspun or not) yarn, or unspun roving using specific plant-based dyes to add extra magical oomph to your items!
Alternatively, sellect yarn in appropriate colours to accomplish your magical ends when creating binding spells, handfasting cords, mojo bags (you could knit one!), or in other magical workings!
Use fibre-based handicrafts to connect to your ancestors either by learning the traditional arts of your culture and/or by creating the kind of stuff they would have worn or wanted (in my case: tartan. But knitting slippers for everyone using Grandma’s Favourite Pattern; or using Hungarian (or, in my case, Belgian/Northern-French) casting-on techniques because that’s where your ancestors come from; are also appropriate)!
Lots of ways to incorportate it into your practice. Give it a shot and enjoy!