I am a time traveler.
It is 1400 BC in Egypt. I taste the flax as I spin it into linen yarn. My yarn is fine, the moisture from my mouth smoothing the fibers as I spin the yarn for the pharaoh’s shroud.
It is 1100 BC in China and I listen to the hiss of my silk cocoons as they bobble and unwind their filaments in my pot of water. The silk travels to my reel where I wind the strands together and I dream of the lustrous fabric that will appear under my hands at the loom.
It is 100 AD in southern Ohio. The mounds have yet to be built. I feel the sticky sap of the milkweed stalk as I peel the long fibers from the skin of the plant. The fibers are rough on my leg as I thigh spin and ply the white fibers hoping I have enough to twine a bag to hold food for winter.
It is 1100 AD in England and I smell the fresh fleece shorn from my lambs. The scent is an intoxicating blend of sweet hay and warm life. I wash the fleece and comb the best parts anticipating the feel as I draft the wool between my fingers onto the spindle.
It is 1700 in Colonial America. I see the yarn change from cream to green to blue as I dip the wool in and out of its indigo bath. I see patterns appear under my hands at the loom as I dance on the pedals to the music of my shuttle.
It is 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. I spin my flax, reel my silk, strip milkweed for its fiber, and prepare my wool for the spindle and the wheel. I dye my fibers in indigo and use plants for other colors. I weave fabrics on the loom of silk and wool in patterns from the near and distant past.
I am a time traveler and fiber is my time machine.
Copyright 2012 Joy Selby Cain