By Teresa Michaud

Every morning I head out with my bus along the Second Tier Road into the sunrise. I only have a few miles before the giggling students march into my solitude. The weather had been changeable causing some spectacular colors in the sunrise. As the sun hid behind Cameron Ridge, it created a moody sky. I consciously tried to memorize the colors and hues of the mountains and the valley below as I drove the long road. There were amazing mauves and silvery browns blending with several wonderful greens. As the sun rose, the magnificent fuchsia in the sky made way for a crack of bright copper with a tiny hint of lemon yellow. For a brief moment, I could decipher each shade of green that I would need. “Slow down sun!” I whispered. I yearned to push a pause button and hold this picture for a moment more; but, in the time you need to take a breath, it is past. The noisy chatter of the day begins. I stop the bus and my first student climbs aboard, “Good morning, Chantal!”
“Good morning, Ma’am.”

I pulled out my bag of clean kid mohair locks. The colors of the morning are still vivid in my mind. It will take me most of the morning to mix up and dye all the batches of colors that I will need. By evening, several laundry bags of mohair are hanging to dry. We have a craft show this coming weekend. I was planning to bring my spinning wheel this time. I have never spun in public before. While teaching myself to spin, whenever someone walked into the room and I felt their eyes drilling into me, I became clumsy and self-conscious and my yarn broke every time.

The following day, after the kid mohair was completely dry, I opened up the fibres and fluffed up each bag of mohair with a picker. A picker is a piece of equipment that is loaded with sharp polished nails and as you swing it, the nails pull the locks open fluffing up each lock in an instant. You must use a picker with caution. It is extremely dangerous to fingers and can take the front out of your blouse with one swing. When not in use it is isolated and locked with a padlock. That night I began spinning the magnificent colors together. I continued to spin for the next couple of days. I wanted to have a few balls of hand spun in these colors to sell. As I filled each bobbin, I rewound the yarn to a niddy-noddy to measure out each skein. Using an nφstepinne, I wound the yarn into a centre-pull ball. When I added our label, I decided to call this color Cameron Ridge Sunrise.

The morning of the craft show had arrived. Raymond and I loaded up the van with several boxes of our socks, mittens, bonnets and many different types of yarns. Raymond was pleased to see that I was bringing along my spinning wheel. He believed that it would be a real treat for people to see someone spinning. My mind drifted back to the days when I yearned to see someone spin and I smiled.

The first day of the craft show was very busy and I was disappointed that I was not able to sit at my wheel but I was exhausted and did not reflect too much on it. The following day, was a little slower with the occasional rush of customers. Right after lunch, it slowed right down. We were supposed to have everything packed up by 3:00 PM. It was now 1:30 and there were very few people left. It was quiet so I sat at my wheel and began to spin some Cameron Ridge Sunrise. At the corner of my eye, I noticed a couple arguing at the next booth. The wife wanted to continue browsing through the colourful displays and the husband just wanted to go home. The man became agitated, took a few steps away from her then turned.

I gave a quick glance up at the man. He appeared frustrated. He was holding her purse and a white shopping bag. He turned again this time to face me. I timidly lowered my eyes and fixed on my spinning so I would not break my yarn. I felt his eyes on me. I took a deep breath, held it for a few seconds and immediately relaxed and pedalled easily. I concentrated on the colors mingling into one another and began to create a novelty yarn. A moment later, I glimpsed back at him. My observer seemed to be enthralled. I again focused on the colors of my mohair.

I drafted the yarn with my right hand and watched as some tiny green curls clung lazily to the fibre. I released my left hand and allowed the twist to continue up, securing the tiny curls, and creating an amazing yarn. As I continued to draft the mohair, I remembered the morning of the bus run. I forgot about the craft show and about the man watching me spin. I reflected on the magic fuchsia color of the sky and I remembered how the bright copper suddenly appeared as if an artist had just added it with his brush; then immediately swept in a hint of lemon yellow. I summoned up the different hues of green, the silver browns and the mauves of the valley. Suddenly the sound of voices, and the commotion of the people in the other booths packing up their goods, brought me back to the show and I became aware of my surroundings. Raymond was speaking with my onlooker. The man’s face was now relaxed and he appeared cheerful. Raymond reached over, picked up two balls of Cameron Ridge Sunrise out of my basket, and put them in a clear bag. The man’s wife returned from the neighbouring booth empty handed. The man greeted her. “Here you are, dear, I know you will really enjoy this.” He said pleasantly as he handed the bag of yarn to his wife. I smiled.

The Intimacies of Mohair