Friday, May 21, 2010

Have spindle, drink scotch, will travel

Last year I attended a Victoria Hand Weavers' and Spinners' Guild meeting along with around 70 other people. I was pleasantly surprised to see lots of people knitting, while listening to the various speakers, as knitting in public seems to have waned ever since the French Revolution (or. at least the publication of Charles Dickens Tale of Two Cities in which he describes the evil tricoteuse Madame Defuge madly knitting away in the courtroom while the gentry were being condemned to the guillotine). But I was amazed to see three or four women spinning with spindles. I had never been in a public space where people spun with their spindles. One young woman was carefully taking note of everyone's spindle. It turns out that she designs and makes wooden spindles, turning the wood on a lathe.
A few weeks later I noted that the Victoria Fibre Fest (happening again this year) had a public event 'Spin around the Spindle and a Spindle walking tour. Outside. In public! Both events encourage spindlers to come out of the closet and spindle in public. And last month at the Quadra Island Retreat, a woman was spinning in the lunch lineup and then kept her spindle stuffed in her back pocket of her jeans ready for the next opportunity to spin.
So this is my travelling spindle kit which I keep in my backpack, ready to bring it out and spindle. My top whorl spindle, some dyed Blue Faced Leicester top, and a scotch bottle tube to hold it all. And next to the spindle is 66 meters of two ply yarn done on the spindle. I confess to only spindling in the car and, on one or two occasions, in a hidden location outdoors, but I am gathering my gumption and will burst forth in public spinning away one day.
My ultimate goal is to learn how to use the Salish spindle which has a technique, unique in the world, where somehow, the spindle is turned and tossed in the air, but before mastering that, I thought I netter figure out the plain ordinary ways of the spindle.

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