Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How I became a Spinner

There was a time in my youth that I loved doing things the hard way.  Everything from scratch, which and this may come as a shock but cooking, cleaning.  I always did paintings and drawings, I would knit but on of course whatever yarn I could find and no one ever wore what I made.  My dad, son and I began going to these Civil War re-enactments and I saw a woman spinning.  I circled around a few times and watched her with intrigue.  My dad grew up in the back woods of Upper Michigan and he taught us to live off of the land.  Every time we would walk in the woods, he would teach us lessons from nature, this is a plant you can eat, this one is for a sore throat, these pine needles will make a tea to sustain you, but you have to know how to build a fire.  Lessons from the Earth and my dad, so from an early age, I was taught about natural living.  He saw my affection for the spinning wheel and said I think I could make one for you.  Imagine how thrilled I was about that, so I found instructions.  Then one day I was going to rummage sales and looked into the back of the garage and low and behold there was the most beautiful saxony spinning wheel with a 1/2 sheet of paper sign on it that read $75.00.  I only had about $20.00 on me if that and I asked the lady if she would hold it for me while I ran to the bank.  She agreed and I took out all of my savings the full $75.00.  This was a time when I was not working all that much, work a week laid off two weeks etc.  This was a sacrifice for me, but this was my dream.  The woman told me it was  a wedding gift from her sister and brother in law and that he made it.  They had a falling out and she didn't want it any more.  I told her it would have a good home but she didn't care, it was gone.  I felt kind of bad about that, here in my arms I was carrying a hand made birdseye maple spinning wheel that someone gave as a gift of love, so I started running before she changed her mind.   I got it up the stairs to my apartment and then started treadling, it was all I could do because there were no Wool shops and no Internet.   I probably treadled for hours, envisioning yarn being made in my hands.  I found a wool shop in Cedarburg, and called dad and off we went.  It was Cedarburg Woolen Mills and the woman was very helpful Kay was her name, she took the time to show me some things and I left with a bag of pencil roving.  Let the spinning begin, somehow I got it attached to the leader and started to spin this thick and thin lumpy bumpy yarn, it was the most beautiful stuff I ever laid eyes on.  I did have Rose colored on by the way.  My dad was so proud of what I was doing.  I don't remember what I used for equipment like a niddy noddy and I only had one bobbin, but I wound the yarn into balls and I will have to look at "Wooly" and see if I plied the yarn.  I want to thank Kay Walters for her generous kindness of showing me what to do with wool, and look what a monster she created!!!

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