It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Still spinning

Continuing on with the subject of spinning and spinning wheels...I forgot to mention in the last post that I think the wheel that belonged to my mother's family is referred to as a "Great Wheel".  My mother belonged to a spinning/weaving guild in Jackson.  I think she went to a few meetings and was very interested in both crafts, but as far as I know she never started a project.  We went by there one day for me to see their weaving area, but they were closed.  I could get a good look at the looms through a window in the door; it was very interesting to see all the projects in progress!

On my first visit to The Shelburne Museum in 2010 I was pleasantly surprised when I stepped into one of the buildings and there was a wheel that was very similar to the one in my family.

It was very hot in the building that afternoon; there was no ventilation and it had rained earlier so the humidity was high.  There was a lady in the shop working on a project, but it was just too oppressive to stay.  I snapped a picture and escaped.  When I went back to Shelburne a little over a year later I didn't have time to venture into this building again (there is just way too much to see so you have to plan your time carefully).  I wish I had tried to endure the heat and had spent some time discussing the wheels with the docent.
Every year we have a big artist festival here in San Antonio that is known as the Starving Artist show.  I saw this small, modern version at it about 2 years ago; it is foot operated.  Apparently there is a good size weaving/spinning guild localy.  If you look just above the wheel you will see scarves they were offering for sale.

Finally, to conclude this subject, years ago I was a Girl Scout leader.  One fall day I took my little group of girls, who were in 3rd grade at the time if I remember correctly, downtown on a walking tour.  The Council had put this tour together and the girls got a patch when the day was over.  We took a park and ride bus so the girls could experience public transportation (and the adults didn't have to hassle with parking).  The day had gotten warm and the girls were having fun, but they were totally uninterested in anything that had to do with the tour.  The last stop was at the Institute of Texan Cultures.  At this point I was just thankful for the air-conditioning and didn't expect anything to hold the girls' attention.  But I was so wrong. 
There was a lady demonstrating spinning.  She was in a large dark area that was lit by a spotlight on her and the spinning wheels.  The girls went to the light like moths and flopped down.  I commented to my assistants, let's see how long they sit still.  All I can say is that they were mesmerized, and so were the adults!  This lady knew spinning and little girls!  She made her demonstration interesting to them and interactive as well.  The girls took turns carding wool and helping with the wheel. She encouraged them to ask questions, and they did. They did not want to leave!

As I have been writing I've been thinking that it is so easy now to buy yarn for a project.  I just go to the local store, browse around, make my selection, pay and go.  There are so many beautiful colors, so many textures, and so many different fibers, all in one store.  But now I'm thinking back to the days when yarn started with your sheep or a source of the fiber, and not just a pleasant trip to the yarn store. 

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