I spent this last weekend at a tiny log cabin on a lake in western NH, and it was wonderful. We watched movies, drank tea, read books on the dock, and on Saturday we stopped at the little farmer's market on the town common on our way to the blueberry farm.
This Saturday in particular was the day of something called a 'spin-in', where local ladies came and sat and sold yarn and garments as they spun fibers on homemade and antique spinning wheels. I was not shy! I sat down and started talking to a few of the ladies about their craft, and expressed my interest in the making of fiber. One woman with a beautiful braid was spinning yarn directly from the angora rabbit snuggled up on her lap. That's about as natural and organic a yarn as you can get! Her movements were so smooth and skillful.
Another woman was spinning wool, and when I told her I dabble in pretty much everything yarn related and now want to learn more about the actual making of yarn, she cleared off the chair next to her and made me sit down so she could teach me! She quickly taught me how to hold the wool, how to 'triangulate' the fibers, how to (sort of) control the resulting yarn weight, and even how to make a tiny boucle in the yarn and we plied it! I got to keep my little wool sample, and it made me so excited to look up local farms where I can purchase wool! I should probably also buy a spinning wheel. And learn how to dye. Guys, I'm going to be making my own yarn in no time - just you wait!
I truly hope to be like these ladies when I grow up. They were eager to teach and loved showing me how to spin. It's amazing the wealth of information some people can hold, and the skills that get passed down from generation to generation. Hand spinning has existed for years and years and years, and I hope it continues to thrive. I for one will be a proud upholder of the tradition, first chance I get to own a wheel!