Just a brief update before I get to the real stuff - I've been busy. The "Great Stash Reorganization" was more or less like opening a can of worms. [Note to self: too much wool is not an exaggeration, and thinking I could reorganize my entire apartment, nevermind my stash, in a month, was a bit over-optimistic.] The good news is, it's almost over, and Sigga Sif will be arriving tomorrow for a visit, for Rhinebeck, to see NY, etc. I'll save the thoughts about how strange it is to have a friend you've never met in person fly halfway across an ocean to stay with you for another time.
So.... it's almost Rhinebeck-tide. It was my first festival, I've been going for -- six years now? And the thoughts always begin, somewhere in the weeks leading up to the festival, of all the treats and delicacies that the festival holds for us spinners. For me, the festivals are always about spinning, which is not to say I don't buy yarn there, it's just that it's really about all the special wools, spindles, and things that spinners can find all in one place at a festival. Those small farms with their wools, sheep's name attached, the fleeces, meeting spindlemakers and finding yourself at home in the midst of 'our people' - which somehow to me always means the spinners.
Without fail, there's always some converting going on. Turning some of those previously unenlightened (biased? me?) knitters into spinners. This year, I'll be going with Sigga Sif, who is ... well (shall we say?) ripe for the picking. By that of course, I mean that she's ready and willing to give spinning a try, and plans have actually been underway for a while to get her spinning.
I can't tell you the number of times I've been in booths at festivals, trying out spindles here and there, and had people come up to me and ask me to explain how to spin, or even just ask what it is that I'm doing. More often than not, they walk away with a spindle of their own and as many tips as I can impart in a short lesson to get them started. Total strangers, fascinated by the whirling of a spindle and the simplicity (sort of) of making yarn from almost nothing. Now, being a spinner, I think this is perfectly natural and ... just plain right.
Which brings me to the point of this post. There are some of us, I don't know if I'd go so far as to call us 'hardcore spinners', although I suppose we get labeled that way sometimes, who feel a great sense of accomplishment when someone is converted to the spinning life. We're not exactly putting notches in our spindles or wheels for each conversion that we accomplish, but we do take pride in bringing people over to our side. We've even been known to ambush certain people and plot their
downfall introduction to spinning. [Hey, Laurie, how many wheels do you have now?]
So, the question arises, occasionally but especially around festival season - should everyone spin? I sometimes think, "Yes! every knitter should learn to spin. Once you understand how yarn is made, what the intrinsic qualities of different fibers are, you'll understand so much more about your knitting." But honestly? That's just an excuse of sorts. Because when push comes to shove I don't even think spinning has to go hand in hand with knitting. I tend to think that everyone - and I do mean everyone - should learn to spin, understand spinning, and at least give it a try. [Although it's probably pretty obvious by now that I think it's nearly impossible to try spinning without getting hooked.]
Perhaps, just perhaps, I should have saved this post for after the festival. You know, just in case there's anyone who's resisting spinning and who I may tip off to our plans to take over the world and turn everyone into a spinner. But I'm pretty upfront about how I feel about this, as anyone who's ever had any email correspondence with me and brought up spinning knows quite well. Nevermind anyone who's ever met me at a festival.
So, spinners? Should everyone spin? How about the non-spinners out there - go ahead, make your excuses. I dare you.