the cannons! the cannons!
Now, on to the important stuff. It is autumn in this collegetown. We live within walking distance to the university. These people will persist in having football games most Saturday afternoons. Then they have to score points (damn them) and-they fire the cannons. Cannons, you say? Well, I've never actually witnessed them, having never been at a local football game, but yes, that's what I hear that they are. Now, I don't really care about the football (although gosh knows this university could spend more on uhh, education, and less on sport) but the cannons rattle our world. They make us miserable.
Poor Sally, high-strung hunting dog that she is, cannot stand the cannons. Something in her first year of life, before we got her, says that she must be very nervous around white men of a certain medium height, wearing ball caps. She hates big trucks with growly engines. And, she barks and starts and freaks out when the cannons do their thing. Frankly, I can't blame her. (about the trucks and the cannons, that is, I know some nice medium sized men with ball caps, although thank goodness the professor isn't one of them.) I'm actually relieved when we meet nice men (who don't fit this description) on our walks who stop to pet our nervous girl. Sally just really hates specific triggers. Otherwise, she does not discriminate. There's some serious trauma in her mysterious past.
Autumn is also the time the professor needs to do lots of fieldwork, so he's off ontrips. This leaves me lots of time to answer some questions. I can't figure out how to find peoples' emails while using blogger/blogspot, so I'll do this here...
Katie, I've checked out my website pattern page in Safari. It works mostly, except that many people block pop-ups, and the photo enlargements then don't work. I think you have to temporarily allow pop-ups to try that feature. I'm sorry about that. I couldn't figure this out on my own, but this is what my fabulous webdesigner says! The Bacchus in the Bath accessories link should be dead because I have to reformat that to sell on my blog. I hope to get to that. Someday. (still recovering from the last two pattern formats!)
All of you who guessed that the spindle in the last post was a knitting needle and an apple? You're right! Ding ding ding. Fire the cannons! (not.) It occurred to me that I learned to spin as a kid on rudimentary spindles. Think--a potato and a stick. No kidding. Believe it or not, you can do a lot with these inexpensive and imperfect tools. I'm just as big an admirer of the fancy exotic wood handturned spindle as the next person, but they can be pricey. If you want to bring spinning to the masses? Give me an apple or a potato. Any day.
Savvy spinners will bring up CD spindles, because some proclaim them great for beginners. You know, I think they just aren't the best tool. Worse than your average apple and knitting needle, and I don't usually have handy grommets and a hook to make said spindle. I've dowels because when I've taught introductory spinning classes, I've made many more permanent spindles for beginners with a toy wooden wheel as suggested by Connie Delany in her marvelous book, Spindle Spinning from Novice to Expert. What I concluded? A capable spinner can make do with nearly any spindle or wheel. She/he won't get all hysterical about adjusting it,or make excuses about how it spins. A good spinner will settle right down and make practically anything work and do the best yarn possible in the situation. That said, I have a hard time with those CD spindles, so if I can't use them, I sure as heck can't recommend them to beginners. Maybe that's just me.
In October, 2001, printed in many U.S. newspapers,there was an AP photo of an Afghan woman in a refugee camp in Quetta, Pakistan. I still have the clipping. That woman, a spinner, is surrounded by children and many other stressed women. Wrapped around her left arm is a lot of roving and a long even yarn connects to a rapidly spinning huge ball of yarn. It looks like she has a very primitive X, the base of a Turkish spindle, and the ball of yarn itself is most of her spindle. When I looked at the clipping again, I saw two other blurs of roving on other arms. I wish no women anywhere had to be in refugee camps, in such dire circumstances.
If any of us had to be in a refugee camp? And we were spinners? I'd want us all to reassure ourselves by doing something calming and familiar, to know how to make that spindle, with a stone or two sticks or whatever. My husband's aunt learned how to knit with bits of wire and unravelled yarn in a Displaced Persons camp in Germany after WWII. Knitting and spinning can keep us all just a little more sane in very bad situations. The cannons seem to be done (I hope) for the night. Has anyone ever taught a bird dog to spin?