Thursday, March 24, 2016

AIR 2016 Week Four Yarn Arts

Here's today's setup.  I needed two tables this week, one for finished work, including dogs and Dollivers, and one for reference books and materials.

After a quiet start, when I was just thinking I could catch up with my spindle spinning, suddenly a continual stream of interested visitors, several bringing their children.  I was showing knitting, spinning, and crochet today, both art form and functional.

I demonstrated hand spinning several times, giving some of the technical terms as I drafted and spun, to their amazement, at seeing how that fluff ended up being yarn, and explained that this yarn is to be part of a woven work I plan on next, as another entry in my June show.  
And that this was how everyone's clothes were made long ago before machinery.  We talked a bit about the physics of energy, how the spinning transmits energy to the roving, to create the twist and the strength that gives, so that you can break roving, but not yarn.

And how spinning with a heavier whorl gives more momentum, and therefore longer spinning time before you need to spin the spindle again.  Since most of the visiting kids were girls, it seemed like a good chance to push a little bit of practical physics thinking. Just to open the idea that physics isn't something that happens in a science lab.

I talked about the ancient Norse graves of women where parts of spindles have been found, the belief being way back then that even in the afterlife, women would work at spinning!  seems a bit tough to me, after a life of work, but it was also their prized tool and livelihood, so perhaps burying the women  with their spindles, or often just the whorls, honored that, too.  The whorl is that round part at the end of the stick.  Often it was a stone piece, the stick part having long since disintegrated.

I also did a bit of sociology, with the Bolivian llama yarn, showing them that women there handspun it just as I had just shown them, and that they were paid a fair price for their work, very important to look for fair trade items when you buy handcrafts from other countries.

One young woman was astonished at the crocheted and woven wall hanging, and very excited at this way of using crochet, which she can already do.  She went off full of plans to try it for herself, and I invited her to come back with her finished work, if she completes it before the end of the residence series.  She looked at me in disbelief when I explained I'd dyed the yarn with Kool Aid!  true, though.

The other string hanging was a magnet, too, especially since it had wire knitting involved in it, as well as string knitting.

And several people made note of the Dollivers and plan to follow their exploits over in Field and Fen, while sending pix of the Knit Your Own Dog book to friends who are knitters, to encourage them to try it.  And the Knit Your Own Royal Wedding was a prime source of amusement, especially when I pulled out the little bag of Kate's knitted body parts, yet to be made up into a figure.

A good day's work in every sense. I got out late, an engrossed visitor wanting a longer visit and I had promised not to leave while anyone wanted to talk.

Week Five coming up next week, already.  Amazing how it's flying by, and how there's plenty to show and share.


  1. you are certainly having a good time sharing all your skills with the visitors how rewarding for you you have worked so hard for this exhibition

  2. This whole residency has to be so inspiring for you, as well as for the visitors. I once did a trunk show of my work at one of the local quilt guilds and it was so interesting to hear the comments and the questions that were asked.

  3. Fabulous to have the opportunity to be able to inspire so many people.


Thank you so much for commenting! it means a lot to me to know you're out there and reading and enjoying.