Sunday, May 3, 2009

Spin Span Spun

If you have seen my newest post on Spindlejoy, you will have noticed that I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival yesterday. It was a great time and a great opportunity to buy some items that would be expensive and hard to find elsewhere.

I have really taken a liking to spinning, I find it very meditative and relaxing, and I feel very fulfilled when I weave with it. It makes me feel like I am contributing to every step of my working process, and I feel self-sufficient in a materialistic culture. I bought two books yesterday at the festival, one of which has really fascinated me; Spin Span Spun and Handspindles. Handspindles describes various types of spindles used throughout the world and throughout history, while also describing different types of spinning methods. Spin Span Spun is a book about spinning and weaving facts and folklore throughout different cultures across time and is incredibly fascinating. It is really humbling when you realize that spinning and weaving were everyday tasks for people in every culture for thousands of years, but now we have no connection to it, it is almost lost.
Here are just a few facts about spinning from the book:

"Yogis in India believed that a person's level of awareness was reflected in their reasons for spinning. The lowest level of awareness was spinning in order to sell the yarn, the next higher level was spinning in order to weave, next was spinning in order to give away the yarn, and the highest awareness was spinning as pure meditation."

"Asbestos is a mineral fiber which does not burn. It has been used by handspinners or at least a dozen centuries...A table owned by Emperor Charlemagne in the eighth century was made of asbestos. After dinner Charlemagne would amaze his guests by throwing the cloth into the fire to clean it. After the stains were burned off, he would return the clean white cloth to the table."

"Some Indians in the highlands of Peru attribute supernatural powers to alpaca and say it is the only fiber from which magic or curative thread can be spun."

(the image above is of asbestos cloth)

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