Sunday, March 21, 2010

Paying it forward

Saturday, Mom and I went to Townsend, TN to participate in the Smoky Mountain Fiber Festival.  When we arrived, Carol and LouAnn were already set up in a corner of the vendors' room, the Townsend Elementary gymnasium, ready to demonstrate weaving.  They had their Shacht Wolf Pups warped, and LouAnn had lots of straw weaving kits to sell and demonstrate.  Kay was there, in her beautiful handwoven skirt and shawl.

We taught people to weave with the straw kits, young and old alike.  We had families, stray children and adults, bleary eyed from their morning classes in need of less stressful creativity.  It was a little slow getting started, so I wandered through the vendor area.  I fondled Alpaca rovings, met friends who lured me to angora skeins, bumped into Mom at Walter Turpening's booth of amazing stools and chairs. 

And then, it happened.  I fell in love.  I didn't mean to.  Does anyone ever really mean to be unfaithful?  I've been ignoring the siren song of spinning for a very long time, since that day the Center had "spinning day."  Everyone who had them brought their spinning wheels and drop spindles, their rovings and plies.  I tried each method briefly and announced to all that "that's why there are yarn stores!"  And went back to my loom.  But here, among the perfectly good, already spun yarns, was the wheel I wanted.  Sleek, unadorned, complete in every way; sealed ball bearings and lazy kates and bobbins and multiple speeds, able to do stuff I do not understand the importance of.

I tried to think of other things, teaching children to weave belts and headbands, making a difference in their lives, and maybe making a weaver for life from one or two of them.  Some children stayed for hours, making several bands each.  Some took their weaving outside, and while their friends played, they wove, on the freshly mowed lawn, on this beautiful first day of Spring.

Mom and I had a lovely early dinner in Maryville, talking about her weaving history, which will be the basis for my blog entry in the Tuesday Weavers' blog on Wednesday.  I went home and napped--a beer after a full day of teaching!--and drafted my first turned overshot pattern.  Thanks to Carol's wonderful weave structure class, I can see a pattern before I warp or weave it, to make sure it's what I want to do!  But I fell asleep later, dreaming of spinning, feeling beautiful fibers running through my hands, becoming yarn I've created, to weave things just that more special.


LA said...

Ah yes....the siren's song from the spinning wheel. I heard it, too. I came so close to pulling out my check book and taking one of the wheels home with me. But, since I can't seem to get any weaving done lately, the practical side of me kept the checkbook IN my purse. I need to make a trip to Huntsville, do my taxes, weave off warps on looms and warp Ester....spinning will have to wait. You did a great job teaching straw weaving, BTW! Thank you!

Tina said...

I think that is a lovely wheel. Did you get to try her out?