Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


Such exciting news about your classes...I wonder if our quilter knitters know about all this, I'll tell them!! Have a good weekend, Jane

By Blogger jane, at 6:22 AM  

I'm not a quilter but maybe I could pretend to be one to sneak into your class? ;-)

See, here I go again, longing to spin when I should know better!

Lucky students you're getting!

By Blogger Mary, at 2:35 PM  

Ahh Mary. Come cooooome, to the dark side.

bwa ha haaaaaaa

I Promise - Girty Girls get free drop spindle lessons.

By Blogger Bess, at 4:32 PM  

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006  

Thank you all for your kind compliments on the yarn. I'm having such fun experimenting for a purpose. Two spinning classes in 4 weeks means a lot of new spinners out there. They need to see how many fun things you can do with one stick and some string.

I’m so tickled - B stopped by yesterday and told me 11 people had signed up for my March 11 class. B is, first of all, a superb quilter and an organizing diva. She’s on the board of so many groups it makes me dizzy. One such group is a state wide quilter’s organization. They meet quarterly around Virginia for a Saturday of classes and fellowship. She always tries to include 1 or 2 non-quilting, but fiber related, class and I’m it this year. She told me she’d gotten 2 phone calls and 2 handwritten notes from students who were particularly pleased about that. Oh - not that it was I who would teach, but that it was spinning that would be taught. Lucky them - since I would rather teach spinning than anything else - in spite of my love affair with knitting.

I gave her the length of novelty mohair to embellish a quilt block so I’ll have a sample of “How a quilter could use handspun yarn”. Why not give that yarn star opportunities, right?

Next on the agenda is a call to Stony Mt. Fibers, who is assembling my spindle kits. I’ll order an extra one for myself and perhaps 2 more - because B told me there could be a few more folk who come in at the last minute pleading to be let in. These kits will be the same ones I’m using in April, so a few extra are likely to find homes then. They contain a top whorl Louet spindle, though, which I don’t have and I want to do all my teaching with one of them, so a little practice shan’t do me any harm. Different instruments do make a difference, but I’m more interested in my students learning than having them be impressed by my skills. At the end of class, I can demonstrate on my different spindles and let them play with my toys so they can get a feel for things.

This reminds me of the music instrument experiences I’ve had in my life - there are many, of course, but two stand out. One was when I was 18 and going to Philadelphia, to buy a violin. The shop was owned by Helmuth Keller - and was visited by invitation only. Rumor was he refused admission to the concert master of the NY Philharmonic but he had a soft spot for charming hopeful girls and, my dears - I am from the south. I had a $ amount I could spend and he had selected 3 instruments in my price range. The choice was very easy - for of the three, one was French - with minimal antique value, albeit a tone that sang way above the other two, with their fancyschmancy Italian and German heritage. But after I chose it, after the papers were signed and the check passed over, he pulled out a large rolling case, saying gleefully “Look what I just brought back from Europe!”

It was an Amatti and when I drew my bow across the strings it poured out sound that would carry three blocks. What a violin. After a summer filled with sawing away on orchestral parts, my tone had grown harsh and lifeless - but on that violin I sounded like - like a star!

My other experience with the best of the best of tools was when I was studying with Miran Kojian, then concert master of the National Symphony. One of the perks of that job - or of holding first chair of any of the string sections, was the use of the Smithsonian’s Stradivarius instruments. At a lesson one day he asked if I’d like to play the Strad and .. well... what do you think I answered? Again I was stunned by the difference to my skill that having stellar tools made. I didn’t say it, but I thought that if I had that violin to play on, I too could be concert master of the National Symphony.

So - good tools make good artists - even though one must usually be a good artist to get a shot at the really good tools. Fortunately, spinning wheels don’t soar to the mountain top prices of violins - even if they are Golding spinning wheels. As a performer, I will always use the best instrument I can afford - but as a teacher, I think it’s good to know exactly what your students are working with, to show them what a person with greater skill can do with their tool, and to really understand the limitations the tool imposes on the students. After our class, the students who’ve been bitten by the spinnerbug can feel what it’s like to spin on my higher end spindles, ensuring I’ve lured those victims innocents into the web.

Ooops - late again. Ta.

posted by Bess | 7:49 AM