Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Navajo plying on the spindle

I'm so pleased. I had a long work day, having to return downtown for an event that didn't end until after 8 pm.

So after supper we settled down to listen to two new cd's of British/Welsh choral music while I finished spinning some green roving I'd dyed quite funkily last year with easter egg dye. The greens ranged from kelly to pale pastel with tinges of olive and yellow. Not my favorite. To avoid creating barber pole yarn, not suited to the wide range of shades, I decided to try my first spindling Navajo plying. I've only done it before on the spinning wheel.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Aplogy about the comments

Thank you to everyone who posted such lovely comments. I do apologize for the delay in posting and responding. I hate to admit it but I forgot I was supposed to check the e-mail account I set up for the blog. I'll do better from now on.

Spindling and Memories of Silkworms

The Mrs. Beaton's I began on Friday are turning into mitts. They just don't want to be cuffs. Had to go to String and acquire yet more yarn. I needed (?) the fuschia variagated Koigu for the mitts.

Today I had 3 splendid spindling (sorry!) experiences. We are so often enriched by the varied backgrounds of our fellow New Yorkers. At Artie's Deli, waiting for Marsha's Pittsburgh nephew & niece, I spindled, attracting more attention than I expected. One younger woman was really interested; she's a mother with 3 girls and a full time job who doesn't have time to knit -- and misses it. She remembered learning how to spin in third grade. She was just fascinated by the process. Then, an older waitress made the point of telling me that her mother, from Russia, "did that, but I don't."

But, the most touching experience was at the Viand coffee shop on Madison between 78th and 79th. Doesn't it sound as though I go from restaurant to restaurant? When I finished eating,the owner came over to our booth and asked me, "are you from here?" He meant was I born in the US. Technically not, as I was born in Spain, albeit to American parents but that's not what he meant so I said that I was "from here." Whatever that is.

With some emotion he told me that when he was a little boy in Cyprus his mother grew silkworms. With real delight he described how he used to play with them when he was 5 or 6. He had warm and vivid memories of the whole process, from the size of the silkworms -- as big as his index finger, he said (now or then, I wonder?) -- to the silkworms' spinning their cocoons. He also remembered his mother boiling them and pulling the silk out into threads. He said he still had some things she'd made. He said she spun the silk, combined it with cotton she'd spun and wove the threads into shirts for him. By the time he finished tears were welling up. I feel so privileged to have him share this wonderful memory with me.

He must have been in his mid-sixties and I wonder what the rest of his story is. Having read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, I knew that the Anatolian Greeks had a silk industry. There must be some sort of connection with Cyprus?