Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Spin-Off Arrived

Early last week my copy of the Winter issue of Spin-Off arrived in the mail. The “luxury” issue.

My second column of the “Ask a Spinning Teacher” is on page 24. I also have a project included in this issue: “The Last of Lucy. A Christmas Stocking” on page 92.

In my Marchblog entry, I mentioned that the sheep known as Lucy had passed away.

Although her wool wasn’t strictly a luxury fiber, I consider it precious to me. With the last of her wool, I spun and knitted a Christmas stocking. I’m pretty happy with the pattern. As with all my designs, I’d change a few things if I did it again.

Anyway, when I submitted the article, I had included an email from Marie Glaesemann, Lucy's shepherd. Spin-Off didn’t have room for it, so I’d like to share Marie’s reminiscence here:

“A sheep’s life is not very long or exciting to write about but Lucy was special. She was born in 2005. She died in September 2014. We hadn’t bred her that year because she had such a hard time the year before. Paul found her lying in the overhang of the hay shed and thought she was just sleeping but she had peacefully died. At least it surely looked like she had just died in her sleep. A good way for a “pet” to go – I suppose animals can have weak hearts just as people do and if I had to guess, that is what I would think. That was probably why she was so docile, easy going and sweet – even when her babies were born, she was an exceptionally caring mother but she did, although reluctantly, let us do all the necessary things with them. As you know she was 1/2 Romney, 1/4 Corriedale and 1/4 Border Leicester - seemed to be quite a combination. Wish we had had more with that fleece. Lucy had 11 babies in the 7 years we bred her so her claim to fame was not in lamb production but instead it was her fleece production. I really am glad that you had those years of enjoying spinning her fleece.”

Lucy was special, and I am glad that I got to enjoy her fleece for so many years.

My “Ask a Spinning Teacher” column is on plying balanced yarns. I like writing technical articles such as this one for two reasons. First, it forces – er, encourages – me to clarify and elaborate my thoughts on a topic. I think I did that here. Second, it prompts me to create a systematic series of samples to make my points. Spin-Off did a nice job of photographing those samples. And now I’ll have them when I teach workshops. So, I’m pretty happy with is article too.

On Saturday, I received a charming note in the mail from Beth Pennington. She lives nearby. Beth is a master spinner. And her husband, Dave, is a renowned expert on antique American spinning equipment. He is co- author, with Michael B. Taylor, of the book, “Spinning Wheels and Accessories” (2004, Schiffer Publishing Ltd, Atglen, PA). Beth and Dave’s house is loaded with lovely antique wheels, all functional.

So, here’s the content of Beth’s note:

“Spin-Off had an article that caught my eye immediately. It had photos and clear descriptions of yarns, and balanced yarns at that! I thought to myself, ‘At last someone who clearly understands and can write about it!’ And then I looked at who wrote it. Congratulations for your wonderful article – and thank you! Thinking of you with a big smile on my face! Fondly, Beth.”

I giggled and turned slightly red. Thanks, Beth!