Word and Image

Spinning

Here to there

How’d I get here? In the absence of anything else, I shoot cat portraits. Simple. They pose?!? Nope. I put the camera in their face and point the lens straight at their eyes. It works.

Finally, a new oven! The old one – dead. Built-in obsolescence. Better one? It had to fit the hole of the old one. Pain!!! Major pain, supply chain issues, we snagged a clearance model at less than half price from retail. Lucky! You bet!! It clearly said on the box – in big black and white letters – the oven was too large for the hole – ¾ inches too large. Really!! So, it fit right into the hole of the old oven. Go figure.

And, within moments – carrot cake. I add (my mom did it) a cup of grated carrots; the cake rises…. And, a few days later… a sour cream apple walnut pie. We wasted no time in making up for lost time.

Pizza? Well, I gotta say, “Who doesn’t like pizza?” Gluten free crust. ??? Oh! Well, Colleen is also vegetarian (off and on), so, two pies – mine had sausage. It was a good pie! Yeah, it’s good to have an oven again.

One more step – to product. I spin – wool. We process. … ‘cause I don’t wash. The one and only time I washed, I felted. (If you don’t spin, the joke went right over your head.) Straight off the sheep, the fleece is polluted – grass, dirt, poop, etc. The fleece is opened up – picked. Then, it is washed, carded and prepared into bats, ready to spin. Spin, spun, it looks rather fine and refined, ready to go – cloth, shawl, scarf, and so forth. This would be here to there. Yarn!


Think… cheer

If you take enough pictures, a few will be good. It follows: Even a blind squirrel gets a nut sometimes. Selfies? The easy way or hard way? It’s probably not good to say I go both ways. Beer? I don’t drink beer! Heresy! As you can see, we do have some good times together.

Socks? Everyone needs socks. These days, I’m retired. My socks retired too. I wear ‘em about three cold days a year now. Colleen? – adores socks. And, she adores the Pemaquid lighthouse!

Sheeps? Why is it sheep? I did not go to Maine for the art. Did I? Spinning wheel? Colleen arranged to pick up a signature spinning wheel that I found online. She brought $$. And, now, I use this wheel. Was it a plot? Planned? I love this wheel – to use; it’s sweet! I love my wife … more!


Crunchy

The last time? 2018 – crunchy granola set. I say it in the most wistful way, for Colleen adores the Common Ground fair. It was our second visit. And, then, the Covid pandemic hit; its canceled ever since. Produce, sheep, bourbon barrel maple syrup … and a spinning demonstration, it was full of photo ops. I now know, much more about spinning wheels. For instance, I can spot a Schact ladybug wheel. Ha ha. They are all castle wheels? I can say my eye is more practiced in spinning, and, you don’t care. Alas, a sheep is still a sheep. I can only tell you that this batch is not ready for shearing. Maybe the fair is on again this year? Maybe.


Draw

Spinning, you draw out the wool and then the wheel twists it into yarn. Magical! It’s a skill. It’s not hard to master. It can be hard to do. Few, fewer people do it. There is a Zen to spinning. Meditation. Peace. Tranquility. Elle, our solitary cat, likes to sit behind Colleen. She will bide, until, she wants attention. It’s all part of the Zen process. Everyone should have a “weaver” kitty.


Insanity

… doing the same thing over and over … hoping for a different result. We got another fleece to wash … spin. Yes, nuts! It’s spring, time to plant. Eating out is good. Colleen took flight on St Pat’s day. We had a reservation. 30 minutes later we were seated. It was a local place, definitely not worth the effort. Dinner with the cousins, priceless. And, the cats keep getting images into my camera.


A destination

A sheep is a sheep – all the same to me, just different colors, with or without horn. A spinning wheel? A loom? Venerable. Costly. Slow (to make clothes by hand). I get my clothes for sale $10 a shirt. That is simply sinful thought. To not appreciate the process is to ignore history and how we got to this point in time; this is narrow minded thinking. Shearing, washing, carding, spinning, weaving… yarn to cloth to clothes.

The Golding wheel is the Bentley of spinning wheels. Art. It is not how you get there as much as how you look getting there. Any car goes when you add gas. Eh? Computerized looms? It has a niche, though, it’s oddly out of place with hand craft. You go to the sheep and wool festival to – meet Golding and son, see the sights, see sheeps, and to see people. I get photo ops. Sheepishly, I have newfound respect for the handicraft. No, Colleen, (I get it now) a sheep is not a sheep. There are differences beyond appearance. And, no, a Golding wheel is not in our future. Hey! You don’t have to spend $10k for a Golding! Maybe I should not have checked $ on the internet. Price increase! – $30k for a stained glass Golding wheel!! I still cannot differentiate sheep breeds. (A sheep 🙂 is still a sheep.)


Middle of no where nowhere

I have a parochial view of the Midwest. Biased. For sure. I have been thru but never been there. Passing thru is all I wish to partake. Yarn Barn – a destination. ?! Colleen knows it as in tourist destination – for spinners and weavers. Yawn! With newfound knowledge and interest I am looking at spinning wheels in a different light. Schact and Ashford – hallowed names in spinning wheels. Ho hum. They are sold but not made in the store. But to touch and feel…. Ha ha. We did not buy a wheel. And, I did not get a haircut. It is like antique stores. You never know what you may find that you did not need until now. Me? I’m gettin’ back in the car and takin’ Colleen. Need her? You bet!!


Name ’em

I’m a hobbyist – photographer. I do not collect cameras. I have cameras – more than one.

Don’t ask. We spin. Forget weaving for the moment (too many pictures). We have (spinning) wheels. We do not collect? Well, sort of. There are a few old ones not currently spinning. The rest are in active use. Even the old winder – weasel – is in use. Weasel? Yes, as in “pop goes the weasel” – a term used/derived from the button which pops when you have wound off the yardage of yarn you desire. There are different features – castle, Saxony, single or double drive, single or double treadle… Do we need ‘em all. Do you care? Colleen uses them. All. I do, now. Fun? Fun!! There is a certain “zen” in spinning. Oh! Did I mention wooly winder? And?? Spinning wheels go back over 1000 years. We have followed in a long hallowed cherished tradition. Neat!

Me? Spin? … in self defense. We have so much stash – fiber waiting to be spun – it would be impossible for one (or two) people to spin. So, I, too, have wheels in rotation. Name the wheel? Model, manufacturer? No, real names, Colleen has given real names to the wheels she uses. Ahem, … my cats have names.


In a rut

I can hear Carol –  “…enough cats already” And, “eight is enough!” I’m shooting the same things over and over as when I was diving the Red Sea. Enough fish… hey! I have a camera near at hand. This is the subject material that presents itself to my lens. I am lazy. We don’t get out enough. My bad. Colleen wants to go around anytime anywhere. We got a lot of “going around” to make up for. When do you see a bed pan with a chimney? The moon is not an easy subject, but, it shows up. Telephone poles always seem to be close by when you want to shoot the perfect sunset. I love my cats, too. They are just too cute sometimes. So, what to shoot? I hope travel restrictions end soon. We would like to go again. I am, indeed, a lazy photographer. I shoot what’s available. No doubt. But, I do try to shoot each and every day. Hey! It’s a hobby, not work. Happy and hobby have lots in common.


It goes like this

The end point is spinning yarn. A sheep fleece is processed from shearing to spun yarn. You start by sorting and picking it. It has lanolin (grease) that needs to be washed clean. Along the way Colleen took locks to weave into a rug. I combed (carded) the rest and prepared it for spinning. Yarn is the product. Weaving comes next. I know way more than I ever intended to learn. It’s craft. In my wildest dreams I never expected to spin fiber. Fun? I sheepishly replied, “Yes!”


Almost not quite

It was a close call. We almost got cats number 9 and 10. They were beautiful cats. Colleen put her foot down. No more cats!! No picture. Alas! A new wheel? Can you say Kromski? It’s old looking. But it is recent vintage passed off as an old wheel in demonstrations. It was at an estate sale. It was ugly (a lot of dust and squeaks). It looks so much better in the pictures. And it was even better when I spiffed it up. Yes, we got another wheel. Colleen got it. I’m using it. So, you know how that goes. She got me a wheel. Me! I now have double drive wheels rotating thru different stations to occupy my time. And I am (spinning)! It is, indeed, a good looking wheel. And, no more cats! Darn!


Art is

There is art in form. Art is not always in museums. Photography is art? Platitudes. There is a fine line between art, photography, and journalism? Is nature art? Antiques are automatically art? Modern art? Does price define art? $$$$ For a shopping cart with zip ties – $10,000. Paying for concept or for a few packs of $1 zip ties? Oh yeah! Does that sound outrageous? Does it make it all the more valuable? I ain’t no critic. Artist, journalist, photographer, gadfly? Egad!! – (word) first used in 1673, how do they know stuff like this? Do you look funny eating?


Picker

Picker? It’s something I was told we needed. Ok. Ok? Huh? It’s something I won at auction later (that day) some years back. It went for hundreds of $. Yeah, me, I paid hundreds!?? Don’t ask. Look! It is so simple, simply made from nails. Sharp nails. Super sharp! Yes, stay away; those nails can DO serious damage. The device swings like a pendulum pulling the fiber apart. My imagination runs, and, I laugh. Women, I would guess, are mostly at risk? Picker? It is part of the process of going sheep to fleece to roving to yarn. Yeah, easy.