Friday, February 20, 2009

The History of the Spindolyn

The History of the Spindolyn



Part 1 The Loom (where in little Cady May gets wild and wooly)



My Daddy was, like many rural Great Depression Era survivors, a resourceful, creative, do-it-yourself kind of guy. His response to those early life challenges developed in him a passion that went a little beyond most DIY'ers, and spilled over into inventing and tinkering. He loved farming and gardening and dabbling in creative ways of constructing things and approaching gardening challenges in the hopes of stumbling on something that might make farming both easier on the body and the earth, something that might lead us to a more sustainable future.


He passed his enthusiasm for an "endless list of projects" approach to life on to me, whether by example or genetics, I am not sure. His support of anything I was willing to try was unconditional and he gave all of us children free reign with his tools. Safety was approached a little different back then, you were told, "keep your fingers out of the table saw or you will not have fingers," and the rest was up to you. Personal responsibility develops more naturally if it is naturally expected of you, but I digress.


Anyway, Dad was also an auction hound, bargain hunter and packrat of tools and materials so that our garage and later barn, tumbled over full of every possible antiquated hand and power tool, scrap metal, parts, bolts and fasteners. A veritable disorganized hardware store of stuff that might equip one for any possible endeavor into woodworking, metalworking, maple syruping, organic gardening, welding, sandblasting, glass cutting....well, you get the idea.


It was Daddy who showed me how to bend wire, use a bandsaw, split firewood, make a dovetail join and so on, and it was Daddy who brought me home from a yard sale my first loom, for my 14th birthday (he also brought me home a plastic greenhouse for my 16th birthday, but that's another story) This floor loom was a two harness rug loom with a sectional beam and I flat out wore it out, not just with rag rugs and later handspun mohair rugs, but with wild wooly wall hangings, tapestries, bags and vests.



It was the wooly wall hangings that eventually led to spinning. In the 1970's there was a growing interest in handspun yarns, and they were wooly, lumpy, ropes of wild abandon and unfettered creativity (kind of like the times~insert a sigh of nostalgia) Those types of wall hangings just cried out for handspun, and big, chunky, bottom whorl spindles (or a potato on a stick) were used to create them.



I had learned to knit in Junior High, and Mom and Granny taught me to sew and crochet, but it was Daddy bringing home that loom that really started me toward exploring spinning as a whole fiber world in itself, a world of possibilities.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Sis, Just a note of something Dad taught us that has helped me more than anything. He had this total lack of fear to try something he knew nothing about. If what ever he was attempting didn't work, he tried another way. There was never a "you don't know how to do that" about any of our ideas-or his. Fear of failure, was something we knew nothing about. It is a very good thing to pass on to children. The "failures" were often pretty funny. Like the time he was hoisting the caterpiller tractor engine up out of the machine itself with a pully system and asked me to hold the rope. I immediately went skyward, up off the ground, and he looked up at me and grinned "I thought I told you to hold the rope..."

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