A Vicarious Summer Vacation

Here in Colorado, where Spin-Off is born, the weather is struggling to turn over to spring, let alone tease us with thoughts of summer. Yet, as local schools and universities end their classes and the promise of sunshine and warmer weather beckons, I can’t help but dream of a summer vacation. Luckily, Spin-Off’s summer issue offers armchair travel at its finest.

Lost sheep photo; credit: Photo courtesy of Nan Bray, White Gum Wool

Australia’s sheep ranching practices sometimes lead to sheep lost for years. Photo courtesy of Nan Bray, White Gum Wool

First, you’ll fly to Australia to learn about the country’s “lost sheep.” Did you know that sheep go missing often enough that there’s an official farming term used to describe them? Then, you’ll head next door to New Zealand to accompany Linda Cortright as she hops on a helicopter for a daring sheep rescue operation. It’s a fibery blockbuster movie just waiting to be made, complete with a surprising twist at the end.

After so much action it’s time to slow things down a bit, so you’ll hop over to northwest Laos’ Luang Nam Tha province. Joshua Hirschstein and Maren Beck will be your guides as you hike through the jungle to arrive at a peaceful village of thatch-roofed homes. You’ll meet the local residents, whose daily lives still include spinning cotton, and discover how spinning embraces time-honored traditions and new modern materials and connects both life and death.

Stomping dried indigo in Indiana. Photo by Rowland Ricketts

Stomping dried indigo in Indiana. Photo by Rowland Ricketts

Next, head stateside for a visually stunning tour of indigo cultivation in Indiana. Rowland Ricketts will explain the differences between European and Japanese plants and techniques, and how indigo brings people together and unites knowledge across both time and space. But the adventure doesn’t stop there. Your tour also includes stops in Tajikistan, India, Peru, and the Himalayas, but I won’t spoil all the details.

So pack your bags, grab your copy of Spin-Off’s summer issue, and head over to your nearest comfy armchair to prepare for departure. It’s all the fun of a summer vacation, without the airport delays and jetlag!

(And if your summer vacation plans tend toward hands-on adventure, sample Donna Rudd’s 8 ways to spin alpaca yarn, try Devin Helmen’s charkha experience for yourself, and learn a bobbin hack for an antique spinning wheel.)


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