Summer Spinning

Spinning Across Spain

I started my summer off with a trip to Sitges, Spain (just south of Barcelona), to visit my parents who are there for a year while my Dad works on a Fulbright research grant. Traveling with my husband and two daughters, Hannah (five years) and Sarah (eight months), I knew that it was unlikely that I'd be able to find much time to spin on this trip—and for the first time ever since I learned to spin, the spindle and fiber that I put in the pile to pack were put aside as we worked and worked on getting everything to fit in our luggage. I, of course, regretted this the moment I walked out onto my parents' balcony the next morning to a chorus of parrots squawking in the nearby palm trees. It was the perfect place to sit and spin. As if taunting me, sheep seemed to follow me everywhere. I found them in friezes near the magnificent church that defines Sitges, sculpted into fountains, and even places named for them (such as Bar Merino). Click here for a slideshow of images from Spain.

And the Gaudí houses that we toured in Barcelona designed and built by the famous nineteenth-century architect Antoni Gaudí are so organic and in tune with nature that I felt certain that at the very least, he would have understood the appeal of drafting fiber and how the simple act of making yarn makes me feel connected to all things living. I apologized to my wheel and fiber supply when I returned home and vowed to never travel again without them. What about you—do you always travel with a bit of spinning? What do you recommend? Tell me in the comments.

The Summer 2010 issue of Spin-Off magazine was waiting for me when I returned—and seeing it again after a two-week vacation was like seeing it for the first time. What a nice surprise! I found that it is filled with beautiful yarns, intriguing fibers, and great tips. Turning the pages I found a plethora of bouclés, tips for spinning natural fibers and manufactured fibers, lovely caps and scarves, long draws and short draws, ways to use up small bits of yarns, and advice for teaching spinning. Upon seeing the article about using a tahkli spindle for more than cotton, I felt like kicking myself—had I been thinking, I could have tucked a tahkli spindle in my luggage with a bit of handpainted silk and spun a fine yarn for lace (and I saw some amazing lace while I was in Spain!).

Happy spinning,

—Amy

P.S. Thanks for all the great comments and suggestions on my May 26th post for what to take to a Sheep and Wool Festival—see you soon at the Estes Park Wool Market and the Black Sheep Gathering! I'll definitely have my camera—<doh!> how did I leave camera off the list?!

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