Technology to the rescue

Gone fishing


Vacation-spinning bliss in the Colorado mountains.

I'm on vacation at a mountain ranch with my family. The wind is bringing darker clouds and cool breezes. It keeps the black flies from biting. My husband and daughter Hannah are out fishing with my dad and brother as my other daughter, Sarah, is taking her afternoon nap. In the quiet of the afternoon, in the cool shades of the cabin's porch, I'm spinning. I remember Hannah's broad grin—she was beside herself with excitement and up at 6:30 a.m., pole in hand. She's also hoping to catch some insects and maybe swim in the pond.

Cool breezes bring the scent of sage brush. Hummingbirds zoom by and then come back to investigate—is my fiber some kind of exotic flower? They perch on the clothesline, perfection embodied. Chipmunks chatter and scurry and pause on the logs of the cabin. My wheel hums in rhythm. City noises are far away, but they are replaced by wind moving through aspen trees, chirps of birds, cows lowing. It's not as quiet out here as one would think. Insects are loud and always on the move. I think of my project in its pupa stage—still in the process of becoming yarn. Up here, there is no cell-phone coverage, no wireless connections. I spin, then read from my book for a while—it's hard to believe that there isn't a sink full of dishes to do or a load of laundry that needs to be folded. Spinning, reading, relaxing—this is what I need to be doing right now. And it feels so good. A shoulder rub, a chunk of dark chocolate, and a glass of wine might just put me over the edge of contentment into pure bliss.

Then, as I spin, another sound joins the chorus of nature. It is a cacophonic squeak—you've probably heard it before. It is the type of sound that makes you stop spinning and get down on your knees in front of your wheel to poke and prod and wiggle and jiggle your wheel to find the source. No doubt, in this case, long travel on dusty dirt roads had something to do with it. I know a little oil will do the trick, but where is the best place to apply it? I could Google it, but alas, no Internet connection! And then, I remember an article in Spin-Off, and as luck would have it, I loaded digital PDF versions of back issues of Spin-Off on my little netbook! After a quick check-in with Alden Amos via his "Lubricating Your Spinning Wheel" article from the Winter 2002 issue, I am back to spinning bliss, and my wheel is no longer scaring the local wildlife away.


Hannah fishing at the pond.

Later, when the fishing expedition is over and the toddler has awoken from her nap, my bobbin fills as children play on the porch. Sometimes they climb onto my lap to help me spin or ask for little bits of fiber to hold and rub against their cheeks. We see eagles being chased by smaller birds until they are specks in the distance. My husband pulls out his binoculars to get a closer look at the bald eagle, a rare grin illuminating his features. Hannah draws a detailed picture of the path we took to the top of the mountain to get a view of the valley. Hannah, Sarah, and their cousins make little pots of mud to draw pictures with sticks on flag stones and make piles of mud-painted rocks, and the evening isn't disturbed by my squeaking wheel. It hums along nicely, echoing the contentment within.

Blissful spinning,

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