Sunday, June 5, 2011

Spinning 101

I taught a beginning spinning class yesterday. I was tired afterwards! Beginning classes are challenging for the teacher as well as the students, especially such a hands-on subject as spinning. Two of my students, a mother and her 12-year-old son, had never sat at a spinning wheel before. The third has tried to spin on and off over the years but has never mastered it.

The class was fun. The new spinners got to try Ashford, Louët, and Schacht wheels. We only worked with wool, but I gave them different colors of roving, so their yarns had color as well as extensive texture variation. I showed them samples of alpaca, angora, Cotswold wool, Merino wool, qiviut, hemp, cotton, naturally-colored cotton, and silk fiber and yarn.

At the end of the afternoon, they wound off their yarn and took home their first skein of handspun yarn.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Canine Psychology

I enjoy trying to figure out dog psychology. I'm sure dogs would laugh, if they understood my conclusions, but, hey, I try anyway.

I often compare Dierdre's actions with those of our previous two dogs, Rousseau and Dreamer, both Lab mixes.

Today Dierdre accompanied me to the gate to take out the mail (as usual). I realized as she stood there, inches from the open gate as I came back in from the mailbox, that I never worry about her trying to bolt. She doesn't ever try to escape, unlike the Labs who took pretty much every opportunity to sneak out any open portal.

That's not to say Dierdre doesn't go through the open gate sometimes, but when she does it is with calm deliberation. She saunters out, clearly implying she has every right to do so. She'll investigate nearby bushes, the trash barrels, etc. and sometimes ambles further afield than I would like, but it's always with the attitude that it's natural, that of course she should be doing this, with nothing furtive about it. And when she comes back in, usually at my insistance (we don't allow our dog to wander loose), again it's with an air of virtue because she's Dierdre, she's entitiled to do these things.