Teaching at Falling Leaves Rendezvous

My drop spindle spinning class at Rendezvous was really lovely. All the participants were engaged and excited, and I hope I explained myself well. Since this was my first large-scale spinning class (at the Firefly gathering, I had a steady trickle of two or three students at once throughout the day, rather than a group that all started at once and stayed the whole time), I wasn’t sure how to balance background/explanation with demonstration, or which words to use to describe exactly the motions of how to spin.

The last time I taught, I relied on my dad to make a little pile of drop spindles for my students. This time, I decided to do it myself. I picked up a few dowels and hooks at the hardware store, and Wes and I got to tracing circles on a sheet of plywood. While the jigsaw we used probably wasn’t the best tool for the job, it worked just fine and once the disks were sanded, they looked great. I used a compass to try to locate the center of each disk, then used the drill press to drill a hole that just barely fit the dowel. A dab of glue and a hook, and these guys spin surprisingly true.

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My students did amazingly well and I had a great time talking with them, troubleshooting, and watching them get the hang of spinning, which I’ve always considered a meditative activity. It’s simultaneously productive and soothing, just like knitting. Spinning by hand and by wheel are both this way, though with a spindle there’s much more control and a lot fewer variables (no need to set any tension, adjust any strings, oil anything, or get your feet involved).

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