Monday, June 26, 2006

Spinning in Public

Saturday was Spin On Spin In Spin Out in New York City, organized by tireless Cara of January One. I had a grand time, although there was an initial mystery.

When I got to the beautiful venue, Cherry Hill Fountain in Central Park, this is what I saw. Entirely understandable, given the weather – it rained off and on pretty much all day – but where had all the spinners gone? New Yorkers are tough and resilient – surely they hadn't wimped out just because of a little rain.

Where have all the spinners gone?

Ordinarily I would have been content to let the matter drop in favor of taking a solitary ramble around Central Park. Overcast light is perfect for capturing architectural detail like this wonderful tracery around Bethesda Fountain.

Tracery around Bethesda Fountain

And the rain made some normally shy creatures more noticeable, like this Elm Sphinx Moth (Ceratomia amyntor – not one of the dreaded müths) perched on the trunk of an American elm tree (Ulmus americanus). Remarkably, the moth is the size of the palm of my hand (my monitor displays it slightly smaller than life size). Also remarkable, Central Park contains many fine old elm trees and chestnut trees that somehow have withstood the ravages of Dutch elm disease and chestnut blight. New Yorkers really are tough and resilient.

Elm Sphinx Moth the size of my palm

But I came to spin, with my Made By Ewe Golden Leaf spindle and my Cloverleaf Farms Blue Face Leicester hand-dyed roving and my secret plan to spin laceweight. Happily, tireless Cara (maybe that should be sleepless Cara) updated her blog with the new location, the East 54th Street Recreation Center, and also emailed directions. A quick subway ride and I was at spin central, spinning on our half of the basketball court with about 30 other spinners using dropspindles and wheels, oblivious to the guys playing half court on their half or doing laps on the track and cardio workouts on the machines in the balcony.

Spin Out group

Cara not only pulled off the miraculous last-minute change of venue (with some help from some well-connected and persistent spinners), she also organized great swag.

Spin Out swag

Here's my haul: Spin-Off magazine, a postcard listing Spin and Win prize donors (to benefit Heifer International, one of my all-time favorite charities, see the registry page), literature from Wild Fibers magazine and for Fibre Fallout 2006, a darling Merino and Firestar mini-batt from Spritely Goods (I want to try it, but it's too cute to spin!), a great button and bumpersticker, and a small bicycle basket, the perfect catch all adornment for a wheel. The last caught my eye – who knew there is such convergence in the two kinds of spinning I do? There also were magnets, beginner kits with CD spindle and roving (those went very fast), and lots of yummy candy. T-shirts and tote bags are also available.

Best of all, there were lots and lots of spinners! Some were beginners like me; others like Marie of Brooklyn Handspun, Caroline of The Yarn Tree, or Jenny of North Country Spinners have vast knowledge and experience. There even were a few non-spinners (hi, Terry and Linda!) – numerous socks (although no Jaywalkers) were knitted. There were many impromptu lessons and demonstrations: Delica imparted the secrets of the Andean plying bracelet, self-taught Jill Ann demonstrated spinning silk on her Simple Market Farms featherweight spindle, Marie explained the advantages of spinning from batts over spinning from top, Jenny spun while walking around.

As for the founder of the feast, Cara is notoriously camera shy, although a magnificent photographer. So here she is with face camera-obscured. Her T-shirt had the distinction of being the most faded, of course.

Tireless Cara of January One

All too soon, it was time to leave. While thanking Cara and saying goodbye, I thought I heard just the faintest wistfulness for what might have been and maybe – just maybe – the possibility for another Spin Out in Central Park, perhaps as soon as September. Woo-hooooo.

John Lennon memorial in Central Park

With many thanks to Cara for a splendid day. [Edited to add: And see Cara's Knitty article.]


Vicki Knitorious said...

Thanks for the photo of where it SHOULD have been -- it's gorgeous! What a lovely place to spin away an afternoon -- maybe again someday.

So great that you were able to make it!

--Deb said...

It's great that you were able to go--it sounds like everyone had fun!

Katy said...

So happy to see that your spinning is going so well. I was away last weekend and had to miss the spin out. Looks like it was great fun.


Delica said...

Wasn't it great? I hope she does it again in the fall - I'll look for you in September!