Sunday, March 19, 2006


Well, relearning to knit wasn't enough. Now I've got all these bags of dog hair and I have to do something with them (the big shaggy dog's fur hasn't arrived yet, this is just from the medium-sized shaggy dog who lives next door, and from the deceased Shetland sheepdog of my childhood). So I called up my neighbor who spins and asked her if she'd teach me. She said sure, but we'll start with actual wool (easier to learn on, apparently). She's got a spinning wheel I can borrow.

I'm a loon. I've got too much stuff to do as it is. But do I learn? no! I keep bounding feet-first into project after project, joyfully and knowing full well the trouble I'm getting myself into. Still, this is also the fulfillment of a childhood wish--all those fairy tales involving spinning women, myths with the Norns and the Fates and all that. Very feminine and powerful, and probably skills we'll all need as the great and cheap manufacturies of today get less cheap. But perhaps I'm being apocalyptically paranoid.

Hubbert's Peak isn't that far off, though, and it's got to have some effect on us.

I wonder if the windjammers will come back to the shipping lanes, bringing us silk from Cathay and vicuña from Chile, precious rugs and fabrics and spices from far away, taking months to arrive once again. We'll send our exotic Alaskan dogwool sweaters and qiviut scarves to Europe and Japan in exchange. Ah, the mystery of far-off places will yet return!


Donna said...

>Ah, the mystery of far-off places will yet return!

Don't be too nostalgic. There were no antibiotics, remember, so you could die if you cut yourself.

We should be working on fixes for the future, not romanticizing the past, because it really wasn't very pretty. I for one do not want to go back.

Good luck with the spinning. It's fun, relaxing, and addicting!

Deirdre Helfferich said...

Hmf. Spoilsport. I didn't say anything about abandoning antibiotics, just about slower shipping times. There were many things about the past that were just dandy--just as there were a heck of a lot of horrors. And the same is true of the present.

I don't imagine that we'll be stuck, as we were pre-industrial revolution, with no way to spin or create fabric other than by hand. But I expect that we will be rediscovering the utility of technologies now considered outmoded (such as your low-tech waterwheels or your zeppelins) because they don't rely on (formerly) cheap, big-bang-for-the-buck oil. But alongside our new, clean technologies (solar power, wind generators) are those old ways, some of which weren't so bad, even if slowish.

Deirdre Helfferich said...

PS: I'm looking forward to learning to spin. It seems like something that would be relaxing. Knitting certainly is. I just LOVE doing things that are meditative and productive at the same time!

Linda Manning Myatt said...

I understand you can make a drop spindle (or thigh spindle) with a dowel rod and one of those many cd's that AOL keeps sending us.

Deirdre Helfferich said...

I found out a couple of days ago that my other next-door neighbor also knows how to spin, plus another local woman. So it seems there are plenty of spinners in the vicinity.