Spinning


shell of life. The wings and exoskeleton are all that remain of this cicade The cicada’s wings and exoskeleton are all that remain.

The insects in Japan are large, but most of them aren’t so dangerous. One quickly learns to co-exist. For months the incessent meee-mee-meeee of the cicadas rang in my ears. Someone told me that they make more noise after they mate, which seems counter-intuitive to the usual cycles of nature. The cicada’s season is ending, but their ghosts remain; hard exoskeletons, and wing fragments litter the garden like fallen leaves.

The larger spider presumably ate the cicada. He spun his web outside my bedroom window several weeks ago. The elaborate lacework is almost invisible in the flat daylight, except for the corpses of insects, wound tight with silk.

web of life and death

web of life and death

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the yarn spinner herself

the yarn spinner herself

Looking for something to do on a rainy day on Denman Island, my attention turned to an old spinning wheel. Susan-Marie had recently bought it from a friend. A big bag of roving sat next to it. T and I spent a half hour going back and forth between computer and spinning wheel to figure it out. It felt a little strange to be learning from a web site and not someone’s grandma, but in the end I was able to produce something resembling yarn.

I tried the “inch worm” technique of drafting the roving and tried to treadle slowly to avoid over spinning, but still ended up with a pretty high number of twists per inch. I then spun two singles together and tried to match my twist rate. This counteracted some excessive twist, but not even a good warm bath could relax all the curls.

For a first try, I’m very pleased with myself, but would really rather learn the finer details from a real person.

drafting the roving

drafting the roving

attaching another chunk of roving

attaching another chunk of roving

not bad for a first try

not bad for a first try