Monday, April 19, 2010
This beautiful Navajo spindle was made by Hokett Would Work. This was one of my purchases from the Fibers Through Time conference. I was admiring Jim Hokett's lovely woodwork when I noticed these spindles in a stand hiding in the corner. My memory immediately flashed to some of the first spinning I had ever seen.
When I first started to explore the fiber arts beyond my lifelong crocheting, I began by weaving and worked by way backwards. I used simple frame looms to teach myself weaving techniques and it wasn't long before I came to respect and admire the wisdom of the Navajo Weavers.
After weaving for about a year, I knew I wanted to make my own yarn. I received an annual dose of education on my visits to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. It was at this event that I stood and watched a Navajo woman spin on a spindle like this one. Her spindle was aged and I could only imagine how many thousands of yards of wool had been spun on that stick. It looked more like an appendage that a separate tool. I stood entranced for the longest time as people brushed passed me. I have always learned best by seeing and doing and my eyes were memorizing her every move.
That being said, I'm not sure why my first spindle was not a Navajo spindle. I'm sure cost and portability were factors. I've never actually spun on a Navajo spindle, but that is soon going to change. If you have never had the good fortune to see a demonstration, here is a wonderful link to an excerpt from a Wolf Creek film. Master Weaver Clara Sherman teaches how to card and spin.