So it turns out I am not the only person absolutely fascinated by spinning wheels. I guess I never really thought I was, but I was surprised this weekend to learn just how many others share my curiosity over these antiquated bits of wonderment.
This past weekend saw our first event of a new reenacting season and my first event with George (that’s George on the left. I’m the one in the dress). On discovering that I don’t have much occasion to cook at events anymore, I needed something new to do and the spinning lessons I took last fall were a perfect answer. It’s an entirely appropriate activity for the Civil War time period, allows me to do something I love and provides a start to a conversation with the public. I wasn’t surprised people found it interest, but I was shocked at just HOW interesting. And how broad an age range of people who stopped to watch. My favorite bit of the weekend was when a little guy, probably not more than 4, declared he didn’t want to leave my camp because watching me spin was the most interesting thing there. Keep in mind that I am part of an Artillery group (Cushing’s Battery) and there was a full-scale cannon sitting just behind me…
It turns out the simplicity of a wheel attached to a couple of pulleys can provide hours of fascination. I suspect this has much to do with the limited number of spinners most people encounter. I know many, but I run in circles of fiber-arts-types. Most don’t. They know what a wheel does, but not how, so I answered a lot of questions. I surprised myself with just how much I could talk about how this simple, yet entirely intricate machine. And I spun. I spun outside sitting under the fly. I spun in the sun. I spun in the Inn’s dining room. And I talked about spinning. And I filled 2 bobbins. And I was happy.
And just for fun, because you can’t talk about a cannon without showing it off, this is my favorite picture from the weekend. I am still getting to know my big girl camera (a Nikon D5100) so I still miss the muzzle blast more often than I catch it, but I caught something I’m not sure I’ve ever seen in a picture before- I got a shot of the primer going off before the round went off. So here you go:
I’m going to take a moment to give a shout out to the crew, too- they were a very green bunch. The only “man” on the crew with much experience to speak of is the youngest of the lot. But every single one of them is doing EXACTLY what he’s supposed to be doing: #1 & #2 (front of the gun) are watching the muzzle so they can confirm the round went off. #3 (Left side, back of the gun) is watching his gunner for the fire command while giving a slow, steady pull on the lanyard, and #4 (center, back of the gun) is watching the vent to confirm that the primer fired off properly. GO TEAM!