Spinning Magic Yarn from My Spider’s Web

At Halloween, I get to be a little bit mischievous with my spinning!

The campground where we have our seasonal site has a Halloween celebration on Columbus Day weekend.  There is a haunted woods, pumpkin decorating, DJs and dancing, costume and site decorating contests, and, of course, Trick or Treating for the kids!

For the past two years, our Living History group has been taking part in a Halloween weekend event that is put on by the Old New-Gate Prison & Copper Mine.  In addition to the various vignettes performed by our group’s members, there is face painting, pumpkin decorating, spooky stories, games, and bat craft activities.

So, what’s a spinner to do at times like these?  Well, spin Magic Yarn, of course!  We set up a fake spider web (the kind that is in every store at Halloween).  Next, we put a lazy kate with three bobbins of reeled silk behind the web and poke the silk through three different places in the web.  Finally, I don my witch’s hat and begin spinning my Magic Yarn (throwing the reeled silk)!

You should see the kid’s (and their parents’) faces as I tell them “I’m spinning Magic Yarn from my spider’s web!”  Even though the bobbins are clearly visible behind the web, no one ever sees them!  And as the silk is coming through the web, it makes the web vibrate which only enhances the illusion that I’m spinning the spider web.

What’s your spinning mischief?

Silk Reeling Demonstrations

We just completed our third appearance demonstrating Silk Reeling at the New York Sheep & Wool Festival. We have been demonstrating silk reeling for at least eight years now in a variety of places (the Big E [Eastern States Exposition], the South Shore Natural Science Center, the Caterpillar Lab, a quilting guild, among others). My husband, Herman, and I enjoy these demonstrations, we enjoy the reactions of people when we explain the process and the end results. It’s difficult to choose whether it is more rewarding to demonstrate this to people who are not very familiar with how fabrics are made or those who are involved with the fiber arts.

When we demonstrate in places such as the Big E, we encounter many people have never given much thought as to where silk comes from. Although we generally experience a more informed audience when we demonstrate at fiber events, people are still quite amazed by the reeling process.

In almost all venues, many of our visitors are families with adults and children of all ages. The reactions to our explanations range from “Ewwww!” to “That is so cool!” We have often been told that our demonstrations alone are “worth the price of admission.” I love being able to let people touch silk from different species, view and touch various types of reeled silk thread, and hold cocoons. We also have a variety of silk preparations (sliver, brick, hankies and caps, lapps, noils, carrier rods, etc.) used by spinners, fly fisherman, and other crafters.

And I’m very happy to report that we’ve already been asked to return to the 2019 New York Sheep and Wool Festival! Hope we see you at one of our future demonstrations.