Tuesday, December 06, 2005

As good as it gets

I was exceptionally fortunate that the teacher of my second spinning class was Alden Amos. It was his short course in plying, at Straw Into Gold about twenty years ago. Alden was amazing, pouring knowledge into our minds and showing us techniques in the most logical way. I have a notoriously steep learning curve, but with Alden it was like skiing in the tracks of an expert. I'm certain he found me to be a frustrating numbskull, yet he treated me like a princess and somehow figured out how to explain things in a way that made perfect sense to my perverse brain.

I have crystal clear image memories of the skeins he showed us and his voice in the background describing the construction methods and reasons. Chenille was a splendid mind-bender. What has stayed with me forever and with the greatest intensity, though, is a black lambswool skein Stephenie Gaustad had spun. Perhaps it is because Alden's love for his wife made that skein seem magical, but it was also a truly perfect example of spinning.

Since I cannot plug the USB cable into my brain and download the memories, I've taken a few photos of a skein of tussah silk Stephenie spun and gave me. [Yes, Steph, I *will* use it someday -- I promise!] It is 3-ply, with the space-dyed strand a slightly heavier grist than the two undyed tussah strands. I look at this skein and instantly see designs for shawls and scarves. It's brain fertilizer. I wish I could convey through the ether how light the skein is, how alive and shiny and sproingy the yarn feels in my hands. Lovely stuff!