Chuck (charlesofcamden) wrote,

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Spinning a Yarn

I did something on Saturday the likes of which I’d never done before – I accompanied CC on a visit to the very first (annual?) Chicago Yarn Con. For the record, the event was held at the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse, a beautiful old structure I’d also never seen before.

It’s fair and accurate to say that CC got a lot more out of the visit than I did. She lives this sort of thing, after all, and she took a couple of mini-classes held on the stage at the fieldhouse. I sat in on one them myself, though I did not participate much. It was an introduction to the ancient craft of spinning yarn on a spinning wheel. My inner historian geek was much pleased with that, even if I have no interest in taking up the hobby myself.

As for the rest of it, there were many vendor booths selling various lovely wares related to knitting and crocheting. Most of the booths were staffed by the people who made the wares on display, so it was nice to be able to ask specific questions and get specific answers. I took a few interesting photos while I was there.

This is my new friend Bobbi. She runs a business called Kitty Grrlz Knits & Spins. While CC was attending a class, I wandered around the hall bothering strangers, and Bobbi was kind enough to spend some time talking with me. She proudly discussed her spinning wheel – a Kromski Minstrel, made in Poland I’ll have you know!

This wheel was being used in another part of the hall for the class on how to spin raw fibers into yarn. My father would be proud of whoever put this one together – it’s made almost entirely of recycled materials. What I mean is that it’s primarily made of ordinary PVC pipes, and even the spoked wheel you see here began life as part of a wheelchair! With the rubber tire removed, a groove for carrying the yarn is already right where it needs to be. Ya gotta love it!

Here we have CC with one of her new friends. The woman on the left is Shannon Okey, author of Spin to Knit – and that’s CC’s newly autographed copy of it.

The woman on the right is Susan M. Strawn, author of Knitting America. She and CC are holding CC’s newly autographed copy of that very book. CC and I leafed through the entire book on the bus ride home. It is lavishly illustrated with photos, engravings, old magazine ads, and the like, covering the history of knitting in America from colonial times to the present day. It’s a book that could be enjoyed by any student of American history or pop culture, though its title may restrict it to people who are into knitting, which would be a great shame.

CC with someone she actually already knew – that’s Lisa from Loopy Yarns.

How did this picture get in here? Well, it’s from the men’s room at the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse. I include it here for a couple of reasons. First of all, I was one of a scant few men to be seen at this event, so I may in fact have been the only Yarn Con attendee to see this. Secondly, it’s been years since I’ve seen a piece of porcelain this massive – modern urinals are much more compact and economical than this. I don’t think this photo truly conveys the size of the object – I felt like I was relieving myself on an ancient Greek monolith, fer chrissakes!

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