Sunday, February 27, 2011

Miss Blueberry Muffin Waits for Spring, and I Wait to Sew Once Again

Muffin asks me to open the window.
Below her, the spinning wheel.
Click the image to see it all larger.
Sometime last week, Miss Blueberry Muffin decided it was springtime, so she hopped onto the sill of the bank of windows that overlooks our back yard, splotchy green and brown, and sniffed and sniffed through the panes. She'd turn her head to look at me every little while and talk with her eyes and tail, telling me that the sights were worth seeing but the scents were missing and to open the window, please. I didn't. We didn't need a cat clawing around on the shingles or a splat cat on the ground below. Poor thing.

It will be a little while more before I can romp around with sewing the way she wants to romp around outside. The ensembles for spring picnics and the Jane Austen Festival are all in writing, all planned out, and some of the dresses sit waiting in their chests (my jokey term for a plastic bin), but I've not felt too well the last months, so all I've managed to do is to make a single pair of earrings, and those for a friend.

Still, if bodily energy is turned to the boys and husband, to home and work, I can still put mental energy into research, in bits and drabs. Hence these translations, hence months' worth of notes about jewelry, portrait miniatures, hair, fans, gloves, sashes, belts, bags, shawls, mantles, and ornaments, none of the latter written up for the blog, alas.

What, yes? I agree, the above sounds whiny, so quite right, let's quit that. Oh, you were asking something else, too. What's that in front of the settee? Why, yup, that's a spinning wheel all right. A realllly, really old one, perhaps older than the settee, which dates to the American Empire furniture period, somewhere between the late 1820s and 1850. Why is the wheel bi-colored? Well, Dad picked it up gratis at their church sale in coastal North Carolina. It was quite damaged, the wood so dried out that parts were just splitting. So he had a woodturner friend examine it and make new parts where needed, and being a careful man, he didn't color or finish any of the wood, new or old, and he returned me the old crumbly bits to save. Dad gave me the wheel for Christmas, and I was elated. The new wood will gather patina over time, and nothing will pretend to be what it isn't. So it's bi-colored.

One of these months -- years? --- I intend to learn to use it. Not to become good at spinning, just to get a feel for how wool can be made into yarn or thread.


Anonymous said...

I'm so pleased to hear you talk about an issue that I spend a lot of time dealing with at this stage of my education. The concepts of conservation and restoration are similar but sometimes have contradictory goals. You really put it succinctly when you said that "nothing will pretend to be what it isn't". So true! Also spinning is a ton of fun. Try it out soon!

ZipZipInkspot said...

Thank you, renna-darling! By the way, it has been fascinating to follow your progress in school. Have loved your description of your work, your thoughts about the whole process, and your time in such an amazing town.

Yes, that phrase seemed to describe a conservation concept that I deal with a lot. Although am not a conservator, anything we have here at home is treated carefully and with respect. I have a few pieces that were "restored" way back when and while they are still nifty and useful, they've lost not only patina but important visual and tactile information.

Very best,