I'm spinning a dream these days, and the whole combination of fiber and tools fills me, as always, with gratitude.
I'd discovered a while back that I especially enjoy spinning textured batts on Janet's "Bird", a spindle she made with hand-carved crossbar arms and a vintage chopstick. It's a slow, relaxing spindle, that evokes the activity of its maker: gently handling bits of wood and lovingly exploring and modifying their shape.
The batt, a Yarnwench Wild Card Bling Batt, is as enticing as its moniker suggests, and this one in particular is called Sprout. Quite convivial, the Sprout and the Bird.
But Sprout is more than 4 ounces of batt, and spinning up lofty and bulky, it quickly filled the Bird spindle. In order to carry on with mood intact, I picked up another spindle of Janet's, which comes from further along her experimental spindle-making trail. This spindle is one of several imitative of Qashqai style spindles. There are many intriguing images of Qashqai women spinning, and while it was only possible to guess at the material and shape of the arms under all that cop, Janet worked with the idea of bent, uplifted arms, testing different methods and possibilities.
This type of spindle is known as pareh, in Iran. One day, another friend - who, as fortunate as I, owns a Janet-made spindle of this style - was meeting a Persian acquaintance and showed him the spindle. "Pareh!" he cried, "Where did you get this pareh?" - thus giving the ultimate confirmation to Janet's experiments.
I haven't used my pareh often, because it's a bit challenging, with its long arms and deeply nestled cop. But spinning with it now, I feel it as another step on my own experimental trail, the path of learning various techniques that suit the different tools we humans have developed for spinning fiber into yarn. And as usual, I feel a connection to the people who live with this type of spindle and technique, gaining some slight appreciation of them through working in a similar way (never mind that I'm spinning a Wild Card Bling Batt rather than raw wool from the nomadic herd!)
In the video below, made in 2012, we were finally able to see the bare pareh, before the spinner covered it with handspun yarn. This kind of documentation is invaluable, to those of us who practice the craft and are eager for more information, and to anyone who appreciates the diversity of human culture and skill.