I was first taught to spin on September 17th, 2011. This was a little bit of a special day in the spinning world because it was Worldwide Spin in Public Day. This is a semi-organized event to encourage spinners to go out in spin in public. It's not supposed to be any big thing, but gives people an excuse or some encouragement to take a loved hobby into a public space and talk to people to stop and ask them what's going on.
Personally, I think spinning in public is great and that there's no reason not to do it other days as well. For me, spinning is an incredibly relaxing way to spend your time and be productive at the same time. Plus, I'm always up for things that are a bit unusual.
So, this gets me to the bulk of this story.
A little under a month ago now, Katie and I attended the World Steam Expo (commonly abbreviated, WSE, WSX, or (most amusingly) WSEx) in Dearborn, MI. This is the third year for the Expo, as well as the third year that Katie and I attended. I love WSE. It's a Steampunk convention. What is Steampunk? The easiest way for me to explain it is to imagine that instead of the internal combustion engine becoming our primary source of power, the steam engine won out. Extrapolate from there. It's also often described as retro-futuristic Victorian sci-fi. Basically, it's an alternate history sub genre of sci-fi. Super nerdy, I know. The convention is a collection of panels, concerts, a vendor's room, and generally people having a great time. After the first two years, Katie and I have been to pretty much every panel so, this year, we didn't go to very many. This left us with some more down time than in the previous two years. So, I filled it.
What did I do to fill the down time? Well, at this point, I think you can guess. I spun. For the first day or so, I worked on some fiber on a Turkish drop spindle, but finished that off. Luckily, I had my Ladybug in the car. Let me tell you, it got a few fun looks. Both Saturday and Sunday evening there were big events in the evening with a few hours of scheduled down time for people to prepare or nap or what have you. I decided that would be a good time to spin. So, I brought the wheel in, set up in a main gathering area, and pulled out some BFL. Over the two days, about 20 people stopped to ask questions, about a dozen stopped to take pictures, a few asked where they could find more info, and one even took a video.
Yeah, that last one is interesting. The lead singer of one of the big bands who was at the event gives off an aura of being a giant douche bag. In fact, in interactions with him the previous two years, that's exactly how he came off. But, I watched him walk by with his guitar, and two minutes later, walk back without it, sat down, and started asking me what I was up to. He was shortly followed by another band member, who asked if she could take a video. I ended up explaining how spinning worked, how we ply to balance the yarn and increase strength, the basics of how the wheel works, including the difference between a single and double drive wheel, and why I find it so relaxing.
When I decided to bring my wheel in, I didn't do it with the intent of getting anybody else interested in spinning, even though I knew that it would be an attention magnet, even in a convention full of people in fantastically outrageous costumes. All that I did was decide that I wanted to do my hobby, and I didn't care where I was. If I ended up making a new spinner out of it, that can't be a bad thing, right?