Gather 'round me, everybody
Gather 'round me while I'm preachin'
Feel a sermon comin' on me
The topic will be sin and that's what I'm ag'in'
If you wanna hear my story
Then settle back and just sit tight
While I start reviewin'
The attitude of doin' right
You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
That was the late great Johnny Mercer with his spot on Accentuate the Positive diddy.
I adore Johnny Mercer and often listen to his songs, which is not hard to do as we usually have Big Band on the XM playing in the background. I woke one night recently, while on vacation at Disneyland and this song was playing quietly in my head. Oh how I wanted to go home and make some spindles, or play in the wood. I missed the quiet intensity of my work, and the freedom to knit and spin whenever I wanted. Plus there were people. Lots of people. Did I say people? Some people even ventured into my bubble, without asking! I love the tranquility and peacefulness of my shop, and I wanted my laptop to compose this post right away!
This song seemed to be the perfect opening to a post about bottom whorl or top whorl. My spindle spinning started in the mid eighties with a large, unfinished, very heavy round with a dowel stuck through the middle. No, it was not balanced, which did not seem to matter as keeping it going was a puzzle for me. I do have a photo of my young son spinning away on it, laughing up into my face. True there is much Phil can do with great talent, this is not parental boasting, I was quite miffed that spindle spinning came second nature to him, and not to me. I kept with it over the years, but I knew that if maybe I had had a teacher things would have gone differently for me, at least I would have enjoyed it much more.
I did find spindle makers that made spindles, as they became more and more visible in the media. I ordered a Jim Child or two from Hatchtown. I found another spindle maker advertised in Spin Off and purchased one of those. And Bingo! The top whorl felt better in my hands, I was able to spin proficiently and more to the point, I was having the time of my life! One reason was the twirl. My hands cramp, and the arthritis I tend to have especially in the winter makes it hard to do handwork of all kinds for long periods of time. The twirling was a maneuver that did not compromise my hands or arms. I know after all the years I have spent making, using, and teaching spindle spinning that had I had access to a teacher I might have been spinning happily on spindles long before it clicked. Even now I have friends that are ardent spindle spinners and they are passionate about their favorite version of spindle, bottom or top.
This song above seemed like a good way to say that either is best. If bottom whorl rocks the boat for you (extreme praise) then by all means go for it. If top whorl is the cream in your coffee, good! I never forgot a chance meeting with a lady at SOAR, early in our spindle making adventures. She said to me "you have forgotten us". She said this with such sadness that I worriedly asked what she meant. She mentioned that all the spindles on the table were top whorl, none were bottom whorl. I never forgot her, and her honest and quiet request. I wish I knew her name and could say "thank you", as I had done exactly that. I had inadvertently forgotten about a third of the spindle spinning world. I would think, now, about 6 years later, it is becoming more of a percentage than that. I do make all my spindles both Bottom or Top, no it does not say that on my ridiculous web site, (more on that later) but at shows and festivals I routinely take a large amount of bottom whorls and come home with none.
We can cohabitate together, no need to draw a line, and turn up our noses at our spinning siblings that do it "upside down" Ha. After all, spindle spinning is the thing!!
Here in Utah we have a wonderful Retreat once a year in Park City. It is at a private home of a lovely lady named Cathy. She passed away after a short illness about 18 months ago, however her Retreat lives on, as her gracious husband still hosts his mountain acres for our camping, and tent filled alley between the trees, in a pristine country meadow replete with wildlife. This Retreat is somewhat magical, the vibes of friendship and sharing are legend. Small scale vending is encouraged to offer spinning and knitting goodies for attendees. We always have a small table of spindles and spend the day enjoying a rare and restful day with spinning friends, some I only see once a year at this Retreat. During shopping some friends elected to indicate their spindle selection by licking the whorl! Where ever did they learn this!