As I told you I ordered it the day that I sold my congas. And then I waited. And waited. And waited. And after a week I considered asking the shop where I had ordered it (online, there is no such thing as a spinning wheel shop near me), and then I waited some more. Ten days after my order I sent an e-mail, and got a very nice reply saying there had been problems, and that it would be shipping the next day. The next day it was here. Weird.
Sometime I suspect that online stores who happen to forget your order never say so but they’ll tell you something along the lines of “We thought we had one in stock but then we hadn’t.” or “It took our supplier a week to deliver.” Which can happen. I’d just like to know instead of hanging around the house each morning for eight days in a row hoping not to be out when the postman rings.
But I won’t complain, here it is:
I had the opportunity to take the whole morning assembling it because my student didn’t show up.
Then I de-assembled part of it again because I had managed to screw some things together the wrong way, then I tried to treadle it, was happy, and then there was this noise. I dis-assembled another part, oiled everything twice, re-assembled and started to – try to spin.
It’s as if I have to learn it all over again. Even though I’ve set it to the slowest setting it’s much too fast for my fumbling attempts at drafting. But I can see that it will be fun once I get fast enough. I like spinning with a drop spindle but always feel that I spend more time winding the yarn onto the spindle than actually spinning. Well, that won’t be the problem with the wheel.
Here’s a picture of my new “spinning corner”, the place where my congas used to stand:
Here’s the wheel, an Ashford Kiwi (she’s more beautiful in real life):
And here’s my bad handspun:
This post took me three days to write. That’s not because I spun so much, it’s because I’m easing back into teaching and normal life mode. The good thing is that today’s 15-minute-attempt at spinning on the wheel went much better than the two days before because I actually had taken the time to look into my spinning book under “when you have the feeling that the yarn is pulled away from you”. Aha, I eased the brake tension, and it went much better. Also, fluffing the roving before spinning it is highly recommended. Also, when I treadle more slowly the yarn gets less kinky. Revelation after revelation.
It’s too bad that I don’t like art yarn at all. Now I have about 250 grams of it at home.
because I sold my congas yesterday.
I didn’t quite know whether to sell them or not. At the beginning of 2007 we were a bit short on money and space, and I started to sell old books and stuff. And decided that it might be a good idea to find a new home for my congas. Only I never put them up for sale anywhere. Because of the blog post though I got e-mails from people who were interested in them. Only, this never let anywhere. So I resigned myself on keeping them, I love them very much even if they were mostly serving me as a very pretty keyboard stand.
But then I got another e-mail a few months ago from somebody who was interested in them, and yesterday they went away. It feels a bit weird but very good at the same time.
These congas were the only excellent musical instruments I ever bought for myself. I started drumming quite late, when I was almost 20. I had tried a bit in school and was fascinated by African music, and then I went away to Munich to study. There I met a guy who was learning how to play Brazilian music who later became my boyfriend. He was very surprised when I enrolled in the same school as him because to him I was “classical piano” girl. I have never been a good pianist though. In that school congas were our main instruments. We also learned how to play all the smaller percussion instruments that are used in Brazilian music but mostly it was congas. When a bit later I decided to switch my major to music education I had to choose a main musical instrument, and I just went for it and chose drumming. Which, in a way was very funny, because I only had been playing for about a year. Strangely enough it all turned out okay. There were only very few drummers there, and fortunately the professors had no way of telling how easy or difficult anything was that I played for exams, and so I earned my degree by dazzling them with music that looked harder to play than it was. Also, I switched my main instrument to voice, and I even threw in a bit of recorder playing at the exam. At that time the whole institute wasn’t as structured as it became later.
One problem with drumming is that you need quite a bit of equipment. I was very poor at that time, and so I always played instruments borrowed from my boyfriend, or the drum set in university. All that time I longed to have my own drum set, marimbaphone, congas, and surdo.
The summer I bought the congas I had worked for two months in order to buy a computer. I didn’t have one at that time, and it became apparent that I’d need one for doing papers and such. Then a drummer friend visited me and said, “What do you think, which are the best congas?” I immediately answered, “Michel Delaporte”. Those were the ones my conga teacher played and I loved their look, feel and sound. They were ideal for what I loved to play, though they are no good when you’re playing in something like a salsa band because their sound isn’t sharp and penetrating enough for that. I took my friend to the drum store and showed him some congas. He tried them and was disappointed. He played Cuban music which requires a different conga sound. He hated them but I fell in love.
A day later I went into the shop with my computer money and bought the congas he had tested. Without ever having played them myself.
I had just moved to a new apartment. I set up the congas and started to play. I was very happy. I had the best congas in the world. Ten minutes later a neighbor banged on my door. “What are you doing in there? Stop that noise!” She was very angry. Imagine somebody playing very deep, rich, resonating, booming drums in a building where you can here your neighbors sneeze through the walls.
So, since I didn’t have a room to practice in, that basically was it. I didn’t play them much for years. I bought them in 1990, and the first time they saw real action was when my husband and I started a Brazilian band together in 1998. We had that band for about two years before we gave up looking for places to play. There is a demo CD of that band but I think that most of the drumming on that CD was done by my husband since he’s much more precise than me.
You can hear the congas on some of my husband’s recordings. When I told him that they were sold he realized that he had used them much more than me for the last years. Though not enough to justify having them around all the time. (That was the point were I almost canceled the sale at the last minute.)
Yesterday when I helped load them into a car I was not sad as I had thought. I was relieved. For all the years that those congas had stood in my room they had called to me, “Play me! Play me! Play me!”, and I never had. And when I had tried, it sounded horrible. Not playing will do that to your technique.
I’m very happy that they have found a new home, and I hope they will be loved and played there.
Do you know what I did with the money? I ordered a spinning wheel. I know, crazy. We’ll see how that goes.
(Also, I’d like to remind you to send me any posts about social justice that you read or wrote in August until September 7th for the Just Posts. My e-mail is: creativemother AT web DOT de)
So, today the sun was shining again, and I finally managed to take picture of the finished stole. It only took me ten days… (I wrote aboug the stole and it’s transformation in another post. That’s where those of you who want to know can also find the information about pattern and yarn.)
I found the pattern when I followed a link to the Hanami stole I had seen on somebody else’s blog. It’s by the same designer. The swirls and ornaments appealed to me instantly. I wanted to knit this stole for myself.
It’s called Scheherazade, and I thought of mine as my storyteller stole. Telling stories seems to be more important to me than I have recognized in the past. So this stole became a symbol to me.
While knitting I imagined myself on stage, singing, and wearing it. Not very practical, but then.
Of course it’s a writing talisman too
September 09, 2007: Downloaded pattern for Scheherazade Stole.
November 30, 2007: Wollmeise Lace-Yarn in “Campari Orange” arrived.
March 31, 2008: After ten days work.
June 17, 2008: Blocking
I have to keep you in suspense for the final result because I was to busy to take a picture today. But I promise one soon.
Of course I thought I would have it all figured out by now. And I do have a job. A job I happen to like. But then, I always seem to get restless after a while. I have already written about how I feel like I’m pulled in several directions at once, how the things I like doing just don’t go together that well.
Which reminds me that I had promised you a post about the things I like. I have been thinking about it for weeks now but all I can come up with is “Raindrops on roses, and warm woolen mittens, …” (and I just found that I misquoted it, I’m horrible at remembering song lyrics) Every time I try to write a list of things I like I end up with something like this, and it feels totally arbitrary.
So. I’m almost 41 now, and I keep thinking about what to do with my life, where it’s headed, and I still don’t know. Music is important, I now know this, because without music I get depressive. Sometimes I also get depressive with music but without it I always do. I know that I want to sing more, and make up songs, and improvise, and that I want to perform again. I only don’t know how or where or when or with whom. And I find that it feels a bit pointless to hum to myself at home, and so I bought myself a new recording thingie that is sitting on my desk and gathers dust. (I actually recorded something and started to write a post about this at the end of, um, April. Well.)
Last year I had this feeling that I should become a tarot reader. I bought tons of books, and three more decks of tarot cards, bought a spiral notebook, and started learning the meaning of two tarot cards each day. For about a week or two. Because while I enjoy pulling cards and doing readings for people with the oracle cards that I have, I never can remember the meanings of the cards. I always have to look them up. And while I feel pretty good about drawing cards for people it then occurred to me that people might want to know about serious life-issues, and I didn’t feel up to the task. Also, learning while I go along might work for the things I usually teach and do but for this I felt that I needed a better foundation. I haven’t abandoned the thought, though, it’s just one of the things that is swirling around in my mind.
Then there’s the knitting. It has become quite important to me again over the past year (which you might have noticed), and so I started thinking along the lines of, “Maybe I should teach knitting classes.” or design knitting patterns again and see where that leads me. That’s my latest spleen, and so I have started drafting a plan for knitting classes, and have run into my old obstacle of not being able to promote myself. I just can’t do it. I have all these plans, and enthusiasm, and I know people would love the classes but when I put it all to paper it becomes stiff and hollow and brittle. My husband has been going over my draft to help me, and now it’s up to me again.
Then, the designing. As I have said before, having ideas is never the problem for me. (And I thank God for that.) As soon as I decided that I wanted to design something there were a few ideas popping up. I even bought yarn, and I have thought about them constantly. Now all I need is a couple of days to really do something. And, most important of all, I need some space in my head for that.
Just in case you’re wondering why I, all of a sudden, think that I can design knitting patterns, well, back in the eighties when I lived in a small town I pretty much made up all my own patterns. Not always successful but then, these days, I actually knit gauge swatches and such, and on top of that I’m totally willing to rip everything back until it looks like I want it to. The only thing I’m a bit nervous about is that in the eighties sweaters were just rectangles, and these days they are supposed to fit a bit more tightly. On the other hand, from what I see these days, baggy sweaters might be back again soon. And designing fitting sweaters only means doing a bit more math. Which, strangely enough, is not a problem, it only takes a bit more time.
I also would like to teach creativity, and work as a coach but I have this feeling that I need to grow a bit before doing that. The other thing I’d like to do is improvised music. So I’m planning to teach circle singing, and waiting for the opportunity to improvise with others.
Then there’s the writing. I like doing it but I still have to read my two NaNoWriMo-novels. (That still sounds weird, my two novels. Lately someone asked me what I had been doing, and when I told her “I have been writing more, there’s the blog, and I have written first drafts of two novels and a screen play.” it sounded really weird to me. But then, it’s true nonetheless. It won’t do me any good, though, until I do something with what I have.)
I know that this is pretty much the recurrent theme of my blog, my lack of focus on just one thing. So, I have decided that I’m unable to do just one thing, and go in all directions at once. Which is fine, only now all these things in my head keep canceling each other out. Where to start? I start each day with a plan to do one of the important things, like, “Today I’ll be working on my concept for knitting classes!” then procrastination happens, or housework, or blog reading, or exercise, or family, and soon it’s “I’ll do it on the weekend when I’ll be having more time.” (That one’s always good for a laugh.), and so the weeks go by one after the other.
So, this, of course, will be the weekend when I will be:
While I’m at it, I could also teach my son how to swim. Or something.
These are not really my plans for the weekend but then I might have taken on a bit more in my life than I can reasonably do. Do you know anybody who hasn’t? Which of the things should I drop? I know, the answer is housework but my husband doesn’t like doing it all alone. And I don’t blame him. So, any advice? I could quit blog-reading of course but that isn’t really an option, isn’t it?