Sunday, September 20, 2009

Always on my mind

In 2000, my friend Leslie and I traveled to the Handweavers Guild of America conference in Cincinnati.  We purposely scheduled a few extra days to explore Amish country afterward.  Leaving the big city behind, off to Millersburg we went.  It was a magical couple of days, full of eye openers and a study in contrasts.

We were specifically looking for weavers and spinners, but found none.  We took a tour of an old Amish farm, and while there was an old spinning wheel on display in the living room, no one I quizzed seemed to recall anyone in their local memory who had been spinning.  I came home determined to make this a study project, but never did.  If you know of any history of spinning in the Amish communities, I would love to know. 


What we did find, of course, was quilters.  I so admire their work.  I love the idea of spending hours upon hours making tiny stitches.  I love that these women, who don't have all the amenities we do, can find time for such past times.  I've long thought that our lives are far more complicated for all the conveniences we have to make our lives easier.  That trip pretty much reinforced my theory.

We found meals at local Amish owned restaurants to be delicious and simply priced.  I remember asking someone one morning, after consuming a large breakfast for only a few dollars, how they managed.  The response:  we only charge what we need.  Now there's a concept.  Imagine if more people felt that way.  I see this as an inspiration for a grass roots movement...similar in spirit to groups like the Slow Money Alliance.

One day,  in a gift shop full of little things made by local Amish,  I found this little sign, which has since become a national offering in many country type catalogs (or the same sentiment in a different design).  I brought it home and hung it in a prominent spot in my big farm kitchen.  I try to hold this sentiment near my heart, but some days, I just get too busy to guess what that says about my life. 

Like everyone else, I'm a work in progress.

2 comments: said...

martie, most of the mennonites that i know do a lot of crochet work. i dont think that many of them spin because i dont see where any of them raise sheep etc...same goes for the amish around just gave bags and bags of yarn to our friend Suzy and she was thrilled to have would have loved to have seen the girls taking it in the house...they were all smiles and saying how it would give them something different to do and work on this winter....i love that i have become such good friends with this family...they remind me constantly about what you are saying in your blog entry today....i will ask tomorrow about spinning for you....XO b

6secoyarnhos said...

That would be wonderful! I'd love to know what they have to say. The house in Ohio we toured had a loom, but I assume that was for rag rugs.