A couple of Saturdays ago, I spent the morning spinning yarn at the farmers' market. They were having an event with people demonstrating different crafts, so I was there with my spinning wheel. This was my second spinning demonstration...the first one was at a local craft fair last October. In a way, this time was a bit easier because I had more of an idea of what to expect. I knew what sort of questions people were going to ask, so I was more prepared for how to answer them.
I had a good day, but, as an introvert, it still wasn't easy. I don't like having attention focused on me, and the thought of talking to lots of strangers is so intimidating. I was pretty nervous that morning, but once I get started, I'm usually okay. It helps that I'm talking about something I'm obsessed with, that my hands are busy doing something, and that it's usually one-on-one. (It's a lot harder when it's a group of people.) I get in a zone where it's easier to talk and explain the process.
(I've heard that if you're not feeling confident, the best thing to do is fake confidence. Well, I'm not very good at faking anything. The closest I can get is pretending to feel slightly more comfortable than I really am, because I've learned that constantly thinking about how awkward I am tends to make things worse.)
Here were the top comments that I heard about spinning:
1. 80% of people assume I'm spinning cotton. I think that's because our town used to be a big producer of textiles, and lots of the older people who stopped to talk to me used to work in the cotton mill, so that's what they're used to.
2. "You sure are young to be doing such an old-fashioned craft!" And apparently I look even younger than I am. Several people guessed that I was in high school. (My mom says this is a good thing, but I'm not so sure. Maybe when I'm older I'll be thankful to look younger, but at twenty-four I'd like to look my age, ha.)
3. "You must be really patient." I'm really not. I'm still trying to learn to enjoy the process of creating just as much as the end result. But girls used to spin yarn out of necessity, not for enjoyment, and I'm sure some of them weren't any more patient than I am!
4. "What a beautiful wheel." It was mostly older ladies who said this, but I happen to think it's pretty, too. :)
5. "That looks so relaxing." Spinning is relaxing for me now (for the most part), but it took me a while to get to that point. (I'm the girl who knitted for a year before it stopped being stressful and started being relaxing!)
I still feel weird about being the spinner. I've only been doing this for two and a half years, so I don't even pretend to know everything there is to know about spinning. Compared to other spinners that I've met, I feel like such a beginner. (And honestly, I think fiber arts are an endless learning experience. You can do this your whole life and still not learn everything.) This probably sounds dorky, but before a spinning demonstration, I always pull out one of my old books and skim through, just to make sure that I have my terms correct and everything. It's not like I discuss spinning with people on a daily basis, so I just like to refresh my memory and make sure I'm not giving out incorrect information. :)
I got to talk to a few knitters, which really made my day. Sometimes I feel like I'm making things in a little bubble. I don't have a local yarn shop, and I'm not in a knitting group...I'm not around fiber people in real life except on rare occasions. Knitting blogs and Ravelry are amazing, of course, but it's so good to talk to people about knitting in person. :) Just discussing something as simple as sock knitting and DPNs vs. magic loop with another knitter was lovely.
I gave up wishing that I was an outgoing extrovert several years ago. I've come to realize that I'm okay with being a quiet introvert, though at times I still wish I was less awkward. :) I'll be doing at least one more spinning demonstration later this year...possibly two. Hopefully it will get easier each time. Anyway, I guess what I'm saying in this rambling post is that sometimes it's good to get out of your comfort zone. It's not easy, but that's sort of the point, right?
(That's a peek at the handspun that will be available in my Etsy shop soon! I was waiting until after this demonstration to open my shop since I also had items for sale there. I was hoping to have it ready by the end of the month, but that might not happen. I still have to get some more product photos, so I'm waiting for a slightly overcast day. Lately either the sun is blazing or we're having a thunderstorm.)