observations from old issues of Spin-Off

I’ve been working my way through a pile of old issues of Spin-Off magazine, courtesy of the local guild library. There are quite a few articles on teaching spinning (of particular interest to me these days) as well as some wonderful technical articles. Dense, jam-packed information; a real pleasure to have access to these. I like the current form of Spin-Off, but I’d love to see a return to more technical articles. Anyway, a few little things I’ve noticed:

– The folks who make the amazing Pat Green Carders have been using the same photographs in their ads since at least 1983;

– I know moths are the bane of every handspinner and woolworker, but the repeated advice in those early 1980s issues to store mothballs with your fleeces and yarns is really scary. I found one mention of the potential toxicity of naphthalene and p-dichlorobenzene (the chemicals in mothballs), but I think there’s good reason this recommendation doesn’t ever show up in Spin-Off today (the incidence of hemolytic anemia, especially in children, after exposure to naphthalene should be enough to dissuade any fibre artist from keeping it in their home… at least I hope so).

– Man, did people ever like spinning wool in the grease! I never spin in the grease (it gunks up my wheel, and I think you can never get the finished yarn truly clean… I even wash the dust out of my alpaca before spinning it), but I see references to it over and over. It’s something I never see in Spin-Off these days, probably because there’s so much readily available commercially-prepared fibre out there. And maybe people just realised it’s much more pleasant spinning clean fleece (at least in my opinion).

– Qiviut! For only $20/ounce! Well, back in 1983…

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