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there's more than one way to spin a yak

Last night it took me a while to fall asleep, so I flipped through the channels and landed on an interesting documentary on PBS called Summer Pasture.

It's about a nomadic family in Tibet who has to reconcile their lifestyle with the rapid modernization of the world.  It's great; you should watch it.  Anyway, there was a small part of the film that showed Yama, the matriarch, and Locho, the patriarch, spinning yak fiber into rope.  And holy guacamole, it was fascinating!  I'm not even sure how it worked, but it seemed like a two-person, sideways drop spindle.  The spindle was situated on top of a tall pole and a strap was attached to the spindle.  Locho would intermittently pull up and down on the strap to rotate the spindle, then Yama would draft and spin the fiber.  She pulled that stuff for what seemed to be yards and yards long.  And after all the fiber was spun they used their whole bodies to keep the tension as they wound up the rope.  It was really cool.  There's a pic of part of the process on the Summer Pasture photo page.

Of course, I think this is what was going on.  I'm not totally sure.  Tried to google the process and apparently you can't find the schematics to a nomadic-Tibetan, yak rope maker.  Damn it!!  Regardless, I was mesmerized.  Made me want to spin outside.  With a yak.

Until that moment comes, I've been enjoying spinning on my Ashford.  Just finished some alpaca and merino blend yarn made from North Star Alpacas fiber which my loving husband so wonderfully bought for me.  Oh softness, how I love thee!

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