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Midweek Connect: 3/24/21 ~ Spinning

Greetings and Happy Midweek!

I hope where-ever you find yourself, you are enjoying the beginnings of the Spring season! Here in central Pennsylvania, there are many small farms - and the livestock (horses, cattle, sheep) all look pretty burdened in worn out, heavy winter coats. It’s almost time for the shearing (removing those winter coats) - so I thought I would reflect with you this week on...spinning!

Recently I have begun to learn how to spin with the goal of making my own yarn from natural fibers (specifically alpaca fleece) with which to knit. As I take initial steps in this learning adventure, I’m reminded that spinning is an age-old, perennial activity played out differently in different cultures. A local artist friend illustrated this variety for me through her beautiful collection of spindles, demonstrating how Native Americans (both north and south) spin which is different from how, for example, Turkish farmers spin.

And - who could have guessed! - I am seeing that this spinning process aligns nicely with the process of learning how to effectively communicate and live cross culturally! Including, as you might imagine, it gives me new vocabulary...note a few spinning lexicon terms in this message and check out the links below for some spinning traditions world-wide.

To start with, holding the freshly sheared tangled mass of fleece (how can this possibly end up being yarn?!) reminds me how it feels to enter a new culture, surrounded by so much incomprehensible input (how can I possibly make sense of all this?!). Cleaning out the unwanted twigs and dirt can be likened to putting aside preconceived notions rooted in our own cultures, thus clearing away barriers to our learning. Carding the fibers into batting, a workable bundle, resembles the process of setting proficiency goals and designing a strategically integrated program. Finally, I’m ready to spin using the roving or prepared fleece. And voilà! Following these steps, we are well prepared to jump into learning the new language and about the new culture we have entered!

How about you ~ what’s a new activity you’d like to learn and how might that inform your cross cultural endeavors? Share about that with a friend or note it here.

Until next week, Betsy


Traditional hand spinning in Uttarakhand, northern India

2021 ~ Celebrating 40 years of working in

intercultural communications and global community building

Connecting, Collaborating, Cultivating Community

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