Spinning in a museum at night

Me spinning

Me and my braids and spinning wheel, and the cardigan I made for the occasion. Image by Christoph Wegner, museum director.

Last night was Die Lange Nacht der Museen in Rostock (that needs no translation…)

I sat with my spinning wheel in the lovely little Heimatmuseum in Warnemünde, the former fishing village in the North of Rostock. Hey, if you are back in an old hometown where you haven’t lived for more than 25 years, and nobody knows you anymore, you might just as well start with an entirely new identity, right?

Making things is becoming more of a lifeline for me, and I love a chance of spinning in company. The evening was very popular, the museum was packed, everyone was very interested and nice and asked a lot of questions.

I learned a few things.

  • Wearing braids outside in Rostock is weird and you will get laughed at by teenagers. Wearing braids in a museum is lovely and gets you at least as much attention as the fact that you are spinning wool.
  • I need to (re-)learn the local dialect, plattdütsch or low German, because people will talk to me in dialect. Which is great. Even better was to be told by proper locals, in dialect, about the storm today.
  • I need to learn all the terminology about spinning, and the few stories I know, in German.
  • I still want to find local patterns for my knitting projects, which seems to be difficult. There are none. None of the traditional outfits seem to have details I can incorporate. But I have been given the details of a local weaver and a few other ideas to follow up on.
  • The resulting yarn

    The Touch my Art project is a realistic possibility. I am happiest sitting in a public place, spinning or knitting, surrounded by tactile art I have made, that can be touched. Maybe at some point the Kunsthalle. Next year, the Day of the Hanse is in Rostock, as well as the 800th anniversary of the town, and it will be lovely to be involved there.

  • And, to look at it with my Social Media hat on: Many people took photos but not one post on Instagram (apart from mine) with the location tagged. No content anywhere else I could find. It’s not that nobody uses social media here. But everyone who does, does it with the ambition to be an influencer. And just sharing things so others can find them is not part of that.

Local dress of Warnemünde

The fact I had mostly dark grey yarn for my event cardigan last night was a lucky accident – local dress for women did involve a black jacket worn over lots of skirts. So I looked traditional even without meaning to. I was told that the local costume group is always looking for new blood, but I tend to be more interested in finding very local inspiration for something new, rather than dressing up in old clothes – that might have something to do with the fact that traditional women’s clothes are incredibly restrictive, as were women’s roles.

Early at the museum. In the foreground wood carver Harald Wroost, whose carvings are found all over Rostock. Click for the TV report about the night at the museum (from 07:28).

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