I was out spinning in public yesterday afternoon at an agricultural-type festival with some of my guildmates at the Hope of Glory Farm tent.
I think my favourite moment was when a small boy went by. He looked uncomfortable and upset about something and he was grousing to his parents who were in the lead going down the path, but he turned back to watch my spindle spin.
A young woman thought the spindle in motion was "awesome!" and to reward her enthusiasm I handed her a brochure for the upcoming fiber festival. I gave a brochure to a couple of young men who wanted to know, "What are you doing?" They laughed when I put down my magenta wool and showed them the olive drab wool to prove spinning didn't have to be all pink stuff.
People didn't reach down to the pile and take brochures at all. Most were walking along at a pretty good clip going somewhere. The brochures are subtle and probably take more time to scan than a perambulating person has.
Some handspinners that have long experience spinning in public have told me they make handspun bracelets for children. I made half a dozen, and gave them out. I put in fisherman's knots so the bracelet would be adjustable in size, and the knots took a lot of time to do. Also, I did each bracelet individually and because of the way I start my yarn, that meant I had to create a leader each time. I was drafting out the wool and catching it in the spindle's hook while standing with no lap to rest the spindle in, and the result was uncharacteristically lumpy yarn. I was making so few bracelets, stopping and starting so much, and making such poor yarn that I gave up and spun as normal. It made no sense for so many people to pass by me and only see me fiddling with leaders and knots.