So...it's taken me a while, but I'm back to show you not the workshop (too busy to take notes), but the results..and a little appendix.
The first part of the workshop was taken up with drop spindling. Angela (Angela Daish, our tutor) handed round a bag of carded fibre for each of us, and a rather scary-looking rolag/batt (to my eyes, anyway). I had brought my larger Kundert top whorl spindle and some merino - but this was not what Angela wanted us to work with!
We started off with learning to thigh-roll our spindles, something I haven't mastered because I tend to use bottom whorl spindles and turks, and it works better with top whorl spindles. Soon I was spinning away with my usual pin-thin merino...but that was all to end - as Angela wanted us to try spinning thick!
So out came a box of dyed locks, quite a 'gutsy' wool, but still very soft, and we spent a few minutes fluffing them up, ready to spin. At this point, I was using one of Angela's spindles. She'd shown us how to start off so we could just pull our cop off to store or ply it. The aim was to produce textured yarn, so I did just that! Then came the real shock ...chain (Navajo) plying! On the fly! Strangely enough, although I'd done this before and found it very annoying, Angela made it seem very simple and soon we were all chaining away! The photo shows my finished (tiny) cop of textured yarn, and here's the same yarn wound off to show its rugged good looks.
After this marathon effort, it was time to recoup my strength with some lunch and a cup of tea.
After lunch, we were all told to fetch a saucer and a support spindle. Angela had a wonderful supply of different spindles which we were allowed to try, and use during the workshop. I honed in on a KCL Woodworks Tibetan with a glass doughnut insert, which spun like the wind, and for a long, long time. More about this later! I'd also brought another spindle with me, a Russian which I got in a swap last year. I'd struggled with it, and Angela told me it wasn't perhaps a good one for a beginner. More about that to be told in a later post....
Soon I was spinning away, enjoying using the heavier spindle for this rather 'textured' batt!
I spent quite a bit of time on this, just going with the flow of the texture with the support spindle. Although not the yarn I would usually make, it was fun for a change!
During the rest of the afternoon, Angela demonstrated using a hackle and diz (I got hackle envy) and a Majacraft circular loom. I was quite amazed at how versatile a circular loom can be! If you're interested in finding out more, have a look at the Circle Weaving group on Facebook! I would never have thought of making gores for a skirt on a circular loom, for instance!
At the end of the class I drove home (and managed to be there by dinner time, even). The weather was not great for photography, and nthere wasn't a kea in sight. Since getting home, I've now spun nearly all of a little blue batt I'd started before I went, and had a go with Angela's lovely strong carded wool.
This is my 'Texas Jeannie' , a lovely, well- balanced lightweight support spindle given to me by a kind fellow crafter. She's wonderful for fine yarns and spins like a dream. There aren't any listed in their Etsy store right now, but they are available from time to time.
Here's my Kundert top whorl, which was perfect for the weight of this fibre. I usually use it for plying my fine yarns. You can find these spindles listed on Etsy as well as a lot of other fibery stuff!
And the appendix? Well, yesterday I met Angela in Christchurch...and we did a swap - fibre for ...this! Mmmmmmmmmmm. From KCL Woodworks, a very worthy addition to my collection.
Kate is a photographer, writer, web author and craft dyer who lives in North Canterbury, New Zealand.