Monday, February 16, 2009

Rastro Fulfills His Destiny

This weekend, in the midst of the hearts-and-flowers of the romantic holiday, my spinning wheel, Rastro, and I had a Valentine's Day treat. We packed up and went to a spinning workshop! (I rejoined world's-most-patient-husband later for a nice dinner, of course. :)

But earlier in the day, I folded Rastro up, and stowed him in the trunk of the car along with bagsful of way too many different choices of wool to spin. I didn't know what to expect, and I didn't want to come up short!

Of course, I needn't have worried.

There was plenty there for anyone who might have run short. Or just become entranced by another pretty fiber to add to the collection.

When everyone got settled, we had a great circle of companionable spinning. (Some of the owners of those wheels were off browsing the tables of spinning supplies.) It was wonderful! There were people to compare notes with; to talk about sheep and wool and techniques and twist with; to ooh and ah with over things spinners care about. And, being self-taught, I've never before spun with anyone else. It turned out to be great fun.

We had a fascinating talk from Jennifer of Spirit Trail Fiberworks, who does beautiful hand-dyeing of yarns and fibers. She specializes in seeking out rare, endangered, and little-known breeds of sheep, finding farmers with remaining flocks, buying fleeces, and offering their wool to spinners, in natural or gorgeous hand-dyed colors. I had no idea of some of these small, isolated populations and their history. She'd brought along wool from several virtually unknown breeds for show-and-tell and to buy.

I'm afraid that, like an over-excited child at story-time, I may not have sat and listened quite as quietly as I should. Jennifer took it in stride, though. It probably happens all the time. :)

We also had a talk and demonstration of spinning silk from caps. I'm not sure I'll be rushing to try spinning silk. When the silk fiber in cap form was passed around, I was very startled by the way it felt to the hands. There was something about it that made me shiver uncomfortably. And there's an awful lot of lovely wool in the world. But it was really interesting to see and learn about.

There was a great variety of different wheels. I think in the whole group of 15 or 20 wheels, there was only one pair of twins. Just in the picture there, clockwise from the left, we have an Ashford Joy, a Bosworth Journey Wheel, a beautiful antique wheel, and a Schacht Matchless. (At least I think so; don't hold me to it.) And my Rastro.

Rastro is the handsome blonde down in the right-hand corner. He's a Lendrum double treadle. When I first got my wheel, I tried calling him a fancy, girly name that I thought would suit a spinning wheel. He would have none of it. He wouldn't answer to that name. He's lean and eager and straining at the leash to get to work. Naturally, he didn't care for a frilly name. When I started thinking of him as Rastro, it immediately stuck.

When I picked out a wheel, I specifically selected one that would fold up for travel. I was indulging in castle-in-the-air fantasies of carrying it to spinning gatherings.

And now they've come true. :)


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great day! I love Jennifer's fiber and she's so nice. I have a Rastro, too, but mine answers to Lenny.

Anonymous said...

Yay for spinning retreats! Jennifer's great- lucky you.

My wheels came named- their Majacrafts- the Millie and the Rose. But, since I'll need a male name starting with R in reserve in case Rosie has a boy, I may just borrow Rastro...

Bess said...

Isn't it grand when fantasies come true? And How about Jennifer! she is fabulous, ins't she? What a color sense too. I wish I could have been there.