Sunday, April 25, 2010

Taking Her Out For A Spin

Well, what's a tiny little new spinning wheel for, if not to hop in the car and go for a spin? Miss Muffet and I found ourselves a spinning event to go to and that's exactly what we did.

When we got there, she settled right in next to a Majacraft Little Gem. It's also a cute little portable wheel, but we all have our own tastes, and Miss Muffet is definitely my favorite flavor. The Little Gem's owner (whose name I'm sorry I can't remember) was also a brand-new weaver, and the scarf she's wearing in the picture was one of her first efforts, woven earlier that same week. It was beautiful and drapey, and I was quite impressed.

The event was kind of a small fair, with vendors from the local region lining the walls, selling yarn and roving and fleeces and patterns and accessories and lots of tempting things. It catered for knitters as well as spinners.

The spinning circle was set up right in the center, and it was a new sight for many of the knitters wandering by to shop. It felt a bit like being on display at a living history museum. Quite a few people stopped by to watch, talking in hushed tones to each other. With a little encouragement, though, they were happy to chat and ask questions. The woman next to me, with the Little Gem, was quite a promoter for spinning. She enticed several people to sit down and give it a try. I wouldn't be surprised if a new spinner or two was born that day!

When I got up for breaks, there was also another "exhibit" for me to gaze at and ask questions about. Near the spinners was a group having a rug-braiding class. It looked like fun, too. Though I'm afraid this isn't the clearest photo, you can see how there's a clamp attached to the table, and the rug-maker is braiding together strips of roving in different colors. The rug-making is not a one-day process, though. Students were to take the braids home, felt them, and come back to the part two class, to learn how to sew them together.

Meanwhile, there was lots of shopping going on, too. You don't need a giant festival to have plenty of things to entice a spinner. I think practically everybody went home with a few more things than she brought -- some more than others. And some just couldn't contain themselves. This big newly purchased pile of fiber was trailing directly from its bag onto an enthusiastic spinner's wheel.

Of course, I also walked around and window-shopped to see what the vendors had brought. And of course I had to get myself a few goodies. :)

These are some of them. The two balls of roving are Cormo wool from Wallys and Frank Peltier at Mt. Airy Farm, in Marshall, Virginia. I just adored the colorway and bought all 14 ounces they brought. It probably won't make a whole sweater, but maybe a vest. I believe I must have been talking to Wallys. She told me that they hadn't dyed the wool in roving form before, only as yarn, because they'd been worried about whether it would felt. But she was pleased with how this had come out. And so am I. :)

The braid in the front of the photo is Superwash Bluefaced Leicester from Spirit Trail Fiberworks, Jennifer Heverley. Jennifer -- in addition to finding wool of fascinating rare breeds to offer spinners -- is a master dyer with an absolutely lovely color sense.

This braid is a one-off; not one of her regular colorways but just the result of a session playing with the dye-pots. I could just drown in these colors. But there's only 4 ounces of it, so I'll have to think about what I can make from it.

All in all, a very fun day. Miss Muffet and I went home tired and happy.

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