Last week and unexpected offer came my way to go up to a fibre weekend organised by the local spinning and weaving guild. I joined up immediately and had a fantastic time with the demonstrations and fibres on sale. Wingham Wool Works is the venture of Ruth Gough and her husband who seemed to bring a whole warehouse full of fibre and all things related. I've had a wheel for a while now but had never managed to set it up to spin properly, so I was glued to Ruth's demonstration. With brain firing on all cylinders I watched her controlling the fibres and wheel, trying to eek out all the subtleties of movement that made it all look so... fluid! That was me convinced. I had to do that class the next day!
That night I practised what I'd seen and managed some yarn. Actually I was rather pleased with it annnnnnd I'd managed to get the wheel running properly with a bit of oil, loads of peddling and a new drive band, but better things where yet to come.
Saturday was amazing. Packed with soooo much information and totally absorbing. Ruth is an excellent teacher, clear, concise, to the point and so very easy to understand. I am so lucky on a couple of counts. One, that I hadn't been burdened with being stuck in one home concocted way of doing it - as I possibly could have been given my tendency to just dive in a the deep end and make something work as I need, and two, to have someone with such a breadth of knowledge and understanding of the actual processes and who can dispel the myths which many books have in them as fact (evidently this is a hang over from the 40's/50's when spinning became "a craft" and over the years errors have been compounded into re-quoted "facts").
We did a whole host of techniques, short draw, extended short draw (or American long draw), British long draw, errm... plying, Navaho plying, south American plying, gosh is that it? Ahhhh no! also the wonderful technique of making "perfect rollags" Ruth's way... you really have to see it to believe it! Oh and plying around a core... I had such a brilliant time that I'd recommend you find out where she's teaching and make sure you get a class with her.
And the next question? Well yes, I can still do those things back at home, though of course it will take some practice to become consistent... good job I'm into knobbly yarns eh!
Many thanks to Ruth and Wingham Wools Works :)