An Abundance of Wheels and the Landelijke Spindag (Netherlands)

An Abundance of Wheels and the Landelijke Spindag (Netherlands)

TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY! Can you believe it? 230 spinners all together and all spinning at the same time! ย Last weekend was the annual gathering of the Landelijke Spingroep (National Spinners Group) of the Netherlands. This group functions a bit like a guild, organising demonstrations at events, hosting information about regional spinning groups on their website, and of course, organising this national event once a year. And yep, its a biggie! Many people arrive on the Friday evening and stay till Sunday afternoon, with the main events happening on the Saturday. There are lots of pics in this post, because there was so much to see ๐Ÿ™‚ Patty and I arrived on the Saturday morning, after a bit of a drive through some very pretty dutch forests and villages, thatched roofs and narrow streets and much greenery. And we were right on time for the THING, yes, the THING everyone had been waiting for, the market! This was spread around various ‘rooms’ and halls of the venue, a warren-like conference center in the middle of the forest. We wandered from room to room and emerged eventually with a few scores, I got some Yak from Mandacrafts, travelled to us from the UK, and I also scored some Dutch raised Corriedale, yet to be washed and reported on but STASHED ๐Ÿ™‚ And of course my usual market day purchase of some intense coloured bamboo silk from Woolness (a lovely couple who not only import silks from India but also produce a pretty awesome range of wool related tools made of recycled materials –ย check them out! ) I was scheduled to run a couple of short workshops in the afternoon, so caught a bit of spinning time first. And I was in good company! Check out my spinning bud Patty’s wheel! Yep it is, its a Golding and wow is it smoooooth. I think these wheels make a pretty good set! Patty was spinning super fine on the Golding, and it has the perfect ratios for lace weight, she was barely treadling. I was busy with some corespinning and making some sample yarns for the workshops. There were some very old wheels, such as this 1859 model and we spotted this super cute little Louet, which is unfortunately no longer in production: The workshops were great. The day was organised with about ten workshops on offer, and the chance for people to get to a couple of workshops in the afternoon. They were quite short (one and a half hours each) so really just time for people to get a taste of the activity, great for inspiration and creative idea sharing! ย My workshops were full and I was impressed (again) with...

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Wild Weaving Workshop N

Wild Weaving Workshop N

I know I know, I still havent blogged about the dye day workshop yet… like I had planned to do before today ๐Ÿ™‚ Its TIME, it gets sucked into some black hole of time suck despite my best efforts at what ‘I’ think of as efficiency. I suspect this version of mine is not ‘real’ efficiency so much as wishful thinking efficiency. Apparently there is a difference. As in… it isnt actually efficiency. But the point is, here we are. Sunday evening and everyone has gone home. The room that has been filled all day with chatter and amazing yarns and looms everywhere and mini-stashes to ooh and aah over.. well its empty again, left only with yarn scraps, some stray coffee cups, and a few sparkly bits floating around. It was a very awesome day. So I wanted to share it with you while it was all fresh in my mind, because my kind of ‘efficiency’ often requires that some things fall out of my brain, I am preempting this by writing it now. And I have to admit to feeling rather smug about this ๐Ÿ™‚ Patty and I had a pretty solid program written up for the day. We wanted to be sure that we would cover all the things that we found important to review and share in just one day together, which seems like plenty of time but you know, once you get started, its that time vortex again… So our day was split up into three parts, weaving basics, design, and hands on weaving. It was such a pleasure to see everyones looms arrive and check out the warps they had set up, all so different, all so beautiful ๐Ÿ™‚ Sometimes the warp itself is such a visual delight its almost a shame to change it by adding weft! However as the day progressed we saw some incredible weaving happening.   One thing I was really pleased to be sharing was my developing approach to freeform weaving and what that means, at least to me. I am sure my approach to it is not new or unique, but at least for me it is, and the more I do, the more defined and concrete these ideas become as I consider how to best approach the problem of design and freeform. I say ‘problem’ here because, if you look at anything creative as a ‘problem’ it just asks for a solution! The ‘problem’ for me with weaving is actually the goal, so not a ‘problem’ as in there is something wrong, but as in a challenge, to which we can see the outcome we want, and the challenge (problem) is to find a way to...

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Wooly Workshop Days in Woodville

Wooly Workshop Days in Woodville

Its a little like a dream already, two days spent in the amazing fibre wonderland that Tracy White calls home. Inspire Fibres: Woodville New Zealand. SO worth the trip ๐Ÿ™‚ I was there to teach two workshops earlier this month, a day of dyeing and colour play, and a day of spinning and fiber prep. I had to get up early to get there too. My drive from Napier was less than two hours, but notable for the large quantity of water that was falling from the sky, for the entire trip. So what else could I do but turn up the radio and drive ๐Ÿ™‚ By the time I got there the rain was starting to fail and Tracy had a cosy fire burning invitingly in the studio and coffee ready to go. Perfect! And the perfect day for playing with colours. Bright, alive, hot, cool, calming, crazy, emotive, provoking. Colour is amazing! We started with a bit of painting, playing with the effects that colours have on each other. I am pretty sure that playing with colours is just good for the soul. Gloves were donned and dye was splashed, smooshed, dripped and tipped. And the results were diverse and amazing!! Check out the colours that Nanda chose! Her roving came out just stunning.. Our day included four different ways of dyeing, masses of rich colour, using dyes provided by Tracy and Teri Dyes – also Woodville based! I have to say I really enjoyed these dyes, very vibrant, they exhausted easily, and the results speak for themselves. They sell throughout NZ, and I am already planning on my next visit to buy up their range and bring some home with me ๐Ÿ™‚ Tracy also provided some amazing fiber, including these gorgeously silky Gotland locks:   The second day was equally enjoyable! Of course, how could it not be in the midst of this magical stash cave! Requests of Tracy for specific kinds of items, fiber, core threads, roving.. usually resulted in quantities of rummaging, exclamations of ‘oh I have this too’ followed by oohs and aahs as Tracy pulled out yet another fibre treasure from the depths of her bountiful shelving. Are you getting the idea how much I loved being there?! ๐Ÿ™‚ If you are in NZ, or plan on visiting there at any time, Inspire Fibres is (IMHO) a bit of a mecca and very worth visiting. Ok back to the workshop! We started our spinday with some fibre preparations. We had enough equipment! ย I had borrowed some cool toys from Majacraft while I was there the week before (thank you!!), so we had their Combs, hackle, and blending board, and Tracy had a...

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Workshoping with WoolWench and JazzTurtle

Workshoping with WoolWench and JazzTurtle

Its over, our glorious days of exciting projects, shared teaching, and some group hilarity. We started on the Friday evening, with a meal together followed by some really cool drum carding and fiber prep for the following day. This first group was the beginning art yarn spinners, and although some were already experienced spinners, the ‘art’ techniques we had in store were new to them. It was quite a treat to see the wheels all in a row and waiting for their spinners to get started. What I enjoyed the most about this group was the enthusiasm they showed for every technique, and their complete willingness to dive in and give everything a go, even if they were not sure about the outcome, thats the kind of creative risk taking I love the most! Our second group were the advanced art yarn spinners, so we covered some more difficult techniques such as spinning on elastic and on wire, specifically with the intention of weaving with them, because our final day was a fantastic weaving day, finishing on the Tuesday afternoon. It was exciting to see eyes light up on the discovery of new possibilities in weaving, and the idea that weaving could actually be cool and exciting and innovative and not complicated or difficult! This is not a post with an hour by hour description of what we did during our workshop days, but rather an impression of the things that I personally found important in them. Of course, the topmost important things were the ย people and connections made. In each group there was a wonderful dynamic and level of excitement about what we were doing. I love it when people make discoveries, have an ‘aha’ moment as a bunch of stuff falls into place in their heads and their hands as they spin something new. We had a few of those! I also think that part of teaching is offering experiences to people in a safe environment, where they can grow their expertise and confidence in what they are doing, so I hope we were able to provide this, I certainly saw some amazing yarns being made, and one in particular stands out, as Cara experimented with a new technique, and holding out the length of yarn she had made we could see a vast improvement from the start of it to the end of it! Thats a success ๐Ÿ™‚ It was also a fantastic experience to be part of a teaching team, especially with the fabulous Esther Rodgers, I had the best time both during and after classes, and it was a wonderful chance to get to know each other and share stories and hilarity and ideas....

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Workshopping

Workshopping

I have a few things to share this week. The first and most important thing is the one about connection. This is where I get a little teary eyed and filled with amazement and thankfulness that my life is blessed with some of the most wonderful people. I had one of these moments today, sitting at one end of a room that was filled with fiber, yarns, spinning wheels, and people. I struck me how much I love being in this environment, how lucky I am to have connections with people like my friend Alet, who organises events like this, and Esther who brings her energy and creativity and shares them like this, and both are people who transform the lives of others with the things they do. This is something really cool to be a part of. The last few days, teaching with Esther, and the evenings working on our weavings and spinning together, have been a really great experience, learning, laughing, sharing ideas and getting excited about the same things. So I wanted to share that with you too, because I think its always good to take a moment to stop, and appreciate the positive things in our lives. And no matter where you are at, if you look, you will find something. At least thats what my generally optimistic brain tells me, and I really hope that is true ๐Ÿ™‚ And the workshops? Awesome ๐Ÿ™‚ We have carded, rolagged, combed, hackled, and of course SPUN ALL THE THINGS. We have had some ‘aha’ moments, and certainly some ‘oh thats how it works!’ experiences too. Its been awesome to have the opportunity to share this with Esther and I have learned and laughed a lot and am totally enjoying this opportunity to teach together. I think we make a good team! Our first workshop was with the beginning art yarn spinners, a fantastic group with much enthusiasm, humour, and talent, they made some really amazing yarns. Today we started with the second workshop for the more advanced art yarn spinners, so we are planning a nice range of yarns to spin, with the goal of also weaving them on the second day, and we have something special planned for that! So this is an update post, and I will be back later this week with an ‘its over’ post and more photos and, no doubt, with a sense of sadness that its over and also anticipation for the next one ๐Ÿ™‚ But for now, ENJOY THE DAY....

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Spinning Textured Unicorn Barf

Spinning Textured Unicorn Barf

Spinning for texture! That was the mission of todays workshop, and I can confidently say that we nailed it! Just look at this! There were crazy textured batts full of sparkle spun into big and lofty textured yarns, thread plied with gold.. there were fine spun loopy plys, coilplied corespuns, and some stunning lockspun mohair! We finished with a quick demo of spinning objects into yarn, and then the day was over far too soon. We had some real gems though, check out this amazing skein Karen made (who is such a fun person to hang out with!) Honestly, between Karen and Inge, there was much hilarity and at one point, spinning loopy overtwist yarn I suddenly hear Inge commenting on how fun it was to spin all the little piemeltjesย as her loops were ending up quite like well, lets just say the part of a male anatomy that my 5 year old is currently cracking himself up mentioning.. and I’m like, OMG Inge youre a crazy woman, as the discussion went on and I was working hard not to collapse in laughter ๐Ÿ˜€ and now, you know, whats been seen cant be unseen, so, thanks for that ladies ๐Ÿ˜› Spinning takes on a whole new dimension sometimes doesnt it, depending on the company you keep. I apparently keep the BEST kind of company! You ladies rock. We also had some more serious discussions, about fiber preparation, the kinds of yarns you can make from different preparations, about finishing the yarns, and we also focussed on some pretty tricky techniques, there were certainly some more reflective, concentrated moments too where only the sound of whooshing wheels could be heard. I think we covered about four or five different spinning techniques and everyone made at least three yarns. Speed demon Corneel flew through the fibers and made some really gorgeous creations, including a fantastic Navajo plyed lockspun yarn! Everyone did really well with the corespinning and coil plying, Carin made a really amazing loopy yarn, it looks almost ethereal, and so light and floaty, and Karen made a delightful corespun that also looked fantastic as a necklace! Meike found herself in the colours and produced a lovely plied yarn in reds and pink, Saskia created a really beautifully spun coiled yarn, and Jessica totally found her groove in the lock spinning. Laury just did awesomely on everything she spun ๐Ÿ™‚ Here are a few more pics:       And of course, there was cake:   Thank you everyone, for making this such a fun and memorable day, I hope you all enjoyed yourselves and left with some new ideas, inspiration, and motivation! Nu aan de slag – oefenen oefenen...

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