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 🙂 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 🙂 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.
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 🙂
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?! 🙂 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! 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 selection of drum carders for us to use as well. There was much interest in the hackle colour blending and the resulting roving, and the blending board also got a good workout with some beautiful silk one of the participants had brought along!
During the spin day we played with several techniques, including spinning a single from a textured batt, which we then thread plied, we did some Navajo plying, corespinning, and coils. I also demo-ed some other techniques, one of which involved some AMAZING suri alpaca which I tailspun. I came home with a bunch of fleece samples and yes, I have ordered as much as I can of this wonderful fiber. Tracy definately has a great eye for the good stuff 🙂 I can’t wait!
Unfortunately I got a bit busy and didnt take as many photos as I would have liked to during the spin day! But I can share the one that made me laugh the most! A couple of the participants had come all the way from Te Awamutu for the weekend, and had at the last minute decided to stay for the Monday workshop as well, a felting one that Tracy was giving. They came in Sunday morning with some small articles of clothing washed to hang up by the fire to dry. It just cracked me up to see them there with the washed and set skeins of yarn as well, I reckon this picture tells a story 🙂
We ended the day with a bit of ‘hand’ knitting – a technique I had heard about via Glynis Poad during my Majacraft visit, and having tried it out I had to agree, ideal for using with art yarns! This technique is literally using your hands as knitting needles, it creates a wonderful open knit that shows off the art yarn brilliantly, and you can create a very useable item with a very small amount of yarn. I used one skein of less than 40 meters to create this scarf, and it took about.. 20 minutes to make it, how cool is that!?
Also, we mustn’t forget one of the ‘special’ participants of the spin day workshop, he didnt spin much, he wasn’t so interested in the colours, but he did model one of my example skeins rather dashingly! What a sweetheart 🙂
So thank you to everyone who came along for the workshops, you were all wonderful, and you all brought something very special to our time together. It constantly takes my breath away to discover all the amazing talents craftspeople have. I very much enjoyed meeting everyone, hearing their stories, sharing some jokes, putting faces to names I knew already via my Facebook page too. It was a fantastic experience 🙂 Thank you also Tracy for being such a wonderful host! I really look forward to seeing you again next time I am in NZ, I loved meeting you, and Willy too during his cameo appearance! Tell him next time we will add an extra pot just for a boilup 🙂 He needs to provide the pork bones!