Woah, I feel completely blown away today!
Steve and I got up early this morning and drove over to the Wairarapa for the Masterton spinning guild’s annual spin-in. I’ve never been to anything like this before, so I had no idea what to expect. Well, the town hall was filled with people, and there’d been a fierce morning tea that we were able to get in on too. Oo, and it was just the sort of morning tea one dreams of – everything home made, scones, slices, little tarts and biscuits.
There was so much wool – it was incredible. I didn’t know where to start, and realised I hadn’t brought any cash with me either. So we did a round, looking at everything, touching silks and merinos, talking with people (is it just me, or are older people just so much more friendly than people my own age?) and making a mental list of what I wanted to get. There were so many stalls, filled with raw fleece, sliver or carded batts, books on spinning and dyeing and little plastic packets filled with brightly coloured silks.
We quickly rushed back outside and found a money machine. Steve made a beeline towards a man selling his own cheeses (there were actually a few other types of things for sale), while I tried to make up my mind where to start. I first bought a bag (about 1.2 kilos, I think) of clean Polworth sliver. Then I decided to get a little bag of Merino that I’d seen a lady selling as we came into the hall. After that it was a kilo of Corriedale in the brightest orange you’d ever imagine.
(So it’s a bit shiny, but you get the picture!)
Later on, I was able to meet up with Lynette Teehan, who I had contacted earlier and asked about spinning groups in the area, and she introduced me to some lovely people who spin in the Onslow area, and meet in Johnsonville once a month, in the evening! Johnsonville’s not exactly my neighborhood, but it’s close enough to zip over one night after work and have a go. I’m really excited!
Finally, one of the very nice ladies (I can’t remember her name) took me over to a woman selling greasy fleeces, and helped me pick one out. I’ve always wanted to take the more natural approach to spinning (rather than starting with white, commercially prepared sliver), but never really knew where to start, or what would be a good way to approach it. She helped me pick out a nice soft Romney, not too fine and tricky to spin, and said she usually spins her fleeces “in the grease”, which means she washes it after she’s spun them. Guess I can prepare myself for stinky (though wonderfully moisturized) hands! The nicest thing of all of it is the woman who sold me the fleece said she knew the exact sheep it came from on her farm.
Anyway, it’s been spin, spin, spin, ever since I got back (what a suprise). More on all of my other projects (and field trips!) coming soon…