Welcome back to Fiber Arts Friday! Link association buttons are now at the end of the post if you were wondering.
This week for the first time ever I got to spend it with other fiber folks! I was asked by the Genesee Valley Sock Machine Club to come do a spinning demonstration with them at the Mendon Ponds Winterfest. What a blast! I came early and set up shop in a corner and helped others unload and bring in all sorts of fiber goodies and got to drool over sock machines and spinning wheels as well as fiber.
The demonstration lasted from 11am to 4pm and it was quite a busy event. The other spinners were working with commercial roving but I decided to be different and it sure paid off for the visitors. I quickly became a curiosity as I worked from a bag of Himalayan cat hair using hand carders to blend it with tencel and hand dizing it into roving before spinning. I had some kids (mostly boys) want to help in the process and I let them card some. They soon found out it is a lot harder than it looks.
Of course once you have roving it’s time to spin. For my fellow spinners out there you know you can do this mindlessly and can have conversations while effortlessly treadling away. Folks were of course curious to try and I was the only spinner willing to let them give it ago. I first showed them how to draft and spin on a drop spindle so they got the idea of how it worked and then I’d let them sit down at my wheel and treadle. It turns out that’s where most people got frustrated. It never occurred to me that people just can’t get the wheel going and more importantly in the correct direction! Once they got the feel of treadling I’d give them a handful of roving and marveled in their lumpy/chunky spin. They had fun and walked away with a whole new appreciation on hand spun yarn.
I was surprised to find out how many people told me they used to card fiber and spin using drop spindles in grade school. What school did they go to?! I didn’t get to do anything that cool when I was a kid.
Now my favorite part of the day was looking at other people’s wheels. I was totally taken back by the Journey Wheel which was just a piece of art in itself. The whole wheel closed up into its own luggage and the handmade woodwork was breathtaking. This wheel’s owner is Libby Llop who owns a sheep farm named Inverness Farm not far from me. She has beautiful fleeces and great handmade goods too. Check her out!
Well I was invited by the Sock Machine Club so it’s only fair we check out them too! There were several folks who brought their machines and were working on socks and scarves. I’m horrible with names but this lovely lady was working on making a heel to her sock when I snapped this photo.
Fred Hauck is the machine master of this guild and such a great guy to talk with. He seems to be quite the master of sock machines and for most of the demonstration he was stripping apart a machine someone brought in, cleaning it and fixing it up to try and get it into working condition. I’ll have to keep my eyes out at auctions for an old machine. I’m terrible at making socks and the machines sure do look like fun.
Well that was my fiber adventure for the week. What have you been up to? Don’t forget to check out these great sites for other fiber fun.