Fiber Arts Friday - Winterfest Demonstration

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.Dutch Hollow Acres at Winterfest

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!

Journey WheelJourney Wheel Libby Llop

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.  

Sock Machine Demonstration

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.

I participate in….

9 comments to Fiber Arts Friday – Winterfest Demonstration

  • Sounds like it was an awesome demo day, looks like everyone including you had fun!
    I love doing demos.
    .-= The Critter Ranch´s last blog ..Photo Frustration!! =-.

  • I love the idea of a sock machine but I sure don’t need anymore gadgets to divert my attention at this point in time. I’m still pretty geeked about my spinning wheel so I’ll let that keep on shining for now. Thanks for the look at the Journey, an awesome piece of machinery for sure.
    .-= AllyB´s last blog ..FAF 01 21 11 =-.

  • Sounds like you had a great time! I am so jealous of those sock machines. I want one sooo bad.

    Lovely display too. Your alpaca hide looks great.

  • I think spinning is fun to watch, but I AM a spinner. I imagine it’s less fun to watch if you don’t have an appreciation for the actual process. So I think it’s very cool that you let people try it out.
    .-= Kathryn | Alpacamundo´s last blog ..Fiber Arts Friday- More Spinning =-.

  • Great post! I enjoed reading about your fiber adventures!

  • You have a beautiful wheel. I am curious what kind of hand carders you use? Nice display. I like to do demonstrations. It is really exciting to see people interested in alpaca and learn about the animal and their incredible fiber.

    • I use the Ashford fine carders. I think they have 108 ppsi. It works nicely for me on alpaca and even did well on the very fine cat hair and tencel.

  • Wow! I’m so thankful to be introduced to you wonderful people who work from scratch with your own fibers and then take the time to WRITE about it. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a sock machine! I’m enjoying knitting my socks, but can’t help but wonder how much quicker it would go with a machine.

    Thanks for linking up to Fibers on Friday and teaching me!!
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..Fibers on Friday- A Sock!! =-.

  • I’m so glad that you had a great day! You are right, by letting people sit at your wheel or even loom you open the world of fiber arts up to them. I think it’s great that you took your experimental roving too.

    BTW, love the display that you created. Having product and samples of fiber (of course, you have the ultimate sample) makes a major difference.

    Happy Fiber Arts Friday!
    .-= Wonder Why Gal´s last blog ..Fiber Arts Friday – Time Out =-.