Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My first fiber festival and a new skill

Saturday I went to the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival. It is the first time I have been to a fiber festival, and it was pretty great. I road tripped there with a couple ladies from my S&B group, and another woman I'd never met before. It turns out she is the moderator of a spinning group on ravelry.com.

I worked on the sock yarn wrap on the drive both ways, while talking with and listening to the other ladies. Lorain (our driver) and Diana (the woman I had just met) talked about all sorts of fiber-y goodness things. They discussed dyeing fiber with both chemicals and natural dyes, and different types of spindles. They talked about wheels, and fiber processing. I learned a lot about the processes that happen before I get to play with yarn.

At the festival, Diana and I split from Lorain and Vickie (another newbie knitter). We walked past a booth where a man was carding some wool. Diana and I stopped, and she explained what the man was doing. He asked if I was a spinner. I told him not yet, and he asked if I would like to try his wheel! I was a little hesitant, but Diana took my bags and practically shoved me at the chance (in a good way). So I tried the wheel. Instant LOVE!

Of course, that was my first attempt at spinning, and even though I really liked it, I wasn't willing to drop $600 (at least) on a wheel to see if I actually love it. Especially since I didn't have $600. I wasn't even sure I wanted to drop money on a spindle, since I didn't know if I would be any good at it. Lucky for me, Lorain goes around to 5th and 8th grade classes and teaches students how to spin, so she offered me one of her student spindles (approximate cost: $1) and some vintage fiber that she doesn't use anymore. I jumped at that offer. She said she'd bring it to knitting the next day.

I held back making any purchases until I walked through all the booths, so I wouldn't make a purchase I would regret later. I ended up only buying one thing:
Gorgeous sock yarn. This yarn is joining the stash of  "just for me" sock yarn. Someday, I will be able to knit a pair of socks for myself. I hope. If I ever get all the other socks done.

Sunday, Lorain brought me the spindle and fiber, and I learned how to spin! Not bad for a first attempt. My goal is to spin at least 10 minutes a day for the next month (or until I run out of fiber) to see if spinning is something I actually want to pick up.


  1. That yarn is BEAUTIFUL! Also, are you spinning with a drop spindle? If not, how are the two processes different?

    1. I know! Totally worth the $24+tax. Can't wait to wear those socks.

      I am using a drop spindle to spin my stuff. It is a top whirl (whorl?). There are bottom whirl/whorl ones, too, but I don't know the difference in how they spin, other than that the weight distribution is different. The only other spindle type I know how to theoretically use is a support spindle. You put the bigger part in a bowl, spear the fiber on the pointy end, then spin.

      Obviously, I am far from an expert, but I look forward to learning.

      Do you use a drop spindle?

    2. Yeah, Kenny got a drop spindle and some fiber from his friend's mom a while back, so I googled it and figured it out.

    3. Do you like it? I can't tell yet if I like it. I'm hoping by the time I get through this huge bag of fiber, I will know.

    4. Meh, it's entertaining for short spans of time.