I spent this weekend at the beautiful Appalachian Center for Craft, a little over an hour east of Nashville, taking a weekend workshop called Beginning Spinning. Overall, the class was a lot of fun. I don't know how much I actually learned, but any chance to have dedicated time to practice and goof around with crafty stuff is a good thing. Claudia Lee, who taught the class, had a great easy-going attitude about spinning, very helpful for beginners (like myself) who can get frightened away by all the "spinning rules" you hear about. The class was more about playing and exploring spinning and having fun without getting all hung up on ratios and wraps and those kinds of details.
Here's the yarn that I made this weekend:
Let's go through each kind, in the order that I spun them...
This is Shetland wood from a sheep named Daphne, who lives at Shepherd's Path Farm in Cookeville, TN (no website, sorry!). Right there is a total spinning WIN for me - I love knowing the name of the sheep that the yarn is from. Definitely a good reason to get into spinning.
Am I insane or does this yarn look exactly like Cascade Ecological Wool?!? How cool is that??? Fun new skill I learned: how to Navajo ply. I love Navajo plying, where you take a single bobbin of yarn and create a three ply yarn from it. It's magic! Special thanks to Chris for showing me how to start Navajo plying.
Here's the second yarn that I spun: a blend of fibers that I put together on the drum carder in class. The pure white is from an alpaca named Shadow, the black is llama, and the off white is wool from Daphne again. The alpaca is from Alapacas of Center Hill - one of the owners, Pat, was in our beginning spinning class and kindly brought bags full of alpaca for us to try spinning (thanks Pat!).
This is just a single, I didn't spin that much of it and didn't want to ply it. It's incredibly soft and very pretty in person. This was my first time spinning either alpaca or llama and I had a harder time with it than with wool because both fibers are so soft and slippery. Definitely need more practice with these fibers.
My final yarn was a bit of an impulse buy. I avoided the dyed wool roving that was available at first because there was so much gorgeous natural colored wool. No one picked up the roving dyed in random spots with Easter egg dyes at first, but it was really intriguing to me. How would this wool that was mostly natural color with little splashes of dye spin up? Here's the answer:
This is three ply, created using Navajo plying again. I'm seriously addicted to it - it's roughly a million times better than plain plying to me. So fun! I decided to call this yarn Springtime in Tennessee because it's got all those beautiful colors you see in April here in Nashville - blue, green, yellow, and little splashes of red here and there.
Obviously, I had a great weekend! I met a lot of great spinners, had plenty of time to practice spinning, and really enjoyed it all. I also enjoyed spinning next to Juli who also has a Ladybug - really interesting to see how someone else is using their wheel! The Appalachian Center for Craft is gorgeous and a wonderful place to go for a relaxing weekend of craft.
ps Claudia also owns Liberty Paper Mill. On the last weekend in October, the Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour of studios around the Smithville area includes Liberty Paper Mill. Check it out, it looks like a lot of fun!