Sunday, July 27, 2008

I wanna go again!

Well, we have just got back from an Anne Field workshop in Christchurch. We being four Dunedin Spinner Knitters, and just being a few hours ago. The shuttle has delivered me home so what does a spinner knitter do - blogs of course - I've already knit in the airport, the plane and had a good cup of tea. You know, the kind of tea you can only make at home, hot, just the right strength, favorite brand/blend, nice big polished pottery cup, sitting in your own house, with all the cubs and bears away at school and work ... magic!

So whats first the workshop or the knitting, spinning or knitting, well - technically its a knitting blog so I'll do the knitting first. the feather and fan progress, my toasty sock progress, including the spinning workshop trip and the knitting and socialising and the stashing. Off we go ..

Feather and fan, this grew, not as much as I planned, but you can only knit so much when you are talking and chatting and all. I did frog a few rows here and there. By my estimation I'm about 75% of the way there ... I knit this at the airport, on the plane, in the hotel room, at both impromptu knit nights, and even at breakfast ... I knit this the most. I did not knit this when I ate dinner, the thought of accidental spills of any dark sauce on such lovely soft fluffy whiteness was to much to risk, so then I knit red socks ...

For at dinner I knit my second Toasty, toe up, it goes well, but now I just wanna knit Honey, the next sock in the club ... which is what many of the other sock clubers are doing.

And the workshop, well it was hosted by the local Christchurch guild which is based in the Arts Center, and was worth every penny. The workshop was a compressed version of Refine Your Spinning by Anne Field. We, the Dunedin-four, all borrowed wheels from the guild rooms. We had to take our pick - they had lots of old wheels, lots. I managed to get a Wing double drive just like my own, so could fill my own bobbins, Some of the others were not so lucky - M got a double drive Ashford traveller, J seemed fine on a ST traveler, but poor K - she got a wobbler with a lump and the scotch tension spring from hades. I know I tried it. Early on day 2 we arrived early and sorted K with a much better wheel, and then she started to smile - just a little.

Day 1 was only 2 hours, but Day 2 that ran from 9 to 4, thats a lotta spinning. If any one is reading from the Chch guild, you guys are lovely, and nice, and it was fab - but when you tell us you have lots of wheel and not to bring our own, and ask us to bring bobbins and ask what wheels we have - could you please, please, please, set aside ones that match our needs and make sure they are oiled, and have bobbins and our names on them? Please?

So first Anne handed out fleece, some mohair roving and had us do some warm up exercises, we had to co-ordinate our feet and our hands, some of it was like rubbing your tummy with one hand and patting your head with the other hand. Then she handed out little bags of 3 different kinds, one fine crimp, one medium crimp and one large crimp. And we started with the medium, like fine wine we looked at it, we described it on our score sheets, and we planned how to spin it. Anne has a plan for fleece, that the crimp and the twists per inch need to be sorta matched, and then you get the best yarn the fiber can be. She had stories and examples to share and show - and yes, it after all that the info Anne gave us makes sense to me.

So we worked to our plan, we put in the recommended twists per inch, and Anne has some cool tricks to see that in your spun singles, we spun it to the recommended wraps per inch, again more cool tricks, then we wound off little samples of the singles and plied the yarn again to the 'recommendations'. And it was fun - Anne warned us it would be ugly yarn, that we would spin ugly skeins, so we relaxed and tried really hard to spin ugly stuff. Then we wound of a little sample of our ugly plied yarn, washed the skein, and wound off a sample of the washed dried yarn. I learned lots.

I'm the least proud of the thick low crimp yarn, but its soft, and fluffy and light, very very light. I know how to do that now, make light yarn. Thats what she taught us. Then we did that for the fine crimp yarn, again I learned lots. And I saw - how much change you get in washing after plying. Would you look at that, the colour and bulk change, amazing.

And there was buying, first this lovely alpaca silk merino roving, Hand dyed by Arbordell Alpacas, just 89g but so nice. And not blue, my stash is blue, so I was surprised to fall for a not-blue fiber .. and had to take it home. I learned a new word, or rather a new use for a word, for what I purchased might just be considered SABLE - Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. Sable - I love it, I love that there is a word for it, but it scares me. I can and could and will knit my stash away, its not so big that I can't master it, but that the concept of Sable exists at all is scary - after all marriage is to have and to hold, so why can't fiber and yarn be just to have and to hold?

And one ball of Noro, we met lots of lovely chch spinners and knitters, at the guild and out about town. They made us so welcome, some had organised an impromptu s&B for us, which was great fun, and I meet a lady with a suitcase full of Noro, so I got me some to try. Silk Garden - heavier than I expected, but this stuff has such a following on line I had to buy some and see if the buzz has foundation.
OK - thats me, I'm back, unpacked and ready to knit and spin in my own living room, on my own sofa. I'll catch up latter in the week.
Take care


Erika said...

I trust I'll get to admire the handspun samples in the flesh. For now, what I'd love to know is, where do those cardboard bobbin things come from? They look absolutely perfect for samples. They might even induce me to label and save samples.

Knitting Linguist said...

Welcome back! The weekend sounds amazing -- so much information, does your brain fill full to bursting? Your little sample cards look gorgeous, and SO even. I, too, feel a bit scared by the SABLE idea, but then again, I do understand it! :)

Shirley Goodwin said...

Glad you had a good time up our way. I've found the CHCH Creative Fibre group to be a good bunch. I've also fondled Loop Knitting's Noro but haven't succumbed due to cost.