Saturday, September 19, 2009


Open days are a lot of fun, but a whole lot of work, and I wasn't even one of the ones who handled the most work. My role at open day was to make sure the mini-classes were sorted, that the demonstrators were set up and ready to go, that the class started and stopped on time, and that the next class started on time - oh and remind the open day visitors of the demonstrations/classes. I could do that .. but it wasn't hard, people were so so keen, the Nostpinne class was full, and we had to remind people that the magic loop class needed the table, then repeat that same reminder for the hackle demonstration. That was my own class, demonstrating hackle blending .. and it was fun to share. Morag had provided a whole bag full of dyed fiber scraps to play-blend ... and play blend we did.

One thing I enjoy about teaching - is if you pay attention to the way people do things, or the questions they ask .. as a teacher you can learn just as much as the students do. Because my blending hackle is so long, 86cm, I can blend about 25g of fiber at once. For teaching that meant that 2 or 3 people could have-a-go across the working face of the hackle. One fiber addict, after watching me show the lashing on, started to lash on the fiber, in colour blocks rather than layering the colours on top of each other. When she dized the fiber off, she had a roving with colour shifts. I liked that idea so much that today as part of my post-open day clean up, dealing with all the left over bits and pieces of fiber .. I had a play at creating colour shift roving of my own. Now it is bright, very bright .. but fun .... and I can just hear the comments - Stella usually has good taste .. perhaps she isn't herself right now?

But it is so much fun that I've started to spin it already. I'm imagining a wee pair of self striping wristers or a hat for Poppy. Something, anything fun to use the yarn up soon. And I'm using that technique where you use the roving colour shifts to mark hook changes on the flyer. Very very neat. My plan is to spin all of this today, and ply it tomorrow night at Jenni's. I'm spinning on the Nagy wheel my dad found, and will lend it to a Foaf*, via Jenni, so taking the wheel to work on at spin night and leaving it behind has two benefits. First I don't have to lug two wheels, my own and the one I'm lending, and second I get to check and fine tune this wheel before I lend it.

This morning I sorted the rest of the fiber in the odds and ends bag, and then I hackled and dized it into little bumps. Some I hackled 3 times, and super blended, some I hackled only once so are more stripy. I now have evidence in practice rather than just in theory (duh!) that the more passes thru the hackle of a blend of colours, and the more colours are complimentary .. well the more likely a dull browny purple will result. There was lots more hackled fiber at the open day, but I insisted that spinners take their own hackled fiber home to spin, or even try spinning it on the Dealers Majacraft wheels (Morag let them - she encouraged lots to spin on her sample wheels). I love spinning the smooth, easily drafted hackled fiber .. so much so I want to share the love.

Open day is also about restraint, for there are traders in the trade hall, from far and wide with yummy things for sale. I was restrained, I even went home with more $ in my purse than I expected to! The two tubes are recycled tennis ball tubes, filled with beautiful gilled and combed fibre by Stuart of Fine Fiber Farms(FFF), one of Polwarth in two colours, and one of merino. There is 200g of the blackest softest Alpaca Cria ever and 140g of hand dyed 22 micron merino both from Elaine of StitchnTime (Rav link). The sock yarn, is Vintage Purls, and Bear bought that - he also bought the FFF merino. The sock yarn he says he has plans for, I suspect those plans involve me knitting something for him, maybe socks :-) and the merino is payment ... who can say no when the bribe is fine fiber?

Then to to top the day off, I had bought several raffle tickets, and won a raffle so picked a hand dyed swirl of green merino and gifted it to M, who finally has scummed to spinning, both spindle and wheel. I thought she might need something nice and fun to practice with. She won the very next raffle drawn and promptly selected this bag of 800g of coloured Polworth and Gotland blended together (59%: 41%), to return gift to me. The fiber was a trader prize curtsy of Hamish of Chocolate wools. Southern traders do know how to gift raffle prizes don't they? 800g! Oh my!

So, yesterday was mad busy, and left me tired and worn, today was calm, but still busy, and I'm less tired, and enjoying the warm weather. Next post there might even be knitting, for I have the beginings of two different socks to show.

take care, na Stella

Foaf * Friend of a friend.


Renee said...

What a fabulous event!

Knitting Linguist said...

What an amazing day! I can see why you're tired :) But it also sounds like the kind of tired that comes at least in part from seeing and doing and learning so many wonderful things that the brain was going overtime the whole way -- an OK tired :) I love the color changing spinning -- that will make some gorgeous wristers for Poppy. I think I'm starting to talk myself sideways into processing more of my own fiber, and you are a big part of the inspiration for that. Soon... soon...

Annie of Blue Gables said...

Oh Stella! Those are amazing. I don't even pretend to understand all the terms, because I have never done that, but I learned a lot just reading your post and now appreciate yarn to a deeper degree. Thanks

Kate/Massachusetts said...

I love your "hackle posts"! After reading your last one, I searched online and bought a hackle. I haven't used it yet, too busy with other things but I am looking forward to playing with it and have saved all your links. Next weekend is a Fall fiber event that I hope to find some dyed fleece colors to "play" with! Thanks for such great posts!

Sharon said...

I like those colours together!