Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Wow, last weekend was the 2013 Unwind fibre retreat, and it was amazing, bigger and better and just the same as 2012. I know that can't make sense, to be better and the same, but there was the same kinds of people, many of them the same people, and the same kind of amazing fibre love and sharing as before - just more of it.
  Little cub was part of all of it, even to manning the swap shop table. Here she is waiting for the first customers. Swap shop was popular, this was the table mid way through the trade in day ..... one the huge pile of stuff had been mostly cleared away by impatient swappers. Josie wanted to arrange the table by colour gradient - and I must admit while it was a wee bit of extra work, it did look good once done.
 Unwind swap shop has its own currency, Swap dollars, which are earned by trading in unwanted stash yarn. I thought I had high standards for my own stash, with it mostly restricted to natural fibres in lovely colours - but some people traded in baby lama and cashmere, and Indie-dyers yarn. I'm told little cub was a stickler for the rules, and insisted that only baby alpaca was worth two swap dollars for 50grams, ordinary alpaca was only worth one.
 I attended the class by Frances Stachl aka Sourkraut called colour control which was all about planned use of those amazing dyed rovings that many spinners collect. We explored various methods and approaches to not spinning them as they present, instead dividing the rovings into colour groups and thinking about the shape of the shawl or whatever was being spun for. Several kinds of manipulation were explored faux-rolags, dizing to blend, and drum carding. Bear was amazing - and delivered a Drum Carder mid class following one of those 'would you be a dear(bear)' phone calls.
Even though I had attended a class that covered creating ones own colour gradient from a dyed roving - and in theory I could make one myself - I had to bring this lovely roving home, 160 grams of fibre love. Bright sunny daffy yellow fading to deep purple - from Spinning a Yarn, what a magic combination.
The best thing about a traders hall is the variety, all sorts of thing jump out and catch ones eye. This is another example of a fibre that just had to come home, dyed by Maude and Me .... just one of several amazing bundles on her trade stall.
Of course when one is at a three day retreat one goes around and around the trade hall and each time something new is noticed. I was a tad slow on this one - The Grey Scale - mini skeins by Spinning a yarn.  All friday people stopped me and asked if I had seen Jessica's Mini-skeins. Oh yes I said, thinking of some small skeins I had noticed on her stall. Then at the colour control class Frances pulled out a tidy package of mini skeins to show how clever some indie dyers were in planning a colour way that would produce even stripes on an ever widening shawl. I finally understood the potential of The Mini Skeins and more than that - I realized there were only a few and they were in one of the nicest ranges of grey I had ever seen. I was lucky in that Jessica had one left and when asked happily put it aside for me - even though I wasn't free to  buy it until the next day. I am so looking forward to using this.
This was my wee score, the swap shop had what I would consider a few real vintage treasures on it. One was 10 oz of soft ballet pink 3 ply yarn, marked in pre-decimal currency so sold before 1967. I told little cub if the pink was there when I looked then it was meant to be ours, another local had a similar idea and I'm happy to say the ballet pink is in a queue to become a ballet cardigan sometime soon in Dunedin. Another treasure was a bag of deep forest blue green vintage yarn from the same era, and a third was this - a 'separates pack' by Munrospun. I wasn't quick enough to get the green - but did score the Munrospun - (with a little help from M of Vintage Purls).
The separates pack consists of a enough beautiful soft tweedy singles yarn to knit a cardigan or sweater, complete with fabric label and buttons. I love how the instructions suggest that the skirt be made using  'Vouge' or other well known pattern house, whilst the yarn be knit into a stylish garment using one of the many Munro knitting leaflets. The fabric and knitting yarn are beautifully matched, and everything is clearly labled 'made in Scotland'. The colour way is Morning Haze.
A previous owner had started to knit something, but only got half way up the back. I do like their choice of cabled rib - and might have to do something like that myself. Half the yarn has been wound into balls - and half is still skeins with those amazing pure wool made in Scotland Munrospun labels. I'm not the only blogger who now has one in stash, and it came in a beautiful bold blue (here),  - spot another here, and read about memories of one here. the yarn even has entries on Ravelry (here), and with 12 projects linked to it (none are coordinating separates - sadly) and 30 instances of it in peoples stashes ... how wonderful! I feel inspired and obligated to do something clever with it or pass it on to someone who will.
The box is every bit as amazing as the yarn, made from a thick textured card, imprinted with a woven linen pattern and printed with all sorts of ruins. I admit some seem more Greek than Scottish but given how the Greek and roman ruins were often shipped to the UK or copies made to decorate gardens I guess the places depicted could be Scottish. I have 10 ozs of yarn and 1 yard of 54 inch fabric - enough for plenty of options. If only I could decide. I am slightly worried this will be just added to the stash and become too-good-too-use, but knowing that I will try and plan something that uses it.
Yoyo was only slightly interested, but much improved and looking more like her perky self. When we arrive home she fair gallops and bounces along almost tripping us up and racing up the stairs to be first. I like that our cat has her bounce back -  that is a good sign.

Post unwind there are all the events of iD Fashion week here, so it seems like it will be next week before things even begin to return to something normal.
Take care

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