Last Saturday we had a fabulous guild workshop with Carol & Pete Leonard. I can't express how much I enjoyed the day, and it's funny because it wasn't a bells and whistles sort of day - but very informative and incredibly satisfying.
The day started with a little talk about, well, all sorts of spindle related stuff including what makes a spindle a good spindle, and an introduction the The Leonard Collection of spindles. (Of course I DON'T have a collection myself - 5ish spindles doesn't count as a collection).
After the talk it was time to have a go - I picked a fairly heavy spindle from the ones handed round, with the intention of practising spinning a chunkier yarn than I normally do - and was moderately satisfied with the results.
Later we were shown two new (for me) techniques - first Andean plying and second how to wind a ball on a nostepinne. I was chuffed to bits to try the Andean plying - Pete made it so easy to understand. I chickened out of practising the nostepinne method - I felt that if I tried to do both, then I'd forget one small thing from each and not be able to do either! I shall save the noste for another day.
After lunch we split into two groups and those of us who had a little more experience with a spindle went off to a smaller room to learn cotton spinning on an Akha spindle - again brilliantly communicated - so I have a small piece of hand spun cotton made on the day.
The Akha spindle is interesting, because it's not just a 'drop' spindle - we started by hand twizzling until the thread had enough strength and then we dropped and spun in more twist. We were using spindles from Michael Williams which felt lovely in the hands - so I've asked for one for Christmas (I wonder if I can have it early).
At some point during the day Carol & Pete put out a display of beautiful spindles and fibre for sale - which I wasn't going to look at - but I weakened - I bought some fibre (merino/tencel from Bonkers and pure bombyx silk from The Royale Hare)
and I saw a spindle - it was made of Ipe (pronounced ipee) & Birch and had a pyrographed design that looks like giraffe skin. Sadly not enough money to buy the spindle :-( so I went home without, but I kept picturing it in my mind wistfully.... and then I awoke at 6.30 the following morning and my first thought was this blooming spindle - so I told my hubby about it - and he suggested that I could have it for Christmas as well - it must have taken all of three seconds of persuasion - so that's Christmas settled then!