Spinning

Spin Fest at Cross & Woods

Last summer my LYS, Cross & Woods, threw a spinning party in honour of the person who created their beautiful spinning fibres: Alex from Under Dutch Skies, who was moving to the USA. Today there was another Spin Fest, this time to welcome their new indie dyer, Petra from Undercover Otter! The previous event was a lot of fun, so I have really been looking forward to joining again. There were also going to be new spinning fibres by Hedgehog Fibers, another good reason to check things out…

Unfortunately I am recovering from a bad cold and still had a bit of a headache, so I decided to just go and leave early if things were getting worse. I packed two spindles and some rolags to keep me busy and cycled to the store.

Warm welcome

The party had already started, and the spinners were sitting right at the entrance of the shop. You step inside and immediately feel welcome! Some people brought their spinning wheels, others brought spindles, and some were just there to chat and perhaps try to spin for the very first time!

Spinning on spindles…
Spinning on wheels…
Learning to spin…
Just knitting and chatting…

We had a lovely afternoon! Pauline and Eloïse provided some nice refreshments for us. There was also a sale going on in the shop, so that was quite enticing as well.

Some nice food and drinks to keep the spinning energy up!
The shop ladies
How can you resist?

After a bit, the spinning competition was held. Megan had organised two challenges for us. For the first one, we had to spin some rolags that were made up of wool, bits of cotton, and bits of recycled sari silk. Interesting! Not easy, but after a while it’s not so bad to spin this. But… we only had one minute! The competition was split into two categories: spindle spinners and wheel spinners. I joined the former with my Tibetan spindle.

Cotton/wool/silk blend

It seems that I had a bit of an advantage with my supported spindle. The other spindlers all brought drop spindles, and they needed much more time to wind up their thread than I. So I won! I was lucky enough to receive a pretty gradient batt, donated by Megan, in soft colours that suit me!

Soft merino batt

People kept asking me about the supported spindle spinning. Apparently I make it look quite easy and zen. They should have seen me the first time I tried to spin with a supported spindle! It took me a while to get the hang of it, but yes, now it has become quite a relaxed process.

Petra from Undercover Otter had provided a very nice display of fibre braids. The back wall had been revamped to showcase her fibres and the ones from Hedgehog Fibers.

Colourful new spinning fibre!

I swear that this shop starts looking more and more like a candy store (in a good way)! Look at all those pretty colours and combinations!
Petra from Undercover Otter seems to like bright, strong colours. Which was also apparent in her knitting project (Stephen West’s latest mystery KAL).

Undercover Otter knitting her Marled Magic

Of course I had to buy some of her fibre. And also some Hedgehog, just because.

Loot!

Then it was time for the second competition. This time, Megan had something extra special up her sleeve. First, everybody got a bit of prosecco (we were warned that we were going to need it). Then the second challenge fibre came out. It was raw wool, straight from a sheep. Unwashed, uncombed, full of lanolin and smelly. Oh, and the fibre had a very short staple length too. Good luck!

We all struggled to create a decent single from this wool, and Megan graciously gave us some extra time. We spun and spun, this time wheels and spindles at the same time. When time was finally up, many of us fled to the kitchen to wash our hands. The fat was not so bad, but the smell was a bit too much. Luckily I have a cold! We returned and started spinning the “good stuff” again.

I managed to spin quite a lot!

We spun and chatted some more, drank tea and coffee, made another round in the shop, and basically had a good time. Very soon it was already almost five o’clock, the end time of the party. We started packing our spinning equipment and started to say goodbye. Then suddenly somebody asked “so who won the second competition?”, and I was again one of the lucky ones! This time I got a gorgeous blue-green braid from Undercover Otter.

Undercover Otter 70% merino/30 % tencel

I felt a bit guilty for winning twice, but I was also very happy with these beautiful prizes. I’m so curious how they will spin up! This Spin Fest was a lot of fun again. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next edition!

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