Spindlers2 for beautiful spindles & fibres

for beautiful spindles & fibres

Alston Hall Retreat - 25 to 27 March 2011

Following Carol's regular monthly Alston Hall class, which we devoted to spindle spinning, we facilitated a weekend Spindle Spinning Retreat at Alston Hall from Friday 25 to Sunday 27 March. Please note, incidentally, that April's class was rescheduled from Friday 29th to Friday 15th, to avoid clashing with the Royal Wedding.

Ten people participated; we enjoyed ourselves and I'm pretty sure that they did, too!

We started, spinning Falkland Islands wool tops, on top whorl spindles. We'd brought a number (50 or 60!) of our own spindles and encouraged people to try as many of them as they liked. Nearly everyone then gave our Akha spindles a serious try at spinning cotton. Pete's a bit of an evangelist about this and loves to challenge those who say "I can't spin cotton" or "I don't like cotton".

On Saturday afternoon, several people moved on to taklis and other supported spindles, while everyone continued spinning wool, so they'd have plenty for plying.

On Sunday morning, we looked at a number of plying techniques, including the "Andean plying" method of creating a centre pull ball around one wrist. We also used nostepinnes, and looked at low (iced coffee containers to hold balls of yarn) and high tech ( Greensleeves' Lizzy Kate) methods of achieving the same end.

Everyone was very adventurous, trying the various fibres we had brought: among which were dyed wool tops and roving; cotton, both white and naturally coloured; alpaca, some blended with silk; lovely silk itself; bamboo, "straight" or blended with merino; merino and tencel; ramie and even a little cashmere.

We had such a good time that we're thinking of doing a similar event next year. Maybe spindling again or perhaps focussing on wheels. If you're interested or have any suggestions, please drop us an email.

Our thanks to Edna, for letting us use some of her photos of the weekend; we at least seem to have been enjoying ourselves:

These are (quite a large) part of our "pension fund" AKA our embarrassingly large collection of spindles!

No! We're not embarrassed; why should we be?