I learnt to spin with a drop spindle!
Yesterday we went to the Wool Experience at Blaze Farm. This is a great place to visit even without the wool stuff going on, because they have gorgeous ice cream they make and also good food for lunch. I had oatcakes with cheese and ham, which were delicious, and Tim had an excellent ploughman’s lunch. They also have animals and nature trails and paint a pot, but the reason we went was the wool. Mmmm, wool… 🙂
The Wool Experience was a barn full of wonderful woolliness 🙂 Virtually the whole wool cycle was represented (if that was actually a thing. I just made it up, like the water cycle, and it’s not really a cycle, unless sheep ate jumpers, but bear with me!)
There was a shearing demonstration:
The sheep were remarkably docile during this procedure.
There were also stalls selling fleece, yarn and things made from them, tools and equipment. And there were crafters, spinners, weavers, knitters, crocheters. Lots of interesting people and stuff!
You might be surprised to learn that I hardly bought any yarn, just a couple of skeins. But I did buy other stuff…
One stall (Forest Crafters) was selling beautiful hand turned spindles (among other things). I touched a spindle, because I like to touch stuff and it is stuff that wants to be touched. I tend to buy a lot by touch – if the texture is wrong I am not likely to buy it, but if it feels lovely I am very tempted, especially if it also looks pretty 🙂
This spindle felt lovely and smooth. I had to pick it up. I had to twirl it a bit and it twirled so happily it really wanted to spin 🙂 It felt as if it would spin all by itself if it could!
But I couldn’t spin.
But the spindle was so lovely. It was made of spalted London plane, which is a pretty kind of wood. (I just looked it up on Wikipedia to give a linky and discovered it is caused by fungus and means the tree is stressed or dead 😦 But it is still pretty…)
In such an environment there was an obvious solution to this little problem. The stallholder, who made the spindle, called his wife over to show me how to spin!
I wasn’t sure if I would be able to spin with my arthritic hands, but I was very happy to get to have a go and see if I could do it or not. Suejay was a good teacher, showed me how it was done, set me up and then let me try it.
And I could totally do it!
Not brilliantly of course. Every new spinner makes lumpy yarn at first and I made lumpy yarn 🙂 But it was my lumpy yarn!
And my spindle 😀
Of course it had to come home with me!
I have since read that spinning with a drop spindle can be very therapeutic for the shoulders, which would be great as my shoulders are very painful at the moment.
Then I had to buy fleece to spin, of course 🙂 which is why I didn’t buy so much yarn. I had a deal with husband that I could only buy the volume of four pairs of shoes. The thing is, I may have mentioned that I am not especially tidy and that it irritates him, well the night before I allocated 4 pairs of shoes I don’t wear to go to the charity shop, so he said I could then buy only the same volume!
He relented however, and let me get more than that 🙂 He is a nice husband.
Some of the fleece I bought was from a very interesting man who had worked in the last shoddy mill, which sadly closed a couple of years ago. That is a shame, because it is proper recycling. He certainly was Wild about Wool!
Plus I get to help name some Viking sheep (Gotlands) but this post is getting long so I might talk about that another time.
I very much enjoyed the Wool Experience 🙂
Afterwards we went to Buxton for dinner. The restaurant we like, Firenze, opened in twenty minutes, so we sat on a bench in the marketplace. Husband got out his phone and was twiddling with it, as he does, so I got out my spindle! Spinning in public 🙂
I was gutted to find that they had stopped serving my favourite dessert, chocolate velvets, which is a chocolate brandy ganache and is heavenly 🙂 or was… 😦 It’s like the inside of Lindor chocolates, but with brandy. Oh I love it and I only had it twice!
But we had good dinners and good value too with their early bird special 🙂