Friday, 5 April 2013

Spinning Yarns and First Steps into Knitting

It has been a lovely woolly few days here at the Barn. The lambs have been frolicking around like the fluffy lumps of cuteness they are, the donkeys are as sweet as ever, and I had some lovely crafty time with my mother-in-law, Mrs Wool and Yarns.

This lovely lady is a member of the Association of Guilds of Weavers Spinners and Dyers, and sometimes does teaching for different people requiring her skills. She even occasionally offers residential workshops here at the Barn, although right now she is very busy with the animals.

We had a lovely time yesterday evening as she got her wool bag ready for the Spinning Meet, and she showed me how to do flick carding of the undyed Romney fleece she had. Sitting there, beating the ends of the wool with the carder was so therapeutic, and the lovely wool smell was quite intoxicating. 

Before flick carding

After flick carding

A bag of fleece!

Watching her spinning was very soothing too, and it was really interesting to listen to her explaining about her technique, her different spinning wheels, and how the different wools feel to spin. We managed to while away a very pleasant couple of hours as I filled the basket with carded fleece and she filled the bobbin with hand-spun yarn.

Spinning a yarn...

We continued our crafty theme today with a trip to Edwinstowe’s Sherwood Forest Art and Craft Centre. This lovely little place contains shops where craftspeople have workshops to produce and shops to sell their wares, from paper goods to jewellery, via chocolates! We had a good browse and Mrs Wool and Yarns treated us to a pair of earrings each (we both like earrings, particularly ones with lovely interesting stones in them) and a spot of lunch.

Back at the Barn, I went out to see the Cabin, Mrs Wool and Yarns’ workshop at the back of the house – there is quite a stash in there, it’s very exciting! I also learned a little about her toys: more spinning wheels for lessons, various felting machines, a lovely big floor loom among them. The spinning wheels make lovely wall decorations in the cabin when they are not in use.


Then I got my first knitting lesson. I am determined to learn to knit. I very much enjoy my crocheting, but I feel there is a whole world I’m missing out on if can’t also knit. My husband has already agreed to be the recipient of dodgy jumpers if I can learn, and there are just too many lovely patterns and delicious yarns to neglect this skill. And it was wonderful to knit with smooshy soft wool while the lambs skipped around outside in their own smooshy soft wool!

So here is my first attempt, along with a rapidly cooling cup of tea:

Gradually growing, tea now thoroughly cold. Do try to forgive that section where something has clearly gone a bit crazy with my tension! 

It has grown a little more since the last photo, but then I dropped a stitch and don’t yet know how to retrieve them, so I am saving that for tomorrow. Instead of worrying about it, I headed back to my room to get my jewellery kit out. I wanted to make some nice (I would say ‘lovely’, but I’m not quite that confident in my skills just yet!) earrings as a thank you present for all the crafty things she is passing on to me.

I’ve used some nice round jasper beads, and made spirals as when we were looking at the lovely jewellery earlier she had commented on nice spirally things. I really do hope she will like them; I know we just got earrings today, but I always think you can never have too many earrings!

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