Yarn School!

(I’m using John Wise’s picture, because it’s so nice! He came with Caroline Wise and was the unofficial Yarn School historian.)

Yarn school was awesome! Our two helpers, Amber and Melissa, were amazing workhorses and completely saved my life. Blake’s food was scrumptious; Adrian, Sarah & Jennifer were excellent teachers; and all of the students were just delightful. Not a sourpuss in the bunch! Even though I was running around a lot, I still learned a ton. For instance:

  • The difference between double drives and single drives and how various types of wheels work (everything but Louets were previously a mystery to me)
  • Some basics of color theory
  • That I’m a rank amateur with color. I have decent instincts, but I’m incapable of doing anything really bold. I think I’m going to do some book learning. Adrian and Sarah continue to blow my mind.
  • How to spin from the fold
  • Tips on spinning fine and silky fibers
  • How to card and spin cotton
  • Why my made-up guesstimate of plying SUCKS and how to actually ply (need to practice more before I forget)
  • NAVAJO PLY, motherhumper! And while I’m not amazing, I now get the basics, and how to keep from getting my arm stuck in the yarn while I ply! All the joints still have a weird loose area right before, which I wasn’t able to shake. Most of them evened out when I washed the yarn, but a few are still loose and sloppy, as seen here. Any tips on improving this? (I think it will disappear in the knitting, so my main objective, self-striping handspun, has already been met, but my technique wants practice.)

  • How to make a CD spindle (This wasn’t part of Yarn School, but I made several ahead so we’d have plenty. And they work!)
  • How to spin worsted. My natural method was sort of a bastardized woolen.
  • That I totally want a Woolee Winder
  • How to harvest angora bunny wool
  • How to comb wool
  • That alpacas like to be patted from underneath

And after a year of not touching a spindle, I’m now magically able to really drop spindle, not just park and draft.

Plus, now I have an army of drum carders (and I’m a Strauch dealer, if you’re interested…) and a gym floor full of odds and ends to card into fabulous garbage batts! Yay! I already used the dye lab dregs–mixed leftovers and residue from containers I was rinsing–to dye a ton of fiber.

What else? Piles of feedback to make next year even more fun & smooth (this year was worlds better than last year). A new local spinning friend–Laura from Laura’s Pygoras, whose goaties came out for a visit. And now I have local sources for angora, mohair, llama, shetlands, pygora, and alpaca!

Next weekend, I’m teaching & signing books at the Sewing & Quilt Expo in Chicago, then taking a spinning course. (Sadly, not nearly the bargain of Yarn School; and now that Ron’s working in Topeka, I have to rent a car. On the upside, I’ll get to visit with Suzanne), then it’s Ron’s birthday, then I’m teaching and signing books at the KC Sewing & Quilt Expo, and then, it’s. . . Felt School! Yay!

We need lots of wet space, so we’re limiting enrollment to about a dozen, so Felt School is going to be small and intimate. We still have a few spots left & it’s a bargain ($300, meals by chef Blake Brokaw, room & supplies included), so register now!

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