Sunday, November 02, 2008

A report on the Spin-In

Last Saturday, Oct. 25, was the date of the Spindrifter's 2nd Annual Spin In. It took place at the local High School which was remodeled several years ago and has a beautiful, airy commons area just in the front doors.

Just what is a Spin-In, you ask? No, it's not some strange Sufi ritual - it is an opportunity for people of all ages who spin fibers into yarn to come together to learn, visit, eat and shop! (we had 16 vendors this year - it was really cool) and whether one uses a drop spindle or a spinning wheel, it is sure to be a fun day. It is an all day (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) event and a coffee/water/tea and snack table is provided, but most people bring a sack lunch.

This year, our guest speaker was Celia Quinn, a nationally recognized fiber arts teacher (she has been teaching since the late 1980's and writes articles for Spin Off and other magazines) who ventures down to the lower 48 from Alaska once a year or so to give talks and classes. Her talk was about Drop Spindles - from the earliest - (a rock and a stick) to ones used today in Africa and South America. - they haven't changed much, and the impact that the ability to spin fibers into string/yarn made on civilization - Frankly, I hadn't expected her talk to be interesting - I thought she was going to teach HOW to use a drop spindle, which I wasn't at all interested in - but WOW - the slumbering anthropologist in me woke up with a start. She had wonderful examples of all different kinds from all over the world, including one that had been excavated from an archeological dig! Very informative and fascinating talk and she is so personable. (she also gave a workshop the next day on spinning novelty yarns, which I would have loved to have taken, however, church choir & the resident Minister of Music (The Shepherd's "Other Hat") took a priority. Maybe next time.

This was only the second "Spin-In" that I have attended (altho June's Black Sheep Gathering is somewhat like a HUGE Spin-in) - Last year, I went as an "attendee" - This year I went as a vendor! Yes, Marietta Shetlands had a table at the vendor fair (The Shepherd was kind enough to let me sell some Washington Wool dot Net tote bags that I had purchased for the occasion) - and can you believe it - I took pictures of everyone else's tables but our own?!?!

Don't tell him I said so, but, selling doesn't really come natural to The Shepherd. He is very proud of our fleeces (and was pleased at some very complimentary comments by Ms. Quinn) - but it took a bit for him to warm up to the whole notion. I, on the other hand, really love selling. Many people would walk up and look at the table - He had it very nicely set up with the NASSA Shetland color chartg and had samples of the different fleeces that we have right now and Luna's Blue Ribbon fleece held a place of honor right in front of the table. It was fun to watch people come up and touch it and get this "dreamy look" on their faces. Sorry folks, it's not for sale! But I had taken several skeins of shetland wool that I'd recently spun and basically felt if I could get the wonderful soft Shetland fiber in a spinner's hand, they would be interested in finding out more. And they were - we sold one whole processed fleece and two "future fleeces" - one lady really wanted Moni's fleece from next spring, and one of our guild members paid half for a fleece (we're donating the other "half") for next year's Sheep to Shawl at the summer Highland Games. As long as it turns out to be a good fleece, she will get Danny's beautiful moorit fleece for our members to spin and weave into a splendid shawl.

I also had taken Friday afternoon off to bake 10 dozen (Yup, 10 dozen!) scones for the "coffee" table, courtesy of Washington Wool dot Net. It was really fun to do and took me back to the days when I'd make big (serving 75-80 people) dinners for our church. The scones were easy compared to that - just Krusteze Scone mix and water - added currents to some and mini chocolate chips to others - I think they were enjoyed by all.

I bought a few things from the vendors - traded one of my tote bags for a couple of spare Ashford bobbins -Bought a pound of Grey wool (I think it was CVM) to crochet up into stripes with the crimson superfine merino I spun up last week for WSU Cougar caps for my nephews. I also bought some tea and tea bags, a belated birthday present for my co-worker, and two charts (one for crochet and one for knitting) that provide me with the yardage needed to make particular items - hats, scarves, vests, wraps, etc. These charts will be invaluable as I continue to spin - that has been my biggest boondoggle - how much yarn do I need for certain projects. These charts will answer that question.

Nancy from NW Handspun Yarns sets up her booth - she is one of our Whatcom county "LYS" (that's Local Yarn Store)

Lynda Bylsma from Lost River Alpacas had lots of mill-spun alpaca yarn and big baskets of beautiful fiber.

Here are a couple other of the booths.

So, the next time you get the opportunity to go to a Spin-In - take it - visit with the vendors - listen to the speaker - who knows, you might even get bitten by the spinning bug - then you can start your own stash...


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Oh, to have more freedom to attend these kinds of events! But then I would have to give up other things I hold dear to make time. I'm glad you got to go and enjoy for me!

Kathy said...

What a great post, Tina! I only wish John or you had taken a photo of you selling at your booth! :)
It's great to start getting your fleeces into the hands that will so appreciate them for the beautiful fleece they all are.
Way to go! :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like fun. Sorry I missed it! Also glad to hear that your first vendor experience was a good one. Are you doing any of the Judith McKenzie classes this week?

Mim said...

What a great opportuatiy to have something like that close enough to go to! Nice post.

Donna said...

Very nice summary and photos of the spin-in. I wish I had been in town to join you!

Mimi Lenox said...

Don't forget BlogBlast For Peace is Thursday, November 6th!

BlogBlast For Peace ~ How To Get Your Peace Globe

Sharon said...

Wow - that sounds like a total fiber show. My experience with spin-ins is a gathering of anyone who can come to a place at a specific time to spin. I'm a spinaholic so I'm in - name the venue.