Spinning Sunday: new and improved

May 17, 2013

There is a new shiny in the shop. A single-treadle Ashford Joy that came back with me from the Creative Fibre Festival.

I had such an incredible time at Festival - and most notable was the few snatched moments taken to spend at the Ashford stand. Some companies are just that, a company with a corporate face. Ashford is so very far from that. Richard, Elizabeth, Libby and Kate were all present and even now, as I think about it, they filled their space with personality, excitement, passion and, of course, stock to play with. I am officially a massive fangirl of their philosophy, energy and quality of product. It was incredible the effect that one person being wholly joyful in teaching others about products that was absorbing. I went home and dreamed of drum carders and spinning and weaving. 

More than simply dream, i've been spinning. This last week has been tough. Recovering from what I term 'Market Hangover', my energy has been low, i've been a bit grumpy and impatient. Knitting wasn't cutting it for relaxation. Five days of markets within ten sapped every last ounce of excitement.

And then, on Thursday, I thought 'I'm going to spend the last 45 minutes that the shop is open to spin.'

After 15 minutes, my mood changed. As I added twist to the fibre, all the metaphorical twist and stress was pulled out. Feeding new yarn on to the bobbin removed the tension metre by metre. The simple rhythm that I created between the treadle and draft induced a meditative state. One that, day to day, I struggle to achieve. I'm not good at relaxing. I need to always be doing, making, producing. Doing nothing makes me anxious. Spinning, somehow, is the perfect antidote. 

Don't take this to mean that i'm any good as a spinner. I have very little technical knowledge. How do new spinners learn more? There is always YouTube, of course. But it's not the same as seeing a technique demonstrated in person, and sharing problems with other spinners in order to learn together. 

Which is why we are taking a new approach to Spinning Sunday. Last year we were a bit slack at organising it, and found that once a month wasn't quite regular enough for people to remember to come along.

So, what is the plan? We are going to have Spinning Sunday twice a month. First hooray! One of those two sessions will be a paid, technical wheel spinning session run by the fantastic Sue Schreuder. Sue is a semi-new spinner, but over the past 18 months has excelled and gained a crazy huge amount of know-how. These sessions will have limited numbers and cost a tiny wee $10 a pop. More info will follow soon.

If you are interested in learning to spin, I can highly recommend signing up for Frances' Drop Spindling For Beginners class at Handmade over Queen's Birthday weekend.


We will bring along the Ashford Joy to the Knit Lounge at Handmade if anyone fancies having a play. You're also more than welcome to come and try it in the shop. In the next few weeks we'll add an Ashford double-treadle Traveller to our demo models, as well as a drum carder (I, for one, am SUPER excited about the drum carder). If there is anything at all in the Ashford range you would like us to get in, please let us know. We have a retail price list and some product pamphlets in the shop for you to peruse. 

Funny that spinning has led to possibly my longest post here, ever. I'm just so excited about it, and want to share the love. Join me!

xx Tash



Alice said:

exciting Tash! Yay for a new spinning wheel, the Ashford stand at the creative fibre festival was so great, I agree, they are awesome.
I liked the way you described the mediatative state spinning bought you, I totally felt the same when I was learning to spin, I remember when I was first learning I sat at my wheel for an entire day not thinking, it was amazingly relaxing… unfortunately I can now spin and think at the same time now so it is not as meditative as it once was!
And also (longest comment ever…) I am totally getting a drum carder, I’ve been putting it off for so long and using Mum’s, but now, I’m sold and I can’t wait to make some sparkly colourful batts.
Sharing the Ashford love with you! Have a cool weeekend and I wish I could be there for spinning sundays too :O)

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