Hand Spun

Hand Spun
Campfire Hat

Friday, August 26, 2011

Spinning at the Fair

Spinning in the Home Arts Division area
This year at the fair I had the huge privilege of demonstrating spinning in the Home Art Division (12). I've only spun in public once before at the folk life fair at Trailing of the Sheep last fall so it made me a little nervous thinking about doing it at the fair. But once I got set up and started spinning, as always, I become calm and focused and started enjoying myself. I was surprised at how many people stopped and had questions. Most of the men were curious about the mechanics of the wheel. Most of the kids wanted to know how I turned the fluffly stuff into "string" and I had at least 5 other people ask where they could get lessons. I referred them to my teacher of course, Cleo Gallinger at the Sheep Shed in Nampa,ID. I spun for 5 hours last Sunday and managed to fill a bobbin with 4oz. of wool and start plying.  I had some folks come back several times to check my progress because they wanted to see what plying looked like.
I had a really enjoyable afternoon spinning away, trying to answer questions intelligently and referring people who wanted to know more to viable resources. On the advice of my mentor Carol Dunn, I took a few skeins of my yarn so that people could touch them. Almost everything at the fair has the "Please Do Not Touch" label on it. A lot of people were interested in touching and feeling homespun yarn. I took some of my angora/wool yarn and a small tote of the blue angora I had drum carded.
The yarn I took for "hands-on" purposes  
Blue carded angora for touching

The kids who stopped by LOVED feeling the angora and everyone said it felt like cotton candy. If I'd known then what I know now, I would have taken some home made drop spindles and a little wool and given some of them the chance to spin on their own. Many people seemed daunted by the cost of a spinning wheel but were interested when I mentioned that you don't have to own a wheel to spin. If I get the chance to demonstrate spinning in public again, I'll have some quality home made drop spindles and a big hank of wool roving with me like in the picture below.
The good quality drop spindle my husband made for me with some fiber samples spun onto it

Meanwhile, I'm still basking in the delight of seeing so many people interested in this fiber art and willing to ask questions and possibly take the next step and learn spinning for themselves.


  1. Look at you, spinning your bad self in public! LOL! It's great that you brought along things that can be touched. Personally, if there are things for sale at fairs that have "do not touch" put all over the place, I don't buy.

  2. I find myself always WANTING to touch the stuff nobody wants me to touch. I'm like Charlie that way I guess. lol!

  3. It looked like so much fun!phyllis

  4. This is awesome! I am glad you had fun and had the opportunity to educate people about spinning and how fun and rewarding it can be!