Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Yarndale - And My Spin City Stall!

All ready at Yarndale!
What a weekend! What a show! I have just got back to my lovely sunny Cambridge house after a crazy fabulous weekend away in Yorkshire for Yarndale!  

Me and Mum in matching outfits on our stall.  
 Mum (the beautiful Karen Player) and I set off on Friday morning bright and early and headed north with our trailer in tow stuffed to the roof with all my colourful hand carded batts, spindles and hand spun yarns - as well as my trusty vintage dresser, birdcage, shelves and fabric walls!

After many a traffic jam and jam sandwiches we arrived about five hours later, and quickly set about erecting fabric walls and putting everything in place. I love seeing everything come together. Putting together a show stand for me is like owning a little shop for a couple of days, which is a dream of mine! The icing on the cake of me is putting up our polka dot bunting as I think it makes our stall look so festive.

I made quite a few new batts for this show, with bright colours in! They didn't last long. :-D
The most popular batt was "E Numbers" made from merino, faux cashmere and silk in a neon rainbow!  I also made a series of batts inspired by the planets. At the top of the picture below is "Saturn." I was so surprised to see a few friends from instagram meet me first thing on Saturday - saying they had to get to my stall quickly before my batts sold out!

Colourful batts on my stall
 I also brought with me my selection of drop spindles with pressed flowers, glitter, lace and pretty pictures trapped inside. Here's my spindle table all set up in my teapot collection!

Drop spindles in my teapot collection
 Mum and I are always happy to teach newbies how to spin. In fact - it is a total joy for me to teach people, because I love spinning so much and I love passing that on to others! I was bitten by the spinning bug about six years ago now, and I don't think a day goes by without my picking up a spindle. It's totally addictive and rewarding.
One of the best things about Yarndale for me this year was teaching people how to spin - and then those people coming back to me a couple of hours later or even the next day to show me how far they had come along! They had gone from complete beginner- some not even knowing what a drop spindle was- to fully fledged spinstars in just a few hours! I've even had an email from a textiles student with pictures of her newly spun yarn on the knitting machine on her first day back at Uni. I felt very proud of her. :-)
I think I might have a glitter addiction!
 The first day at Yarndale was my most successful show day ever. Thank you to everyone who came along and supported me, I feel so blessed. :-) We were pretty rushed off our feet the whole day - although we did manage to sneak in a couple of chocolate bars and tea breaks.

 After we closed on the Saturday we drove to our gorgeous Air BnB cottage in Barnnoldswick a few miles down the road and kicked off our shoes and settled down to eat nice healthy meal and watched "Midnight's Children" by Salman Rushdie. Then I was up bright and early again on Sunday to straighten our stall out again for day two of Yarndale!

Blended rovings all stacked up

My handspun yarns

 When we got to our stall on the Sunday morning we were greeted by a herd of massive Swalesdale sheep!  They had the most gorgeous lacey fleeces and made such pretty sheep noises. I wonder who the breeder was? ;-)

Swaledale sheep at Yarndale

Herded by a friendly sheepdog!
We packed down at 4.30 when the show closed and headed back to our cottage for another night of film watching. I was so tired I went to bed before 10 - but I was woken up at 3 am by Mum excitedly because the Lunar eclipse was in full swing. We sat up and watched it together from the attic room with skylights flung open- a magical way to finish our weekend away.
I can't wait to go back next year.

Here's a little video of the show by the blogger +Helpful Mum  which features my spindles. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Yarndale - Preparing Fibre For My Spin City Stall

Batts on my studio shelves, including my new planet inspired colours! 
Yarndale is almost upon us! If you have never been, it is a crazy show full of colourful crochet and stuffed full of all the yarn, needles, fibre and patterns you could ever dream of. Even the crafters who turn up appear to be more colourful! One of the highlights for me last year was seeing all the gorgeous crochet cardigans and coats people were wearing at the show. There's a real community atmopshere, which is a pleasure to be part of. If you don't know already, Yarndale was created by the wonderful crochet designer Attic24, check out her designs for some gorgeous project ideas!
Wensleydale lock batts! Locks-a-licious! 
I've been working away in my studio at home in Cambridge preparing for the show- carding batts, dyeing fibre and making more spindles! 
I'm creating a range of batts inspired by the planets- in the first picture you can see the hot pinks of "Venus". I've also been going lock mad and carding up locks-a-licious batts chock full of Wensleydale curls or suri alpaca. These are proper art batts for free-form spinning! 
Dyeing Wensleydale locks in my garden 

Only four more sleeps until the show! I've got my Air BnB booked in a nearby village and new business cards printed, i'm almost ready! 

See you at the show! 
Louise x

Monday, 21 September 2015

Folk East - Spin City Weaving Workshop

What could be better than a folk festival with a craft area?!

Teaching weaving at Folk East

When I discovered Folk East was championing folk crafts as well as folk music my heart leapt. It made total sense! Folk music is all about keeping tradition alive and repurposing it for the current generation, and folk crafts such as knitting, weaving and hand spinning are fighting in the same corner.

The Folk Festival at sunset

My sign advertising my workshops and drop-in sessions
I applied to take part in the Folk East Art Arcade at Glemham Hall in Suffolk and was quickly taken up on my idea to host tapestry weaving workshops. Not only did this mean that I would be able to share my passion for all things wool and textured, I got to listen to my favourite music at the same time!

The woven wall-hangings we were making at Folk East

My Spin City sign outside my awning
A music festival is quite different from my normal knitting festival. Instead of having a pre-made stall, I brought along my lovely vintage caravan and set up shop in my awning, right next to the main stage. It was really handy to have my little 'home-from'home' attached to my stall. For example, if I needed a jam sandwich, I could just make myself one from my cupboards! If I needed to get a cushion for an extra workshop attendee - 'bobs your uncle I could get one from the caravan. I loved it.  

My weaving workshops were really popular, and I felt a real connection with my students.  I am a naturally enthusiastic person, and when I feel that coming back at me from someone i've taught a skill to - it might just be one of the best feelings in the world.

Deep in concentration
We all sat around and happily wove away for about an hour and a half per class. Each student received a loom to take home, a weaving needle and an array of vintage and handspun yarns to choose from to create their weaving. 

I went through the basic techniques, and then we quickly progressed onto TEXTURE! My youngest student was only 6 years old - and she left saying she wants to be a weaver when she grows up. Awhhh. 

I think one of the best moments was teaching a bobble effect technique to my Saturday group while listening to Sam Kelly live on the main stage. Not bad for a day at the office huh? 

Look how near I am to the main stage! It's right behind me. :-)