What a fabulous day! I spent the entire day with a few of my friends at the Potomac Celtic Festival
where some of us taught a drop spindle spinning class. We didn't have very many students this year as the workshop was set up at the last minute. Instead, it gave us some time to just sit around and drop spindle spin and chat for a couple of hours. The weather was fantastic! Sunny with a bit of a breeze....and certainly not the sweltering heat and humidity of last year's festival!
Jayme and Janet, and I had a lot of fun just spinning the afternoon away. We also brought a variety of spun yarns as well as samples of different types of fibers. Janet had some silk hankies and pulled on into roving so Melanie (one of our students) could try spinning it. Jayme brought some ingeo (made from corn), soy silk, silk, various wools, and some very interesting roving made from wool, recycled soda bottles, and recycled blue-jeans! I brought a couple of skeins of hand spun - one generic rather "scratchy" wool and some natural brown Blue Faced Leicester (very soft!) as well as some pencil roving - which worked quite well for the younger students.
There was another spinner, Sarah(?), that was demoing spinning and also had a booth at the festival. She had an absolutely incredible spindle - it was gorgeous! The post was "twisted" wood - definitely a work of art. She's just recently become a seller of these hand crafted spindles, but was totally sold out at the moment. I'm definitely going to check back with her once she gets her new shipment in!
My friend, Amy, is a yearly participant and was part of the living history exhibit - Tuathe Preachain, Iron Age Celts (50 B.C.). I had her pose with another of her clansmen so I could get a clear shot of all their gear. Amy's dress is made of linen - this fabric signifies wealth. She's also wearing a leather "apron" which comes in VERY handy when you're working with the sharp wool combs - it's a much needed accessory. Amy's fellow clansman is wearing a fabulous leather ruana.
I chatted a while with Amy and her friend, Simone while looking
over the various yarns, wool preparation, and spinning implements they had on display. Simone's sister, Michelle Parrish, did all the the mini-skeins of yarn specifically for Simone to show the varied colors you can get from all the natural dyes. Most of the dyes were from plants that Michelle grew herself. I was quite impressed with the variety and depth of colors presented. Who knew you could accomplish all this with natural dyes?
One of the little girls LOVED to blow the horn - she was quite good at it too! In the background, you can see a variety of jewelry - lots of metal and amber. The second photo provides a closer view of the variety of jewelry.
The tools and grains were fascinating as well.
They did not have "modern wheat" like we do today. The wooden bowls contain some of the traditional grains that were used in 50 B.C.
Clockwise starting in the top left:
Spring Wheat - lighter, lower in gluten
Oats (not yet rolled)
Stone ground rye
Winter Wheat - heavier, higher in gluten. Generally used to make bread.
The blacksmith, "The Magic Badger", was fascinating to watch and seemed to really enjoy telling us about his craft. He described what he was doing with each tool and strike of the hammer....and why. It was fascinating!
Check out the knives with the glass globes below - I love how the metal is twisted!
I did a little bit of shopping while there. I "had" to buy some pecan shortbread and several pasties to bring home for dinner. DH dearly loves pasties! Then, I found the perfect tote bag - "Triple Goddess" tote in purple....and the matching 80x100 wall hanging or ground cloth from the "Funky People" (TM) The Celtic Collection. I got a few other Celtic inspired items as well.
AND.....to make the day even MORE perfect, Melanie, one of our students (who is also part Norwegian just like me) belongs to the local "Sons of Norway
" group. I had initially found out about the local group when I'd gone down to the Norwegian market at Union Station a few years ago at Christmas time. (Norway sponsors a lovely model train display in the lobby of Union Station in Washington, DC. and the Sons of Norway had a Norwegian market there that weekend as well.) The group has now moved closer to where I live, so it's going to be MUCH easier to try to get the meetings, so I'm planning to check them out next week! Takk!Spinning Tip of the Day Many thanks to Jayme for a fabulous idea! I had been winding off the singles from my drop spindle onto my small niddy-noddy to make a skein which I'd later convert to a center pull ball. I'd planned to repeat this process until the drop spindle was full again. THEN, I'd finally take the two singles in the center pull balls and my drop spindle and ply the two together to make a two-ply yarn. Jayme suggested that once each spindle is full, I can simply take a dowel slightly smaller than the dowel on my drop spindle and slip the single ply directly from the drop spindle onto the dowel. What a great idea! It sure saves a lot of time....and the yarn on the dowels is ready to be plied with nearly no effort. Quite a contrast to what I'd had planned. Thanks Jayme! I now plan to use Jayme's method, and then I'll take the dowels and "mount" them through holes in a small box so they can "spin freely" while I ply - a cheap way of creating a Lazy Kate
More "Fibery" News......
I just joined the "Mystery Stole 3" knitalong - Thanks for the info Anita! I'm really looking forward to this. I had joined "Mystery Stole 2", but never got a chance to do the stole. This time, I'm a bit more confident with lace, so I think I'll actually start and complete this one. This stole also uses beads, which will add interest to the stole. The designer will be using the "add beads as you go" method which uses a crochet hook to add the beads rather than "pre-stringing them - this saves "wear and tear" on the yarn. This means that I'll also be learning a new technique!
The final fabulous thing that happened today is that my mother's day gift from DH arrived! Wahoo! Since this post is already quite long, I'll leave the "reveal" of my gift and the photos until my next post.