Have Ewe Any Wool?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Spinning at the Manning's

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Wow.....I FINALLY made it to the Mannings! It was fabulous - I was absolutely amazed at how large the shop was - it seemed to go on and on! What a fabulous variety of yarns, wheels, fiber, and looms! One could get lost for an entire day here!

This was the annual "Spinning Seminar" where all spinners were invited to pull up a chair underneath the trees and spin our hearts away. Even the non-spinners had a great time - there was so much to see and do! And the venue is fabulous - out in the country...fresh air, trees, and fiber. It doesn't get much better than this!

There were many demos and Q&A sessions all provided by the Mannings. Hopefully, the photos and info below will give you a taste of the fabulous day. The view from the parking area and in front of the shop gives a taste of the surroundings - a very relaxed country fair atmosphere.












There were dozens of spinners and wheels - everywhere I looked. I spent the day spinning the Targhee roving that I'd dyed at Solitude. I even managed to capture a photo of me spinning - definitely a happy a relaxing day!














Check out Liz's Canadian Production Wheel (CPW). Isn't it awesome? It's quite unusual - check out the cast iron fittings and metal treadle! I'd never seen a CPW in real life, so this was a treat. I even got to try my hand at spinning with it!




Inside the Mannings, there was a large group of spinners (4-H kids if I remember correctly) working on their "fleece to shawl" project.



In the same room, I found two "seas of looms" - it was fabulous! Just look at all those luscious looms! On the left, they're arranged and ready for a class. The "looms in waiting" are crammed together on on the right.











Just outside the "sea of looms", I found the "Church of Fiber" - LOL! That's what I call this little "Corner of Heaven" - a couple of looms and a church pew under a cute sheep-shaped "Yarn for Sale" sign.



I found a few unique antique spinning wheels stashed in another room. I've never seen a distaff quite like the "flat board" you see on the wheel on the left. Every room contained something fabulous!

On to the demos...


Outside, there were a couple of dyeing demos/displays. There were even some fiber vendors. My favorite roving was this delicious looking roving from Roclans. Isn't it gorgeous? I just love all the fabulous colors that are swirled together in the roving. The spun sample is asbolutely stunning!





The first one I checked out had various shades of reds and pinks that were created using a variety of dyes. My favorite is the vibrant reds you get from ground cochineal. I always KNEW there had to be a purpose for insects!













Next there was the Indigo dyeing display. It's always fascinating to watch the color emerge once the yarn is removed from the pot and exposed to oxygen. I find it absolutely fascinating!






Double click on the photo at the left for more details and information about indigo.






I even like how the indigo plant looks - it's quite pretty (bottom left). And check out the great variety of blues you can get!












Of course, there had to be fiber animals to ogle as well!











The final demo I watched outside was the flax spinning demo. I'm absolutely fascinated by the process. A few year ago, I took a flax class with Katie Meeks and was amazed at all the work involved in producing just a few yards of roving!

You'll get a feel for the immense amount of work involved in spinning flax from these videos. It's amazing how much work is involved. It's a long, arduous process, but the resulting linen is well worth the effort! (First - Breaking. Next- Scutching) Scutching removes the straw and woody parts of the plant from the flax.


video video


Next, running what's left from the scutching process through the heckling combs. This splits the flax fibers and removes more impurities. (First- running through the coarse heckling comb. Next - running the prime left overs through the finer heckling comb....and finally spinning the flax.)

video video

Next, the indoor demos.

I found this wheel absolutely fascinating! It has a pendulum so you can move the spindle further away from you and then pull it back and wind on. This allows the spinner to sit and spin on the Great Wheel or Walking Wheel rather than stand and walk back. It essentially "extends" the spinners reach to create a "very long draw" without walking back away from the wheel. What a fabulous invention!

video


I've never spun cotton...I've heard it's a bit tricky because of the short staple length and I also thought that you HAD to spin it off the point of a spindle....necessitating a Charkha or a Great Wheel. The demonstrator here was just using a very short draw...and spinning on without the use of a spindle. This inspired me to purchase a few bags of cotton roving - I've got to try this myself!

Finally, I've seen the use of combs for fiber preparation and now know how to create some wonderful combed fiber! I've even learned the difference between Worsted Spinning and Woolen Spinning....I wonder if I'll be able to remember the differences????

Lisa is checking out the "implements of torture"....aka wool combs. They say that you need to make sure you have your tetanus shots up to date before using these - and I can definitely see why!!!The demonstrator showed the two steps she uses for prepping the fiber - combing with two combs, and then taking the resulting "cache" of fiber and drawing it through a single comb. (My friend Alice has some gorgeous fibers she's prepped using the combs, so I know how wonderful combed fiber is to spin! I've DEFINITELY got to try this!!!)

Using 2 combs (first) and drafting the fiber through a comb (next).


video video

It was great seeing all of my spinning buddies....and spending the day with kindred spirits. There was even a surprise - the church ladies were selling home made root beer. I took home a half gallon. It was FABULOUS! Once I got home, I made ice cream sodas with home made ice cream and home made root beer - the perfect ending for a perfect day!

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