As the COVID pandemic took hold and the UK went into its first lockdown, the Online Guild embarked on a six week Spinning Challenge.
Led by Cath Snape and Jo Finlow, the workshop followed a format used in a weaving workshop back in 2018; participants were dealt five ‘cards’
covering key information such as colour, fibres, texture, spinning techniques, diameters of yarns, end use and inspiration.
There was also an option to receive ‘gentle’, medium or challenging criteria.
Throughout the workshop Jo and Cath provided help and guidance on how the dictates of various ‘cards’ could be met. For those taking part, working within the constraints of the criteria they had been dealt, spinning journeys were embarked upon that not only resulted in some unique yarns but provided a great deal of fun along the way.
For Christina Chisholm (Highland Scotland), having been given “angora; inspired by jewels, prepare your fibre in a new way; spin from cloud; autowrap” as her five ‘cards, this was an opportunity to dig out some angora fibre she had in her stash.Her plan was to
Christina's Bouclé Yarn
In South Wales, new member, Anna Morgan, was delighted to have taken part in the workshop. She said, “I really enjoyed experimenting and trying new things”. Her cards were Inspiration - favourite film, use commercially prepared fibres, worsted spinning technique, create a 3-ply yarn and use a piece of equipment not used before.
With a favourite film of Moulin Rouge, Anna delved into her stash of brightly coloured fibres. The equipment she had not used before was a Tibetan spindle that had been untouched for 2 years! The results are stunning.
Sue C, based in North Shropshire, took on three challenges over the course of the workshop. Her final set of ‘cards’ asked her to combine short and long fibre, be inspired by dawn, spin from a distaff, use fauxlags and combine 6 singles in an interesting way. Sue used a hand held distaff and she created fauxlags from tops – two techniques that were new to her but which she will be using again. Sue said I’ve really enjoyed learning new techniques and being outside my comfort zone”.
Jane Pullan, from South Lincolnshire, said “I've just uploaded photos of my gentle challenge, wool;
inspired by flowers; spin short forward draw; use a batt and create a balanced 2ply.”
Jane had used the challenge as an incentive to organise her stash. She had great fun using the drum carder to create batts and in fact kept the first one she made so that she could felt and embroider it. Finally, Jane was really pleased with the plied yarn she produced as a result of the challenge.
This very popular workshop gave members something to focus on other than the dire statistics and curtailment of liberties that COVID was imposing. Everyone welcomed the diversion of ‘messing about with fibres’ and the workshop photo album provides a wonderful record of the enjoyment members gained through this spinning challenge.