Sunday, July 16, 2017

Mastering Spinning

I bang on about the Master Weaving program at Olds College, but I also want to tell people about the Master Spinning program.

I came to weaving via the orifice of a spinning wheel.  Once I discovered weaving, spinning got set aside because I simply had no time to do it.  Eventually I sold my spinning wheels and moved on.

But about 12 or so years ago, the universe began 'gifting' me with spinning wheels.  A phone call asking if I could come pick up a loom for free, which turned out to be a spinning wheel.  Another phone call asking if I could take a wheel.  And so on.

None of these 'gifts' was quite 'right' for me and eventually I wound up buying a Canadian Production Wheel.  I prefer to spin woollen (supported long draw) from rolags and I really needed a wheel with a higher ratio than most wheels on the market.

I have been happily spinning on 'Larry' for a few years now.

As the 'free' wheels began showing up in my life, I started taking workshops from spinning teachers, not because I particularly wanted to become a better spinner, but because I wanted to be a better weaver.  Having arrived at weaving with a basic level of understanding how yarn was made, and having investigated yarn and fibre properties on my own, I found myself wanting to know more, know my materials better.  I knew that the way to do that was to take spinning classes.

(Note - I always warn the instructor to ignore me because I am there to become a better weaver, not a spinner!)

And so over the past few years I've taken classes with Judith MacKenzie, Kim McKenna, and several from Mary Lessman.

Mary is a graduate of the Olds College Master Spinner program and has now begun teaching classes for that program.

If you are ever in a position to take a workshop from her, I highly recommend taking it.  She is teaching at several venues in the US (check out the off campus link on the college website above) plus she has agreed to be one of the instructors for the ANWG conference here in 2019.

I have lined up most of the instructors for our conference and the conference website should be up by the end of summer.  Stay tuned!

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