Fiber Arts & Furry Critters

Monday, June 13, 2005

Yesterday I actually had a day to myself! I left early in the morning and returned late at night, without children, dogs or hubby. In between I attended a Production Spinning workshop taught by Alden Amos and Stephenie Gaustad, and got to spend the day with a wonderful group of spinners. Many of these people I have met before, either at various spinning events in the northeast, or on their blogs. Spinning is, after all, a very small world.

I started the workshop by being late, after getting lost. OK, I wasn't really lost, because I never lost track of Route 9, Route 116, or Amherst, Massachusetts, but I did have a lot of difficulty finding the actual building that housed the Fiber Arts Center, where the workshop was being held. Maybe I was just too distracted by the sort-of-renfaire type activity nearby, or the threatening thunderclouds, or the fact that Amherst is a big city (at least compared to my hometown) with LOTS of traffic.

The workshop was terrific. Alden and Stephenie are very interesting, knowledgeable, and funny people! I brought my Majacraft Suzie Pro wheel, because I consider it to be more adjustable than my Kromski Mazurka. There were actually quite a few Majacraft wheels there - I recall at least two other Suzie Pros, and one Majacraft Rose wheel. Schacht wheels were also heavily represented. Besides those, there were the usual ever-reliable Ashfords, a Lendrum or two (Claudia's Lendrum upright, as well as a Lendrum saxony, which was lovely!), and some true wheel masterpieces. Elaine had her Alden Amos wheel with her - and a truly gorgeous (and beautifully functional!) wheel it is!

This is Sheila with her Norm Hall wheel. It, too, is incredibly beautiful (and was easily the largest wheel in the room, with huge bobbins!).

Spindle spinning was also well represented! Here's Rosemary, with a lovely little Bosworth spindle:

Another excellent spindle spinner! (Helen informs me this is Jarrett, and he had a wonderful English accent.) He was spinning on a beautiful Timbertops accelerated wheel during the workshop. Here he appears with Claudia and Rosemary, who are sharing linzertorte in the background.

We had several "time trials" during the workshop, where I found that I can spin up to 6 yards per minute if I try hard, and that if I try, I can spin a normal knitting-weight (dk/sport) yarn. It is, however, very hard to ignore all those tiny bits of vm that might be getting by me when I'm spinning fast! LOL!

Alden and Stephenie gave us some rope-making demonstrations at the end (with Elaine's assistance). Fascinating process! When we were done there was much picture-taking, autograph-signing (I was well over an hour away from home when it occured to me that I should have brought my copy of Alden's book to be signed... sigh. Can I claim sleep deprivation, due to the pervasive heat wave we've been having?

There were a few other bloggers represented. Here's Dharia, with her Ashford traditional:

Mamacate was also there. Here, she's test-driving Elaine's Amos-built wheel:

Helen, of Bay Colony Farm, who put this workshop together (thank you, Helen!)

And here's a pic of Alden and Stephenie, with one of the workshop participants (Kate).

I put the rest of the pictures I took (about 15 all together) in a Webshots album. There are several group shots that include, among other people, Marianne from the NETA group, with whom I spent a very interesting lunch hour. (Hi, Marianne! Thanks so much for sharing your watermelon and those wonderful almonds!) And thanks again to Helen, for helping me match faces and names!


  • That looks like so much fun! I can't wait until I learn to use my spinning wheel and I can take it places!

    By Anonymous cheryl, at 4:08 PM  

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