Sunday, 26 July 2015

Fibre East 2015

Where to start? At the beginning I suppose! My Fibre East adventure was a little different this year, as I not only went as a visitor, but also spent a day volunteering so I got to see the event from both sides. All I can say is that I am in total awe, admiration and appreciation of all the people who have been working so hard all year long in order to put on the event. I arrived at the venue in Ampthill around 10am where I met up with Jan, the driving force behind Fibre East. She introduced me to some of the other volunteers before I started work for the day - measuring and marking up the areas for all the vendors. I became a dab hand with a tape measure and can of spray paint and I only managed to spray my foot once!! We were all well looked after with plenty of delicious refreshments to keep up the energy levels and I was made to feel very welcome. While others were shifting tables for some of the stands, I made myself useful stapling signs together and then helped set up the display of entries for the spinning and weaving competitions. I was so pleased that I was able to play a very small part in helping with this year's show and would like to make it a regular occurrence. 

I stayed overnight in Bedford so I wouldn't have to leave Norfolk at some unearthly hour for my spinning class. I had booked a workshop on spinning luxury fibres way back in January; long before tendinitis set in. But I decided that I was going to go and do as much spinning as I possibly could. So armed with plenty of ibuprofen, I arrived in class. There had been a last minute change in the course tutors, with Sarah Wroot replacing James Perry. Sarah proved to be a most interesting and inspiring teacher, sharing her knowledge of fibre with us. One of the most important things I learnt during the day was not to be afraid of changing things on my wheel. I ended up with a totally different brake band which slowed down the pull of the yarn into the machine immensely as well as trying out a home made lace bobbin with pipe insulation to change the speed of the bobbin. We sampled a number of fibres including merino, Optim, alpaca, yak, cashmere and angora. Sarah showed us a number of different techniques for spinning and then we got to play with each of them! I was amazed by just how the slightest tweak to the brake band could make such a difference to my spinning. I managed to spin the finest yarn during that day. I am very proud of this alpaca yarn!

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We were encouraged to take samples of our yarn and record them for future reference. I think it's a brilliant idea and something that I plan to do in the future. 

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With only 8 of us on the workshop, we had plenty of individual attention and I left feeling inspired to get going on my wheel again as soon as possible. 

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It was also wonderful to be able to look at some of Sarah's own spinning. I don't think you ever stop learning. Spinning is a life-long journey of discovery.

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Yesterday saw me heading back to Ampthill, this time in the company of Snoopydog. Although I had been on site the previous day when the vendors were setting up their stands, I hadn't seen inside any of the marquees or halls as we had been in class the whole day. I was totally bowled over by the size of the show and the huge number and variety of exhibitors. Hats off to the organisers for booking such a great selection. Whatever your interests were, there was something for you. So hard to pick any favourites, but here are a few photos to give you a flavour of it all. Pop over to my Flickr album to see all the photos I took. 

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Of course I brought back some 'souvenirs' of the day! As well as some gifts for friends, I managed to buy 3 skeins for myself, a couple of postcards, a fob for my sewing scissors and a mini loom kit that will hopefully be useful for school. The green and yellow yarn is from Sparkleduck and will make the perfect pair of Norwich City match day socks for Mr JK! I seem to have a bit of a 'thing' going for sparkly yarn right now as I couldn't resist the lure of the raspberry coloured skein from Debonnaire yarns. Snoopydog bought a skein too so we can be sock twins! The third skein was my first purchase - a dark grey fingering weight yarn with little rainbow splashes throughout. (I seem to have a thing with rainbows too!) This was from the Knitting Swede. I'm so glad I bought it when I did because when we went round a second time, all the skeins had gone!

I was delighted (and somewhat astonished too!) to discover that I had some placings in the spinning competition. I'll tell you more about that another time!

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Hope you have enjoyed your virtual visit to Fibre East. I'll be back soon, but please excuse me for now as I have some yarn to fondle! xxx


Lynne said...

Wow! That alpaca spun yarn is skinny! Did you use your own wheel in your class, or wheels that were provided? - I imagine they are pretty big to transport about. I ask because I'm wondering if using a different wheel makes a difference. I know that I find it weird to use a different sewing machine. It's like driving someone else's car - everything is in the wrong place! Looks like you had a great time, and all the woolly purchases are lovely.

snoopydogknits said...

What a fab day we had! Ros x

VeggieMummy said...

Looks like a fun and productive day - I'm amazed at how fine you managed to get it. Love the mugs and blue pottery too. xx

Jennyff said...

Sorry to hear about the tendonitis problem but pleased its not stopping you having some fibre fun. Lovely post, I've missed you.

peahen said...

You've taken some great pictures as usual JK! And it's good to have an insight into the workshop. You've taken a picture of my favourite thing - that stunning gradient yarn in the second-to-last marquee.

Stella Jones said...

Super pictures of Fibre East. I especially enjoyed the spinning workshop pic. I,ve often felt like doing a workshop but thought it might be a bit intimidating.