Spinning on My Mind

These are some photos of the Hansencrafts e-spinner retreat at the studio of Judith Mackenzie near where I live now. Not that it needed a name but they (Judith and Beth Hansen) called it Linsey-Woolsey (noun: a strong, coarse fabric with a linen or cotton warp and a woolen weft. ORIGIN: late 15th century: from linsey, originally denoting a coarse linen fabric (probably from Lindsey, a village in Suffolk, England, where the material was first made) + wool + –sey as a rhyming suffix). Very homey and nostalgic.

The first night we got together and ate. I took no photos because…eating. Judith remembered me from two years ago at the farm tour where I first saw her talk and was amazed to listen to someone who knew so much more than I ever did and couldn’t even remember. Everyone (not me) hugging like long lost friends.

Day one we spent all day learning about bast fibers and how to turn them into something to spin. Spun up samples of flax that had been commercially processed, some she had done herself on the hackle (sp?), some nettle she had done with really long fibers, then there was ramie, bamboo, then some people took some of the tow left from hackling and blended it in with some dyed wool using cards and spun that. I stuck with the plain bamboo and flax. I’m still struggling with spinning itself, and blending and dyeing are too far over the horizon to trap me into learning it yet.

Day two, was like “we are going to do this” and “now we are going to do this” and “here’s what you could do and I’ll show you how and you can try it and here is some cotton and here are some cotton seeds you can spin from and now we are going to spin paper and you can cut it up and wash it and dry it,” and each new thing has a story about a person or a group of people or the way things were and are.

I was cranking out fiber all day, most of it crap and shitty, but trying it and once in a while getting it. Later on visiting Taylored Fibers (where I had mine processed), I realized that he has quite a huge selection of beautiful fiber for sale and ready to spin, merino blends, Shetland blends, natural colors…other people there were buying bags of it, I was holding my hands behind my back and not buying anything. Yet. I have enough to do with my bags of wool I have yet to write about. My mind is spinning.

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