Monday, May 16, 2011

Sheep and Wool Overload

I made my yearly pilgrimage to Maryland Sheep and Wool at the beginning of this month, and had a ball!  This year, I left the kids at home (thank you honey!) and was ready to go when my sister Cheryl arrived from RI.  (yeah, that's how crazy we are.  She traveled across SIX states!  And in RI, they consider anything over 10 miles a trip where you need a hotel reservation...) 

So we met up with some delightful friends in MD.  We took classes and did way too much shopping.  The best part was chatting with other knitters, spinners, and other assorted fiber fanatics.  It was heaven. 

I took two classes on Saturday with Maggie Casey (yeah, that one).  She was wonderful.  What an impressive amount of knowledge this woman has stored in her noggin!  BUT, I think that her classes should be longer.  The entire three hours was packed with information, and we definately covered the class material, but she didn't seem to be out when our time was over.  She most likely could have filled another hour or two.  Yeah, I'd pay more for that.

Teach your old wheel new tricks was the morning class.  Little did I know that my (very) old Louet would be treated with such respect in a room full of fancier (and more expensive) wheels.  Seems Maggie learned to spin on a Louet, and dispelled my feelings of inadequacy right away.  We cleaned our wheels, and oiled them, then got to work.  She explained how each type of wheel (Scottish tension, double drive or Irish tension - my Louet)  worked, and the quirks of each.  Then we got to adjusting our wheels and spinning.  She talked about fiber, and staple length, and how to spin a finer yarn, etc, etc, etc!

Spinning Lace Yarns was the afternoon class, also taught by Maggie Casey A little repitition of basic information at the beginning of class, and then on to spinning thinner, and thinner until I actually had yarn on my bobbin that, when allowed to twist onto itself for a length, was an actual LACE WEIGHT.  That's a two ply laceweight yarn, something I never thought I'd be able to do on the Louet.  But thanks to Maggie, I did.  She's brilliant.  And very patient.

I've been stuck at dk weight two-ply for ages, and frustrated to no end that I just could not get the hang of spinning thinner.  And Maggie's class made it easy.  (hint:  It wasn't so much me, as it was the settings on the wheel.  Simple but amazing.)

Not too much shopping on Saturday, as the market closed soon after the class ended.  I made up for that later.

On Sunday morning, I took a class called Thick and Thin and Coils with Jacey Boggs (ravelry link).  I have not spun any "art" yarn before, and I was looking forward to trying some.  The class was crazy good.  Jacey talks non-stop, but not in an annoying way.  She's engaging, and nice, and has a lot to teach.  We started with the thick and thin yarn, and after I got the hang of it, I considered the class paid for.  But then, there was this whole other type of yarn (using some overspun thick and thin) that was AMAZING. 

Like Maggie Casey's classes, Jacey's class was totally worth the admission price, maybe even more.  If you can find either of these ladies teaching in your area, I highly recommend their classes.  And I've taken a LOT of classes.

After Jacey's class, I went SHOPPING.  More about that later (with pics!)


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