Saturday, 31 December 2016

A Fibrery Review of 2016

The year just finishing has been a bit of a busy one, woolly-wise, and it's been rather hard to keep on top of, now that I have a full-time job rather than the part-time one I had for such a long time. But heigh-ho, can't complain when so many people haven't got one at all.

February was the Spinzilla Team's day out at Curtis Wools/Haworth Mill in Bradford, at the kind invitation of Martin Curtis who sponsored the team, to see their enormous scouring and combing set up. Eye-opening to say the least. They process nearly all of the British wool clip, which is a small portion of their total through-put - there are wools from all over the world (the stuff from Saudi had a little pile of sand underneath it). Not to mention Jamieson & Smith's lovely, lovely Shetland.

In March I spent a weekend with Lancs & Lakes Guild, giving a talk on the first day ('Stuff Wot I Have Made') and a dyeing workshop over two. And then Mark and I treated ourselves to a long weekend in Edinburgh, to visit the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, and catch the Celtic Exhibition at the NMS (we'd missed in it London in 2014) which included the astounding Gundestrup Cauldron. And we visited The Kelpies on the way home.

April was another busy one. I taught at Hallamshire Guild - my longdraw workshop, which is my oldest one but also my most popular. I love teaching this one! And then of course there was Wonderwool - we go down to Wales for over a week, taking a lovely dog-friendly cottage - with the show in the middle. And once again I was teaching there, an hour's workshop on hand-carding on both days. This was the month we exchanged our small white van for the Big Blue Beast!

During May we had two shows, the little one-day Wharfe Wool early on, and Tynedale Guild's Spinners' Open Day later on, both opportunities to catch up with friends as well as sell woolly stuff! And then teaching at North Cheshire Guild at the end of the month - long draw again.

June - the pace slowed down a little, just Armley Wool Festival - another treasure of a one-day show, with the various stalls tucked in amongst the displays in Armley Industrial Museum at Leeds. And beautifully local too (we forgot something Mark had made for display, but he could actually whizz home and collect it before opening!)

July is Fibre East month, which always takes a bit of organising because it's a camping one. We have to fit all the stall stuff plus tent etc in the BBB, but we managed.

August was just one workshop, but it was in Peterborough, so we re-traced nearly the entire route to Fibre East onlly a week after the show. But that was a a really nice group of people (and Mark took the pups to a nearby park for walks and train-rides!) and we did my Woollen/Worsted workshop, exploring the differences between the two techniques.

Bowland Guild in September was the first tryout for a new workshop - Combs, Cards, Drums and Hackles. That seemed to go well, and it's one where we know everyone well. We had a holiday in Somerset in the middle of the month, the day after we returned I demonstrated spinning at a flooring show in Harrogate at the behest of Martin Curtis (to show what a wonderful thing wool is!), and then of course there's Yarndale at the end of the month. It always strikes me as terribly decadent, doing a wool show from home with our own bed at night!

October is the really tiring one. Spinzilla Week at the beginning (and our Hand Spinners Newsletter team was joined by another UK team this year). Then it's Bakewell Wool Gathering immediately followed by Kendal Wool Gathering. Phew!

Once again, I failed miserably to get fibre and yarn photographed and online at the end of the year. This is the main casualty of the full-time job, just not having the energy or the daylight after October.

So there we are. And now the dawn is slowly lightening outside on the last day of 2016; wonder what's coming next year....