Sometime earlier this year a friend of mine told me about Yarn School. There aren’t a lot of spinning workshops/classes around, so I knew that I was going to have to travel in order to learn more. Yarn School sounded awesome and came highly recommended, so I signed up as soon as registrations opened.
I was pretty proud of myself – I spent 15 hours traveling to get there (mostly killing time in airports, stupid lack of direct flights!) and went on my own trusting that a mutual love of spinning and all things fiber would help me make friends quickly.
The entire experience was awesome. It was like sleepover camp for adult ladies (with a glass of wine with dinner!). Nikol is a fabulous cook (even if lunch/dinner are a little late). The school is awesome – getting to set up a giant circle of wheels in the gym and getting to co-opt the science lab for dying fiber. We got to eat fresh eggs from Nikol’s chickens, visit with her sheep, see alpacas and even angora bunnies!
I dyed 2lbs of fiber – BFL, Wool, Merino, and a Superwash (not sure what the order is above). I love the first two, I’m not totally sold on the brown/yellow in the third, and the fourth is just… NEON. It was meant to be a colour study of gradients using Chartreuse… but, it obviously just came out looking like a neon safety sign. I’m planning on overdying it, but I’m still waiting for some inspiration.
The gym was awesome with all of our fiber hung up above the balcony to dry. Each dye lab had 15 people x 4 braids of 8 oz. each (or 2lbs). That’s a lot of fiber. What’s sort of scary is that we all came home with way more than that! I bought 6oz of alpaca, 2 x 4oz of a colour way dyed by Adrian from Hello Yarn, some angora, lots of firestar/angelina in bright colours, and several batts that I carded myself. In fact, I had so much fiber that I had trouble closing my suitcase on the way home and Jason couldn’t even hold it all. Even though, I showed restraint.
I learned how to Navajo Ply – my lovely neighbour Ashley taught me. I normally don’t like plying, but this method overcomes all of the reasons why I dislike plying, is fun, and looks cool to boot. In fact I love it so much that I haven’t been able to stop.
The top skein is 4oz of a special Yarn School Hello Yarn colour way spun up as a worsted single. The bottom row is all Navajo Ply. The far left is 4oz of Sweet Georgio rovings. Next is a mix of Hello Yarn scraps and a special Yarn School colour way. After that is a batt I carded while there that is a crazy mix of: wool, mohair, bamboo, silk, angelino, nylon, and merino – it is sparkly! Next is 2oz of tricolour alpaca. After that is a lofty 3-ply that I dyed myself in pinks, blues, lilac, and purples. And hiding up in the corner is a tiny skein that I practiced on when I was learning to Navajo Ply.
In all, I had an amazing time hanging out with a group of women who love spinning as much as I do. I missed it from the moment I walked out the front door and am already scheming how to go back next year (fingers crossed!).