Thursday, October 04, 2007

Spinning on Show

This past weekend I had the delightful experience of attending the Perth Royal Show (a huge annual show with rides, stalls, demonstrations, prize pigs, animal judging, tooth-decaying showbags, dog agility, lawn-mower racing - you name it!!). Now, for some people the show is too busy, too crowded, too full on - and I am sometimes one of these people. I don't get into Sideshow Alley with all the games and rides. I'm not a showbag junkie either. What I DO enjoy is cruising around through all the animal exhibitions, watching the sheepdog trials, checking out the creative crafts exhibitions and so on.

In fact Creative Crafts is the very reason I was at the show this year! Hand spinning is the focus craft for the show this year, so naturally the Spinning Guild were keen to have people demonstrating our craft - and I volunteered!
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It was an excellent day - I sat in the Creative Crafts hall near the display of fantastic spun and knitted goodies and I spun for 4 hours or so!! It was lovely to see how many people were interested, and stopped to ask questions or explain to their children what I was doing. The set up was perfect - being situated in front of the glass cabinets full of all the wonderful items craftspeople had put in for judging this year - so MANY! I was able to use them to illustrate my discussions with people about the craft.

The added bonus of course, was that I had the perfect excuse to spend an entire afternoon simply spinning to my heart's content! I found it a little tricky to start with on the wheel they had provided. But Jean (guild President) and I played about with it, got it going and once I found my rhythm on the little wheel I found it a breeze :) By the end of the day I had spun up the 100g Spunky Eclectic Shetland wool I'd brought with me - Hurrah!!
I am SO happy with how it turned out! It has such an Ocean feel about it for me, this handspun. With the blues and whites, combined with that soft almost apricot pink -like a seashell or the sunset.
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I have a very special specific knit in mind for this one.. but after trying to knit it up as a singles (not plied with anything - just one spun strand) I found it far too thin. So I'll attempt to spin it on itself - by winding it into a centre-pull ball. That way (thanks to a SUPER helpful comment that gave me the idea - Thank-you!!) I'll be able to ply the outside of the ball with the inside of the ball! Yay!! I just hope I will have enough length of yarn after plying to knit up my plan.. I imagine I will though :)

So after I finished up in the Creative Crafts Pavilion I headed off to explore the rest of the show. First stop was, of course, the Wool Pavilion! Lots and lots of sheepies - wouldn't be an Australian show without a shedful of our woolly mates, would it??
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Oooh and how embarrassing!! NUDE sheepies!!
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The shearing contests were on, so I was able to catch a glimpse of them - very fun!
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Also amongst the Wool Shed critters I discovered a mohair goat - looking very much like HE needed to be up next for shearing! Poor little thing - can't even see where he's going!!
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I spent a lot of time wandering amongst the Alpaca, admiring their loveliness and crooning to their gentle faces - so adorable!!
So after watching some of the sheep dog trials with an appropriate amount of awe - aren't they incredible?! - I headed off home, a very satisfied and crafterly-content Spinner!
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I was too slow this year to put any of my knitter or spun goodies in for judging and show, but next year i hope to be able to submit a few things. The prizes are not at all the order of the day - they barely cover the admittance fee for entering items - But for me it's more about representing this field of art that so often is either misunderstood, misrepresented - or simply left out entirely!! I leave you with snap shots of some of the excellent items in those shiny glass display cabinets this year :)

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Pretty clever, yes?


nuttnbunny said...

What fun! I'm jealous of the significant chunk of time devoted to uninterrupted spinning.

Let me know how center pull ball works :-)

Ann said...

Looks like you had so much fun & wish I was there!