Plants, coffee, cake – and spinning

Yesterday was Worldwide Spinning in Public Day. So some of us did.

WSIP was started in 2009 by a group of spinners based in the US, with the intention of ‘celebrating an art that we all love … this educates the public about our love of spinning, opens minds and hearts to what we love and allows us to meet new people, get together, and just have a really fun day!’ (all of which sounds much more sincere in an American accent, by the way).

We think it’s a great idea. Too many people associate spinning with fairy tales and assume it has died out. Some people are quite capable of telling you that ‘nobody spins any more’ in defiance of their own eyes, because you’re sitting in front of them doing exactly what no one apparently does.

In 2010, three members of the our Guild met informally in a park in a local town and spun for about two hours before retreating to a coffee shop. Last year, a few more went to Caernarfon Castle where we got rather cold but attracted a lot of attention. This year we went to a very busy local garden centre, where at least we wouldn’t run the risk of frostbite. We ended up in the lobby, now fortunately enclosed by glass.

Wheels were squeezed in among the plants, and the garden furniture proved extremely comfortable. It was a little more convenient for the spindlers,

who need space for a knee. And a chair. (Note that beautiful vintage Welsh tapestry garment, by the way – fantastic weaving, lovely colours and sourced years ago from a charity shop. Not so easy to find now.)

They also need their spindles, of course, and some lovely fluff.

We talked to a lot of people, from elderly local farmers to small children – who were, as always, fascinated. And we took the opportunity to demonstrate the range of what we can do. Instead of a cloth to protect the floor, one spinner brought a rug she’d woven from handspun:

Another was wearing a magnificent cardigan, which was strategically draped over her chair when she went for coffee. She’s a relatively new spinner (but very experienced knitter) and a garment like this, made from some of her earliest spinning, is a great encouragement.

But when it comes down to it, WSIP is about the process, and there was some lovely spinning happening on wheels as well as spindles.

How fine this is (and what a lovely basket, too):

But the prize for the softest, most delicious, so-light-you-could-barely-tell-you-were-touching-anything fibre-based loveliness shown on the day had to go to this:

It’s camel. And it’s gorgeous. Who needs plants, coffee and even cake when you can play with something this lovely? Unfortunately, we can’t share what it actually felt like; the sooner the web develops touchability the better!

Wonder where we’ll go next September?

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