… well, in GreenWood Forest Park, to be exact. Don’t know quite how to describe it, but let’s just say that if you’ve got kids it’s a wonderful place, and urge anyone who has never been on a people-propelled rollercoaster or done a barefoot trek to check out their website.
They also have crafts for visitors to investigate. Including ours, earlier this week:
We were pleased to be invited to go and spin, and were even more pleased that it was a lovely day and that we were very comfortably ensconced in the craft area – we’d have been fine even if the weather had been less than lovely.
No sooner had we started to spread out our examples and set up our wheels than people started stopping and chatting – the first family had angora rabbits and were very keen to know if they could use their combings, and how. Drop spindles were produced, and it went on from there – one family of four took to spindling as though they’d been doing it for years. Wonderful!
They are all going to take it up when they get home – mind you, we are probably responsible for several unusual present requests this winter too; enthusiasm extended to wheels and looms.
So it wasn’t just the drop spindles:
Quite a few teenagers instantly got spinning on a wheel (so envious) and were spinning beautifully within minutes of being shown how.
Adults, of course, got a look in too,
and quite a few of them became proficient very quickly, as well.
Even those who wouldn’t have a try (and there were many who weren’t so brave) were very happy to stop and have a chat. We seized the opportunity to spread the word, and make people think a bit – about, for example, how every single thread in every single piece of fabric, from pants to ships’ sails, would once have been spun by hand.
That’s another person who’d never spun before. Look how even the thread is. See? Naturals.
We’d laid out a table of samples, everything from locks of different sheep breeds’ fleeces to finished garments and works in progress, and they also proved a great focus for discussion. We talked to everyone from grandmothers knitting for their grandchildren to a crochet-addicted mum and a daughter who had been collecting the bits of fleece that get caught in fence wire. It wasn’t just the women, either: we had men who were fascinated by the history and the simple but effective engineering of a wheel, and though we couldn’t persuade any of the men to have an actual go on a wheel, plenty of boys did. Come on, chaps – we all know male spinners, but they generally spin in relative privacy. Get your wheels out…
By the end of the afternoon, we were all quite tired and hoarse, but very, very pleased with our day, spinning in such an idyllic (and very friendly) setting. As the visitors began to drift away from the Park, we were able to assess the day – fabulous.
Here are some more photographs from our lovely day, spinning in public if not on the official September SIP day and taken in a few snatched moments, in between chats and demonstrations and setting up wheels and casting on knitting to show that yes, you can knit with handspun yarn, the finish is just a bit different. Hopefully, GreenWood will have us back. Fingers crossed!