Monday, December 05, 2005

In Spinner's Heaven

I'm back from the weekend with MIL in the wild north (aka Yorkshire). All in all, this wasn't a bad weekend. It is noticeable that we are all gradually re-establishing some kind of routine and it helps to find normality returning to our lives. D and I went to the pub on Friday evening, something we hadn't done in a while, and on Saturday we took MIL to York for some shopping. I had plans to check out the LYS that I had located in 'The Shambles', but in the end we didn't have time to do that. Maybe next time...

On Sunday we decided to finally pay a visit to Wingham Wool Work. I had identified this shop a while ago as the only seller of replacement card cloth for drum carders, but before I was able to order the cloth, the owner informed me that the producer had decided to stop manufacturing the cloth! I searched everywhere and eventually resigned myself to having to order the cloth from the US. This would have somewhat defeated the purpose of a self-built carder, because the price of shipping something that heavy from the US to the UK would have been so expensive that I propably could have ordered an Ashford carder for only slightly more money, but because I am in love with the carder D built for me I would have been prepared to do it anyway. Then, however, the owner of Wingham Wool Work contacted me again with the news that he had decided to purchase the equipment to produce the card cloth and that he would be able to make a strip of cloth to meet my requirements!! Needless to say, I was over the moon. :)

Anyway, that was about 2 months ago and ever since then I had plans to go to Wingham Wool Work. As you can see - this Sunday was eagerly anticipated.
We decided to go there on the way home to the Midlands - it is a bit out of the way for us, so it adds about 1 1/2 hours to the journey, but it was well worth it. Wentworth is a lovely village so it is worth a visit on it's own (and I think I would like to go back at some point to spend a few enjoyable hours in a tea room there), but the shop.... ooooh, the shop!

It was quite tucked away and consisted of a collection of old sheds, all filled with fibre goodness. As promised, the owner presented us with a piece of card cloth to match the specifications of our carder (which, to D's delight, was much admired):

We then got chatting to the owner and he showed us round and gave us a demonstration of the old 1920s industrial size carder he had in one of his sheds. What a machine! It was fascinating to see the process of carding on such a large scale - all those drums, separating and fluffing up the fleece and turning it into a cloud of downy soft fibre. This tufty cloud is then fed into another machine which combs the fibre so it is turned into the neat roving that is available for buying.

Looking into one of the other sheds, where he had another machine, not set up yet, which will be able to turn woollen fabrics back into fibre, I spied something else, totally non-knitting related, which I had been coveting for quite some time - a potter's wheel! Asked about it, the owner shrugged and asked if I was interested in it. Was I ever! Guess what my xmas present from D is this year? It's a big electric wheel, so we will pick it up the next weekend we are up in Yorkshire. I will take pictures then. It looks like my little workshop / studio in the old garage is coming along nicely. :)

After that, I ventured into the shop, which is to say, into the various sheds in which the fibre was stored and where you were able to choose and pick (aka fondle) the fibre. It was a self-service system, so I got to select just as much as I wanted. With the certainty that we would return there very soon in mind I managed to only select a few things: Some orange and yellow Merino to complete the burnt orange Corriedale I got from my Secret Pal. I bought 100g and then another 100g of orange Merino in case I want some solid colour after all:

There isn't as much of the yellow Merino because I have already spun some of it.

I also bought a whole lot of white Merino roving - about 800g of it - to spin up some bulky yarn for some Rowan Big Wool pattern:

Further, I purchased two more bobbins, although I already have my eye on a jumbo flyer for my Ashford Traditional... It would make spinning bulky yarns so much easier, and more space on the bobbins is a good thing in any case! No picture of the bobbins, though.

Talking to the owner I also found out that he had a whole selection of spinning wheels set up in his conservatory, so I asked him if I he would mind me trying some of them. They had a selection of Ashford and Kromski wheels (and one Louet) and I ended up spinning on a lovely little Kromski Mazurka. What a compact and pretty wheel, and spinning on it was so easy! It made me realise that my Ashford still needs some adjusting to make it run more smoothly...

We stayed in shop until it closed at 5pm, then drove home. Coming home, I immediately set out to try my new Merino and managed to spin up some of the yellow roving while watching Lost on E4 last night. I think it will go very well with the Corriedale.

Also, here is a (not very good) picture of my orange hourglass. I finished it on Saturday and even though it needs blocking I have been wearing it all day Sunday and I am wearing it again today. It's keeping me warm rather nicely, despite the fact that we have an electrician round today who has disconnected the electricity (and with it the heating it seems) so he can work.

I may have some better pictures after blocking...


  1. Anonymous4:35 pm

    Oh am I jealous or what, it sounds wonderful. I think I may be planning a few camping holidays on the Yorkshire Dales in the future ;)

  2. ok, all that spinning talk went way over my head, but your hourglass is gorgeous, i can tell you that much!

  3. Anonymous9:21 pm

    Same a Kris, I didn't understand much about the spinning (sorry to be so ignorant) but I agree about the Hourglass sweater. I love this color...

  4. Hourglass looks amazing, and the fiber!!!

  5. I love the Hourglass sweater...and orange is at the moment, my favorite color. What yarn did you use? Just gorgeous.

    Your trip sounded lovely. A spinners heaven...edged in gold is about how I would picture it. Would love to see a pic of the carder.

    As usual, your tales of the day are fun to read and your knitting/spinning enough to make my head spin.

    Keep warm...

  6. Anonymous7:57 am

    What a great trip! Lucky you, a potter's wheel for Christmas!
    That orange hourglass looks great!

  7. Anonymous8:23 am

    such pretty colours, they look like candy floss! I especially like the yellow. Your hourglass looks wonderful, i may finish mine someday soon (once i get my book back from a friend).

  8. Anonymous8:35 am

    PS: love your new banner...

  9. Anonymous9:07 am

    great hourglass... looks just the ticket to brighten up these dark days.

  10. Lovely Hourglass! And I enjoyed reading all about the spinning, even though I don't know much about it (makes me want to try it out for myself!).
    If you do get a chance to go to Sheepish (the shop on the Shambles in York) it's supposed to be excellent. Haven't been myself but have heard others raving about it!

  11. Sounds like you had a great weekend. I'm glad life is starting to get back to something like normal for you.

  12. Ohhhhh !! You have a wheel ! Ok, now i am very green, have lusted after a new one for 2yrs now but lack of space means i dont get to buy one only borrow when i have time.

    Welcome to inner peace.


  13. Your trip sounds wonderful! I am just starting the Sweet mary Jane sweater in a dark green. I finished the sachet/guage bag yesterday. With the lace edge flipped up it looks like a baby hat. Hmmm. I'll keep this in mind should anyone I know ever decide to have more children. Anyway, I'll post pictures of the SMJ as it progresses. Enjoy your pottery wheel!

  14. The hourglass looks great, and so does your spinning! I've been tempted to buy a wheel for a while now to learn, you certainly make me envious ;-)

  15. Anonymous12:55 pm

    Your hourglass is superb! x

  16. Anonymous5:21 am

    The Hourglass turned out well and it looks great on you. Hope it's as comfortable as it appears.