Two weeks ago I went to Woolfest 2008, held in Cockermouth in Cumbria. "Woolfest is an annual festival celebrating all aspects of natural fibres - their sources, uses and products." It was first run in 2005 and is organised by The Wool Clip, which is a co-operative of farming and craft workers. This was the second time I have attended. Last year I purchased the fibre used for my From Little Acorns necklace. It is a very enjoyable event to attend, with a wealth of fibre, yarn and associated tools to admire or buy, live animals, demonstrations, exhibitions, activities and workshops ....
This year I went to a beginners workshop (from Carol and Pete Leonard, Carol's blog is here) to learn how to use a drop spindle to transform fibre into yarn. This is the result of my first efforts! It was very useful to have this technique demonstrated, very much better than trying to follow written instructions. The key now is practice, practice, practice. I liked having the pre-booked workshop to build my day around, and will try always to book up an event in future.
This picture shows two of my purchases. The yarn is from Fyberspates, and the wooden nostepinne from Kevin Rhodes. A nostepinne is a tool used to wind yarn into a ball. I found these instructions useful when using mine for the first time. There's another good resource here. Now, you may be thinking that I'm straying somewhat from the jewellery-making focus of this blog. Well, yes. But there is inspiration everywhere. I chose this particular nostepinne because I liked the pattern in the wood (spalted beech). This kind of pattern might be fun to emulate in a piece of jewellery, possibly using etching.
It was a great day out, and if there's a similar event near you, I'd recommend going!