Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Spinning a yarn in Birnam 4th & 5th June

Next stop on my world tour of spinning workshops (well, Scotland and Italy at least - for now!!) is Birnam, just 20 minutes north of Perth. It's a really beautiful spot, and the venue for the workshops is the Birnam Institute, a fabulous Arts centre right in the centre of the village. As well as exhibitions, studios and performances they have a great little cafe, so we won't even have to leave the building to get lunch, or a cuppa.

The three workshops are designed to follow on from each other, but are also self-contained. You can chose to take one, two or all three. If you take two workshops you save £10, if you take all three you save £20. In addition if you can bring your own spinning wheel to the third workshop, please let me know and I will give an extra discount.

On Saturday 4th June there will be two workshops:
Fibre Preparation from 10 - 1 (£40)
We will start with a whole fleece, straight from the sheep, and learn how to sort the wool into different qualities, and how to prepare it by carding and combing for two different styles of spinning. We will discuss why wool is so good to spin, the merits of spinning 'in the grease' or of washing the wool before spinning and how best to store it.  We will also take a look at some other types of fibre that are available to spinners and how they are prepared, and at ways of blending colours or fibres before spinning.
Learners carding and combing fleece at a recent workshop

Drop-spindle spinning from 2 - 5 on Saturday 4th June (£40)
This workshop is for people who have little or no experience of spinning using a drop spindle. It gives a good foundation both for those who want to learn to spin using a spinning wheel, and those who intend to continue to develop their skills with a spindle.

A drop-spindle is an inexpensive and very portable tool which can be used to produce a huge variety of yarns.  With a spindle, we can slow the process of spinning right down so the learner can develop a good understanding of what needs to happen during the spinning process, and how to control it to produce goood quality yarns. This is directly transferable to spinning with a spinning wheel.
We will spin carded and combed wool - if you attended the morning workshop on Fibre Preparation you can spin the fibres that you have prepared yourself - and you can experiment with mixing colours. We will combine two hand-spun yarns to produce a 2-ply yarn, and discuss why and when it is appropriate to ply yarn as well as how to 'finish' your yarn. By the end of the workshop you should have a small skein of your own handspun yarn to take home.

On Sunday there will be an all-day workshop:
Spinning Wheel spinning - the Basics 10 - 4 Sunday 5th June (£70) (1 hour lunch break)
This workshop is for people who have little or no experence of spinning using a spinning wheel. If you have learned the basics of spinning using a drop-spindle it will be an advantage, but it is not essential. 
You will be able to try at least two types of spinning wheel, and we will discuss the pros and cons of other types. If you already have a spinning wheel and can bring it with you please do - it is better to learn on the type of wheel you are going to be using afterwards, if possible.

To get started we will spin singles yarns, and then we will go on to combine them to produce a 2-ply yarn, and discuss why and when it is appropriate to ply yarn as well as how to 'finish' your yarn. We will look at how to measure the thickness and twist of your yarn and how to use it. By the end of the workshop you should have a small skein of your own handspun yarn to take home.

Yarn spun by learners at a recent spinning weekend

All materials and equipment for the workshops are provided. There may be the opportunity to purchase equipment or additional materials - if you want something specific please let me know in advance and I will try to bring it.

To book  your place on one or more workshops, or for further information please e-mail me at deborah.gray7@btinternet.com or call me on 07776092903.


Take a look at the Birnam Arts summer brochure at http://www.birnaminstitute.com/documents/BirnamArtsSummer2011_screen.pdf

It has a map if you're not sure how to find the venue.
They've got loads going on - right above the entry for my spinning workshops you'll see one for Lino Printing, run by my friend Marliese, who has a talent for making the animals in her prints all look happy!!