Spinning School https://www.spinningschool.org Pam Austin Mon, 25 May 2020 08:14:49 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.15 https://www.spinningschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/cropped-pam_s_logo-124x1241-90x90.png Spinning School https://www.spinningschool.org 32 32 garden shed https://www.spinningschool.org/2020/05/garden-shed/ Mon, 25 May 2020 08:14:49 +0000 https://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6740 Garden shed has been cleaned out. The poor thing is collapsing, the workbench is 2 inches lower at the back than the front;  it never used to be like that! It is over 30 years old, the centre part of the floor has given way, so nailed a board over the gaps for safety.  The […]

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Garden shed has been cleaned out. The poor thing is collapsing, the workbench is 2 inches lower at the back than the front;  it never used to be like that! It is over 30 years old, the centre part of the floor has given way, so nailed a board over the gaps for safety. 
The corner in the picture is a good 6 inches lower than it should be, so laid some more boards on top to help level it up a bit, but the trend continues downhill.
I know this is not good structural engineering practice, but the best i could offer. Im sure a carpenter would advise me to stick to my knitting…
Looking at the above I realise some of the problems could be attributed to the owner too – Ha Ha… words such as
poor thing is collapsing…. never used to be like that… centre giving way,  6in  lower than it should be…,and to end it all….. TREND CONTINUES DOWNHILL! 
whoops🏄🏽‍♂️

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Dyeing for new cushions https://www.spinningschool.org/2020/05/dyeing-for-new-cushions/ Fri, 08 May 2020 07:54:35 +0000 https://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6735 Dyeing for new cushions. ‘Time for a change’ I think so dye some merino rovings to match the chairs. All that needs to be done now is card it into rolags, spin it, ply it, skein, wash and finish it, roll into balls, warp up a loom to fit exiting feather cushion pads, weave it, […]

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Dyeing for new cushions. ‘Time for a change’ I think so dye some merino rovings to match the chairs. All that needs to be done now is card it into rolags, spin it, ply it, skein, wash and finish it, roll into balls, warp up a loom to fit exiting feather cushion pads, weave it, full and finish the cloth, sew it into cushion covers…

Why go to all that trouble? Answer: because I love it. Love playing with wool and colour and using my skills to make something beautiful.

When you love what you do, you do it beautifully, says John O’Donohue, and he’s right. Doesn’t matter what it is – tinkering with a Harley Davison, digging the garden, or baking a cake, if you love doing it, then you do it beautifully.

But if your heart is not in it, you might as well pack up and start something else. What you do will not be beautiful unless you love it. You can tell as soon as you look at something if love has gone into it – be it a shiny motor bike, a cushion or perhaps most important than anything  –  a smile.

 

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Need or want? https://www.spinningschool.org/2020/04/need-or-want/ Fri, 17 Apr 2020 13:33:40 +0000 https://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6729 Need or want – in these tricky times I have come to realise the difference between Need and want.  Wilbarston Shop has everything I need. So do supermarkets, but there, the things I need are not as obvious. On display are things I might want, but dont need: e.g. orchids, out of season fruit and […]

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Need or want – in these tricky times I have come to realise the difference between Need and want.  Wilbarston Shop has everything I need. So do supermarkets, but there, the things I need are not as obvious. On display are things I might want, but dont need: e.g. orchids, out of season fruit and veg, dishwasher tablets on special offer…and so on. I buy all these things of course! But these are the things that ‘cost the earth’ in more sense than one. They are not necessities – at least not to me, I now realise.

What do I really need? A roof over my head, means of keeping clean and warm, and food and water – i.e. protein of some sort, fruit and veg, and, of course, toilet paper! Provided I can get to the shop, I’m ok. There is much more in Wilbarston shop that I don’t need, but do want. For example; fresh coffee (roasted and ground on the premises) fresh cream, rice and pasta, wine, yeast, newspapers and postal services. 

There is more to want than meets the eye.  The eye stimulates want… until I know something exists, I cant want it  – hence the £billion advertising and packaging industries.  Or maybe, it’s not until I see something, or run out of something I am used to having, that want  kicks in. For example I want fresh coffee, wine, and chocolate. (all stimulants I note!)

Over and  above these earthly needs is a far greater human need; love. Everyone needs love. Without love we would not survive infancy, never mind a crisis like this. I’m not talking about erotic love, which we all yearn for at some point in life. But the love that transcends everything, for which a language does not exist to describe it. Love of the sort I received from my parents, and love I share with my family and friends and those who fit somewhere in-between. Those who fit somewhere in-between include many pupils and fellow ‘woolies’ who spin and weave. They love what I love. Hence we share a love and respect for each other and our individual uniqueness, and creativity.

We feel the same for our pets and gardens,  love that is indescribable, and the very essence of our being. This transcendent love is where creativity is found. When you do what you love doing, you realise your own potential, and therein lies joy. I don’t think this can be found in a shop full of things we might want but don’t need. It is found in simple things shared with those we love.

 Love Bears All things 1Cor 13.4-7 – I think it needs saying.

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Last Carrot https://www.spinningschool.org/2020/03/last-carrot/ https://www.spinningschool.org/2020/03/last-carrot/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2020 08:09:52 +0000 https://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6724 Last carrot turned up as I finished digging a vegetable bed yesterday. Top half is already eaten, but there is enough left to flavour a stew. Am glad of it; normally I would not bother bending down  to pick it up as my back aches enough already. But times are not normal. And backache from […]

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Last carrot turned up as I finished digging a vegetable bed yesterday. Top half is already eaten, but there is enough left to flavour a stew. Am glad of it; normally I would not bother bending down  to pick it up as my back aches enough already. But times are not normal. And backache from digging is not suffering.

Ive been cultivating my garden for 30 years with a lovely old fork that belonged to my father-in-law (he died in the 1960s). When I started, the garden was full of twitch(couch-grass), a tangled network of roots enough to fill a wheelbarrow in every square yard, it had to be removed as it will grow straight though a carrot and chokes everything. All that remains now is creeping grass that grows on the surface – much easier to deal with.

Once I could dig all afternoon, now I dig for 20 minutes, then have to sit in the greenhouse for 20 minutes to recover. I also meditate for 20 minutes each day too. Im very fortunate indeed to have backache from digging my garden, so many people could do with a garden at the moment. Gardener’s backache is not REAL suffering….as the world’s leading  Christian Meditator, Laurence Freeman OSB explains in his Lenten message today;

Suffering, and we are all experiencing it in this crisis, should be avoided or reduced, if we can. But if we can’t, let’s learn from it. Let’s hope that after this passes and we begin the recovery, we will have a better understanding of what ‘normal’ really means.  Normal use of time, normal weather, normal relationships. How we use this time can help us find the centredness and balance that the Cross also symbolises. Then we will be less prone to blame and more ready to act well. Just by being who we are (like Jesus did) we will be agents of change for the normal that is real.’ 

– unlike digging, meditation gets easier as time passes http://WCCM.org 

 

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Lady Day in Lockdown-Freedom to just Be https://www.spinningschool.org/2020/03/lady-day-in-lockdown-freedom-to-just-be/ Wed, 25 Mar 2020 09:25:26 +0000 https://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6719 Today is Lady Day, traditionally the day peasants were hired and tenants paid their rent. Also, in Medieval times, no-one was ever allowed to leave their parish; absconders were pursued and punished. Travel was never an option in those days. But the same sun shone then as it is doing now on this, the world’s […]

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Today is Lady Day, traditionally the day peasants were hired and tenants paid their rent. Also, in Medieval times, no-one was ever allowed to leave their parish; absconders were pursued and punished. Travel was never an option in those days. But the same sun shone then as it is doing now on this, the world’s first,  Lady Day in Lockdown. The day has its blessings…maybe I cant go anywhere but I have more freedom than ever in my life. Freedom to just Be.
My attention is on Now, today, this glorious moment when I feel OK. I have everything I really need at this very moment. So I am just ‘Being’ in the moment, and relishing the privilege of sharing my thoughts with you. Thank you for reading so far.
There is no need for a TO DO list in my life any more. I have space in my head for all that I need to do today. Space to live in the moment….Suddenly life is so easy….
The sun was shining on my knitting this morning. It is my own dyeing and spinning, and my own design. Am down to the last bobbin so will have to start dyeing again soon
My  Spinningschool on-line coffee-morning experiments (for my many spinners and pupils who may be missing our regular meetings) have gone well – thank you Gillian, Judith, Frances, Lucy and Jane for your help.  The plan is to be ‘open for coffee and chat (bring your own coffee!) from 11-11.40 every weekday starting tomorrow….

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Spinning and weaving lessons are all cancelled https://www.spinningschool.org/2020/03/spinning-and-weaving-lessons-are-all-cancelled/ Fri, 20 Mar 2020 10:40:02 +0000 https://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6715 Spinning and Weaving lessons are all cancelled along with all events  – I dont like it, but it has to be done. However, on the bright side, two of my cancelled weaving bookings have already taken up my offer of an Ashford 16” rigid Heddle loom for £147 with free delivery and  online support; plus […]

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Spinning and Weaving lessons are all cancelled along with all events  – I dont like it, but it has to be done. However, on the bright side, two of my cancelled weaving bookings have already taken up my offer of an Ashford 16” rigid Heddle loom for £147 with free delivery and  online support; plus money back (less 30%) if they are not happy. Same extends to you all. 
There Never Was a Better Time to Shift the Stash. But first Im hatching a plan. Am thinking of all my pupils past and present, never forget anyone, but thinking particularly those of you who, like me, are living alone. We have many blessings for which I am mindful and very thankful.
 My next  Spinning retreat at Launde Abbey is fully booked for 26-28th May but I doubt it will happen. The abbey closes this weekend until 18th May. At the moment I cannot do anything. But, it is reassuring to know that those whose retreats have been cancelled, have been offered a credit, option to make a donation, or can have a full refund.   My thoughts go to all those whose livelihoods depend upon Launde Abbey.  
I can only live in the moment, now,  today; I cant live in yesterday, nor can I live in tomorrow. So right now I am hatching a plan…as there is no point in worrying about the future, same as no point in picking over the scars of the past. My plan today is gardening, spinning for my new pullover, cello practise, reading, knitting my new pullover, blitz the sewing room, clear out the spinning stable, burn my rubbish, tidy the shed. Then it will be time for breakfast (and probably December!)
Do let me know how you are getting on and if there is anything I can help with – even a chat on FaceTime
Should we try to hold a FaceTime coffee morning at 11.00am on 1st April when we were planning a farm visit?
Finally I share with you  this glorious photo from Liz  which tells me:
Life goes on, there are been disasters before and there wll be again, but lambs will still be born like these lovely black and white twins who turned up on 17th March – and vegetables will still grow, but only if we plant them – So Im just going to get on with it.

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Spinning on a great wheel https://www.spinningschool.org/2020/01/spinning-on-a-great-wheel/ Thu, 16 Jan 2020 10:00:22 +0000 https://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6707 Spinning on a great wheel is the ultimate test of competence in hand spinning. Unless you can spin long draw it is not possible to use  a great  wheel effectively. Spinning is done with the left hand while the right hand turns the wheel. The spinner walks backwards drawing out long lengths of singles thread […]

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Spinning on a great wheel is the ultimate test of competence in hand spinning. Unless you can spin long draw it is not possible to use  a great  wheel effectively. Spinning is done with the left hand while the right hand turns the wheel. The spinner walks backwards drawing out long lengths of singles thread at a time – as Marlena demonstrates here at her first  lesson on the great wheel this week.

spinning lesson on great wheel

She learned long draw on a traditional wheel and also spins on a top-whorl drop spindle. After an hour or so she was able to produce a thread. As most spinners are right -handed, the first task is to get used to drawing out the thread with the left hand instead of the right.

During the lesson I took a  video. It proved an invaluable teaching aid. We played it back on my iMac big screen. I stopped the video at relevant points to explain how she could improve her technique – simple things like ‘if your hand was here instead of there, you would be able to’…etc. 

I love sharing my passion for long draw spinning – life’s too short for anything less than long draw in my opinion. Teaching on the Great Wheel is a particular joy because I feel it connects across the centuries. I am passing on a skill that transcends time and space. It is a magical experience.

Unlike on a modern traditional wheel, there is no orifice or flyer on a Great wheel. Instead, twist is made by keeping the leader thread on the point of the spindle shaft. Because the wheel is so large and the spindle it drives very small, twist is made very quickly.  And so thread. The spindle point needs to be fairly sharp – how the  fairy tale Princess pricked her finger! Spinning on great wheel is easier from rolags (carded, sausage-shaped rolls of fleece), as was the standard practice in Medieval times.

My great wheel is a replica of one we know existed in the 1300s (P Austin: HandSpinning Essential technical and creative skills. Crowood Press 2018, page40).

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Gift of Spinning at Christmas https://www.spinningschool.org/2019/12/gift-of-spinning-at-christmas/ https://www.spinningschool.org/2019/12/gift-of-spinning-at-christmas/#comments Wed, 18 Dec 2019 16:37:17 +0000 https://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6701 Gift of Spinning at Christmas is often overlooked. Without spinning Jesus,Mary, Joseph, shepherds and kings would all be naked.  Apart from hide or felt, I can’t think of a way to make clothing without spinning. Even domesticating animals requires rope – i.e. spun or twisted fibre, for tethering and fencing. Spinning must be the most […]

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Gift of Spinning at Christmas is often overlooked. Without spinning Jesus,Mary, Joseph, shepherds and kings would all be naked.  Apart from hide or felt, I can’t think of a way to make clothing without spinning. Even domesticating animals requires rope – i.e. spun or twisted fibre, for tethering and fencing. Spinning must be the most ancient of skills, like making fire.  But spinning mostly goes unnoticed.

These spinning wheels in my studio window will soon be Christmas gifts. I believe the real gift is in the spinning. I have seen a lot of healing take place when people come to spinning; too much for it to be an accident.   In learning to spin, it seems as if people often reconnect with themselves or ancestry at some deep level. And in doing so, they find peace and satisfaction; not necessarily a cure, but a healing.

Historically, not much is recorded about spinning and textiles. Yet we are quite accustomed to seeing portraits of kings and queens displaying their wealth and power through their clothing. And stand silent in awe as ancient Egyptian kings are exhumed from their tombs wrapped in cotton spun more finely than any you can buy today in John Lewis.  It seems odd that something so integral should get so little attention.

Spinning is timeless. Like Christmas, it is full of mystery, and love, and is a paradox. Kings bring ‘valuable’ gifts of gold frankincense and myrrh, while the work of an unknown spinner preserves the life of a baby as his mother wraps Him in swaddling clothes…

 

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First long draw spinner from Japan https://www.spinningschool.org/2019/11/6689/ Thu, 07 Nov 2019 20:18:04 +0000 https://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6689 My first pupil from Japan has earned her Long Draw Spinner rosette after only two lessons. A tremendous achievement for a pupil whose first lesson took place just three weeks ago. She has also made the felted fox who My first pupil from Japan has earned her Long draw Spinner Rosette after only two lessons. A tremendous achievement […]

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My first pupil from Japan has earned her Long Draw Spinner rosette after only two lessons. A tremendous achievement for a pupil whose first lesson took place just three weeks ago. She has also made the felted fox who My first pupil from Japan has earned her Long draw Spinner Rosette after only two lessons. A tremendous achievement for a pupil who first lesson took place just three weeks ago. She has also made a felted fox who looks very cosy hiding beneath the rosette. She chose an Ashford Joy wheel that folds up  into a strong secure bag suitable for air freight, so that she can take it back to Japan when she returns. I am hopeful that Japan will soon have its first Long Draw Spinning teacher.  

Felted fox

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The Joy of Socks https://www.spinningschool.org/2019/11/the-joy-of-socks/ Mon, 04 Nov 2019 10:15:04 +0000 https://www.spinningschool.org/?p=6678 The joy of socks is all-embracing. Someone asked me the other day if I ever wear anything I have spun? Well Yes,I do. And so do lots of other people too. Mostly it is socks; from the joy of spinning, through knitting and wearing them or, better still, giving them to someone I love to […]

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The joy of socks is all-embracing. Someone asked me the other day if I ever wear anything I have spun? Well Yes,I do. And so do lots of other people too. Mostly it is socks; from the joy of spinning, through knitting and wearing them or, better still, giving them to someone I love to wear, socks are a ceaseless source of pleasure. Seamless socks The joy of putting your feet in a pair of hand knitted socks needs to be experienced to be believed. One of my grandsons only wears his when he doesn't feel well - calls them his 'Poorly socks'. Hand knitted socks stay where they are put because they are knitted slightly smaller than the foot and the knitted yarn - I use 75% wool with something stronger like silk - eases out to a snug fit where necessary and hugs close in the other places. And there are no seams to press on little toes in your shoes. Mine are mostly made from a single length of yarn from top to toe with no join.
Hand dyed Blue faced Leicester fleece – 75% of sock yarn.
This summer I made some 'Sweet pea socks' as the dyed yarn was just the colours of some sweet peas growing beside my greenhouse. I mixed in some silk for strength and luxurious feel, along with some angelina fibre to add a little sparkle. I was not knitting them for anyone in particular, just because that is what I do.
Summer day on the Nene
On the day I finished Sweet Pea socks I was on my boat; a 50+ year old cabin cruiser that has seen better days like its owner, but happily both are still afloat. I was peacefully moored up near Fotheringhay on a sunny Sunday afternoon ready to attend a concert in the church in the evening. One of my daughter's called to say she was sitting on the river bank with a bottle of champagne and would I pick her up? Well I don't like going under Fotheringhay bridge but the attraction of my daughter on the other side of it with a bottle of Champagne was good reason to put down my knitting and head off under it once more (the bridge is a bit too small in my opinion...). We opened the champagne. I finished the socks. She tried them on. They fitted perfectly. What Joy!
Sweet pea socks

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