Saturday, 1 October 2016

Moving out of the comfort zone

A few weeks ago, I attended a spinning extravaganza in Lillehammer, Norway, at Scandic Victoria hotel. It was hosted by Spinnvilt, the leading store in Norway for everything spinning related. It was a three day event (I sadly had to pass on the first day, though), and it was just awesome!

I rarely go to events, as I sometimes have a hard time with crowds. But I'd heard so many good things about this one that I just had to go. Besides, the spinning community is very friendly and including, so having a bad time is not very likely. We were about 50 participants there. We had a big conference hall to park our spinning wheels in, and we spun and had fun from 0900 in the morning both days and until about midnight for the toughest of us :) There was an all you could drink coffee bar, and fruits and pastry served on buffet and a lunch meal both days included. We also got a goodiebag with several samples of different luxury fibres and other fun stuff!

Here's  about 1/3 of us, having a blast!
Lots of yarn was made in this room :)

There were friendly competitions too, one team event where we were to name ten different fibre samples just by look and touch. I learnt lots! And also one speed-spinning contest, where the object was to spin the longest thread out of 5 grams of superfine merino, in 20 minutes. It was really intense, and the only time the room was actually quiet :D There were great prizes, and everybody had a really good time.

Maria, closest to the lens here, won a loom in the main prize draw.
I spoke to her in the ladies rest room just after, and she was rather ecstatic!
I would be too.

We also had several great demos from two super talented ladies, one was Kate Sherratt from Ashford, NZ, and also Maria Shtrik, from Russia (her website is in Russian, but one can always look at pictures, or follow her on Instagram). It was so inspiring to see the endless possibilities you have with wool, and different tools like carders, blending boards and hand spindles. I am so sad I didn't take pictures, but I had way too much fun. The two photos above, is borrowed from Tóve, our gracious host.

I am a notorious thin-spinner, and all my yarns tend to be really fine. I was challenged to spin out of my comfort zone, and go bulky. For anyone familiar to spinning, this is a well know phenomenon. Ones hands seem to make what they like to work with, so doing the opposite is hard. I love fine knits on small needles, and I am also a perfectionist so I was having a hard time to just let go. I have thought about this a lot, and sometimes, being a perfectionist kills creativity and stop you from evolving different skills. So I felt this was an important task!

At the spinning event we also had a so called fibre-table. It is basically a big table filled with fibre that has been donated by all the participants, and the huge pile is free for everyone to play with. This means you get the chance to spin fibre unfamiliar to you, or just have a go at lots of colour and texture. On the table there were two drumcarders mounted, so everyone could try their hand at using these tools as well. Blending batts of colourful wools and even glitter :) Genious!

At first, I was a bit shy about it. But with some encouragement, I made some batts for my bulky yarn. Here is the result.

The photos don't do it justice at all. I am very pleased with it! Spinning thick was very difficult, but once I got used to it, it was fun, and I was soon back at the table for another batt.

I used a slightly different technique here, plying one thick thread with one very thin one. The result is a faux bouclè. I really want to experiment more with this, but my grandma's spinning wheel is not suited for thick yarns, as the orifice is small, and also the bobbins. Guess this means I am saving up for another wheel ;)

I was so inspired when I got back home, and I had a go on my own carder. I used a roving I dyed myself, just pulling it up into smaller chunks, feeding it through the machine once, while sprinkling some firestar (glittery bling) into the mix.

Start with one roving....

....feed into carder...

....remove batt.

Lovely carded batts, ready to spin!

It's so much fun to see how the colour blend and mute, and the effect it creates when spun. I spun one medium thick thread, and again plied it with a thin one. This is as much as my spinning wheel will take :)

For me, this was the highlight of my spinning year (apart from getting my wheel of course!). I met so many lovely, fun and inspiring people, and most importantly, I evolved. I feel like I have taken a few more steps on some journey. Who knows where all this wool is taking me :)


  1. Oh wow! It all looks so wonderful, and your bluegreen yarn is really beautiful!

  2. Oh wow! It all looks so wonderful, and your bluegreen yarn is really beautiful!

  3. You really inspire me! Every time I read your posts about spinning I want to give it a try as well!!

    And you can be proud stepping out of your comfortzone! Well done!

    1. Oh wow, how great! Yes, give it a try! A simple spindle is a great, affordable place to start. It is slower than a wheel, but you can still make the same yarns :) For a start you can make small skeins for edgings and small projects. I hope you get to try spinning :)

  4. Fantastic experience! I know what you mean because I tend to spin a fine thread too. I've been spinning for an Aran pullover for my husband and had to really concentrate to spin a thicker thread than my normal. Like you, I figured doing that was good for me.

    1. Yes! Challenges are good :) Good luck with the pullover, it will be awesome for sure!

  5. Hmmm... this really inspired me :) It just occurred to me that I could, if I learn how to spin yarn, make yarn for one of the projects I have waiting in my queue where it has proved impossible to get hold of a suitable yarn. I need a very fine bouclé yarn to make the jumper, and it seems it's no longer made. Interesting....

    1. Yes, it has its perks, being able to spin 😉

  6. Brilliant!

    I feel you when it comes to crowds (and for me -- new people and situations give me a hard time too!). I would say it was worth that uncomfortable feeling because you made some beautiful yarns.