Saturday, October 11, 2014

On spinning (and the beginnings of a fall quilt).


Last Saturday, I spent most of the day spinning at a local craft fair. It's a festival that takes place every fall at a historical site, and they asked me to come and bring my spinning wheel. Since I was demonstrating, I could also have items for sale (without having to pay the vendor fee). I had spent the last two months or so preparing for the festival: knitting items to take, making several batches of goat's milk soap, cleaning and carding some fleece to spin while I was there, etc.

I'm not going to lie...I was pretty nervous about it. There was the basic fear of, am I going to sell anything at all? (It didn't help that the night before the festival, I had a dream that I only sold 2 bars of soap. That's it. I woke up terrified, ha!) But I also found it intimidating that I was going to be "the spinner" there. I'm not an expert by any means...I've only been spinning for two years and when I think about all there is to learn about spinning yarn, I feel like I know absolutely nothing.

But it was such a good day. I sold more than two bars of soap. (Really, I sold fifty bars. Plus over half of the knitted items I took. And three skeins of my handspun yarn!) And I got to talk about spinning all day long. Here's the thing...I'm an introvert and I'm awkward and I am so bad at making small talk with people I don't know. Quite often I'm bad at making small talk with people I do know.

But it's a lot easier when I'm talking about something that I love. I'm not saying that all of that interaction with strangers was easy. By the end of the day I felt socially drained. :) But I liked telling people that in the past, before spinning wheels, every bit of fiber in the world was spun on spindles, and I liked seeing their reactions. (It blows me away, too!) I liked explaining the process from sheep to finished yarn. I liked it when people told me they had an old spinning wheel in their attic that belonged to their great-grandmother. I liked being the one who got to introduce kids to the idea of spinning for the first time. (And this has nothing to do with spinning, but I loved it when parents bought a baby hat and immediately stuck it on their child's head. Because it was cold, and is there anything cuter than a baby wearing a handknit hat?)

Common misconceptions about spinning, which I gently corrected whenever I had the chance: 1) The drive band on the wheel is not the yarn that's being spun. It's completely separate. 2) I'm spinning wool, not cotton.

I came home happy, with stiff fingers and a neck ache, and smelling strongly of wood smoke because it was really windy and smoke from the blacksmith's fire kept blowing our way. (It turns out that spinning for six hours straight hurts. And if my posture is as bad as it appears in those pictures, then no wonder my neck hurt!)

(In case you're wondering, that ridiculously adorable little girl in the stroller is my niece, Stella, who will be a year old later this month.)

Now that the festival is over, I'm relieved that I don't have any crafty deadlines for a while, other than Stella's birthday sweater. I'm hoping to tackle some of the sewing and knitting projects I planned for FESA. Oh, and I've decided to make a fall quilt. Not just an autumn-inspired quilt, but an all-out Modern Maples full of orange and brown and leaves and acorns and foxes and...squash? Anyway, I'm so excited about it. I made seven blocks this week and this is my first time doing any kind of piecing besides just sewing squares together. It's addicting, even though I'm not very good at precise cutting or precise 1/4" seams.

(All of the festival photos were taken by either my parents or my cousin. I brought my camera along that day but didn't take a single picture! I meant to get pictures of my tables after we set them up, but oh well. I listed nearly everything I made on Ravelry, if you're curious.)

12 comments:

  1. So glad your show went tell! I'm sure it helps to have something to do with your hands while trying to talk to people.

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    1. Thanks! Yes, I almost mentioned that, ha. It did help to have my hands busy.

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  2. This could be me writing this post. :p

    I'm very introverted, too, and it's true that if we're not engaging in small talk... (I hate small talk like you wouldn't believe)... and instead are speaking of something that interests us we start to come out of our shells.

    Glad everything went well for you. That must have been such a grand feeling. Congratulations!

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    1. Attempting small talk just makes me even more awkward than I already am. :) It's true- it's so much easier when you're talking about something that you're interested in! Thanks! :)

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  3. How fun! I'm so glad the craft fair went well, and that you sold some of your items! I know the anxiety that comes with putting handmade items out for sale. It's such a wonderful feeling to have a perfect stranger see the quality of an item and decide to buy it - no suspicion of charity or obligation there! Can you tell that I struggle with reading motives into people? ;)

    The fabrics that you chose for your fall quilt are gorgeous. I can't wait to see it finished - especially the fox blocks!

    Oh, and Stella... those eyes! What a cutie. :)

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    1. Thanks! Yes, it is a lovely feeling when people want to buy something you've made. I am having so much fun working on my quilt. I finished seven more blocks this week, so I'm over halfway finished with those! Well, I'm biased, but I think she's a cutie, too. :)

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  4. Glad you enjoyed this day, Kristin - you are one talented girl! :) Love the fabric you have pictured too. It's so pretty and festive looking. Best of luck with your projects - maybe that cute niece of yours can help. :)

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    1. Thanks! With this quilt, I let myself choose all of the fall fabrics that I would normally pass over for something more non-seasonal. When Stella is older, you can be sure I'm going to try and pass along some of my crafty hobbies to her! :)

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  5. Sounds like it was a good experience! That's awesome that you sold so much. I so know what you mean about not being able to make small talk with people; I'm the exact same way. That was one of the hardest parts for me when I started my job in retail last fall, pushing myself to help customers. It's hard when you're an introvert! But now it comes much easier for me, even if I don't always love it.

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    1. I was relieved to sell more than I did in my dream. :) I know, it is really hard for introverts to make small talk!

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