You might remember this spinning wheel that I bought at a local junktique shop a few weeks ago.
It was missing a very important part, so I got on Facebook and found an Antique Spinning Wheel group and asked where I could get that part made, and was immediately introduced to a business called “Bobbin Boy.” I couldn’t believe it when I found out they are in Asheville, NC, which is just about a 3 hour drive from our farm. Better yet, when I contacted them (Alan & Milissa Dewey), they asked if I was going to the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair. The what???? I’d never heard of this event! I found out it was being held October 28-30…this past weekend, so I talked with Farmer Bob and off we went!
I was so excited to meet Alan and Milissa, and have Alan add the parts that would restore my wheel to good working order! I also wanted to meet Milissa and see her big looms and watch her weave a bit. She has a big, warm personality and I immediately liked them both. Here are pictures that I borrowed from their Facebook page of their setup at the fair. (I was pretty overwhelmed and forgot I had a camera in my purse!)
Farmer Bob enjoyed talking with Alan while I talked to Milissa. He said that Alan told him that he was led to restoring antique looms and spinning wheels by his wife’s passion for them. He’s a real craftsman!
Here’s Milissa with one of the two big looms they brought. I really wanted to try my hand at operating one of these, but my hip was hurting pretty badly and I didn’t have the energy. Maybe next year!
On Sunday, Farmer Bob worked all day at our family’s farm near Tryon, and I headed back to the SAFF. I got there at about 11:30 and started exploring. There were two huge buildings full of vendors, and I had a lot to learn!
This is just one of the booths; have you ever seen so much beautiful yarn all in one place? I love yarn but don’t really have time to do much knitting and crocheting right now, and I was here to learn about spinning, so I didn’t spend too much time in booths like this.
There were also some quilting and lots of crewel work and wool applique displays to see. You can see in the lower right corner of this photo that there were also looms of every variety. Since I don’t know much about looms, either, I was surprised at all the different kinds. I guess the triangle shaped ones in this picture are for weaving shawls.
Speaking of looms….right before I went to SAFF I did a quick Craigs List search on looms/spinning wheels to educate myself on what is out there, and a lady had just placed an ad for a Navajo style loom for just $60. It’s very simple but very sturdy, and Nancy and her daughter met me at SAFF with the loom. Milissa and Nancy chatted about the loom and I was delighted when Milissa gave me the thumbs up, so I am now the proud owner of this loom. I intend to make rag rugs on it.
I didn’t allow myself nearly enough time at SAFF for shopping and learning, although I did get to spend some time talking with some of the vendors about their loose wool and batts of carded wool for spinning. I was in such a hurry that I didn’t get any photos, but I DID purchase some wool for felting and some beautiful wool for spinning once I get comfortable with doing that. Then, I raced to my beginner spinning workshop! Three hours later, I’d spun wool into yarn and then combined the strands to produce 32 yards of two-ply yarn! I’m a spinner! (Not a good one yet, but I’m a spinner! HA!)
That lady on the left was our instructor, Julie Wilson, and she teaches spinning at the Haywood Community College. She raises her own wool sheep and the wool we used was from her sheep. I bought 8 ounces to bring home with me for practice, and I’ll order more from her, I’m sure. The gal in the pink (Ann LaForest) standing next to me is an experienced spinner who was Julie’s helper. Since there were just two of us in the class, Marty (in the white top) and I had private instruction! You’ll see that I’m not using my own spinning wheel….Alan didn’t have it quite ready for me and will send me the finished parts in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait to put it together and start practicing!
Here’s Julie’s website if you’d like to learn more about her and her sheep and her teaching: www.JehovahRaahFarm.com.
I bought the most beautiful wool batt from Susannah Johnson of BellaLuna Sheep & Wool Company. It has a thread of silk running through it and I can’t wait to turn it into yarn one day! Susannah raises her own sheep, too, and she said my yarn was from one called Boo. It was great to actually talk with shepherds and buy their wool!
If I lived near Augusta, GA, I’d certainly go to Southern Made to buy died wool and to learn how to weave and do other fiber arts. I bought some lovely loose wool for felting from this vendor.
Milissa told me I’d need to buy some cotton thread for warping my new loom, so off I went to the Earth Guild booth, where I bought two spools. I have no idea how much I will need, but when the gal told me one would probably be plenty, I bought two!
While I was in my spinning class, Kathy McCaskill of Old McCaskill’s Farm popped in to say hello. She’d come up for the day and I saw she had full shopping bags, so I can’t wait to see what treasures she found.
On the way home last evening, Farmer Bob and I stopped at one of our favorite restaurants for supper, the Copper River Grill in Boiling Springs, SC. Even though our adventure was just for a day and a half, it was fun getting away from the farm and being together without all the routine daily chores to occupy our time. Farmer Bob enjoyed riding his tractors at the farm up there, and I enjoyed learning all kinds of new things. We both enjoyed meeting so many interesting and talented people.
Now, back to farm living!