You know how it is when you haven’t seen a friend for a long time and you just have so much you want to share and tell them and you’re just excited about everything and don’t know where to start….that’s how I feel today. Even trying to start at the beginning is hard but I’ll try to write this so it’s at least somewhat understandable to read…..
As I mentioned before my lovely friend Anne has been giving me how to knit sock lessons…for the past some years Anne has gifted me with beautiful hand knits which have included a Kate Davis cowl, gloves, a scarf…mostly it’s socks which if they wear out a bit I’m more than happy to spend time darning them…this year, not only was there a pair of beautiful socks but she’d also bought me a ball of sock yarn, a set of wooden dpns (those pointy at both ends needles) and a little pattern…and for the past few weeks she’s been coming round for an afternoon and over plenty of cups of tea she’s been showing me how to knit some socks…..I bought a second set of needles so I could work on both socks at the same time, and cast off my second sock late on Thursday evening…and was just so excited. I put them on and they fitted perfectly, and I could happily have run around the house going “wheeee”…..I knew on Friday I’d be seeing a couple of people later on that I know so wanted to wear my socks, but then felt sad at the thought of wearing boots which would have covered them up so opted for the rather odd pairing of red strappy heeled shoes with my little knitted socks….
I know it’s a bit of an odd combination and looks a bit mad, I did get a couple of rum old stares, but you know what, I didn’t care, and if people smiled well, it spread a little of my sock happiness.
In Norwich we’re lucky enough to have a huge library, in front of it is a huge atrium called The Foyer and there are often Art and Crafts shows on there, exhibitions of paintings and such like….I had a couple of books to return so headed there first and saw a big sign outside saying something about a Makers event being on….stepped through the doors and saw a group of women at spinning wheels, behind them hanging up were gorgeous fat skeins of hand spun wool, and from the banisters were woven tapestries….as you know I’m not often speechless…but I just stood there gaping, then quickly hurried over to them and asked about 101 questions.
The first ladies I spoke to were from The Mid Norfolk Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers and they were so lovely. I’d like to give a special mention to Jenn Monahan who was very kind and listened to me prattle away. Her hand spun fibres were so …deliciously coloured, both bright and subtle at the same time. She had a shawl there which was so incredibly green, seriously it was like seeing something a wood nymph or dryad would wear or that you could imagine Nimue casting around her shoulders before bewitching Merlin in the tree….
My phone is quite old and doesn’t take photos or do anything fancier beyond texting and making telephone calls so I couldn’t take a load of photos, but I did buy this dear little skein from her. It’s a blend of Blue Faced Leicester mixed with tony pieces of silk sari fabric….it’s incredibly beautiful and is as gorgeously coloured as a peacock feather or a blue bottle’s bottom.
Then someone told me there was an area where you could have a go yourself, so being more than a bit up for that I headed off and met a smashing lady called Margaret Gilham from the Worstead Guild. Margaret was weaving a chair cover using some rich orange wool she’d dyed with onion skins, oh I’m so cross I didn’t have my camera as the fabric she was weaving was so full of texture and nubbles and just felt such a textile treat for my fingertips. Anyway she was very kind and let me have a try on one of the wheels, I’ve forgotten what make it was but it had one pedal and had a big wooden wheel, very similar to the ones you see in fairy tale books,…no surprises I’m sure to hear I was somewhat all fingers and thumbs and my wool kept slipping away from me so she very nicely suggested I just try get the motion of the pedal down before trying with the wool…..it took a while as you have to keep your whole foot down but sort of lift up with the pedal before pressing down again…..but once I found my rhythm it felt wonderful…so relaxing…perhaps too relaxing as when I finally stood up I felt like I’d had one too many glasses of wine.
I had a few errands to run but once they were all done I went back and chatted more with the Mid Norfolk Guild and this time I had a try at drop spindle spinning….oh it was so good. My spun wool was somewhat…thinnifer and fattypuff all at once…and I kept dropping the spindle…but after a while my fingers seemed to know what they wanted to do. There was a very nice lady there called Susan (I didn’t catch her last name) but she kindly then helped me spin or ply my wool along with some she’d spun earlier so it looked a little bit more like something you’d want to actually knit with…..which is the wee grey poppet of a skein in the above picture (all 8 grammes of it)…the white wool was some Norfolk Horn from Gressinghall and the dark grey wool was from a sheep called Delilah who is a Manx Loaghtan/Zwartbles cross. I’m so pleased with it and keep picking it up to squidge and sniff (ooohhh so sheepy)….
The spinners and weavers and dyers will be there again next Thursday, Friday and Saturday and if you’re local at all then come on up to Norwich and pop in as the ladies were all so friendly and nice. There’s also some beautiful hand spun wool for sale which started at about £10 for 100g for sheepy shades, a wee bit more for wool that had been dyed. It was all so beautiful and you’d be buying something very unique.
I’ve just noticed how similar in tone and colour my wee skein is to the trumpster…all those soft and sulky greys.