More About the Learning Exchange
So first off let’s just say there was a beautiful Saturday sky at dusk yesterday. We’ve been having clear but cold weather this week, which I have to tell you I don’t mind. I used to be all about the warm weather, but now I’m like – not so much. At 95-degrees I swear I’m wilting. At -2, I feel just fine thanks!
Her gland or node or whatever has gone considerably down and she was able to go to the groomers yesterday for some much needed bathing and beauty treatments. They go pretty often, and they always looks so fresh when they get back. Our little poodle Max especially looks wonderful and some of the cats with a poodle fetish seem to get right after him and his top knot.
Finally let’s talk learning exchange. So twice a year the Handweavers Guild of America puts on a learning exchange where two topics are chosen and members can sign up. The fee is $15 and the time line is generous. We started in October and samples are due at the end of January.
We are asked to explore our medium. So you can mix the fibers with other fibers, dye, blend, etc. You have two sheets to fill out and it includes how the fiber came into your possession – raw, washed, etc. What you have done with it – meaning any preparations, dyeing, etc. It asks you for information like amount of twist or twist per inch on singles and plys – also direction of spinning – Z and S. They’ve had a yahoo board and a email exchange group for questions and random talk.
At the end you are to attach your samples – I’m just showing the second page because the first page has personal info on it… but you attach a fiber sample, a singles sample and a plyed sample or mini skein. Well… let’s just say that part is the pain in the behind. Getting those singles on the cards took a couple of hours, as the cards kept binding up on me. I had tried my darnedest to get them to lie flat, but with all the energy it was difficult.
Anyway now what happens is you send off your samples to the coordinator as does everyone else, and wait. The coordinator then puts all the samples together and sends you a sample of everyone else’s spinning. Your spinning is also looked at and judged by a master level spinner. These are the folks that grant a Master’s in spinning, dyeing, and weaving – whatever you choose to pursue.
So what do I think? Well for one thing I thought there would be more sharing and uploading of pictures. However, the groups and email have been very quiet. I had a few questions – especially about what others do to avoid that dreaded growing alpaca does when you knit with it. Other had a couple of questions, but for the most part silence.
I’m only guessing here, but I think this program probably pre-dates the Internet and the sharing spinners are now doing in real time. When spinning was a seriously solo sport, how would you get inspiration? Well, this would be one of the ways – to see what other folks would’ve done with the fiber.
While I had an inkling of this in my mind, one of the reasons I have pursued this was to get my skein judged – see where I need improvement and hear what I’m doing “right.” I say right in quotes because I believe spinning is highly instinctive, creative, and intuitive activity. Right is a matter of opinion and your personal preference and planned use. And let me just say one more thing while I’m on the subject here – if I wanted it perfect I would buy it already as yarn spun. There is no such thing as perfect and when you embrace that in your spinning and trust it will work out OK in the finished piece you will find some Zen in the process.
So I did a simple no frills sample of lace weight – simply because this is what I like to spin and use… so I would like to hear how I can improve. I’ll make sure to let you all know how it goes. I hope I’ve explained this well, if you have any questions drop me a note and I will follow up here so everyone can read the answer.