This year was a little different because (a) I had very little money to spend and (b) I had Roo with me.
I won't lie, I didn't enjoy the experience nearly as much having to keep a constant eye on a curious six year old rather than immersing myself in glorious crafty stuff - although the sheer joy on his face when he showed me the stamps and ink pads he had bought with his Christmas money kind of made up for that! - but I still managed to come away with a new nugget of knowledge, some beautiful yarn and lots of inspiration.
A couple of years back I was lucky enough to get a trip to WonderWool Wales at Builth Wells (an absolute MUST if you love the fluff!!). Whilst there I bought a drop spindle and some roving with the intention of learning how to spin my own yarn...
Unfortunately I didn't pay enough attention to the whole process and, not having much luck with YouTube tutorials either I just put it away and
Fast forward to our CCS trip...
Whilst wandering around I noticed this lovely stall.
This is the Cotswold Alpacas stand - packed with gorgeous hand knitted cuteness, knitting kits, hand spun and dyed hanks of yarn and... a lovely lady called Bridget demonstrating how to use a drop spindle!
As a thank you for her time and explanation, I bought a lovely hank of hand dyed Alpaca yarn and a mini skein in a lovely pale blue that reminds me of winter skies. But I couldn't wait to get home and practise what she had told me...
My CSS haul on the right - I went for quality over quantity. The little Japanese Lucky Cat was a must have. Obviously.
The 10g pale blue alpaca mini skein knitted up into two hexipuffs for the Bee Keepers Quilt.
Wanna see my first attempt at drop spindle spinning?
I used some lovely alpaca tops - that's fleece that has been washed and carded and is ready to spin. It was beautifully soft.
It came out a bit thick and thin but in all not bad for my first proper attempt.
And it knitted up pretty well too! (I have little idea for something I can do with that swatch which I will share another day...)
Of course once I had started I had to go on. I found this bag of fibre marked £1 in my stash - I must have had something in mind when I bought it (although I wouldn't be at all surprised if my thought process went 'oooo pretty colours, oooo sparkly, oooo only £1!!') but at that price it was good for practising with.
The second spin went slightly better and was definitely more even. I do need to work on producing a thinner yarn though - a loose spun super chunky yarn is is lovely but not for everything!
I have been told that it's one of those things that requires practise and that it will get easier the more I do so I will keep practising and who knows, by this time next year I could be spinning up my skeins of my own beautiful alpaca yarn. One thing is for sure, it is very addictive and an immensely satisfying way to spend a Sunday afternoon...
Have you ever tried spinning with a drop spindle? How did you find it?
If you have any hints or tips I would love to hear them!