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Fiber Pile
Now, over a month later, I'm getting around to posting about Yarn School. Nikol made her post about it and I went "oh yea, I still need to do that."

In case I haven't babbled on about it before, Yarn School is pretty awesome. It's 3 days of fiber immersion. There's spinning, dyeing, carding and other fiber prep. There are all sorts of wheels (and drop spindles) to try. You get to stay an old school building and eat delicious meals as a group. It is being surrounded with others who are as into learning about making fluff into something usable. There's even additional days for dyeing or felting if you need even more.

So, my dear friend Zabet has gone for the past two years and something had always come up for me. This year, my goal was to get to Yarn School, and I managed it! Our friend Pappas also came along and learned to spin, making her first real yarn there at the school.

First day is essentially about fiber prep. There is a class on hand carding, drum carding, and possibly combing, although we didn't get to the latter. I got some good time in with some drum carders and I really enjoyed throwing bits of fluff in and running them through a few times to make interesting and fun fiber to spin.
Drum Carding

Then we were let loose on the dye lab (old chemistry classroom) with pounds of fiber and all the implements needed to turn it pretty colors. Adrian Bizilia of Hello Yarn was our teacher and she whipped up magic in the dye lab. We learned various methods to dye with acid dyes. We started off with crock pots and moved to handpainted fiber, wrapped with saran wrap and microwaved. We all had two pounds of fiber to work with, but I had an additional pound as bonus. At the end we had used all the crock pots, all the microwavable containers, and I pleaded, "Adrian, what can I do??" She looked around and then pointed at the huge roasters. I dashed over and finished my last pound of fiber.

One of the awesome things about Yarn School are that they have dye lab fairies who take all that dyed fiber, rinse, spin and hang it up to dry. It's like magic.

Drying Fiber
Since it was super windy in early October in Kansas, they hung it up to dry in the gym. I think that is just fiber from the afternoon dye lab.

My Fiber
My fiber, hanging up to dry. Also, the first picture, the one above the cut, is it all in a lovely pile on my bed in the science room.

Oh yea, our group had the science room. It was pretty cool. Ron (Nikol's gentleman) had some art on the white board, which I was particularly taken with.
Ron Art
Maybe it is just the snakes.

The next day was all about spinning. There was a circle for the more advanced spinners to do their thing, and another for those just starting. There were some demonstrations of different types of spinning and then some special ones on novelty spinning.

Bringing in the Wheels
Circle of spinners, with one of the teachers bringing in various wheels to show.

Talking Fiber
Adrian talking about types of fiber and fiber preps.

Some of the first finished yarn I saw there, spun and modeled by Deb.
Yarn School Yarn!

Here's some of what I did there:

AWH sample
Alpaca/merino spun as a soft single.

My first drum carded fiber, also spun at YS.

Ugly Yarn - Skein
My "Ugly Yarn", so called because it was a grab bag of assorted exotic fibers, plus maroon and fluorescent yellow wool thrown in, which I carded on the drum carder together to get a good blend. Turned out much better than I expected.

And of course, there were fiber animals as well. (And knowing me, that's one of my favorite parts.)

We visited the Alpacas of Wildcat Hollow.
Alpaca Rocks the Hair

Denise brought two of her angora rabbits to show.
What Not To Do with an Angora Bunny

Laura's Pygoras came to visit.
Yoda Cooperates
(This one's Yoda.)

Plus Cupcake Ranch's own little herd of sheep:

Hokey Pokey says Hi
This is Hokey Pokey, one of the "surprise" lambs from earlier this year.

Mr. Shivers
And Mr. Shivers, one of the Shetland wethers.

Shannon and Uncle Honeybunch
And Uncle Honeybunch, hanging out and being loved on by Shannon Okey, who was there to teach the upcoming Felt School.

I might be taken with the little Shetland guys.

Overall, wonderful experience. I'll go again if I can afford it in the future. It's just great to be around people who are just together to create.

And here's a link to my entire Yarn School set.
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January 2011

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