knit | spin

Craft Sessions 2018

September 14, 2018

Last week there was no post as I was resting up in preparation for teaching at Craft Sessions 2018 and this week, well…now I am needing to rest after the teaching! ME/CFS is a frustrating, inconvenient illness but I delight in the capacity I have now. Such an effort would have been impossible 18 months ago.

I don’t like to leave posting too long though, so I thought I would briefly, gently, check in with you all.

Every year The Craft Sessions retreat is held in Yarra Valley, Victoria. It is organised by Felicia Semple and her trusty team, the same folks who brought us the Soul Craft Festival in June. It is an exceptionally well organised event that seems to emphasise community building amongst makers just as much as skill development. This year, I was lucky enough to go to Craft Sessions as a teacher, teaming up with Adele Moon for a day long workshop introducing folks to wheel spinning. As part of the workshop, we also explored various Victorian sheep breeds including rare breeds.

It was a real privilege to teach with Adele. Not only is Adele a trained artist, skilled knitter and fellow graduate of the Certificate of Spinning, she also has a background in education and approaches her craft teaching in innovative and creative ways. She has a wonderful way of bringing out the capacity of her students. As I watch her work, I kind of wish she had been MY first spinning teacher.

It was an extraordinary day, with curious, engaged students and a warm, friendly atmosphere. Mary Jane Mucklestone was also teaching there and generously signed my copies of her books, 200 Fair Isle Motifs and 150 Scandinavian Designs. I confess I had my books ready in a basket of knitted up colourwork some months ahead of time and I was so excited by the whole experience that I accidentally embraced her instead of shaking hands.

As part of the preparation, I spun and knitted my way through a range of Victorian sheep breeds including including Polwarth, Corriedale, English Leicester, Perendale, Finnsheep, Gotland, Shropshire, Ryeland, Romney, Cheviot and the critically endangered carpet sheep Elliotdale. I fell in love with every fleece and every sample set off  ten different knitting ideas. There are still more local breeds to try and my spinning fingers are twitching.

But right now I am going slowly.