Yes, that’s right – green, not grease (you don’t want to spin in the grease in public, really). To be precise, spinning in the Green Fair.
For the last few years a local green organisation has put on an eco fair and plant and seed swap in a nearby village hall. It’s been growing – as is entirely appropriate – and getting more and more popular. Last year and the one before, I was asked to take my spinning wheel and demonstrate spinning, alongside a friend who is a weaver.
This year I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to spin, so I asked a couple of friends to join me, choosing them carefully as people who would be quite laid back whatever the day threw at them (hall evacuation and firemen this time), and making sure I warned them first about the possibility of relaxed organisation and semi-feral children. Oh dear, that’s quite unfair. Let’s say children who are allowed to express themselves, quite probably using an abandoned spinning wheel as an way of demonstrating that freedom. And the Fair is actually well organised; it’s just relaxed enough that it appears not to be draconian.
I wasn’t sure enough about my spinning, or about how long I would feel able to stay, so I took a skein winder and some skeins I wanted to roll into balls.
The skein winder isn’t my most successful piece of kit – it’s an example of what happens when Wonderwool Wales is drawing to a close, you begin to panic a little and have a panic-buying attack – but it entertained the woodworkers. ‘How much did you pay for that?’ was the most common enquiry, so I suggested that they studied it and came up with something better. Or at least something sanded, with timber that wasn’t bowed, and with enough holes in the sides to make it fully adjustable. I’ve had a drill at this myself, so it’s even less elegant than it was when I lost my ability to discriminate late one Saturday at Builth Wells. But it attracted some attention, anyway.
As did our little patch of the Fair.
(Note small child contemplating spinning wheels with a slightly worrying air…)
But the main focus for many of us is the plant swap.
I took along a crate and a box, both full with duplicates – tomatoes, begonias, a fuchsia, a spider plant, a money plant – and I wasn’t going to come away with anything, even though my contribution entitled me to a selection of free plants.
I did come away with some, but of course. I took two tomatoes; I came away with two tomatoes. Different tomatoes, mind, and I’m sure I can squeeze them into the greenhouse somehow. Er, and the rest – an aubergine, several types of kale, etc, etc. Oh well. I tried.
And I got my wool wound, so I popped off to do some shopping and found a scene of organised chaos on my return. There’d been a funny burning smell, and lights had gone out. Everyone was being evacuated into the car park / outdoor exhibition space, and that included the people in the kitchen who moved the soup outside. Free (well, contributions) lobscouse or lentil soup for all. And firemen:
All in all, a good day – plants, people, firemen, lobscouse, and wound skeins of handspun. Then the generally positive weekend was cemented by the fact that Sunday was a very good day, the Sunday Market Spinners in Dolgellau, and I managed to spin for the first time in months. I paid for it later, but I spun. Yipee!
(I’m not sure the physiotherapists would approve, but tough.)