Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Silk Hankies at The Gathering

I’ve been doing more and more teaching these days. And the more I teach spinning workshops, the more fiber supplies I must buy. There are several advantages to this need to buy: I can keep up with current fiber supply trends and current costs; I get to see a regular turn-over of content in my fiber inventory; and I get to know vendors who are good fiber sources (and sometimes not-so-good fiber sources). I also get to share source information with others.

My recent participation in The Gathering 2010
in Vermont included more than teaching workshops. I also got to shop. I mean, I had to shop.

There were perhaps a dozen vendors at the retreat. My plan was to carefully peruse each booth for supplies I will need for upcoming teaching events. I’m always on the look-out for such things as good carded rovings, washed locks, down fibers, and silk hankies.

When I entered the room where the vendors were set up, my eyes were immediately drawn to the first booth on the right: Robin Russo’s The Spinning Studio (802-222-9240). Robin had two enormous boxes of brilliantly dyed silk hankies right up front. Wow! I shuffled through the first box, grabbing about 6 bags of various colors of silk hankies. I was afraid of losing control, so I stopped grabbing and paid for the hankies in hand.

I was very pleased with that purchase. I’m scheduled to teach my “Spinning with Silk Hankies” workshop twice in early 2011: first for the Manasota Weavers Guild in Sarasota Florida in March, and then at the Duluth Art Institute in Duluth, Minnesota in April. (See my website for specific dates and contact information.)

I then found a wonderful source of cashmere: Norma Bromley, who had been the workshop coordinator for The Gathering, raises cashmere-producing goats. Her business name is Boreas Farm Cashmere. I bought 1 ounce of a lovely brown cashmere, and 2 ounces of cashmere blended with silk. Norma doesn’t have an internet presence, but you can contact her by email,

My next stop among the vendors was at Vermont Grand View Farm. They raise Romney sheep and Angora goats. I bought 8 ounces of white Romney roving, and 8 ounces of grey Romney/mohair roving. Both are delightfully pleasant and easy to spin.

With my requisite shopping done, I returned to my room. That night I had second thoughts about all those silk hankies. They were so beautiful, and the price was right. I really, really should have bought some more….

So, the next day, I promptly went back to the vendors and snagged several more bags of silk hankies. In all, I purchased over 11 ounces of silk hankies. That may not sound like much, but silk hankies go a long way. Here’s a picture of my purchase triumph:

These hankies will be added to my current stash that includes wonderful silk hankies from two of my favorite sources of fiber for spinning: Bonkers Handmade Originals
and River’s Edge Fiber Arts.

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