This is gonna be a short (for me) post because I've been on the go all day and am tired. Plus, spinning class is one of those deals where you can sum up half an hour in one sentence. That's exactly how the class was set up; the lady running it would give us all wads of different types of fiber and tell us what to do with it, and then turn us loose for half an hour or so. Then she'd wander around, offering suggestions and pointers. (I assume this is the normal way such classes are done. I've never taken one before. No knitting classes either, now that I think about it.)
One of the major things that made this class really fun was that it was held at the art museum, in the central courtyard (it was enclosed, but with skylights so we had really excellent lighting). Some people happened to be visiting the museum looked in, saw someone they knew in the class, came in to say hi and stayed half an hour, watching and asking questions. Once the other museumgoers spotted muggles in there, others wandered in, asking timid questions and being fascinated. So not only did we learn, we were like a performance art exhibit for the day, and got to teach some folks about fiber into the bargain. ("Do you save money?" "No, it's a for-fun sort of thing... but you do get yarn at the end of it, which does count for something.")
The class started off with completely untreated locks of wool, straight from the sheep. Still had lanolin on them and everything. It was a great thing to do, because it got everyone to experiment and try new things and give up on perfectionism straight off. We all got the message and had some fun. "Oh, look! A slub!" "Hey, an imperfection!"
Then most of the rest of the day was spent fooling with carders and different types of fiber, mixing them in different ways and then spinning them to see what happens. It wasn't originally what I was looking for (I was after how to spin a boucle and stuff like that), but it was still educational. I got in a lot of experience with a drum carder and a good teacher leaning over my shoulder, and now I know that I do want a drum carder, and that I'd use it, if I had one.
Really, the value of the day for me was to just hang out with ten, twelve women and exchange ideas about different fiber arts and laugh and have a nice time. We discussed food coloring vs. acid dyes, different types of wool, art yarn and the inevitable 'But is it art?' discussion (no fisticuffs). I compared surgical scars with another lady and we talked about spinning and knitting as physical therapy. One woman was wearing two wildly different, hand-knit socks (one neutrally shaded stranded color, one handspun blue-yellow-green self-striping), and explained that she's quit knitting second socks (I'm SO gonna do that). We traded bread recipes. We leaned over each others' shoulders and admired yarns and fuzz and slubs, and complimented our imperfections.
My experience with guilds and other fiber-related groups is wide, due to all the moving around I've done, and I've never met such a nice group as this one. It's the third time I've met with them now (this is the same crew that does 'spinning nights'), and they're always like this. Just plain nice (which isn't plain at all). I'm going to try joining the guild and getting back and forth between here and there, at least for the workshops. They're too nice not to.
And the cherry on top of the hot fudge sundae of today? The class instructor lives in Pigsbird. I have her e-mail and am welcome to send her any questions I have about the city.
We even had chocolate cake.