How can you hold a spinning workshop during lockdown?

I had puzzled over this when I first saw that our committee had arranged two Zoom spinning workshops. Many of us are now used to Zoom coffee mornings, church services, lectures etc, but I couldn’t see how a practical skill such as spinning yarn could be explained and demonstrated through this medium.

I was in for a wonderful surprise!

In order to have a successful spinning workshop you must have a knowledgeable and enthusiastic teacher, with good organisation skills, a wide experience of spinning and using yarns, and excellent communication skills.

Katie Weston has all of the above, which made it easy for us to listen and watch, and learn almost without realising it. Her language wasn’t over technical, and it was easy to follow her explanations and feel encouraged to try something different. I was very encouraged by terms such as “lumpy bits” (phew – not just me then).

Her first session looked at using spinning wheels and preparing yarn, with lots of very helpful information about breeds and their fleece types, and some technical spinning advice fed to us in a very accessible way.

Her second workshop was quite eye opening for me. It looked at the spinning process from the end point – the desired finish - back to the planning and preparation processes. She talked about woollen and worsted yarns, their values for different uses, and how to spin to achieve the yarn needed for your project. Although I’ve been spinning for many years, I had never considered so many of the gems that Katie explained to us. I have, in fact, been spinning in reverse – producing yarn, then wondering what to do with it.

Katie is the teacher who could have set me on the right track years ago, but I suspect I started spinning before she was born. Many thanks to the committee for arranging her workshops – what a delight!