My spinning skills get better little by little, usually by practice, but sometimes just by the mere proximity to spinners who are better at or more interested in something than I am.
That happened this weekend at the Michigan Fiber Festival. I was there taking a class with Esther Rogers. I wrote about that on the KnittyBlog this week. I took my friend Beth Smith along for the ride. She had deadline spinning she could do while I was in class and is always up for adventure.
My friend Beth Smith happens to be the Beth Smith that is one of the foremost experts on sheep breeds and hand prpcessing and spinning of different breeds. She wrote a book about it. She teaches classes all over the world about. She talks about breeds, processing and spinning ALL THE TIME.
I spin, I teach, I know a little about breeds. I know how to wash and hand prep fleece, I just am not too into it. I don't ever buy fleeces at shows or have a fleece stash beyond a few 1 or 2 ounce samples.
Part of the fun of any fiber festival is the shopping. Beth brought along her fleece-needs spreadsheet for her upcoming classes so she could shop without going crazy. When we shop together she usually paws all of the fleeces and I frolic in the dyed top and roving.
All of that listening to Beth talk about breeds and fleeces must have sunk deeply into my brain. I barely touched top and roving. I waded into the fleeces with Beth talking staple length, crimp and lock structure. I dragged bags of fleece around showing her things she might like. I was a woman possessed by fleece. I showed Beth Smith fleeces like I knew what I was talking about. I helped to convince her why she needed more than the 2 fleeces on her list (that part wasn't hard).
She went home with 7 fleeces and this is the one I'm proud of, a Romney/Corriedale/CVM cross. Beth doesn't buy cross fleeces, she buys and uses single breed fleeces almost exclusively. I picked out this fleece, discussed the merits of it in a bossy way and convinced her to buy it.
It looks like I'm turnng into a fleece person by osmosis, just becasue of hanging out with Beth. What's next, hand processing? the love of white fiber?
Choose your crafty friends wisely, what they know and love will reach out and become a part of you too. After all isn't that why we're friends in the first place?