Nov 9, 2013

Agriculture and Pastoral Show 2013.

Teaching spinning to my Nephew A.
Every year in the spring, in the long weekend of Labour day and Hawkes' bay Anniversary day combined, it is also time for the annual A.&P. Show.
This day really shows what is going on in the region in the rural communities. Over 3 days there are competitions in horse riding. Showing cattle, sheep and alpacca, and their fibre. A childrens' petting zoo, new tractors and farm tools, a fairground with exciting rides, much to eat and drink, woodchopping competitions, sheepdog trials, even country womens' institute knitting, sewing and jam making prizes.
The local spinning clubs, of which there are a good handful around here, organize shifts of spinners and weavers to educate the public and promote our national society. I was asked again this year too, and I took along my star pupil Olga, whom I taught spinning in 3 lessons this year. 
At the show I usually teach kids spinning, and often their mums as well. Especially those women that seem to dawdle, and stay longer than others. 
Very often I also manage to convince tourists to have a go.
I usually do the treadling, and guide their hands, while speaking the 3 magic words ; Pinch, Pull, Slide.
Then after a meter or so of yarn I stop and pull out what they have spun, let it ply on itself and tell them with much praise; "Now you have spun yarn , like people have been doing for thousands of years!"
I usually then wrap it around their wrist, like a rainbow coloured bracelet. 
And after a hurried 'thank you' they run off to show their parent.
We hope that those 10 minutes of using their own hands touching the soft fluff, and magically transforming it themselves, will stick in their minds for later.
I was busy non-stop with this for 4 hours!
And some children told me that they had tried this last year too!
A sheep gets shorn for us, and that wool is used, while the poor embarrassed creature lies somewhere close by, chewing hay, and feeling naked.
However when I teach kids I like to use multi coloured clean carded wool. Far more exciting to show your friends!
No, we don't charge money at all!

And weaving. That mum would love to have a go I think.
We had many interested men as well, who wanted to know lots of technical stuff about our instruments, especially my different looking wheel. And who were surprised to hear that new models with improved features are still being developed and sold around the world.
When you tell boys that it is a machine that doesn't need electricity, you have them hooked straight away.

Super Cute alpacca.
These were irresistible! They make  the cutest noises too, like overgrown guinea pigs. 
And they have such dainty little feet!
Which can really kick another alpacca that they don't like the smell of. Not so cuty-cuty...

Alpacca winning prizes.
Some of their owners give them kisses and hugs, when they win a ribbon.
Their gorgeously soft fibre comes in a range of colours, and lengths, like the near dreadlocks of the suri alpacca.

Prize winning fleeces.
Olga and I went for a good look around when our shift was over. We admired some of the champion fleeces on display.

Champion coloured wool fleeces.
Marveled over the amount of ribbons awarded to a fibre friend of ours, who specializes in Gotland sheep.

The finest fibres.
Had a touch and a feel of course.

The crimp so fine it looked like smoke.
And enjoyed the special smell and greasy-ness of a clean fleece.

A lacemaker with all her tools.
Also saw another ancient textile technique, lacemaking.
A very friendly lady gave us all sorts of information about her chosen passion.
And she sure knew what to do. All those gorgeously beaded bobbins. I marveled how she knew which one did what....

Her fingers made those lace bobbins fly.

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