Hello. I learnt to spin at the Craft Centre at Princetown on Dartmoor (think of the prison and it is about 1/4 of a mile along the road!), and my tutor Jane Deane is brilliant. I have a handmade oak Saxony wheel, which I adore.
Funny story about fibre: in a local paper I saw an ad for alpaca fleece so rang the lady who was selling it. Got told it consisted of the fleeces from 4 individual animals. After setting the satnav, off we drove, down ever narrowing country lanes, almost too narrow for the car I had then. Once there I met the alpacas - and got spat at for my troubles, my husband having kept a discrete distance from them - and was impressed with their beautiful colourings. Bought the fleeces for £60 all in, which for good quality ones is not a bad price here. Took the lot to see Jane at the Centre and we went up to the large room to be able to sort them all out. Well - out came fleece after fleece after fleece after fleece - yes there definately were 12 fleeces from 4 animals x 3 years shearings! Neither Jane, my husband nor I could stop laughing, so obviously everyone else comes to see what is causing the great hilarity. There we are covered in alpaca and discovering that once you get it out of the nice big black plastic bags it REALLY does not want to go back in again! Stephen goes to the local shop, not once but twice, for more bags and we begin to put it all into managable amounts. There are 2 cream fleeces x 3 each, but of very obviously differing shades; 1 pure black fleece x 3 and finally 1 amazing russet coloured fleece x 3. Naturally all this was far to much for one beginner to handle, so Jane and I shared it 50/50. We grinned all the way back down to her studio, masses of black plastic sacks in hand - what had started out as a decent priced deal had turned into the bargain of the century - each fleece actually ending up costing just £5.00 each - boy were we happy!
Now having our own 3 cats and the 3 kittens we were socialising for Woodside Animal Sanctuary (we became their 'forever' home and parents yesterday) I put all the bags in the loft - so I thought. Young Thomas, 1 of the kittens, found a stray bag which had 'disappeared' under the sideboard and decided that he really had to share all of this great find with his brother and sister - so we ended up with alpaca everywhere and wondering where on earth it had come from. Some judicious following of a kitten provided the answer and the bag retrieved, much to the disappointment of 3 kittens. Now all I have to do is remove stray alpaca hair from everything Thomas thought needed to be decorated with it! Ah, ain't life grand.