Iron Spinner

ohmygoshyouGUYS!  Check out this so-exciting-to-me stuff:

IMG_3229 IMG_3230 IMG_3231

Those would be my ribbons at the Cobelskill Sunshine Fair!  On the top is a first place in the natural colored wool class.  In the middle is a first place in the commercially dyed wool/wool blend class.  On the bottom is a second place for large knitted wool item class.  It was so exciting to see my stuff in the case with those ribbons and I was really happy with how well my items did.

I saw these when I went to the fair to participate in the Iron Spinner Competition, sponsored by the Golden Fleece Spinners and Weavers Guild.  Iron Spinner is somewhat like Iron Chef on TV.  You get a mystery ingredient – in this case a mystery fiber – and using at least two of the “pantry ingredients”, create a skein of yarn in two hours.  I forgot to take a picture of the mystery fiber and ingredients when they were all nice and neat and lined up.  The mystery fiber was Dorset and in the off-white natural color.  They pantry ingredients were all kinds of other fibers, sparkly things, ribbons and beads.   Here is the pile of the off-white mystery fiber and what I chose to add:


I was dying to add beads but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to do that.

Then the time started and I panicked a teeny tiny bit because I have never added anything to fiber I was spinning.   We were told to bring hand cards, which are big brushes that look like dog brushes and used to blend fibers.  I borrowed some but had never used them but had looked at a video and realized that it would take way too long to do that.  So I looked around at what others were doing and decided to just wing it.  I took bits of my various pantry ingredients, random colors and random amounts, pulled them out very thin and wispy, and put them on top of my Dorset wool and spun them together.  Here is what I got:


Then, that was taking me forever, so after I had done about half of the Dorset with this method, I changed bobbins and just spun my second ply with the plain Dorset wool.  Then, there were 25 minutes left and I frantically plied them together and put them on my niddy noddy (that pvc pipe thing which Paul helped me construct, used to make your yarn into a skein):


Whew!  It was a tiny bit exhausting.  But, I sat next to a very nice woman named June with whom I chatted and she kept everything light and funny.  She was so prepared and brought a table for all her things (which I wished I had done) and a scale (which I also wish I had done since I just guessed how much half my wool was and my plies were pretty uneven in length)  and a cowbell for ringing whenever they announced how much time was left (which I didn’t really wish I had done since one was enough – but so funny!).

In then end, here are all the skeins:


Mine is third from the left.  We had to name our skeins and I named mine “Why Did I Wear a Black Shirt to This Competition?”:


All that wool and mohair and silk from my pantry ingredients gets everywhere when you are fiddling with it.

In the end, guess what I got?:


To clarify, EVERYONE got a first place ribbon for participating.  But I did get an honorable mention and won that beautiful pottery mug (for my tea!).  Really, the point of the whole “competition” was to have fun and it really was.  Next year, it will be more fun for me now that I know what to expect, and now that I know to bring a table and a scale and not wear a black shirt.  And figure out how to add beads.

13 thoughts on “Iron Spinner

  1. Way to go, Liz!! Congratulations! Great job! And do you ever NOT have fun at anything? You strike me as a very happy, upbeat person.

  2. Congratulations! That skein is so pretty. Love that Iron Spin concept. What the heck, that PI shawl is a Grand Prize winner in my book! You wuz robbed!

  3. Congratulations, Liz! I wish I could have watched the Iron Spin – sounds exciting. I agree – the Pi shawl definitely was a blue ribbon project!

  4. Congratulations on your ribbons, however I can’t believe that something else beat out that beautiful white round shawl. Do you know what it was that did? Again congratulations!!!

    1. Thanks Darlene! The winning shawl was gorgeous and was knitted by a MUCH more experienced knitter than me. 🙂

  5. The Iron Spinner competition sounds like so much fun! I wish my fair had something like that. And now I have to go look up how to add beads to yarn…

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: