Celebration of Spinning 2008 - Notice

Stoke Albany Village Hall, Market Harborough,Leicestershire. LE16 8PL. 1pm 1 November 2008

  • The Guild of Long Draw Spinners will present a 'Celebration of Spinning' exhibition and lecture on 1st November 2008 in Stoke Albany Village Hall, near Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LE16 8PL. The technique of long draw spinning will be demonstrated on the Great Wheel and drop spindle and various modern spinning wheels and visitors will have the rare opportunity to try handspinning for themselves on the various wheels. There will also be an illustrated lecture by Val Bryant the UK's, leading expert on spinning wheel history. and an exhibition of the work of Guild members.
  • Also on display will be a British Library edition of the Luttrell Psalter, circa 1328, showing a picture of a Great Wheel from which the Guild logo is adapted.
  • The cost to visitors will be £5 which includes the lecture and refreshments.
  • Great Wheels are rarely seen today. The few that exist are some four to eight feet in diameter and too large to fit into modern homes; they are sometimes called 'walking wheels' as spinners need to stand up to use them. They also need to master the long draw technique in order to operate the great wheel. The modern spinning wheel, of which several different versions will be in use on the day, is used sitting down and can be used with any (long draw, short draw, worsted or other) spinning technique.
  • The drop spindle is a handheld device used in the UK in Roman times, which can be used seated or while walking around.

    The Celebration of Spinning event has been timed for November (on All Saints Day) in recognition of St Catherine, the Patron Saint of Spinners whose patronal festival is traditionally celebrated on 25th November. St Catherine was said to have been martyred on a wheel, hence association with the catherine wheel firework seen on Guy Fawkes night, 5th November.

    Long draw spinning is the traditional method of handspinning which was used in medieval times on the Great Wheel. It is a satisfying skill which produces woollen yarns suitable for knitting and weaving. Long draw spinning can take place straight from the fleece which avoid hours of repetitive preparation and can be used to maintain the desirable natural characteristics of a fleece. Because long draw spinning produces yarn quickly; i.e., an arms length of thread at a time rather than a few inches as is commonly seen today, the method brings projects to completion is timescales more suited to today's demanding and busy lifestyles.

    The Guild of Long Draw Spinners was established in February 2007 and is Affiliated to the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. The Guild has members worldwide, and those that can meet on the first Saturday in the month in Stoke Albany Village hall with exception of July when the Guild exhibits and teaches long draw spinning at the two-day Woolfest festival in Cumbria