The Kansas City area fiber community is really lucky. Jacey, the creator of Ply Magazine, is one of us. So for the past four years, her international spinning event Ply Away has been held at Crown Center in downtown KC. It’s a great event, featuring the world’s best spinning instructors, a vendor market, and the company of so many excellent spinners.
This year, I saw a class offering called “Spinning for Lace Knitting,” which I passed over the first time. How often do I knit handspun lacy things? On a second look, however, I saw it was being taught by Galina Khmelva, who is the Orenburg Lace teacher. The class was about preparing short-stable luxury fibers and spinning them on a Russian spindle. Since it was a technique I’ve been dying to learn (and since I’ve had four cashmere fleeces in my parent’s basement for almost a decade), I signed up.
First off, Galina is something else. She’s funny, she has all this knowledge, but she’s also no nonsense. She ripped slubs out of my yarn more than once. She also personally came up to me in the vendor market after class to encourage me not to give up. She mentioned she hoped to return to Ply Away in 2020, and I promised her I’d have decent yarn to show her when she came back. We’ll see if I can come through on that promise!
Russian spinning is not coming to me easily. It’s completely counter-intuitive to every other spinning I have done. Not to mention we were spinning with these amazing fibers that I was then butchering with my lack of skill. However, I’m determined to keep at it, and hopefully, with time, I’ll be able to spin just as well as I do on a wheel and drop spindle. Part of this determination is I’ve been waiting to spin those fleeces for a really long time! And part of me would love to make a classic, Orenburg-style, gossamer web shawl.
Ashford sponsored a morning coffee break during my class. There was coffee (and tea!), but also some breakfast sandwiches and a make-your-own trail mix station. So, thanks Ashford!
The rest of my day was spent in the vendor market, of course. I did buy the Russian spindle I learned on from Galina. My friend Sarah, The Sexy Knitter, was there with her fabulous tool tins. I also met this new dyer on Instagram before the show, Abstract Fiber. I bought some roving from her (on the left in the center picture). Looks at those colors! She called it Rock Star, which I think is perfect. I also got to meet the fine people of The Ross Farm. I bought some Shetland yarn from them for a Shave ’em to Save ’em project, and at this show I bought some squishy CVM yarn for another (on the right in the center picture).
Did you attend Ply Away? I’d love to hear about your classes or see your hauls. Leave me a picture in the comments or tag them with #fiberadventures