January Spin-In and Our New Fiber Find

Peggy and I spent six days in Destin, FL at the end of January.  We were vendors at the January Spin-In, a spinning retreat like no other.  This was the 30th year for this event put on by Cheryl McWilliams and Nancy Kahrs.  These ladies do it right.  There is Show 'n Tell daily, games and skits and songs and dances.  I would explain more but what happens at Spin-In stays at Spin-In.  No photos or videos of the fun are allowed.  There are no workshops, no classes, nothing to distract the over 100 spinners from their spinning.  The ballroom is open as late and/or as early as the spinners want. 

There are lots of reasons why we love going.  You just don't have 125 spinners in the same room very often.  These (mostly) ladies really know their stuff and we always come away impressed and more motivated to work on our spinning and knitting skills as well as seeing the latest equipment and accessories.  As vendors, it's a great venue.  The spinners make large spinning circles in the center of the ballroom and the vendors line the walls.  Because it's all in one room, Peggy and I can wander about and shop the other vendors or look at what the attendees are doing and still see if someone needs help in our booth.  Also the condos are reasonably priced and right upstairs so we don't need to be driving all over town.  And we can cook our own meals - at least breakfast and lunch if not dinner also.

We were vendors at Spin-In for several years but we hadn't been able to fit it into our schedule for the last couple of years.  It was great to be back.  And we did things a little bit different this time.  Usually we take everything we have for sale - spinning wheels and fiber, of course, but also finished goods and hand dyed yarn, our own handspun yarn and both spinning and weaving tools.  This year we only took spinning related items - spinning wheels and tools and fiber - along with finished goods.  We did get a couple of inquiries about weaving tools and yarn but only a couple.

The biggest change was offering fiber for sale by the ounce.  Normally I bag and tag 4 ounce bumps of fiber.  This time we had Shetland wool, Polwarth wool, Bast Bamboo, Tussah silk and silk sari shreds in large bumps and measured out whatever our customers wanted.  All of these big bumps of fiber came from our friend Christine O'Hara of Spinning Straw into Gold.  Christine is on her way to nursing school and has phased out her fiber business.  We are very sorry that we won't be seeing her at fiber festivals anymore but I know the world will be a better place with her as a nurse.  Christine always sold her fiber by the ounce so we decided to give it a try.  It was a lot of fun.

If we can work out the details, we intend to continue to carry all the fiber we bought from Christine.  It is all wonderful.  But perhaps the best and most stunning is the Shetland wool.  It comes from Jamieson & Smith, Shetland Wool Brokers in the UK.  They buy 80% of their wool directly from the shepherds on the Shetland Islands and process it themselves.  It is without a doubt the most stunning Shetland wool I've ever seen.  I have spun some Shetland in the past and I always wondered how the Shetlanders could spun up such fine yarn to knit their famous Shetland lace.  Now I know.  They have Shetland wool that is beyond compare.

The Shetland wool sold really well in Destin.  The White is all gone and we are nearly out of Fawn.  We still have lots of the Moorit and probably 15 pounds left of the Dark Brown/Black.  I've already contacted Jamieson & Smith to see if we can continue to carry this amazing fiber.  I would hate for this to be a one time thing.