Today I teach my first class of 5 total at The Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair or SAFF for short. Today’s class is a breeds study that I started teaching a couple of years ago called Who’s the Fairest: A Princess Breeds study. We all wear tiaras and there is some talk about princesses and how each breed that we will touch compares with a princess’s personality. But, as with all of my classes, there are some things that I want people to come away from class with. First and foremost I want the students to see that there is a use for every wool. That Merino is not the be all and end all. Second, I want them to see that all wool can be used and so I often purposely stick a fleece in there that is full of vegetable matter. Not that those are the fleeces I choose when I am paying a good amount but I am not averse to a little hay and stuff if the price is right.
Tomorrow in addition to teaching I get to judge the wool fleece competition. Last year was my first year judging at SAFF and I loved it – even though I was super nervous about it. My experience is as a handspinner and so those are the eyes I use when I judge. It’s hours of me talking about fleece and sniffing them and rubbing them on my face. It’s hours of me getting to do what I love which is appreciating wool in all its many types. Last year’s best in show was a surprise to the winner I think but that Gulf Coast fleece was one I would have wanted to spin and keep for myself. I thought it was a very beautiful example of the breed even though it’s hard to categorize the breed into the categories available.
Then on Saturday morning I’m going to be teaching some students about judging for themselves in the fleece barn. We will go in there and choose some fleeces. I’ll talk about what I stay away from and how I make decisions about the fleeces I buy for my own personal use. Then I’ll help them choose fleeces for a project they have in mind or an imaginary project that they may want to spin for in the future. It’s a super fun class to teach and I love helping people make the best choice without fear.
The other classes are just as fun but a little less judgemental (Getting Even -spinning for more consistency and Woolen Style – making woolen preparations. But they are also great fun.
I’m hoping that by the end of the weekend I will have helped lots of students learn to be as judgy as I am.
If you’d like to have me come and teach for your shop or guild or you want to get a group together I’m always happy to talk about it. I have a wide variety of classes I teach and I’m also willing to develop something just for you.
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