home from Yarn School

Disclaimer: I’m going to be honest about my experience and I don’t see any reason not to be. If someone doesn’t like what I have to say, that’s okay. They don’t have to agree. I know things are going to be as they are regardless of how I feel about it. This is simply my personal take on the weekend and I am allowed to have my own opinion.

I can’t say exactly what I had anticipated, although I know I was trying to keep my expectations low so I wouldn’t be disappointed. Unfortunately it was more that they were wrong altogether. In retrospect, I can say that Yarn “School” is more of a retreat rather than a focused learning opportunity. While there was some instruction given, there was a lot more sitting around and chatting. If that is something you enjoy, then you’d probably love this event. However, I had hoped to gain new insight into something about which I already know the basics (and am bored with). We were shown how to do long draw and beehives/coils, so that was helpful. Also, I picked up a few tips for using my drumcarder and tried different techniques for dyeing. I was able to spin on several wheels, some of which I had considered buying and now know that I don’t want. Everyone was extremely friendly and the food was fantastic. However, much to my body’s dismay, we did not eat at its usual times. Dinner was usually served between 9 and 10 pm, so I spent the entire weekend in digestive distress. The accommodations were pleasantly comical — the dorms were old school classrooms. There were many wonderful vintage decor items to look at, especially in the dining room. I appreciated the time away from home, out of my usual routine. And now I know I can travel solo without having a complete meltdown.

Overall I can say that it was a positive experience, although not what I wanted it to be. It is unlikely that I would return, partly because there are many other places to explore and partly because it just isn’t the way I like to spend my time. Honestly, I don’t need to fly halfway across the country to sit and spin. I can do that at home. Perhaps I missed something? I missed the point of it all? It doesn’t match with my need for structure, instruction, and constant activity. I tried to keep myself available and ready any time there was a chance to learn something, but it just didn’t happen that often. If you were totally new to spinning it would have been a great chance to have everything handed to you at once, but for the seasoned spinner, you were on your own much of the time.

Also, it made me realize that I like living in my crummy small town where I am somewhat special rather than being one out of many who all do the same thing. Upon returning I do have a feeling of “let’s get down to business”. Not sure I can go as far as to say “re-energized” or even “inspired”, but I do feel like I want to get more focused. I had to leave my wheel at home, which made me sad, so I am now ready to sit down and get some yarn spun. I know I should be glad for this opportunity, but I’m still slightly disappointed.

Didn’t get many photos taken. Just three in fact.

I spent a lot of the early morning alone. I’d get up between 6 and 6:30, have a nice breakfast (alone) and then go upstairs to the quiet gym where the wheels were waiting. As the weekend went on everyone’s fiber crept farther out from their seat.

empty room
My neighbor had brought her Schacht Ladybug and thankfully let me use it. Very smooth wheel! When I was looking into a new wheel, I had considered this one. However, the Kromski Sonata won out. I think I would’ve been happy with this as well though.


Everyone had the chance to dye two pounds of fiber. Each pancake is 8 ounces and a different breed. Can’t remember which is which right now, but they had Falkland, Polworth, Romney, and a wool blend. The one at the bottom left was done in plastic wrap, so the colors stayed just where I put them. I am going to chain ply that sucker for sure!

dyed at yarn school

8 thoughts on “home from Yarn School

  1. That is the trouble when classes are not publicized correctly. Do you think the spinning group needs to have more formal teaching/learning opportunities? Any suggestions?

    1. It might be nice to have something scheduled now and then! I do enjoy the spinning circle, but discussing certain techniques would be cool too. It doesn’t have to take up the entire time.

  2. Yeah, I was nodding basically all the way through your post. I enjoyed YS when I went years ago, but it was my first time dyeing, and my first time using a drum carder. Those were the highlights for me. The spinning part was … mostly enh.

    I was warned ahead of time about the mealtimes, and I’d packed tons of snacks. I’m sorry you didn’t get that forewarning!

  3. I’m sorry it wasn’t what you were hoping for! If it’s going to be a giant spinning circle, they should call it that, and not “school.” Also, they should give an itinerary beforehand so everyone knows the meal schedule. 9pm for dinner is not even in the realm of normal for the majority of people! Do they have a survey or feedback or anything? I would think they’d want to know ways they can improve the experience.

    1. On their website they give you a general schedule of activities, but nothing concrete. I guess I wrongly assumed that in those times when we were spinning that it wouldn’t just be a self-entertaining sort of situation. And no, they don’t have any sort of survey. I could email the person who owns it, but that would be too direct and scary for me! After all these years apparently everyone else is just cool with it. o.O

  4. It was great to meet you there Gwen. I think the “school” threw me off too the first time I was there. I guess it’s call that because it takes place in a school? IDK, I think you would have enjoyed Rigid Heddle more. It was so much more structured than the YS portion it was almost completely jarring.

    1. Abby, it was great to meet you too! I had a feeling (from the look of the set up) that the weaving was going to be serious! Wish I’d stayed. What’s another $200? hahaha!

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