Spinning wool was once a huge homecraft trend and while synthetic fabrics made a massive impact on fashion, sustainable and durable natural fibres have slowly but surely been making their catwalk comeback.
Today, wool and woollen blended fabrics are right at the forefront of fashion trends.
Nestled in the Market Hub in Coromandel Town, Sandy Valente (pictured) is teaching people to spin their very own fibre.
Sandy’s obsession with making something from raw fibre, stretches back almost her whole life. Within as little as four hours of hands-on tuition, she says she can get anyone spinning their own yarn. Wool is plentiful in New Zealand and it’s relatively cheap. Sandy has accumulated bags of wool, waiting to be spun into yarn.
It not just wool, either. Sandy has examples of Alpaca fleece that she has turned into a fine yarn, but notes that Alpaca fibres are best blended with wool or other fibres to increase their strength and durability.
Watching Sandy at work behind her spinning wheel is fascinating. As she works away quietly at the treadle, she carefully teases out handfuls of raw fibre into the flyer, twisting and spinning the fibres into yarn, which is wound slowly onto the bobbin. The whole process is mesmerising - a kind of mindfulness exercise for the ages.
Creating a yarn of consistent size and strength is a matter of hand-eye coordination and practise, but it’s something that literally anyone can perfect with time.
Sandy’s passion for natural fibre is infectious. Today her involvement extends not just to teaching people the ancient craft of spinning, but she has also been collecting and restoring spinning wheels. She has enough spinning wheels to accommodate whole classes of people wanting to create their own fibres.
If you have wool, or a wheel, or you would just like to spin a good yarn of your own, give Sandy a call on (027) 499 5436.