Saturday is World Wide Spin in Public Day! That’s tomorrow, so grab your spindles and find a Spin in Public event to visit. If you already know how to spin, get out there and try to teach someone who has never tried it. If you don’t know, it’s the perfect excuse to learn. Oh, and many thanks to Manspun for sending us the info on the event. Little did he know that I have a special place in my heart for men who spin! I’ll be profiling him tomorrow, so check back for that!
In honor of WWSIP Day, I want to introduce you to two of my friends, Buck and Greg. They are obsessed with spinning. For them, every single day is Spin in Public Day! They run a roadside fiber stand in Monte Rio, a little hamlet on the Russian River in Sonoma County, California. Their shop is called Two Guyz Spinning, and Tuesday through Sunday, the “Two Guyz” set up their wares and set up their wheel, and then they spin.
What I love the most about them is their unconventional take on fiber arts. Buck and Greg are dedicated to living from the earth, and that includes their yarn-making techniques. Their unique take starts with the fibers that they spin. They spin sheep’s wools like dorset and churro. They spin other animal fibers like alpaca and Kashmir goat. And they spin plant fibers like flax, bamboo, and hemp. The yarn Greg is showing off in the photo is some of his wolf yarn, and its just to die for. Buck and Greg take it to the next level when they spin fibers like wolf and wildcrafted bison. Collecting bison is tricky, because conservation laws prevent taking wool from any of the national parks like Yellowstone, where the herds live. Instead, the gatherers wait for the bison to leave the boundaries of the park to calve, and then take the fibers that are left behind.
Spinning for them is like breathing. It’s a reflex. The two learned to spin by chance, at Knit Out, an event in Washington D.C. They were taught by some Mennonites who were teaching and demonstrating at the event. Buck and Greg loved it, and have since dedicated their time to learning and preserving the history and methods of fiber arts. And they now have 18 years of combined experience. Watching them work is mind blowing. They are fast, fast, fast. In a day, they can transform about 11 lbs of raw wool into yarn.
The Two Guyz are truly adept, and they also have a passion for teaching. In fact, we did a trade: I showed them how to needle felt, and they showed me how to use a drop spindle. Buck and Greg are patient and helpful instructors, who encouraged me to go with the flow and not get caught up in an attempt at perfection. The method they taught me is awesome. It’s a Native American technique that plys the wool while you go. I used some fiber from my own stash, some baby camel. The result is a soft yarn with an incredible shine. Being a novice, my thickness is uneven, but any flaws are overshadowed by the sense of satisfaction that I felt from creating yarn.
Besides spinning, Buck and Greg also dye and weave and crochet. They use only dyes from the Earth that can be considered wild or ancestral. Their colors come from sources including: madder, alkanet, indigo, cochineal, walnuts, clay, Brazil wood sawdust, and mushrooms. (Cochineal is a dye that they make from crushed bugs!!!) They create hats with a stitch called Tunisian Crochet, or the Afghan Stitch. And they also weave beautiful blankets with homemade looms. And the newest addition to their repertoire is needle felting. I taught Buck, and he’s a natural and an innovator. He made a handbag with his own wool, and then created the flower using yarn that, of course, he spun and dyed from scratch.