6 Tips for Taking a Handspinning Vacation

Planning a handspinning vacation this summer? Check out Cherie Cornick’s tips, which were featured in the Winter 2018 issue of Spin Off. Cherie and her husband, Tim, took a trip to Ireland and Scotland, and here’s what she learned about including fiber destinations in her travel plans.

You may have luck finding fiber experiences on vacation through serendipity alone, but a few tips can make your fiber vacation dreams come true.

1. Identify fiber destinations before finalizing travel plans.

Begin with an Internet search. Using variations of your search words can reap unexpected places to visit. For general yarn shops, Planet Purl offers an international yarn shop directory by country and city as well as dictionaries of words and phrases to help you ask for what you want. Reach out in advance to verify whether visitors are welcome at specific times.

handspinning vacation

Freda Magill of Wool Initiative in Rathfriland, County Down, Northern Ireland, and her girls, Wensleydale ewes. Photos by Timothy Cornick

2. Allow enough time.

Don’t try to fit your fiber excursion into a couple of hours. Allow a day to get there, explore, shop, and enjoy the unexpected. Because travel on tiny roads and lanes moves more slowly than on highways, it may take a while to reach your destination. Use a map program to help you find the estimated travel time for your destination.

3. Investigate transportation.

How will you get to the farm, shop, or mill? Will you rent a car that you drive or one with a driver? Take public transportation? Renting a car you drive may be cheaper than taking a taxi or private tour, but you may find it more difficult in the long run. Road conditions, traffic, and navigation can pose major challenges. You may be able to arrange a custom tour with a guide who can translate for you.

4. Plan excursions for your traveling companions.

Find alternate activities for your companions, such as a day at the beach or a museum. When we went to Ireland and Scotland, I made sure that St. Andrews Old Course and a couple of distilleries were included on the itinerary before proposing a daylong trip to the Magill farm. Spend as much time searching for excursions for your companions as for yourself. You will all be happier for it.

handspinning vacation

Freda Magill and Cherie discuss Freda’s Wensleydale sheep breeding program.

5. Plan especially carefully for cruises and tours.

Consider planning your fiber excursion before or after an organized cruise or tour. Cruises and tours are packed with activities, so unless your tour is fiber-related, it is often difficult but not impossible to fit in an excursion of your own design. Consult the program director and plan ahead.

6. Plan to get your purchases home.

How do you get the pounds of fleece or all those skeins of yarn home? (Verify in advance that you can bring in raw fleece from your destination.) Did you know that returning or shipping to the United States you don’t pay duty on raw materials such as fleece and yarn, but duty may be charged on a finished sweater? Save room in your bag to pack the sweater as part of your duty-free allowance for purchases and gifts, but consider shipping the fleece. If you may be short on luggage space, consider packing an empty light suitcase or duffle to bring your treasures home in checked baggage.

—Cherie Cornick

Cherie Cornick is a retired educator who lives in Michigan. She teaches spinning classes at Heritage Spinning and Weaving, is currently the president of the Woolgatherers Knitting Guild, and is working on her Master of Hand Knitting Certification. Her Ravelry name is CherieC.

To read all about Cherie Cornick’s fiber excursion to Wool Initiative in Rathfriland, County Down, Northern Ireland, download the Winter 2018 issue of Spin Off.

Is a fiber festival on the itinerary of your next handspinning vacation? Then you must read “Fiber Festivals: What Not to Miss at a Sheep and Wool Festival.”

Featured Image: Illustration by Ann Sabin Swanson


Discover spinning from around the world in Spin Off!

Post a Comment