Spinning Workshops: Fleecy Fall Days at John C. Campbell Folk School

Surrounded by the blossoms and abundant greens of an Indiana summer, I am stockpiling fleeces for fall spinning workshops. Among my autumn travels around the country, I get to spend an entire week with fleece-hungry spinners at John C. Campbell Folk School creating breed-specific yarns and cloth. I’m busily washing piles of shimmering longwool locks and mountains of Merino.

The Folk School is nestled into the mountains of Western North Carolina, and the campus itself is teeming with natural spaces. The school has been fostering non-competitive learning environments since it was established in 1925. I love how neatly this part of the mission fits with spinning breed-specific yarn and cloth. There isn’t a right way or wrong way to process a Corriedale fleece, but do you want to knit or weave with your yarn? What do you want to make? Does it need to be tough as nails or light as a feather? We each answer these questions differently, which leads us down our own unique crafty paths. Come spend a week exploring your own process while surrounded by wool fumes and mountains in fall color.

spinning workshops

Spinning all day, walks in the woods, and family-style dinner . . . a spinner’s dream holiday.

Three Reasons to Visit the Folk School:

1. The pace. Longer workshops allow more breathing space. Many people find that learning and experiencing new techniques with more time to focus, practice, and ask questions helps them retain that knowledge. You literally have more time to “sleep on it.”

2. Well-stocked studios. On my first visit to the Folk School, I stepped into the handspinning equipment room and gasped. Spinning wheels abounded, including a few gorgeous walking wheels. A hoard of handcards, combs, and dyepots were neatly stacked and awaiting eager students who came to explore.

3. The food. Meals at John C. Campbell are integral to the Folk School experience. Served family-style, the setting allows everyone taking classes to mix together while great dishes of green beans go by. You have a chance to chat with people taking blacksmithing or paper-making workshops about what they are learning in adjacent studios.

spinning workshops

Dye pots, dedicated sinks, and other amenities wait at the ready for spinning workshop students.

Fall 2017 Workshops at the Folk School:

—Kate Larson, Roving Reporter Spin Off Magazine

Featured Image: In Kate’s spinning workshop Counting Sheep, spinners learn to make the best yarn from their fiber. Photos by Kate Larson


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