A number of years ago I borrowed a spinning wheel from a friend for the winter and took a spinning class at the Textile Center with the Weavers Guild in Minneapolis. There I learned about different spinning wheels, but particularly about Ashford wheels made in New Zealand. So yet another reason I wanted to come to New Zealand was to see the home of these world-famous spinning wheels. There where many things Paul and I wanted to see and do on this visit, but my “number one don’t want to miss” activity finally happened today. We spent the night in Ashburton, New Zealand and today I spent half my day at the Ashford Craft Center testing different wheels, looking at yarns, re-learning about fibers and making different selections. I was pretty sure I wanted to buy a wheel before going into the Ashford Craft Center, and after over an hour of testing the different models, I knew one was going to my home. Spinning is a full-body experience. Especially with the two-pedal wheel I selected – it takes both feet, both hands and lots of thought to turn the sliver into yarn. Then there is the gentle clack of the pedals, the hum of the spinning wheel, the texture of the fiber in my hands. And it takes lots of practice. It took me awhile to remember the general technique with lots of coaching from Rose. But then she left me to it to help other customers, checking back every so often to answer questions and give me tips. Finally I decided on the Kiwi 3.

A compact design that will fit in our compact living room more easily – the double pedals on this model fold up for storage. They will ship it to my house to arrive just after I do. I selected a variety of fiber in the form of sliver – ready for spinning – of different types and colors. It may take me years to get through all I bought, but I’m up to the challenge. I am already searching websites for where to get more fiber when I get home. I may take another class to refresh my memory and gain more skill. I know where all the materials are from my previous class. And a fleece someone gave me awhile back. We’ve seen many sheep on our travels throughout New Zealand and I bought one skein of yarn to do some knitting along the way – it helps me relax after a tense day of driving. Now I’ll be dreaming of spinning and knitting and crochet, oh my. Soon I’ll have to learn to weave and dye my own wool. No shortage of new challenges ahead. My photographer was elsewhere, so not much to show of my spinning and shopping time.

And where was Paul during my hours at Ashford Craft Shop? Golfing with our friend, Cary, who drove down from Nelson to see us again. I’ll let him tell you about that…

After my time surrounded by beautiful human made crafts, I took the opportunity not enjoy some more of nature’s made beauty at the Ashford Domain garden. Families where out enjoying the beautiful nSunday in the park too and the gardens were stunning! Many flowers in bloom and magnificent trees that have been here for the long term. Also ducks and one swan enjoying g the pond.

Our day ended with dinner together at the Phat Duck with huge plates full to fill our large appetites after much outdoor time today.

– Mindy