It was a bit last notice, but I was at Château Cortils last weekend. They had an event on Sunday and Atelier Drie Linden was invited to demonstrate spinning. So Mom and I packed our stuff and sped off to Blegny.
It took some time to find where we needed to be because Debbie (the gps who is becoming of age) didn’t exactly know the street we were looking for. But when we arrived, it quickly became clear we were dealing with a crowd we hadn’t encountered before.
Being close to the Dutch border there were a lot of Dutch present but also a lot of the Liègeois as well, which I adored because I secretly still have a love for the French language. I love speaking it, although I butcher it undoubtedly.
Everybody was keen to discover what spinning was and what was going on in the Château Cortils, as it will soon become a cooperative full of people concerned with nature and local produce.
Most memorable though was the family I met that farms sheep and was looking into starting to spin wool. The mother wanted to learn to spin and would have wanted to come and learn from us, but since we are based in Rotselaar, it would be quite a bit of travel for just an hour or two of learning how to spin. So we agreed that if she went to fetch her wheel, we would help her kickstart her spinning addiction (because lets be honest, once you start, you can’t stop).
The wheel, though it was beautiful, was easily a hundred years old. It had been used because you could clearly see the marks on the wheel where the yarn had cut into the wood. The downsides of such an old wheel are that sometimes pieces ar missing or broken or parts have gotten bent because it hasn’t been used for so long and obviously hasn’t gotten its necessary reparations. Other things to consider are that old wheels are made by hand, meaning that the pieces are often unique, often you only have one bobbin and replacing parts either requires creativity or someone who can do some woodwork.
That being said, I explained this mother and her son how the wheel worked, or rather how it was supposed to work. Because even with some love and temporary bands of string, it was hard to get it to work properly. In short it would take a lot more love before it would spin as easily as my newer wheel would.
The family though was very happy with my explanations and gifted me in return a bag (a very large bag) of Hampshire Down wool. A sheepsbreed I’ve been wanting to put on my list of things I’ve spun.
So far, after having washed and dried this fleece, it’s still looking scrumptious and feels like heaven. To be honest, I can’t wait to start spinning this one. However, I’ll be very strict with myself and spin the rest of the Bont Schaap’s fleece.
And the Château Cortils? It really was a wonderful experience.