Yesterday I was at an old farm in the middle of the industrial area of Utrecht. The farm has been completely build in by infrastructure and large scale concrete masses. The city (council) is killing the husbandry function of the farm. But the old times still echo strongly in the place. Old architecture, pruned trees, chickens:
Lots of old timber structures and rooms that have been the way they were for a 100 years running. The light in the front rooms was lovely! I think the original builders were smart in positioning their living quarters.
Nowadays the living quarters of the farm are used by an artist theatre company. The business end of the farm is used by the stables Thalmen that has interests in horses and sheep. I talked to sheep owner of herd Schapen Grootzandveld, Alexandra van der Vis-Kruijswijk, who had just brought in 13 ewes that are about to lamb. We didn’t disturb them.
Alexandra wore an amazing felt coat, from her own sheep, and these stunning boots:
pic by Schapen Grootzandveld
She calls them her “polder clogs” and isn’t this exactly the kind of woman I am myself?
The front rooms were set up for spinners. Lots of chairs and the wood stove was burning and a tray with coffee and tea and cake annnnnd stroopwafels.
Someone brought this amazing spinning wheel:
All handpainted. There are foxes on the threadles and the sideboards too. A wheel to make you smile.
I was festive too:
not with the wheel but with my felted prinsess dress. I also brought my 3D printed spindle from NewAgeSpinning and lots of people tried it out and admired it.
When spinners get together there’s an immediate connection. Most of the people yesterday didn’t know each other, we’re just members of the same group on Facebook where we do not interact very much on a personal level. The group is for selling fleeces and wool.
Because the group reached 1000 members Janneke Plomp, a dear person with a heart of wool, decided to throw a party. And this was it. All kinds of anonymous Facebookers decided to go. People just like me, I didn’t know anyone when I arrived. But I just decided to go, wearing my felted dress, and contribute to the good atmosphere.
That’s always a success with spinners, it seems. We meet up and we instantly chat, letting others play with our wool and wooden tools.
Look at her cardigan, it’s felted with colour details and knitted sleeves. Another wool person loving colour 🙂
I really believe this instantly connecting is a trait that spinners posses. I remember my first meetings at the Annual Spinning Weekend in Mennorode being the same. Not knowing anybody but being welcomed and being welcoming to others instantly.
It was great to experience this again yesterday, in a whole other setting, with a whole new bunch of wool people.
In the back of the farm there were felting workshops:
This is a non-heated space and it was very cold. But I was wearing all kinds of woolen undergarments and upper garments so I was totally comfortable!
Around noon I took a break and lied down in the car. To reset blood pressure and the nervous system. I was dressed warm enough to keep the door open and stretch my legs:
Wonderful weather at noon. Clear blue skies. It had been overcast and misty in the morning. And the day before I had driven through snow storms!
On my break I was knitting on my Sock Madness sock:
Nearly there. Pretty soon I’ll start the cuff.
Two more things to tell. After my break I was to have a felting workshop and learn to make a cushion cover straight from the fleece. This would help me with all the techniques I lack that made the first day of this year such a hoot.
(hey? I can’t find a record of this. Didn’t I confess I tried to felt a Drents Heideschaap and failed miserable? Right on the first day of the new year?)(ohooo I didn’t. I probably wanted to deny this to myself and to you. Keep up a nice front about how I’m sooo good with wool and life, especially on the first day of the new year. HAHAHA! Well, here are some pictures and here’s the project page. I’ll explain more in detail once I’ve learned to felt better and make this fleece into a rug. Probably somewhere this summer…
Drents Heideschaap, bought via that Facebook group. Putting Merino on the back (first mistake and second mistake). Putting cold soapy water on it (third mistake). Rolling on a cold day (fourth mistake).
“Huh? The backing doesn’t grab the fleece?”
“I better hide this monstrosity until it’s better weather and I know what I’m doing.”
Well, this was the reason I jumped on the chance to do the felt workshop. A small manageable project, a cushion cover, and lots of things to learn. But I’m embarrassed to say I hadn’t managed my Addison’s disease well and I nearly collapsed in the beginning of workshop. It’s been a long time since that happened and I feel uncomfortable about it.
It’s very logical that it happened. I had done too much the previous day (snowstorms?!), had slept too bad, had been too busy getting to Utrecht and meeting all these new people in new surroundings where I didn’t know what to expect. And I wanted to felt too much.
And besides, I was a fool thinking I could drive here, spend the morning sitting upright spinning in company and then spend the afternoon standing upright doing a felting class, before having to drive back.
I may be recovering from ME but one doesn’t recover from Addison’s. Now that ME symptoms don’t muddle up the place as much I’m ought to get better acquainted with early Addison’s warnings. This time none of my usual knitter friends where around who know me and who alert me when they see my face going grey.
Yeah, the near-collapse scared me. It’s a dangerous thing you see. If I don’t heed the warning signs I could end up needing the emergency services. Hmm, thinking about this, I’m rather grateful that my body utilizes such a powerful alarm. Can’t ignore bawling now can I? It may be the first step on the dangerous road but it’s not a step I can be ignorant of. This way I’ll never get to step two without bloody well knowing it. Which is a good thing because in this scenario step 5 is hospital and step 7 is death. (yeah… 😦 Addison’s Disease ìs a dangerous condition.)
I don’t like that it happened in this new group of people who don’t know me or my condition. They just saw a lady bursting into tears because she didn’t like the piece of fleece she was supposed to make my cushion with.
I tried to explain it a bit and them being spinners and wool people, they allow for people to be different and even weird. They didn’t seem judgemental. As a matter of fact, Janneke Plomp put her arm around my shoulder and said I could come back to redo the workshop any time. But it’s no fun being the drama queen of the day. And it must be a weird thing to witness. A felt princess bawling over felt…
The second thing I wanted to tell you is that this was my car in the morning. It had a pelt of its own!
It was cold and the world was a fairy tale. Everything was ice and mist and light. I saw trees growing from clouds, clouds that lay on the ground. The colours were so magical! It was a lovely drive up to Utrecht (until I missed the exit and spend 20 minutes frantically searching)(hey, that’ll be one of the early warning signs, “frantic”).
BTW, the name of the farm is Rood|Noot which to a Dutch woman reads as Red|Nut. But it’s actually the names of the two people who started this farm back in 1880: Toon and Door. (Perhaps short for Antonius and Dorothea?)
Door and Toon started a horse breeding farm and their names are still on the gate, read back to front.
I’m gonna put my name on a gate too, back to front. People will never guess!