Spinning at Can Games

Spinning at Can Games


JAN’S BLOG POST; CAN GAMES Spontaneous Demoing 2018

For a number of years I have followed my husband to the local board gaming convention on the May long weekend (Can Games). In exchange for my support of his hobby, I get gardening help from him. I have been attending Can Games for quite a number of years always accompanied by my portable spinning wheel.

   Jan 2Friday spinning upstairs beside the Curling club kitchen. The Road bug spinning wheel fits in the trundle box for travel.


I have been there long enough that I am greeted by Gamers I recognized by face if not by name.

jan 03 jan 04

Glen plays various board games (many involving trains and vary complicated rules systems) and I sit with my wheel and spin, sometimes I use my hand carders. There are a lot of guys gaming, most of whom are interested in the way the wheel works. I hear lots of stories about wives and mothers who knit too. While the much younger kids just seem really interested in the turning wheel. I think it was last year that a very fussy baby noticed my wheel spinning and became mesmerized (and quiet).

The last couple years I have asked if they should add a live action RPG game of “Spin the golden fleece” or “Turn straw into gold” (well actually linen but it’s almost as good!). This weekend was the first time one of the volunteers who run the convention has mentioned that I should present a game description for play testing at next year’s convention.

He suggested I should have levels of difficulty to learn and earn experience (starting out with a skill and perfecting it). Then give them a greater challenge to learn and perfect. Maybe starting out with a regular fleece and moving up to a golden one? Maybe a silk and merino blend and then have a choice of alpaca or cotton for the really advanced spinners and to earn extra bonus points?

Character requirements would be high dexterity, excellent patience and a sense of humour.

I would suggest the chopstick Turkish spindles may be ideal for this purpose since you can increase the weight and rotational momentum by adding bulldog clips to the arms of the spindle and they are really cheap to make.

I could offer a second “Live action RPG game” for advanced level players who would turn straw into gold, which could cover bast fibres, if there was interest.


As you may remember, I did quite a bit of needle felting last year. I purchased a good quantity of super wash merino wool (mill ends from Black Lamb). The colours were amazing and enticed me into the purchase. Although I did successfully needle felt with it, I did find it was a lot more work than non-super wash wool. So I need to find a use for all this fabulously pretty fibre. Hum, I bet Mom would like a scarf for next winter. I bet I could make some very interesting slightly slubby yarn that would weave up nicely. I have a couple of table looms to choose from and could use that as a demo project for the next demo at the beginning of June. It will be nice to weave with my own handwoven again.

jan 05   Part of the super wash Merino acquisition.

I selected the blue and one of the greens tones in a slightly variegated top. I split the top into thinner strips and then intermittently spun one or the other colours then both together. It was fun to spin and I enjoyed the blending of colours.

jan 06  jan 07


I used the road bug travel wheel again. When I had the bobbin full I wound it off onto the blacksmith made plying tool. Glenn made it so I would stop using his paperback books to wind onto. It has 2 parallel arms that have a slight slope so I can slide the singles onto my wrist and then ply from the double ended ball that is now wrapped around my wrist. This tool also works for drop spindles and means I can put it down and go do something else (very handy).

jan 09 jan 10    Put the end of the singles yarn through one of the end rings and put your thumb over the tail as you start to wind on. (Alternating sections of diagonals similar to a Nostipine work well)

jan-11.jpg  Working at a distance helps to even out the tension consistency.

  jan-12.jpg  Wind off the bobbin onto the plying tool. You can put it down and go look at something then finish winding. When you get to the end, remove the beginning and the end from the rings and tie them together.

jan 13   I use my Left hand to slide through the double ended ball, gripping the beginning and end with the fingers,

jan 14   jan 15 Now slide the ball off the implement and onto your wrist.

jan 16After the bobbin of plied yarn was full (ok I played yarn chicken to get it all to fit back on the plying bobbin and won) l I used the cheap easy to make niddy noddy to wind into skeins. (PVC Pipe from Home Depot)

jan 17

Even with all the spinning I did while at Can Games I still had time to play a couple games (Chariots and A playtesting new game which hopefully will be available in August on Kick starter), some shopping a few board games, a couple for one of my friends, and a game of stacking miniature chairs) and watching some of the games that were running.

  jan 18  jan 19   The Chariot Race

jan 20jan-21.jpgjan-22.jpg

Lego mecs, Dice and Helms deep

jan 23jan-24.jpgjan 25

Pirates, chair game, sheep participate in Scottish fort battle.

I was not the only fiber arts person there this year. There was a lady knitting beside a miniature games with pirates being attacked by small green monsters.

The gaming convention is now over for another year and I hope next year I will be joined by more spinners, weaver’s, felters or knitters who would like to have fun on part of the long weekend. Maybe you will join me in an RPG to spin the Golden Fleece? We will make Turkish spindles out of chopsticks and elastics!

13 thoughts on “Spinning at Can Games

  1. What a day! I love the concept of spinning at a game con 😀
    The device your husband created for you looks very handy (no pun intended) – I always use the bobbin winder to create a centre-pull ball but your method is much nicer when you’re on the go!

    1. Thanks Leonor! Glenn made it for me to keep me from “borrowing” the paperback book he was trying to read. you stick the tail inside the cover and then start winding. it works but can be a bit tight on the hand when you slide it off. i like the ball winder too but your rite, for on the go its eayser to be able to put the winding down and not be left as a triping hazerd. thanks for reading!

    1. Thank you! Ann helped get me get this one posted. i will do better at sizing the pictures and getting them in the rite spots for the next one im shure! it was a lot of fun to spin at a gaming convention but it would have been fun to needle felt or weave on the inkle loom too! i hope i will get some more fiber people out next year!

  2. Thanks for the great post Jan! I don’t spin but it certainly looks like a good way to pass the time while the boys play with their toys 🙂

  3. Ruth, If you happen to be in Ottawa Next may long weekend please stop by! we can make a turkish spindle for you and you can help me use up more of that superwash mereno!! And thanks for having me in your grate blog!! this was lots of fun!

  4. Sitting on the sidelines can be frustrating but having something productive to do (spinning) alleviates that very nicely! Your mum will have a lovely colourful scarf.
    The custom-made tool is fab – clever design.

    1. Sometimes its less stressfull just watching, unless its another 18xx train game… for those i brot my audio book. (thay are VARY long and requier lots of finance, backstabing, investing, math, and Trains.) most of the time I was just chatting with everyone who stoped and asked quiestion. it was also fun to grab the drop spindle and camera to go look at all the other games that were happening. if your in town next may long weakend bring some dry felting, knitting or spinning and help me take over the convention!!

  5. What a great idea to pass the time and getting people involved! It sounds as if you’ve started a new trend. Good for you Jan!

    1. Marilyn Fiber Artist should take over the world. it would be a softer and fluffyer place!!! i will do my best to creat more spinners who will then get distracted into weaving, knitting, felting…….Hehehehehehehhehehehehehhehe

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