Cotton crop is IN

Just a quick note for those interested in cotton. My crop is in and blogged at Cotton Crop.


SOAR - workshop review and town crier

So why is it that there are no famous spinners in Wikipedia? Shouldn’t Judith MacKenzie McCuin have her page? And Rita Buchanan? There are no wheel makers there either. No Alden Amos, no Ashford, no Lendrum. These are the people that influence our lives, yet knowledge of them can be lost so quickly. Deb Menz and color should be listed, surely. The thing is, as fiberists are we too silent? If we are not telling the world about these people and just why they are so amazing, will they be forgotten? I think that not mentioning them devalues us, what we do. Now I hardly advocate collaring some stranger and telling them all the details of a beginning spinning class you took 9 years ago. But if we all just added a paragraph, a phrase about some Ah-Ha moment that really moved you, perhaps the perception of spinning and other fiber arts would change for the positive.

I will start myself, right here, right now. While in Margaret Stove’s Spinning for Lace class, she showed us a trick that was worth the whole price of SOAR. We grasped a lock and wiggled our fingers. Our fingers always ‘walked’ to the tip of the lock. Of course, it is due to the scales on the wool. Now this trick was so great that not only did we play with this during class, but several ran to the market to test other animal fleeces. Go try it right now for yourself.

Now, armed with this knowledge, don’t you think there is great value in lock by lock processing and spinning? Just think of the smooth yarns you can achieve for lace. It made me want to go out and take every class she teaches and reread all her books and articles. Because if this gem was in there and I missed it, what else have I missed? Margaret Stove changed my spinning life forever and I only took a 3 hour class. What about all the teachers you have known for years? Go, write it down. Blog it, wiki it, get it out there. Not their class content since we want them to continue to teach, but how they affected you and why. How has a spinning teacher changed your life?

And for those of you that haven’t seen enough of SOAR yet, we have pics from Judith’s class and the Wednesday review. Don’t you just want to dive into all that yummy fleece? Sorry if your class got left out; Fiberguy had the camera and was so busy looking at the wonderful results that he forgot to take photos.

Judith's Primitive Breeds class.

Class is over but the teaching continues.

There were just the most amazing samples from the classes. Margaret's lace shawl and Sharon Costello's Felted Animals class.

This is Abby, roping some strangers (golfers) into the magic of spinning for the first time.


SOAR - The Painted Skein with Janel Laidman

I just loved my workshop class with Janel. I had read the cover article on striping and understood the words but didn't have a feeling for the project going into the class. I knew I did like to play with color and there would be great fibers. But this class hit me like a brick. Wow, did I have fun. And now when I read the article, it really makes more sense to me. The essence of the class was that you can control your own striping withing your yarn by selection from painted roving. In our first sample we spun a roving and plied it as a single unit (A). In the second section (B) we tore the roving in half then spun and plied it so my example goes yellow to red, red to yellow (C). I won't go through the whole class, but you can see from the samples that we were really getting some serious and interesting striping. And face it, any class where you can come out saying 'Undulating Palindrome Fractal Stripe' just adds to your geek level, doesn't it?

Needless to say, our class ran to the market to gather up all the linear and palindrome striped rovings we could find and I will bet there is a lot of dyeing going on around the country this weekend.

I am sorry to say that I don't have a good photo, but we were lucky in class to have the scholarship recipient Emily Goodling. Keep your eyes on this one, I tell you. She was 15 and spun circles around us all and wore the most amazing items, all hand crafted. She was sweet and modest and I am delighted to see such talent at SOAR - great choice by the scholarship committee on that one.


SOAR part two

I know I haven't made it to the fibery goodness that were the SOAR classes and I promise that real content will appear soon. However, as we are learning, inside and out of class we are constantly surrounded by what you see here - smiling people. I don't think I have ever been to a place with so much laughter for an entire intense week.

I would like to point out Charlene's lovely tie-dyed top. When she isn't knitting the most fantastic items, she is wearing others. You can see some of her lovely beadwork, well, everywhere. You can even make it.

This is Mary. Seems harmless right? She has a razor sharp whit and will have you helplessly laughing in very little time. Always make room at the meal table for her - your loss if you don't.

I met Beth through Ravelry then face to face in my first 5 minutes there. Click and see her lovely shawl.

Look, the lovely Anne with actual fiber content. She was rarely seen without her spindles all week. Yet, she manned the staff table and still took care of everyone with that same big wonderful smile.

Yet more hand gestures from Abby & Shelia.

Wonderful Rita prepares for the retreat sign ups. I totally missed taking a photo of her shawl in the gallery. It was, as always, astounding. You can find a pic on Knitters Review.

There were serious moments - a meeting of mentors & workshop review. Even here there are smiles.

But these expressions are a more common site. John inspired us all the first day with his woven bands and we all had to go to the inkle class from Sara Lamb to see if we could make the round bands. One started it and it just spread through the classes like mad. And all week he wore this band. Man, I just wanted to swap brains there for a while.

Jeannine is my longest SOAR buddy and I look forward to this expression every year.

We suspect this might be Kim, but laughter has obscured their identity.


Fibergal's SOAR part 1

This year was so good; I have to break up the telling. Here was the beginning of the week for me.

It wasn’t the first time that I met someone and knew in that instant that my life would be changed forever. My first words to Abby shyly standing in the wallflower position in the back of the room were “Come over here and sit with us. Welcome to the Vortex”. Little did I know it would be us sucked into the maelstrom of laughter and fiber. Abby’s roommate was so very fortuitously the magnificent Denny, hereafter known as “I’M”. You see, you have to be careful what you wish for at SOAR. A few years ago, a friend sat with us knitting lace out loud from Nancy Bush’s class. She kept repeating K K YO and it has been her name since. I have met total strangers that never met her refer to her thusly. Names stick. So when Denny requested a name badge that said “I’m Denny, who the hell are you?”, you could see where this was heading. She is now and forever I’M in our book.

Wow, not only was this the funniest pair I have ever met, but they were both scholarship recipients and well deserved. Funny and fiber-filled – what more could you want. The parts I liked the best came about 2 am (didn’t anyone warn them about no sleeping at SOAR?) when after laughing wildly at something, we would be deep into a discussion of woolen vs. worsted, then back to peels of laughter. Wicked sharp, too funny for words and the biggest hearts in the world. Oh, we absolutely just loved them.

Particularly note the hand gestures.

Yet, dammit, the Northern contingent claimed our I’M when they got there mid-week. Apparently they were afraid she might be shy or something. As if. They stole her away but not before an astonishingly generous and moving gift. Yes, I’M gave me one of her very meaningful shawls, and my favorite one too. It is not my tale to tell, but I will show the photos. I was so moved, am so moved, I can’t even write about it without a tear. So instead, I will leave you with some laughs. It is a rare moment when you meet someone that has such an affect and we lucked out and got doubles.

To those wise fellows from the North – we want her back next year. And Abby, you know you just can’t miss this event. EVER.

This must have been a custody discussion.

I am not sure I can identify these gestures. Anyone?

I'M is training for retreat signups while the wise Jeannine observes.

This was the most common site of the week.

Now Denny, try to get happy, ok?