Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Tale of Two Teachers

So October was nutty and there was no sign of slowing down in November...except I got to stay home for all the excitement. Since Jacey Boggs was coming I thought we should move things around again. Chelsea always gives me the eye roll when I say it but she always likes it better when we're done.
In the midst of the mess was Abby's new Alden Amos wheel that I had temporary custody of. it went home with me before the crowds came.
Also, in the midst of the mess was my new Rick Reeves 24" Saxony wheel acquired at SOAR. The 24" Schacht-Reeves is right behind it. I love them both. The Reeves is Oak.
See how hard she works in her Puss in Boots Boots?
So here is the main room almost finished.
The new book corner.
The equipment room - rearranged.
And then there was jacey. We were all mesmerized by her spinny hands.
Plus she's quite the entertainer.
Plenty of fibers to try!
And the bossy stance...not really. She's really very encouraging even to me.
I need more practice but here are my yarns. I did love the core spinning. I need more practice with the other techniques. I'm most interested in the boucles.
And the aftermath!
This is where we stored most of the wheels during the class. Just a little pathway.

The class was fantastic. if you have an opportunity to take a class with Jacey jump on it! She's a fantastic teacher with plenty of patience and lots of good stories. I wish she lived closer. At least visit her blog and listen to her podcast and buy her video. K?
Also, I made yarn. It's 3 ply superwash from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. I am in love with this yarn. I wish I had more fiber!

As soon as that excitemnet was over it was time to start preparing for the next big thing. The official book launch party for Respect the Spindle. Abby work so hard on this book and I was so nervous I would drop the ball on this thing.
Again, there was cleaning and reorganizing and moving things. And the shop looked great. Kat showed up around 9AM to help with finishing touches. And then we just waited! And at 5 minutes to 10 Amy and Sonya showed up and the floodgates were open. I didn't have my camera most of the day and it was all a blur.

At about 11:30-ish there was a phone call from Denny. She was saying congratulations and she was going to lunch with Rachel at the Korean grill place. so we each talked for a couple of minutes and then got back to work.
Not even 15 minutes later there was squeeling and hopping up and down. We had been duped!
Lots of the people stayed and just hung out and were spinning or knitting. It's Amy and Monica in the above photo and I wish I would have had my camera more...I think Ellen will have lots of photos....
Abby and Faina (who has the fantastic back cover project in the new Homespun Handknit book) had a little fun with my gossip wheel.
And there was the bewb signing of kat.
And the prize winning names were drawn. ( I think Chelsea sent emails to everyone on Saturday...I hope)
And there was a tiny photo at the end. Katherine (Presbytera to the Ravelry peeps and in Harloty comments) was there all day making sure all of the books got signed. It was great to have her. She's wrangled for Ms Harlot before and we knew she could be very to figure out her pay.

Next thing...I had 3 tshirts made with special art. Abby has signed these shirts. I will photograph them tomorrow and list them on Ebay. All proceeds will go to the Center for Traditional Textiles in Cusco, Peru. Just go to Ebay and search "Respect the Spindle" and they magically will appear.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spring Retreat Coming Up!

here's some news! It's a spring retreat!

The Spinning Loft Presents…..

Retreating at the Shearer’s

The first ever Spinning Loft REAL spinning retreat will be held April 23, 24 and 25 at Shearer Elegance Bed and Breakfast in Linfield, Pennsylvania.

Yep. A real retreat. There will be instruction in the morning but the afternoons will be free! You can nap, spin by the fish pond or on the wrap around porch, take advantage of additional instruction or whatever you want.

Maximum number of participants is 20, so reserve your spot now. It’s going to be great fun.


Each morning after breakfast we will move with our wheels or spindles to one of the parlors or the front porch to talk about Wool Breeds. Over the three days we will sample wool from each of the breed categories. We will learn about their strengths and weaknesses, washing techniques for each as well as use of flick cards, hand cards and combs. Beth will be your instructor and this is her most favorite topic.


We’ve worked out a great room rate with the Bed and Breakfast or you can stay off site if you like. There is room for 14 guests onsite with double occupancy. Each room has either a Queen or King size bed. All rooms will be $100 per night ($50 per person if there are two of you). Rooms have private baths and televisions. Room choices will be first come first served. Please contact Shearer Elegance directly to reserve your spot at 610-495-7429. You can have a virtual tour by going to

Additional accommodations are available close by in Royersford at the Staybridge Suites. Check it out at Room rates are also very affordable at this hotel which is very comfortable.


All lunches will be included as well as dinner on Friday evening. For those staying at the B&B, breakfast is of course included. The Staybridge Suites has a complimentary breakfast buffet or you can join us at the Inn for $8pp.

We’ll play dinner on Saturday and Sunday evenings by ear and see what delicious things we can find. I always look forward to a cheese steak when I get to go to Pennsylvania!


Nothing to worry about. We will be bringing lots of goodies from the Spinning Loft. Everything from lovely greasy fleeces to hand dyed prepared fibers as well as tools and small equipment.


Friday 9AM-12 PM Breeds Play

12-1PM Lunch

2-4 Optional Drop Spindle Tune up- want more speed? Methods of cop winding? Drafting help? Plus more. Bring your spindles and your questions and we’ll work on it all.

5:30 Dinner at Shearer Elegance. This will be something delicious…not to worry.

Saturday 9AM -12PM Breeds Play

12-1PM Lunch

2-4PM Optional Long Draw Clinic Come on and we’ll just do it. Long draw from roving, hand carded rolags and from the fold. You’ll be spinning yards and yards of airy lightweight singles in just a short time.

Dinner whenever we want! It’s a retreat, right?

Sunday 9AM -12PM Breeds Play

12-1PM Lunch

Right after lunch we will carpool to Valley Forge Park for an optional Trolly Tour. Valley Forge is beautiful and even though no battles were fought there the history is amazing. Come along with us. You won’t be sorry. Cost for this excursion is $16 per person.

Fees and Costs: $250 (Lodging additional)

Materials fee $40 payable at the retreat

Optional Excursion to Valley Forge $16

$125 deposit is required at the time of reservation with the balance due on March 22, 2010.

If you need to cancel a refund can be obtained until March 22 minus a $25 administration fee. After March 22 all fees are nonrefundable.

Call the Spinning Loft at 517-540-1344 for more details or to reserve your spot. You can also email at

This is going to be fun.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

So it was a very busy month. I came back from Colorado and only a few days later was on my way for a spinning emergency in Rhinebeck, NY. Janel Laidman was very sick and I was happy to be able to help her and the NY State Sheep and Wool Festival people out. She had 6 classes scheduled and I was able to fill in for 5 of them. It was great fun and very tiring and I, of course, took only 2 pictures. Both of sheep.

The fine gentleman above is a Columbia Ram. He is a beauty. I stood at his fence and he came right over for a scritch. We were fast friends.
Then there was this lady and I can't remember what breed she is but I just thought she was beautiful and her wool was just scrumptious. Delightful. Then there was a whirlwind of teaching and getting to know Lily Chin and Kathryn Alexander and Amy Tyler.

There were lots of students and I came home with many new fleeces for the shop. I was home for a few days and then off I went to SOAR.
My room mate was delightful (Amy King of course)
Three days with Stephanie Gaustad was a blast. I now feel very confident in my cotton spinning abilities...I did it on almost every available tool and my resulting yarn was very good if I do say so myself.
Denny had a spiritual experience with the Great Wheel and she looked very beautiful spinning on it.
3 hours with Sarah Swett was not enough. I'm sure she thought I was stalking her. She was the final push that made me think I may actually be able to design my own sweater. Yes others have been telling me but I tried on many that fit and looked good and I took measurements of them and so I will begin spinning. The above sweater began with a swatch of the leaf pattern that turned into a great stockinette panel in a garter stitch sweater.
Even the back is interesting.
This is the other sweater I fell in love with.
It's classic and a little quirky at the same time. I have measurements of this one too.
Here she is. All of the yarns are hand spun and naturally dyed. It's good I dont live near her. She would definitely think I was a stalker.
There was a plying class with Judith McKenzie McCuin. That's Jacey Boggs' beautiful face in there. The color progression was done by plying. It began with 4 solid colors which were plied into 3 plies using differnt numbers of strands. Imagine the color progression you could get by using 4 or 5 ply yarns.

Jacey was delightful and I am so excited that she will be here in a little over a week!
Here is Judith herself. I just love her. When she speaks I want to listen. Such a classy lady with tons to teach.
I skipped my morning class on Saturday morning and sat in on Abby's blending class. That's a picture of Jimbob. He's quite enjoyable.
Saturday afternoon I had a color class with Deb Menz. I focused on blending using the hackle. It was great fun. I have a couple in the shop and have big plans for playing now that I know how to use it correctly.

Another great inspiration which I have no pictures of is Sarah Anderson but here is her chain plying video. She had the most beautiful display of yarns made in all different techniques. All were spun in white so the color didn't distract the eye from the spinning. Her spinning is so beautiful.

All in all, the last month was full of inspiration and I have huge goals for the next year. HUGE!