Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spring Retreat 2010

I miss Pennsylvania. I love it. It is my home and so when I go there in the spring I am always a little teary.

Azaleas in bloom...I've never seen them in Michigan.

And my favorite tree ever. The Dogwood. My parents' property is full of Azeleas and Dogwoods. Just beautiful.

Chelsea and I filled the car with all the shop that would fit and we drove on Tuesday. I wanted to get there early enough to set up the mobile Spinning Loft and have a little time with the folks before the retreat goers descended on Shearer Elegance. There was a little shopping and a couple movies and lots of talking....

Then the people began to arrive on Thursday afternoon. I was not so good at taking photos because I was busy talking and being bossy.

Friday night some of us went to the movies while the others either were smart and went to bed or stayed up and did some spinning.
This was a favorite of many of the attendees...and me. It is a serve yourself milkshake machine at the Wawa that is only 2 miles away. Wawa, for those who aren't lucky enough to live near one, is the best convenience store anywhere. If there was an emergency you could live there for weeks! I love it. And the shakes are F'Real.
In addition to the shenanigans we brought all the spindles. More came while we were there so this isn't even all the ones that were available.
We brought 12 fleeces. It was really hard to choose which 12 but the car was really, really full.
There were lots of small tools and sparkly stuff and fiber wash and pygora and silk!
There were piles everywhere. People started making piles almost immediately and they changed a little here and there and many continued to grow throughout the weekend.
This was how the shelf of handpaints looked on Friday. It didn't look like this on Sunday.
Chelsea was there telling us all what to do and playing favorites.
And there was lots of spinning.
Lots of spinning.
And even more spinning.

And also, spinning.
And there was a mess when it was all over. We covered the major wool categories and spun samples of two or three breeds which were representative of the category spectrum. In addition to that we learned flicking and spinning from the lock, combing methods and hand carding methods.

As usual I was nervous about if it was too much or too little or whatever. I think it might be good and make me a better teacher though.
Naomi.....she did spin and ply this.

And on Sunday most people packed up after lunch and were on their way home but there were those who we couldn't get rid of.
Everyone was cleaned up except me.
And this is the room where it all happened.

The participants were fantastic and naughty and fun. They all worked hard and have lots of samples to show for it. What should we do next time?

Monday, April 12, 2010


I talk about a lot of things here but rarely show you finished yarns so here are a few that I've spun over the last couple of weeks. The orange is Cormo that Janel Laidman gave me. I love Cormo. I got 4 ounces and spun it all up on one bobbin of my Louet S45. After the spinnign was finished I wondered what to do. Ply it with something else? Try to separate it into 2? The lazy took over and I chain plyed it all onto one bobbin of my Jensen TinaII.
I love this yarn and now need to figure out what to make with it. It is about a fingering weight yarn which will probably be something lace.
I have a stockpile of Abby Batts and when Abby was here after the reorganizing and she saw how many batts I have she scolded me for not spinning them. So I've spun one. Big plans for more spinning of Abby Batts in the near future. This yarn was spun on my Schacht Matchless and plyed on a spindle from a center pull ball. It is about a DK weight.
And when I was in Wisconsin I visited Susan's Fiber shop and bought this fiber which is a Merino/Mohair blend. I've lost the tag and so have no idea who did the dyeing. it was very felted and not a joy to spin. This 4 ounce bit was also spun onto all the same bobbin and so the final yarn is chain plyed. I do like the finished yarn a lot...but neglected to take a photo of it.

So there you have it. I really do spin.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

So my knotted pile project is now dry and trimmed and looking beautiful. I love it. I did mine in tussah silk that was dyed by Sara Lamb. This is the project I started at SOAR in 2008 and then it sat and languished in the corner of the shop for a long, long time. Now it is finished and the loom has been rewarped with wool and my next project with be with English Leicester locks. They are the wool that the project is sitting on.
In addition I have been working on a lace shawl design. I cast on on Tuesday night and have been knitting more rows than I am ripping so that is good. The wool is something I bought at Rhinebeck a few years ago from a small farm that has all their wool spun and dyed. It still has some lanolin in it and I like that feeling. Not sure what the wool type is but it feels like Romney to me.
There was plenty of wool washing going on because the Retreat is coming up fast and I need washed samples for 18 students of 12 types of wool. I am washing 16-24 ounces at a time and it takes about 3 days to dry outside on a screen. The photo above is Wensleydale (top) and Leicester Longwool (bottom).
This photo is Dorset Horn (bottom) and Lincoln (top)
Chelsea is putting together some Super Fiber Samplers. it is her favorite thing to do:-)
Here is some of the English Leicester locks that I am combing for my next knotted pile project.
And in the midst of all that I am beginning a weaving project. The yarn is 2 ply Alpaca laceweight (about 32 wpi). The sett will be 40 ends per inch in a 10 dent reed. The yarn was dyed with natural materials by my friend Kathy Rowe. Kathy died from cancer a little over a year ago. I used to sell her yarns in the shop and the day i heard she died I took it all home. I have been saving it until I felt like I could do something with it and the right project presented itself.
I am warping with these greenish shades and I will be weaving with 3 shades of blue. It will be an all over twill pattern on my Schacht Baby Wolf.
I have two warp chains wound. There will be 1040 ends all together and I estimate that I have about 650 ends wound at the moment. This will be the finest weaving project I have ever done and I am a little nervous but it will all be fine and lovely and drapy in the end.
In the midst of all this productivity, little Maggie thought she might go outside and rollerblade a little bit. Well, the rollerblades wanted to go faster than she did and they got out from under her. At least that's how Maggie tells the story. She fell backward and put out her hand to catch herself...

Now she has a fractured wrist and this delightfully artistic cast for the next 3 weeks. Three weeks in a cast and then hopefully 3 weeks in a splint if everything is going well.

Tomorrow, there is a spindle class in the morning and then more warp winding!