I am still floating on a SOAR high. It was so much fun! Warning: there will be a crazy number of pictures in this post.
As I mentioned in my last post I took Deb Menz's 3-day workshop. That was very interesting and she is a fabulous teacher. Last time I showed you my complimentary color yarn. Here it is as the start of a scarf. I have very mixed feelings about it. They color shifting is not really working for me; it looks so gray. Okay, I know that is the point of a complimentary color blending exercise, but I am still disappointed (absolutely no reflection on Deb or her class). What do you think? Be honest. Will it be worthy of gifting?
For the retreat sessions I took Wrap and Roll with Sarah Anderson, Spindle Spinning with Rudy Amann, and Spinning Big and Lofty Yarns with Maggie Casey. I saw the wrap and roll article in Spin-Off and thought it was a great idea. Whenever I have tried to make coil yarns I have had a terrible time keeping the core from getting overtwisted. This simplifies the process. I know it seems odd to consider spinning a spindle while spinning on a wheel making supercoils simple, but it is pretty fun when you get the groove going.
My favorite retreat session was Mohair and More with Robin Russo. She gave us an assortment of goat fibers to spin and explained the differences between them. It seems that goat fiber is not classified by breed as much as it is by fineness. We played with mohair, pygora, and cashmere. Yum! Best of all, she provided us with a handy punch card to put our samples on. I felt so organized leaving her class!
One of the highlights of my week was going to the Home Textile Tool Museum. It is a great collection of spinning, weaving, and dyeing tools. The folks there are so nice and knowledgeable. We took a tour or of the buildings and saw so many antique tools like a gossip wheel. It is a wheel with two bobbins. The wheel turns both so the the spinner can spin two singles at the same time, one in each hand. Crazy! They were also doing a natural dye demonstration using plants grown on their property. Gotta love that.
The best part for me was the great wheels. I got to spend an hour spinning on several different great wheels. What fun! It was my first time and I loved it. For those of you not familiar with great wheels (also known as walking wheels), they are quite large and don't have a treadle. The spinner drafts with one hand and turns the wheel with the other. As you draft, you walk away from the wheel to extend the singles yarn being made. When you have walked as far as you can, you wind the yarn onto the spindle. The spindle is a pointy metal rod similar to charkha. The singles are spun off the end of the point and then wound onto the spindle by holding them perpendicular to the spindle. Silly me did not take her camera. :-( A great wheel and a charkha can be seen here.
The most exciting great wheel was the pendulum wheel (click for detail). The drive wheel is still large and turned by hand, but the spinner sits. To extend the singles, the spindle is on a counter-weighted pendulum with a treadle attached. As the spinner drafts, they press on the treadle to push the spindle further away. Oh how I wish I had a photo to show you! I loved spinning on this wheel so much. If only I had a larger house . . .
The bestest (they were all the best parts really) part of SOAR was the people. So many blog friends that I met for the first time, old friends to see again, and new friends. Here are a few (click to bigify):
Steve - maker of the wonderful Spindlewood spindles, Fibergal - maker of gorgeous spindlespun lace and font of wisdom, Fiberguy - maker of great fun and our swill-meister, and Anne - maker of great book things fiber related.
Jennifer of Spirit Trail Fiberworks (love her rare breed fibers!) and Sheila (I need soak up more of her knitting knowledge).
Marcy (see what happens when you make silly faces!)
Janel looking radiant. By the way, have you seen the new Spindlicity? I highly recommend it.
Aquilina who came all the way from Peru to share her Andean fiber traditions with us. What a treat! I believe it was her first time outside Peru. She is wearing her everyday clothes. It is the traditional garb for her town; each town has it's own style, patterns, and traditions.
Nilda in her traditional Andean clothes. She is the author of Weaving in the Peruvian Highlands (fabulous book) and the founder of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco. The Center has restored the local textile traditions of the Cusco area. People are again using natural dyes, spinning, knitting, and weaving, traditions that almost died out. It has also brought jobs, money, and respect to the traditional peoples. She gave a very moving talk on Sunday morning that had us all wanting to travel there for a workshop.
More SOAR photos on my SOAR Flickr set.
And, I fell in love! With Marcy's Canadian Flat Rim wheel by Alden Amos. Be still my heart. If only I had a larger house . . .