I'm really beginning to enjoy Wednesdays. No, it isn't for the usual camelid-related reason.
In my post-first-career life, my Wednesdays often are a week day where I have no recurring out-of-the-house meetings or responsibilities. I do household (bed linens and towels) laundry and try to catch up with pending tasks or whatever I missed while traveling around Monday or Tuesday. Those tasks often leave time for whatever personal projects are of current personal priority and that available time carries a little twinkle of internal joy.
Today, I'm catching up on my personal laundry (more on why later in this post) and, fingers crossed, finishing up the Norwood loom rehab. I think I have acquired all the little metal bits that needed replacement, Dan helped me fabricate working back braces, and I need to clean and arrange only about 400 or so flat heddles on the shafts. Heh. Well, yes, and visit my dentist's office this noon for the cleaning that was rescheduled from last week.
My playing catch-up today is the result of being at Spin-Off's Autumn Retreat (SOAR) all last week! It was located at the Pheasant Run Resort in Saint Charles, IL this year. The food was excellent at all the meals, especially since I had the gluten-free option that resulted in spectacular plates of delicious food rather than the buffet (for lunch and dinner). I had a really enjoyable time, learned a lot, met new friends, and spent some time with old friends. My buddy Charlynn was my roomie and, as usual, we had fun attending classes together and getting in some quality shopping.
I took the 3-day workshop with DY Begay titled Learn to Spin the Navajo Way. I found it to be a very good and relaxing class -- DY is a great instructor. The class was full with a manageable size of nine participants, who all contributed something special. I think we all had a fun time talking, carding, spinning, and learning about Navajo spinning and culture from DY. We blended light and dark Navajo-Churro fleeces by carding combinations of the two to achieve a range of grays. Charlynn carded hard and long the last day of class to achieve this lovely spectrum.
(Yes, I had to stand on a chair to get this shot.) We all joked about having 50 shades of gray in class--we probably exceeded that, actually. I had good practice with my recently acquired cards and found it amazing how just a very small amount of the lighter fiber can change the dark fleece to gray. Experimenting with blending will be fun and interesting, I think.
Here's my class samples and spindle. It is a lovely spindle, with the whorl sliding up and off the shaft for travel. The spindles provided to us in class were hand made by Al Snipes, a well-known fiber tool maker. I love mine.
I feel very comfortable making yarn on the spindle and it didn't stress my body at all. I believe one of my next Navajo-style weavings will use my own hand spindle-spun yarn!
I also took a 2-hour workshop on Thursday from Marilyn Wright on Blackfoot Spindle Spinning. I really enjoyed the workshop and feel comfortable with the Blackfoot spindle, as well. It is something that could easily be done on long trips in the car and the spinning put no stress on my shoulders. There was an article in Spin-Off by Marilyn on this topic earlier this year.
SOAR was on my bucket list and I'm glad I was able to attend as this is the last SOAR. Or the last SOAR 1.0, as explained by one of the Interweave representatives. The publisher is revamping the retreat and hasn't decided on what they'll do for the next version of this gathering. I suspect that a business decision to scrap SOAR was made by somebody that didn't quite have full understanding of the potential impact on the long-time participants and, frankly, the magazine, as this event produces many of the contributers to Spin-Off. It will be interesting to see what unfolds for SOAR. My probably unrealistically high expectations were met this year for the event. I wish the decision-makers for future events clarity of thought, lots of luck, and innovative thinking.
Oh yes, there was some shopping. Here are some acquisition photos for Carrie. The yarn in the photo on the right was spun by Master Weaver Sarah Natani and is natural-dyed. There are silk hankies and top as well as some fabulous suri alpaca yarn that will be woven, once I figure out what I'm doing on the Norwood.
Have you stopped by Stacey's to make your entry for a prize and to contribute to NMO research yet? Go take a peek because there are some great prizes you can win. And it is for a excellent cause.
Have a lovely Wednesday!