Wednesday, October 17, 2007

SOAR - Spin Off Autumn Retreat

I'm home! Today (my day off) I'm finally catching up on everything.

I left early Sunday morning, Oct 7. It took me slightly more than eleven hours to get there. I stopped to do a geocache at a wayside rest along Lake Michigan. It was a beautiful day, mid 80s and sunny. (I had to stop and buy a belt, too. It's amazing the things you forget to pack - and how you remember while you're driving!)

I had a lovely little condo at Shanty Creek, MI all to myself.
The view from my room. I was right on the ski hill. Sure, ski in/ski out when there's NO snow. Doesn't seem right...

The view of Lake Bellaire from the parking lot.

The first few days were hot and sunny, then the rain and cool came in.

The first three days I took a class with Robin Russo on fiber preparation. Here she is, demonstrating the use of English combs.

We spun short draw, long draw; fine
(including qiviut and pygora), medium, and coarse fleece ; made fine, medium, and bulky yarns from all of these. We made a really nifty demonstration book to take home.

Robin is an excellent teacher - calm, friendly, knowledgeable, and fun. We carded fleece, combed fleece, and made "designer bats" with lots of fun, yummy fibers.

There were so many fun people in my class - 14 more crazy spinners of all ages.

We had such a variety of fibers to handle. There was a table of BFL, Romney, and Coopworth. The colors were incredible!

And a whole table of angora, alpaca, silk, angelina flash.

Some of the yarns from the batts and rovings we made in the class, drying on my own personal drying rack (the shower curtain pole).

Thursday was market day - vendors galore, with anything you could possible imagine you might need or want. The day was devoted to shopping, then signing up for the retreat sessions that were to follow the next two days.

Friday and Saturday I took half day classes with Margaret Stove (the merino lace queen!), Sara Lamb (Inkle looms), and Kathryn Alexander (Entrelac knitting). Everyone had such high energy and enthusiasm for their craft - it was infectious.

I had been signed up for one more class on Saturday morning, but I played hooky. The day dawned cool and bright, so I went for a run, then did a geocache on one of the ski hills. My brain was on overload with all the my new knowledge. It felt good to do some purely physical things.

Saturday evening was the big Spin In. There was a bluegrass band, refreshments and a giant room full of spinners doing what they love. Spinners everywhere!!

I'm kicking myself - I didn't get pictures of the friends I made. Some I've met before at SOAR, some were new this year. Nina, Eve, Jenni, Nancy, Kandy, Cherie and so many more...

It's wonderful to have so many people who understand the fiber compulsion, all in one place!

Sunday morning, I headed home. It was foggy and drizzly most of the way. I stopped twice and did two more geocaches. It's a good way to stop and stretch on a long trip! One of the stops was on an overlook of the Mackinac Bridge.

(Note to self: DON'T drive 11 hours the day after your first long run in two weeks! Stiffness WILL set in - SEVERELY!)

Girl of the House and Paul were glad to see me when I finally made it home around 7 pm.

I took a slightly different route home, which took me a few extra miles. I'm usually a pretty good navigator, but I made a critical error on my "bright idea" shortcut. Let's just say that driving on gravel roads along the Michigan/Wisconsin border is not a great idea when you just WANT TO BE HOME!!!

A photo of my swag from Market day.

I tried to resist buying much prepared fiber - after my fiber prep class, I really want to try doing more myself. So, I concentrated primarily on equipment.

I got 12 oz of Carolina Homespuns fiber blend that is exclusive to SOAR, hand held Indigo Hound combs, a Kingswood diz and threader from Woodchuck products, a darning egg, a new doffer for my carder, a souvenir SOAR spindle, a new Driftwood spindle (made of Corian, yet only an ounce!), four oz of Karaoke fiber (merino/soy silk) from Mielke Farms (this is half spun up already), three 8 oz/625 yd skeins of prime alpaca yarn from Misty Mountain Farms (couldn't resist - trust me, I tried!), and two more Woolie Winder bobbins (not shown) for my Lendrum.

After jumping back in to the home routine, it's taken me a few days to catch up. Today I made the grocery run, did this update, and there's a pot of yummy smelling homemade soup on the stove. Paul came home for lunch, and it was lovely. It's good to be back...

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