I got up early Saturday morning and headed off to the North Country Spinner’s Fiber Fallout. I took backroads to get there, and it was very nice and peaceful….no traffic. Except for one part where I saw something on the road…what the heck is that? It was a bear! I’ve never seen a bear close to here, but there he was. I tried to take a picture, but he kept on turning around to look at me, and I was paranoid (do bears attack cars?). OK, here is a terrible picture…but the bear is the little black dot in the middle (I think this should get an award for worst picture ever – don’t you think?)
The retreat was really good; I had a great time. There is something so nice about being with a lot of people that share the same interest. Everyone was very friendly, and I had the chance to talk to a lot of different people. And the spinning – wow! I realized what a beginner I am….and how expert a lot of people are. Saturday night we were sitting around, some people knitting, some spinning. I was watching someone spin – she was talking and laughing and didn’t look like she was paying attention to her wheel….and spinning thread.
On Saturday, I took a class with Rita Buchanan on being a versitile spinner. It was a great class; Rita was very low key, and funny. I got a lot out of the class, and was glad I took it. She’s such an expert spinner, but she didn’t make me feel stupid when I asked what were probably pretty obvious or stupid questions. She had a lot of samples of her spinning. They all were beautiful; very inspiring. She apparently is retiring from giving classes, so I feel very lucky that I got to do this with her.
Here is Rita demonstrating something on her wheel…
One of the biggest breakthroughs I had in class was that people spin yarn on purpose. I know, stupid eh? I don’t spin anything on purpose. I end up with yarn that is a surprise – I don’t know the gauge until after I’m done. But apparently most people plan what kind of yarn they spin depending on what project they want to knit or weave. Wow. I feel stupid just typing this, but so far I’ve viewed spinning as an un-related hobby in a way. I buy roving that I like, sit down and spin it, and then after I’m done, find a project to match the yarn (or more typically just put it in my stash). Apparently most people don’t do this. So its a shift in thinking….but I’m excited about it! I think before I got to Rhinebeck, I’m going to pick a project and then buy roving specifically for that. Maybe a sweater for Larry?
I sat next to Rita at dinner Saturday, and she was really interesting and very nice. I actually didn’t know anything about her….someone mentioned gardening and I asked her “oh, do you like to garden?”…duh….she’s written a lot of books about it! Who knew? She’s had a very interesting life, and has done a lot of things. And she has a separate studio – a little house in her backyard. I really want one too!
After dinner on Saturday, Rita gave a talk on her life as a spinner – and she talked about weaving. She had sample of her knitting, weaving and rug making. Amazing stuff. She even wove fabric from plant leaves. I am thinking about looking into weaving….the recommendation from everyone was to take the week-long beginning weaving class at The Mannings. It sort of looks like fun. I’m torn – weaving does look like it would be really fun, but I also feel I don’t have enough time to spend on knitting and spinning. Plus where would I put the loom? But after seeing the fabric Rita had woven, and how she uses the yarn she spins…..I really want to give it a try.
I got home yesterday a little after lunch; totally exhausted. So I took a nap, and had a relaxing afternoon. I did spin a bit and found that applying what I learned during the weekend really helps.
So although I was nervous and stressed about attending a retreat like this, I really did enjoy it. And I’ll definitely do it again!
Well, time to get ready for my second day on the new job. I’m taking the train today, so I have my knitting all packed up and ready to go! Have a great day.