Sunday, October 21, 2007


I returned from SOAR (Spin Off Autumn Retreat) in Michigan last week. What a fantastic time! I learned so much about spinning, knitting and other fiber arts. There were so many incredibly knowledgeable and generous people at the retreat willing to share ideas. The fall scenery was gorgeous as well.

My three day workshop with Katherine Alexander was full of experimentation with new ideas. She showed us how to use S spun and Z spun singles to create amazing energized forms in our knitting. What fun to see the knitted fabric curve from the energy of the singles. Katherine has tremendous energy herself and it was a pleasure to be in her class.

Here she is modeling one of her sweaters with a classmate from Minnesota wearing a sweater knit from one of Katherine's patterns. The color combinations and shapes are fantastic.

Then we had four, half-day workshops. My first was in hand combing with Robin Russo. Combing creates a lovely, light and airy top from which to spin. I can't wait to tackle the 3 fleece I have waiting to be washes and combed at home.

Next was a workshop with Margaret Stove from New Zealand in spinning and knitting lace. She taught the class how to wash a Merino fleece lock by lock and then spin it from the lock to achieve a smooth, very fine, lace weight yarn. It is amazing how much yardage one can get out of a single lock!

The next morning I took a workshop with Janel Laidman in carding batts using many colors. What fun we had experimenting with blending, striping and mixing multiple colors of fiber.

Here is the fiber we had to choose from.

This is my carding partner, Linda, with the batts we made and yarn she spun from her batts. We tried several different methods including choosing colors we don't like, just to see the outcome. We liked all the batts we created.

My final class was learning to use my wheel more effectively to get specific types of yarn. The teacher, was wonderful and helped us to see the difference that a gentle take up can make on the final yarn. I also learned the wonders of steaming the yarn.

The final night we had a spin-in complete with a bluegrass band. Imagine 200+ people in the same room spinning and knitting to bluegrass. Good Stuff.

Here are two of the scholarship receipients.

And, two new friends from my Katharine Alexander class, Jillian and Carla.