Saturday, March 29, 2008

Susan's Fiber Shop Spinning Retreat 2008 - Friday

Don't know if it's Blogger or my computer or my slow wireless connection here at the hotel, but I'm not able to upload multiple pictures at a time this morning, so I will give you just this one, and then refer you to my Flickr photoset for the full batch of photos from my first day at the spinning retreat.

The rest of this post will be narrative (yawn).

So, I left the greater Madison, WI area around 12:30 pm on Friday and arrived in Columbus about an hour later. The retreat is at a local hotel, and we've taken over what would normally be their breakfast room with 30-40 people and their various fiber tools - spindles, wheels, electric spinners, and fiber, of course.

Shortly after I arrived, Susan got me started practicing on that Schacht LadyBug wheel you see in the above photo, and gave me a quick lesson on spinning from the fold, which I'd been wanting to learn. I practiced that for the rest of the day.

I like this wheel. I don't know that I love it, but I don't hate it, either. Today, (Saturday), I'm going to try using a Majacraft Rose and perhaps a Lendrum. Looking forward to seeing how they all compare to one another. I suspect that if/when the time comes for me to buy a wheel, it will be a Lendrum because of it's affordability, portability and versatility, but I don't want to rule anyone else out yet. Frankly, that electric spinner seems pretty darn cool, and definitely appeals to my very wide lazy streak as well as my space limitations....

In between spinning sessions, Susan gave demonstrations on how to create novelty batts and fiber using a picker and a drum carder and tossing in things like cut up pieces of ribbon, fabric and the like. She also gave a demonstration on how to spin overspun novelty yarns like those created by PluckyFluff. (I think there's an article in the Spring '08 issue Spin Off on a similar topic, but since I haven't received my issue yet.... Are you listening, Interweave...?) Definitely fun and interesting demos, but not something I'll attempt anytime soon -- I'll just be happy to be able to create a decent amount of consistently smooth yarn and have the colors and plies do what I want.

Several of the attendees, as well as Susan herself, are also vendors here, and they've set up shop in their various hotel rooms. There is a lot of fiber, yarn, books, tools, buttons, patterns, and handicrafts available for sale at incredibly reasonable prices. Despite my suitcase space limitations, you better know I picked up a few goodies, including two gorgeous hand-painted rovings, some beautiful batts, a lovely new spindle (surprise!) made by the brother of one of the attendee-vendors, and a couple of patterns. I forgot to photograph the loot yesterday -- perhaps I'll get to that today. I also hope to take a field trip to Susan's shop today, which is just 10 minutes from the hotel. I'll definitely bring the camera.

Today we're having several demonstrations on how to create beaded yarns, how to navajo ply (yippee! been wanting to learn this!), and how to make yarn with multi-colored rovings without muddying the colors, which also seems like a valuable skill.

A gal spinning on a wheel near me yesterday uses the Navajo spindle as her primary spinning tool of choice, so I'm looking forward to seeing her demonstrate that today, although I don't think it will replace my love of the top whorl drop spindle.

Edited to add:

Forgot to mention -- the big buzz around Columbus, WI is that Johnny Depp (and a film crew) have been in town filming a movie about John Dillinger. Susan's niece, I think, got some photos of him in town, and Susan posted them on the wall for all to enjoy. I took pictures of the photos, which are in my Flickr photoset. Supposedly Mr. Depp was staying at the same Marriott where I was staying in Madison, but, alas, we did not cross paths.

Well, I better end this post, jump in the shower and get started with my day. Here's hoping I'm able to post again tomorrow! 'Til then....


KSee said...

Hi Mary, really enjoying reading about your retreat(s) when we next meet up at Knittin' at the Lake you will be really showing us somethings. I looked at your tickerfacotry. only 2 years 8 mo into knitting. You have come a long way, baby (couldn't help myself (smile)

Robin said...

I can't wait to see what wheel you come home with!! I know you are having a GOOD time!

fireflynights said...

Wow, you went to Wisconsin on a work assignment and found a spinning retreat while you were there? Lucky you.

I bought a single treadle Fricke wheel today from Barbara at Stony Mountain Fibers. It works well for me, and it was probably one of the cheapest wheels available. I plan to use it to learn how to spin, and then buy my "ultimate" wheel later.

Did you get to use the Majacraft Rose? I really like the Suzie although it was a little too zippy for me at this stage. I think the Rose is even prettier.

Any chance you're going to the knitting retreat at Graves Mountain Lodge next month? Last I heard there were still spaces for non RCK members.

Bess said...

Ooooo love to hear about your retreat. Can't wait to see your yarns.

Patsy said...

So sorry you didn't like the Majacraft Suzie. It is my most favorite and mine spins like butter. I also have their little gem. Both spin wonderfully. Different strokes for different folks I guess. Hope you find a great match, then you can come out and join me in my sun room to spin!!