Thursday, October 30, 2008

Shameless display of booty

I collect hand spindles. I can attempt, reasonably successfully, that as we teach spindle spinning, a good representative collection is essential. I can say, completely honestly, that I only buy ones that work well, and that I will use, over time. I can joke, with an insouciant laugh, that they represent my pension fund (something of a hollow laugh, these days, of course.)

But in all honesty, what I really am is .......

A spindle slut. Oops.

This, finally unearthed from the luggage, is our latest spindle haul.

Avi Wasserman and Bosworth spindles

A gorgeous, weighty Avi Wasserman, and a Bosworth mini (yes, really, looks rather bigger to me), the latter in dogwood and rosewood, and very pretty. Well, they both are.


Two lovely Forresters.

Hatchtown and Lily spindles

One from Hatchtown Farm, and a "Lily" spindle. Whorl made from Corian, of all things, but nevertheless spins like a dream. I didn't like the prettier wood ones, way over-light for my taste.


A lovely Spindlewood, in snakewood. Who could resist>

Tabachek Tibetan

A Tibetan style spindle by Edward Tabachek. Lovely cherry wood. Also irresistible.


And finally, two little Goldings. The one on the right is mine, the other, the DSM's. There are many and wonderful Goldings, but they are getting hideously expensive. Works of art, but.....

Now, I need to get each room in the house set up with a spindle again, so that I can do some serious production work. One in the handbag, to carry everywhere with me. Because, you see, I really do enjoy the process.

And finally, a little colour from around these, rather than foreign parts.

red leaves


Plus, it's cold! The coven met this evening, the first time in ages, lovely! but when I got home, the sky was nearly clear, and the stars where brilliant. Are we going to have a real winter, then? Or is it just an illusion?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Part the third

Nearly done, now!

The end of SOAR saw (oops!) us moving on to a house near Woodstock. The DSM and I have spent probably too many holidays driving way too much, and we have started finding oursleves nice places to use as a base.

Right, well, I started this this afternoon and ran out of time. Now, for some strange reason I am sitting at the computer at half past midnight, so reckon I might as well get the post done. Why am I here? Maybe we should ask the DSM that (sigh). His ritual post holiday insomnia, which can wash over on to me. Ah, well.

What did we do? We had a good time, that's what. So there isn't all that much to say about it. I think what I will do is put up what photographs I want (there will undoubtedly be more on Flickr, so click to enter and go see if you so wish. Then I can just add the odd explanatory note, 'k?

where we stayed

House, followed by out back.

trees @ house

We then spent our time recovering from colds, finding nice food and wine, knitting, and finding yarn shops. We started at the famous Countrywool


The sharp-eyed amongst you will immediately notice that this is not me. This is, of course, Sara.
And going to her blog to get the url, I realise that (not surprisingly, in view of the fact that we went to the same places, some of our ohotograohs are, shall we say, similar. I'll try not to duplicate.....

OK, so much time spent photographing leaves, trees, water.

Hudson river


trees & water

trees & water

We visited some of the small towns in the Hudson River Valley, Catskill, Tivoli, Saugerties. I fell in love with them all.

Catskill buildings

Catskill cat

Saugerties Lighthouse

Then, at the end of the week, we moved on to a rather splendid bed and breakfast place. This was what we could see from our bedroom balcony.

Minnewaska Lodge

Minnewaska Lodge

And this was what we could see in our respective bedrooms from time to time, just in case we were getting to miss our own darlings too much!

Picture of Lily

And the grand finale? Well, not the conversation in the restaurant with two drunken rock climbers - why did we spin yarn rather than buy it? Why did they climb to the top of the cliff instead of taking the funicular, not that there was one, but you get the drift, no?

No, this was the grand finale (sorry about the wobble, taken from a moving vehicle.)

Rhinebeck sign


Fried food plus fibre. Too much fun.

Yeah, it was. Now that I have written it all up, I find I am feeling....what? Not sure. Missing the blue skies, the golden leaves, the people. Oh, I have my own tribe here, of course, and get them all gathered together and the same sort of mayhem can apply. But. But.

Never mind, great memories. Two stand out.

One was talking to someone and revealing the full horror of my real and actual age, and being told that I was..... a great role model. Not quite sure exactly how I feel about that one - thrilled, I think.

The other was having only been for a few minutes at Rhinebeck, and having been told that it was unlikely that I would run in to any of the people I knew to be there. When an American voice said "I know you!"

"You could well do - I go to SOAR."

"Not SOAR", she says. "WOOLFEST!!"

The threads that we spin and weave and dye intertwine and link us in ways we know not of, sometimes, indeed they do.

(Buggrit, the Blogger spellchecker is on the blink yet again. this is no doubt full of typos and idiocies. Too freakin' bad. I'll maybe edit tomorrow.)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

And the next..........

I have never not enjoyed SOAR. To spend an entire week with people who do not consider you freakish because you get fired up by fibre, who can spend half an hour discussing the relative merits of one wheel or spindle compared with another, how the lay of a stitch is affected by the way you insert your knitting needle, or how to pronounce "Leicester" or "nupp" - well, what's not to enjoy?

But this year was probably one of the best yet. Many old friends, but a vibrant cast of newcomers, first-timers full of fun and enthusiasm. So many good conversations, quiet times, hilarious times. And that's before you even consider the workshops.

Plus, I was somewhat zapped by a cold (one departing, one arriving) for the entire week, which did rather kind of subdue things a bit. I find that I haven't taken as many photos as usual, and some of those I did take are pretty poor. Ah, well.

My workshop was ...interesting. Abby Franquemont has a vast and fascinating store of personal knowledge about growing up in the rich textile tradition of Chinchero, Peru, and I could listen to her describe it for hours. Hoever, she also comes from a western academic tradition (and nothing whatever wrong with that) which perhaps lay behind her structuring her workshop as rather more of a seminar than a hands-on event, and I guess my preference, at least for a three day class, is for the latter. What the heck, good people, good times.



Retreats - I was all fired up to do certainly three and maybe - for once! - four. But the cold Mark 11 fogged my brain - I did the Wrap & Roll session first, which I finally did get, and which turned out to be fun; then half of Patsy Z's seminar on the new fibres, which was very interesting, but I went loopy part way through and had to leave. Fortunately, the DSM was in the same class and took notes, so I did get the benefit. Saturday morning I had a rush of blood to the head and inflicted myself on poor Sara, herself beginning to succumb to the SOAR lurgy, and painted a knitted silk blank. Each time I do something like this, I get closer to being able to contend with fibre reactive dyes!

And on Saturday afternoon, I rested, hoping to energise myself for the Saturday night Spin-in. Well, kind of. I did get down to it, took a few photographs, but had to give in and revert to pumpkin mode. Still, been there before, will again, and did manage to capture:

A few usual suspects -

Yet more usual suspects

Some usual suspects

A glimpse of The Yarn Harlot -

The Yarn Harlot

And to hear Aquilina, from near Chinchero, sing more of her wonderful songs -


And then it was all over for another year.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Finally, finally, finally

I'm being gently nagged - but the hold-up has mainly been the time needed to upload photos from my camera to the pc, and then to edit and upload to Flickr. Plus the little matter of a modicum of jetlag, recovering from the SOAR cold and having an AH class yesterday.

Slouch I have not been. Honest.

So, we had a great time. That's it, really.

Oh - more info? Heh heh.

We started out in New York City, after a long and uncomfortable flight. Which was entirely our fault for flying with Continental, but they were way the cheapest. But maybe never again, regardless.



We took things fairly gently, a little shopping and wandering around what was a very interesting neighbourhood, lots of stops for coffee, people watching and so on. Nice.

Then Thursday night we went to see "Spamalot". Which was fun, but I don't actually think would have been quite so well received if it hadn't been Python. Definitely fun, though. Plus by some weird coincidence, the actor playing King Arthur was the same one who had played Shakespeare in "The Frogs" that we saw in NYC last time we were there four years ago.

Friday was largely devoted to the The Met. We did the backstage tour in the afternoon and It Was Fabulous, Fascinating and Fun. Too many highlights to bore you with, but eavesdropping on rehearsals had to be one, and being able to touch costumes
and props and then to see them onstage later was also a wow.

And by a freak of the internet, there was a glitch with our tickets for way up in the gods, so for the actual performance of Lucia we were in the stalls. Cor, posh! For a wonderful, wonderful performance - the plot is crap, but the singing was extraordinary!

OK, moving on - picked up car, avoided parking ticket, visited "Knitty City" where we provided entertainment for the cute and friendly young staff (of which more, later) and went again to Zabar's for essential supplies for a picnic and SOAR. And then off into the wilds of Pennsylvania.

My photos of the Delaware Water Gap are nothing special, but we did see a fine Monarch butterfly.

Monarch butterfly

Then, we stopped at Bushkill Falls for a picnic lunch and a bit of a walk around. A pretty foretaste of things to come.

Bushkill Falls

Bushkill Falls

I was going to include my SOAR report in this post, but time is getting away from me, and besides, it will then be a bit picture heavy. So - continued tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Well, hello there!

A brief check-in. No time or energy, thanks to a second cold SOAR-style, for a full post. That plus pics will come later. Enough to say it was good, all of it, NYC and SOAR - of course.

I just wanted to post this link, to give you a flavour. Let me know what you think, eh?