Friday, July 11, 2008

What I've Been Up To: Part Two

When we left Michelle's adventures yesterday, she had packed her wheels and her wools and had headed south to Olds. Let's join here there...

Olds College Fibre Week is a growing institution in the fibre world, the marvelous gathering together of fibre fanatics, producers, seller and teachers. All those lovers of string in one place must, in some way, shift the world on its axis for that week!

I took two days to drive down to Olds, stopping in Edmonton to visit with my Mom and Number One Son for an evening. The actual drive to Olds was filled with dread and trepidation. I was off to teach the Master Spinner curriculum for the first time, and the hardest level at that. The dreaded technical Level 3.

I arrived mid-afternoon and loaded in my classroom, found my bed and hauled in my groceries for the week.

I found friends old and new in the Merchant Mall, and after a cafeteria supper, I attended the keynote address by Lucy Neatby. A glass of wine and a little studying, and I was off to bed. Where I did not sleep a wink, between anxiety and the screeching of the furnace fan that my roomies were running to cool the condo.

Monday dawned hot and sunny, and off I went for a fortifying breakfast. And off to class where I found a huge gap in my spinning skills! I can't do math!

Fortunately, the Universe was smiling upon me and I had an inquisitive, intelligent and fearless classroom full of people who worked with me and my stack of reference books to clarify the problem. By lunch time, each and every person in the classroom knew their tpi formulas cold! Especially the slightly red-faced instructor!

Thank goodness for the Silk Spin-in generously sponsored by Erynn at Twist of Fate. We got to play with all sorts of silk preparations and blends, soooo soft and soothing...

So, after hitting that huge obstacle, the being comforted by amazing amounts of free silk, the rest of the week went swimmingly! The two Level 3 classes joined forces for a natural dye day on Tuesday, with fabulous results:

...25 colors from one dye pot! Times 14 students--skeins galore!

All neatly sorted by mordant and modifier, 1-25.

Lots of happy dyers! Support spindles were played with and perfected while dye pots simmered. A busy, but satisfying day.

The fashion show and silent auction took place that evening, and as tired as I was, I went to bid on the goodies. I won a basket of coffee and books by Otto Pahl, and a Viking Santa spindle, which just happens to be the same shape as one of my favorite snacks, Old Dutch Butter Spindles (no wonder I love them!)...

...Mmmmm, spindelicious!

Wednesday brought cotton and count systems, leading to some super-fine spinning, and the amazing 3-person ply method that I first saw practiced at a Judith McKenzie-McCuin workshop years ago...

It happens to everybody at least once! Now that it's out of Kammy's system, she will spin brilliantly from now on! (Just like she has been all along, I might add. And now she's spinning cotton!)

Thurday we spun silk and made mawatas from silk cocoons, which is always mayhem. Hot water, nail frames and bugs--how could it not be a blast?

Friday brought reproducing commercial yarns, which tied together all the theory bits from throughout the week, then novelty yarns, which throw all those rules out the window. I felt a little rushed with the novlety yarns, but I covered the hard stuff really well, so I was okay with the compromise, this time. I will get it right in the future, I hope!

So, utterly drained and brain-dead, I struck out for Edmonton again, where we will pick up the final installation of our trilogy when next I sit down to blog.

Edited July 24, 2008.

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