Sunday, October 30, 2011

Postcards from the Road: Tucson

Greetings from Tucson!

Well, actually, greetings from the Albuquerque airport.  I've (reluctantly) left Tucson behind to travel onward to Sedalia, MO.  I say (reluctantly) because Tucson was FABULOUS!

My visit began with a warm airport welcome from my hostesses for the week Jill and Lura and only got better and better.  Except for one day, but we'll get to that.

Little did I know that plans had been made for me upon my arrival.  The visit began with a trip to the woodshop of spindle maker extraordinaire Ken Ledbetter...

...which was literally stacked floor to ceiling with spindles-to-be. 

I was given a sneak-peak at his new Russian and Tibetan spindles, as well.  And yes, the spindle collection was enhanced!

Then we scooted over to an arts and crafts sale where Lura was selling some of her glorious weaving with her partners Mary and Barbara, who joined us for dinner before I was whisked away to the Tucson Music Hall for a performance of Shrek: The Musical.  All in all a wonderful day, and I felt most spoiled by all the treats.

That would have been enough to make any trip worthwhile, but the week went from great to indescribably fabulous the next morning when we travelled in to Crizmac Marketplace and met the Master Spinner class.  What a wonderful group of women!  It was a joy to teach such an enthusiastic, inquisitive, and daring group of students.

The facility, as most off-campus facilities do, presented a wee bit of challenge for Level One, which is a pretty wet and messy level.  The shop itself is lovely...

...and filled with charming and colorful Fair Trade goods from around the world, with a particular emphasis on Mexico.  Our classroom was a little warm on some of the hotter days, and it was a little cozy washing our fleeces...

...but we all survived.  And will live to laugh about it.  Eventually. (And Level 2  would fit in there nicely...)

Tuesday was a day of woolen and worsted, carding and working with fleeces.  The route home that day included a stop into Kiwi Knitting Company's fabulous little shop, just across from the historic Rincon Market.  Kiwi is the home to this fabulous yarn-stormed bicycle...

...which is apparently driven by this guy...

...knit by Jill Holbrook.

We did stuff Wednesday.  I know we did, but I can't really remember what.  Master Spinner stuff, I'm sure-I have a lesson plan somewhere to prove it.  But Thursday, I remember very well.  Too well.

I like to do the Level 1 dye day on the Thursday of the week.  We have covered all of the key topics by then, and everybody's brain is overfilled and leaking a little, so the change of pace is very welcome.  Usually, dye day is physically gruelling, but kind of fun.  Well, for me, it was just plain gruelling.

You see, I woke up in the night with a wee tummy-ache.  Which became a REALLY BIG tummy-ache.  By 2 a.m, I was worshipping at the great porcelain altar.  By 6 a.m., I was pretty sure all I had left to throw up was my own innards, but the fun continued until nearly noon.

Meanwhile, there were 10 people waiting to learn to dye with natural materials.  So, green about the gills as I was, I trooped in, pointed vaguely in the general direction of some dye pots and turned them loose.  Apparently, they figured it out...

...and fabulous colours were made.

I took a nap.

Then I was given the miracle cure.  There is a local food chain called Eegee's and they sell a frozen lemonade drink called, oddly enough, an Eegee.  An Eegee was what I needed.  That and 12 solid hours of sleep.  And I was up and atom again on Friday morning for a day of blending and spindle spinning with the gang.

We wrapped up the class and all (well, mostly all-some had other commitments) went out to dinner together.  Where we were joined by wonderfully supportive spouses and by another Master Spinner student, Carl, who had been in my class in North Carolina a few years ago...

...Carl is an Arizonan (Arizonanian? What do you call folks who live in Arizona?) now and dropped by for a visit with his family.  La Parilla Suiza had no idea what had hit it--15 people all talking spinning and sipping margaritas.  A great wrap-up to the week!

I had planned to spend Saturday touring around Tucson, but you know what they say about best-laid plans.  I spent Saturday napping and knitting and staring and regrouping.  And now, here I am , on the way to Sedalia.  I know Sedalia will also be fabulous, but it's gonna have to work pretty darned hard to top last week in Tucson. (I would, however, be thrilled if we could avoid the day of blech this time around, okay?)

Big hugs to my class from Tucson.  Thank you all so much for being who you are.  I hope you are resting and recouping after a pretty tough week, and that those of you who have to travel are having safe journeys. 

Now, get cracking on that homework!

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