So I’m home. Got home last night. I was gone for 12 days and I am feeling it.

SOAR was good and tiring. I fell like I never stopped moving the whole week. I was up at 6AM every morning and was never to bed earlier than midnight – even after Maggie got there.

My workshop (3 day) class was with Sara Lamb. We were learning silk knotted pile. I do not consider myself a weaver. Most of the weaving I have done up until a week ago was on a loom with pedals and shafts and stuff. I have enjoyed rigid heddle weaving a little more but it still doesn’t move my heart. Plus I always end up thinking about spinnign while I am weaving. So, with all of that I didn’t have much hope to fall in love but wanted to learn the technique. Boy was I wrong.

The looms that most of the class used were the new Cricket Loom from Schacht. It worked beautifully for this method and most students opted to take the loom home with them because of the ease of use. I, on the other hand, always have to take the hard road and asked if I could work ont he copper pipe loom instead. I was curious about the warping and was interested in the looms construction. I wasn’t sorry i went that route. Now I can use the rigid heddle loom as well as an even simpler loom for this weaving.

The photo above shows my warped loom and Sarah getting ready to show Janel and I how to make the heddles. (Janel went with the copper loom too).

In the evenings there was time to talk to other participants and also mentors. Nilda Callanaupa Alvarez was there teaching Andean Spinning techniques. She is a lovely and wonderful person. The picture above is not her. It is her friend Aquilina. I was fascinated by her. This is one of the times I was so sad that I only speak English. This woman has the most beautiful smile and she is also one of the most skilled people I have ever seen in motion. The way she handle the spindle was mesmerising and then I got to watch her weave. On a back strap loom. Pick up patterns. Using only her fingers and a couple of sticks and a bone from an Alpaca. Amazing.
Sunday Abby set me up to learn this weaving on a warp only one inch wide. I think I made an inch of progress in 3 hours. It’s hard to do but I still want to do it. (Abby will be teaching a back strap class at my shop in July)

So in between my fascination with all things Andean and Sarah Lamb turning me into a weaver, there were whistling lessons with Marcy.

Then back to serious with a lecture from Abby.

This was one of her slides. Ain’t she cute?

After her talk, Aquilina spun on a wheel for the first time.

And every night there was a party somewhere. Janel is posing with her yarn here. There was also a Pinball Challenge. Abby kicked all our pants. She’s multitalented.

Denny had this backstrap loom. She brought it with her and Abby and Nilda set it up for weaving.

A surprise for many there – but not me – was that Abby knew the pattern and set to weaving on the loom.

After 3 days of Workshop classes we all had a show and tell on Wednesday evening. Each class brings their projects and sets them up so the other classes can see. There is a lot more instruction and questions answered by the participants. This is what Abby’s class set up. (Does this feel like the Abby Franquemont fan club yet? I think I’m the prez.)

Here’s my project.

One of my big worries was about spinning all of that silk and then cutting it into small bits. But look at the results. And it feel just lovely to touch. This will be a spindle bag. I have some more spinning and plenty of weaving to do to finish this project.

I am also set up to make a card woven strap for the bag…if I can remember how.

Nilda’s class. They were all so happy and proud.

Sarah Anderson’s Wrap and Roll Class. It was cool yarn and lots of good effects but some of it I wondered how to use it.

My friend Denny took little Maggie swimming every night – because of love.

Micheal Cook did a couple of great demonstrations of silk reeling. sorry this is so dark but the hotel lighting wasn’t fab.

Maggie Casey taught us about how to spin big and lofty yarns. It was a wonderful class and even though I’ve been practicing this she gave us some tips that helped even more.

Maggie enjoyed the gallery very much. She had a scarf and two skeins in it but also loved all of the shawls a lot.

Here is Aquilina at her loom signing books like a celebrity.

Nuff Said.

Here’s Maggie in her favorite class. Painting a silk skein that she may even knit! Although the way she’s been working on the Cricket Loom today she may want to weave it.

Maggie also made a new friend. Her name is Quilla and she is Abby’s niece. Maggie taught her to spin on a spindle and also a wheel they found in the Schacht booth.

This is the spindle that Maggie saved up for and you can see why. She does love it though and has been spinning on it almost everyday.

Abby teaching us about how to ply on our spindles REALLY FAST!

I did not win this auction. It went for $200. This is what the bidding sheets of the silent auction looked like. The silent auction benefits the SOAR scholarship fund. Last year I got a pair of lace baby booties hand spun and knit by Margaret Stove herself. This year I got a Gute Fleece and some silk dyed by Sarah Lamb. Maggie got a little tiny spinning wheel that is also a pencil sharpener. The auction raised over $4700 for next year’s scholarship recipients. That doesn’t include the cash donations made during registration! Maybe next year there will be enough money for more than 5 people. Let’s hope.

There was a bag of silk coccoons and other silky stuff donated by Micheal Cook. Jeannine was guarding them with her guard dog teeth. She even resorted to barking and growling at me.

But this is how she looked when the auction ended. Pure Joy!
Sunday morning there was a lovely talk by Nilda and I was even more inspired to help the Andean weavers and knitters and spinners as well as teach as many as I can to spin and weave and knit so that our textile traditions can be saved.
This was not even close to all that happened this past week. It is just a glimpse because I can’t even tell all that happened. I’m still processing it myself. Fantastic and Fabulous is all the more I can say.
Later this week I will try to get photos together of the highlights of my aquisitions. Spindles and fiber galor.
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