There is plenty to tell. Lots of stuff has happened in the last weekend I am exhausted! I’ll start at the beginning if I can remember it all. I was making mental notes throughout the week but then my mental notes seem to be missing right now.
Kate and Erika were coming for the weekend mostly to be with me – although they pretended it was Galina who was their focus.

So since they were coming I wanted to make them a little gift so they would be comfortable at my house. Off I went to Bath and Body Works to get what Maggie calls “Sleeping Goggles”. You know, those eye masks some people use to keep light out when they are sleeping. Bath and Body were out so we went to Claire’s in the same shopping center. Not quite as classy but cute anyway.

While Maggie and I were in Claire’s she noticed that they pierce ears there – an activity she had reserved for her 7th birthday. Well, she thought about it while we walked around the store and decided to go for it.

Here she is before the excitement. If you look closely you can see the little dots drawn on her earlobes in preparation for the earrings.

Here she is with her new amethyst earrings. It did hurt at the time even though now she’ll tell you it didn’t. There was a little yelp of pain and her face got all red. She managed to hold back the tears but the shock turned to pride when she looked in the mirror and saw her new jewelry. She’s been very good at remembering that they need to be cleaned 3 times a day for a while.
I did end up getting the sleeping goggles too -as well as a few other things in a couple of other stores to make a little gift bag for the girls.

This is a very bad picture taken in the shop’s bathroom of a Blue Faced Leicester Fleece I have been wanting to play with. Just look at that dirt. I think this sheep likes to lay in the poop pile.

Here it is after the washing. Pretend that is very white and not yellow. It really is a beautiful fleece and very fine.
O.K. on to the weekend.

Thursday I had to pick up the tables from the rental company and take them to the shop. In the mean time Kate and her darling were on their way. We were supposed to meet in the middle of the state somewhere. Unfortunately I had to make a trip to Discount Tire because my one tire was low and I was worried – it did have a nail.
By the time the tire was fixed and I got on the road they were only about 30 miles away. So we met and had a little lunch and got on the way back to my shop. There was still a lot to do there. As Erika will probably explain, I am organizationally impaired. She has this gift for seeing the big picture and can move things around very efficiently. I, on the other hand am easily overwhelmed with messes. So, Kate and I set up tables and did what we could until Erika arrived and whipped the place into shape. Fabulous!
We went to dinner at a local place – where I had Lobster because I’m worth it.
By the time we were driving up to my house Galina and George were on the phone letting us know they were very close. Back to the shop we went to give them the certificate to cover their hotel stay and make sure they were happy with the class set up. Everything was good and so home we came. Aren’t they cute. That’s Erika on the right and Kate is the other one – hee.
After Erika gave Kate her first ever in person spinning lesson we were really tired and decided to get some rest in preparation for the hard days to come. (Did I mention we bought 16 bars of Chocolate?) The first day was Russian Spindle Spinning. It was very fun and a little challenging. The things we learned in this class will definitely transfer to our wheel spinning but I love the spindle spinning a lot. I’ve really learned to love all sorts of spindles. The next one I need to work on is the Akha and then I think I’ll be covered. I will definitely be using my Russian Spindles to spin for a shawl.
Galina gave us plenty of fiber samples so that we could make a decision about which fibers we liked to spin best and then we could continue on with that fiber if we chose to spin for a project.
I know we got cashmere, cashgora, pygora, buffalo, yak, optim (yuk), and a few blends with silk. My favorite was Pygora. Although later in the evening I worked on some Cashmere that I have in the shop and it is very lovely if I comb it first.
We also saw a demonstration of a combing tool they use in Orenburg. I can’t find a picture of it on the Internet. Maybe I’m not using the right words in my googling. Anyway, it is a triangle made of wood that you put your leg through and the combs stick up from the top. You only have this one comb and use your fingers to pull the wool through. Very lovely. I want one. But I can’t even find a picture of one on the Internet let alone actually find one that I can have in my hands. I love combing and I need all of the combing tools I can get. The teeth on the device were very fine and close together making it perfect for combing that fine Orenburg Goat fleece.
But here is Kate making a valiant effort with her spindle. She had huge improvement in her spinning in a very short time. She’s a natural and don’t let her tell you otherwise.

And here is Galina demonstrating how to ply on a spindle. She’s using the fiber that she spun along with a mill spun silk. It’s a great method but takes some coordination when you get to the actual spinning part. This spindle spinning class is definitely one you should take. Don’t be afraid. Galina is a very patient and good teacher. AND you get some history lessons while you work!
Now, Thursday night we slept at my house but on Friday night we slept in the shop. F-U-N. There was spinning and ice cream eating and chatting and advice getting (that was me). I forgot to take any pictures. All of the stuff that Galina sells was in the shop and so I tried on many, many shawls and touched a lot of fiber.

Here’s where I must have been getting shaky. This is Saturday’s knitting class. This was my third or fourth time to have some form of this class and I still learn new things or am reminded of things I forgot. The thing about this class is that there a several ooohaaaaahhh moments. Casting on – oooohhh – pick up slipped stitched invisibly – aaaaahhhh – grafting invisibly – ooohhhh – blocking – wow! The thing that was great for me in the very first knitting class I took from Galina was how to read my knitting and not be so hooked on counting stitches. Useful in any project.

Here are the teacher’s pets deep in thought.

And all of us at the end of the second day. Doesn’t Kate look like a cheerleader? And Erika … well she’s my hero.
Afterward, Lou and I took Galina and George out to dinner to O’Callahan’s. Delicious and usual and I ate way too much. The company and the conversation was so fun that I stopped paying attention to my fork. THIS is a huge benefit to being a shop owner. To have some private time with a teacher who I immensely respect. Something that even a year ago I couldn’t imagine.

I bought this shawl. It is an actual Orenburg Shawl made from Orenburg fiber. (That’s Erika behind it.)

Here’s a blurry picture of some corner detail. Beautiful.
This was a great weekend as far as learning and girlfriends go. My charming husband was a huge help and also very understanding about all the silliness and sleepovers in a shop.
Now we get back to business and trying to work this business into the fabulous thing I know it can be. More workshops are coming up and I can only hope they’ll come close to this one which was my first.
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