The women in this Guild are pretty amazing. Many of them have working farms and they are all gifted in many, many fiber arts. Many are also gifted teachers, and they love to share their experience and knowledge. Plus, they are all-around nice people. :-) I love seeing them - they pretty much adopted this city girl into their Guild, so it's always a distinct pleasure when I have to chance to get together with any of them.
When they suggested that I come to the Missoui Fiber Retreat the first time (the retreat is more than just their Guild), I wasn't sure, but they get some of the top people in the world in their respective fields to come and teach. And the classes are small and the cost is amazingly reasonable. I didn't go last year, because the focus was on weaving, but this year it was on spinning and dying. I was so there.
Here's a sample of what we spun in Janel Laidman's Spinning for Socks class. L to R, Blue 100% BFL in my regular size, 3-ply, cabled yarn, Merino/Tencel blend (70/30 and I was SO reminded of why I do not like to spin with Tencel . . . ), and a 3-ply yarn that seems so very overplied, but Janel assured me it would loosen when I finish it - it's a 3-ply with two of the plies being 100 Merino and one being the Tencel. It's actually very pretty, and it forced me to learn a new technique in my spinning (that of a "softer" spin and a tighter ply). It was a great class, and it really needed to be another hour or so longer.
Here are Darthknitter and Christa in Janel's sock spinning class! We had a blast all weekend long. I told Darthknitter about the retreat, and since she's from Missouri, I figured she should go. She agreed :-D Really good to see her and to meet Christa!
I loved the basket weaving class and also the soap making class. I would not buy the basket supplies to make them at home, but man, I would sign up again in a NY minute to take another class. I really liked it. The soap, however, well, I'm definitely going to be making some soap. I'm pretty excited about it and got a mold and everything! I just bought some of the recommended books off Amazon.
I know, you want to know about what I came home with. Now, this looks like a lot more than it really is. I had a dispensation from Knitterary and Amy, and I figured - use it, or lose it . . . OK - it IS alot. It takes up the entire living room sofa. Which is quite large. BUT, there's other stuff here besides yarn.
So - to break it down for you . . .
Here's the left side of the sofa. An assortment of books, including Janel Laidman's The Enchanted Sole, and the motherlode of old Spin-Offs!!! Woo Hoo!! That dark green blob is 8 skeins of Cascade 220 in green/black tweed (I already have three skeins of this). It was seven bucks a skein and 30% off of that . . . I really couldn't pass it up.
That large, cream colored blob, is 4 pounds (yes, that's a bigass bag of fiber) of Masham, which is a English rare breed wool. I was so excited to get it that I got a lot. And at 12 bucks a pound, it was a bargain. It's finished beautifully and I think it's going to be amazing to spin. Next to that is a new project bag from The Loopy Ewe (did I mention that I stopped there on the way? :-) ) and behind it are a few more books that were on sale at the retreat. Down front are the magazines.
And on the right. A Longaberger basket - something called the Medium Gathering Basket. I stopped at an antique store in Tuscola, Illinois to . . . um . . . stretch my legs, and that basket insisted on coming home with me. In the corner, is a small Hull vase in the Woodland pattern - high gloss, so made after 1950. I have a substantial collection of Hull - it's American Art Pottery - and I haven't added to it for many years. Again, the price was too good pass up. Then in the basket and in front of of it, a few things picked up at The Loopy Ewe. Some sock yarns and yes, three skeins of Wollmeise (!). Behind the basket are a few more books (on beading) and a hat pattern, and that box that's IN the basket, is a soap mold :-)
There is a recipe book and some silk hankies that I won as door prizes, another piece of Hull - this one a jardiniere in the Sueno Tulip pattern - damaged and crazed, but still a great find. There's the bread basket I made, down in front. And see those skeins?
Here, take a closer look :-) I entered two of my skeins of handspun in the skein competition. I think there were more than three in the 2-ply, wool, class :-D but even if there were not, I was thrilled to get second and third in the class. The third place yarn is some Gale's Art Black Blue Faced Leicester in The Deep Blue Sea colorway, and the second place skein is wool from my friend Michelle at Boulderneigh's former ewe, Rechel (I hope I spelled that correctly). Michelle surprised me, as she is wont to do, with a gift of some of Rechel's fleece - in a cloud - and she sent more when I was afraid I wouldn't have enough to finish for socks. I'm pretty excited that this particular skein was so well-received. Thank you, Michelle :-)
Well, I'm exhausted and I only worked a half a day today. In fact, I probably should have just stayed home all day. . . oh well. I just wanted to get some of the photos up from this wonderful weekend.
I'll write in more detail about the classes I took in the days to come :-) But for now, it's early to bed . . .