October 15, 2007


I'm back from SOAR, and I had a spectacular time. Here are some things that I learned.

1. I took two classes a day, talked fibre and spinning morning noon and night and avoided sleep because I might have missed something, or someone. The mentors are fantastic, the attendees incredible and the whole thing a pivotal experience. (I expressed that I was tired, and Phreadde told me to sleep after SOAR. She's a genius, but very dangerous.) Putting that much in your brain that fast while maintaining an active social calendar while there is so exhausting that I am surprised that this event does not have a mortality rate. (I actually suggested that perhaps it did and the other spinners were just stripping the bodies of fibre and rolling them into the lake.)


2. Denny was one of the SOAR scholarship recipients this year, and she was a freakin' rock star. Rachel H, Juno, Julia and I arrived on Thursday, with Rachel H. and I worried about our little Denny and how she was faring on her first time away alone. She'd gone for the whole week and we were concerned that she might be lonely. We arrived and anxiously sought her out only to discover that she owned Soar. Owned it. Witness her brainchild "Stupid Yarn Tricks".
This is Abby.


This is Denny.


Abby is spinning (or maybe plying...) over a balcony above Denny. (Fine yarn is on the spindle. Abby needs to keep it spinning all the way down, or the twist will come out and disaster will ensue.) Denny is catching it in her arms....


Then in her teeth. (I swear this must be seen to be believed.


I took this picture lying on the ground at Denny's feet.) Stupid yarn trick number two. Denny had a sweater that needed to be unravelled (bad gauge) and skeined for washing. She positioned Abby and I back to back about 6 metres apart (20 feet)

and had us extend our arms.


Then she took her knitting off the needles, and started running. She did one lap,
then passed it off to a bystander,


they did a lap, and passed it off to someone else,


and someone else.


In this manner, the sweater was unravelled in minutes. The occasional runner hurried too fast and missed the hands of Abby or I, but I am sure that Abby would agree that repeated near strangulation was a small price to pay for how hysterically funny it was. When the largest skein was completed and the sweater unravelled, Abby and I experienced a moment of simpatico genius and did "eggbeaters" to twist and coil the skein.


Forgive the blurriness. The photographer was laughing too hard for accurate camera operation.

(It was funny. Nauseating, since you have no idea how many times you need to twist a skein that size to get it to fold back on itself...but funny.)

3. This is Dan.


It is very important to correctly identify Fiberguy Dan at SOAR. Dan is married to Phreadde, and Dan is responsible for the honoured practice of "swilling" which is to say "drinking really bad wine until the very wee hours of the morning".


It is dangerous, and all contact with Dan should be accomplished with your wits about you, lest you fall victim.
(Rachel and I escaped largely unscathed. The same cannot be said of our room-mates.) Memorize now what he looks like so that he can't ever sneak up on you at one of these things. (Swill tip from Dan: If you think the swill isn't good....it's not cold enough.)

4. I know very, very little about spinning. I improved my long draw and learned double drafting from Maggie Casey (she is a goddess walking the earth as a woman), Margaret Stove (!!!) showed me the true path to understanding lace, Judith MacKenzie-McCuin taught me....well, a hundred things, but I think she was aiming for the totally new-to-me concept of wet finishing, and a lovely lady named Joan Sheridan Hoover taught me a very great deal about my wheel. Those were just the classes. There is so much about this to learn.
I swear I might have learned something just from standing near Sara Lamb.
The depth and breadth of what people know that I do not is incredible. I learned more at SOAR in a two minute conversation over dinner than I did in the whole last year I have been spinning in my living room.

5. When I realized I knew nothing, I was not sad. I was thrilled, excited and stunned. This learning curve is going to be long and exciting. I just have to stay away from the swilling if I want to survive.

PS. My reward yarn came this morning.

Posted by Stephanie at October 15, 2007 5:12 PM