Saturday Retreat Sessions

I was so excited about my first Saturday retreat session…Lynne Vogel and Debbie Schnabel – Hands on Color. I had been in and out of Nancy’s workshop all week and saw the great yarns and cool things they were doing. Like this: Which is Lynne and Debbie’s work – isn’t it beautiful?

This is Lynne (dyer and spinner):

This is Debbie (spinner and knitter):

They are the Twisted Sister’s ladies and the Twisted Sister’s Sockbook is about way more than socks! I was really disappointed that I didn’t bring my copy of the book to have it signed. Go take a look at this book and then buy it, I promise you won’t be disappointed. In a nutshell, this class was about taking those beautifully colored rovings you see and making gorgeous yarn from them. Some techniques we learned include: separate each color and spin it from the fold to get distinct color changes and then Navajo ply to keep those colors intact. Or, split the roving in half, but leave it connected at the bottom and then spin it as one long piece. Then you Andean ply it and the colors should match up (more or less). There’s lots more we covered in the class – and it’s all in the book (I made sure to ask, so I wouldn’t have to take notes).

Here’s my epiphany for this class: it’s possible for me to plan a sweater with different colors and then take white roving and dye it to match my sweater vision. I swear, I actually saw the light go on when Lynne was talking about dyeing to knit. It’s all in my head, but I was thinking so fast to keep up with her talking, I’m not sure I can write it all down. This woman is amazing – if you ever get a chance to take a class with her – do it!! Travel to take a class with her, she’s amazing.

Here are a couple of members of my workshop who ended up in this class the same time as me. Here’s Mary Ann (and I think that’s Joni behind her):

And this is Lori – after I said, “Show me the color!” (Maybe you had to be there.)

I wasn’t so excited about my Saturday afternoon retreat (Plying: Hints and Tricks), but I figured maybe I’d be too tired and could skip it. I’m so glad I didn’t. This is Maggie Casey:

and she’s a Goddess. It’s plying, how hard can it be? Well, it’s not hard to do, but it is kind of hard to do well. I tend to overspin my yarn and hope that it all works out in the end. As spinners, we’re told that our yarn should balance after it’s plied – right when you take it off the bobbin. Maggie said, “Nope, that’s completely wrong.” If you let your yarn sit on your bobbins over night, that “sets” the twist. Then if you ply that yarn, your yarn should twist according to the direction you plied (which is what usually happens with me). The singles twist will only “wake up” after you wet the plied yarn – then it will balance and hang straight. That’s pretty cool and made me feel much better about my yarn.

Here’s Nancy in our plying retreat:

Once more I’d like to point out how rare it is when you find someone you can travel with. Nancy and I have been traveling all over the for the last couple of years (Maryland Sheep and Wool, Stitches, a day trip to TKGA in Lansing, another day trip to a fiber festival on the west side of the state, and now SOAR). She is a fabulous planner (has her own GPS and knows how to use it!) and always has maps and written directions for me, the navigator. All I have to do is knit and occasionally pull out the maps and say, “Take east to Jessup.” We listen to NPR and chat, or just chill out. She never says, “Do you really need that extra cookie?” or “Wow, you’re being bitchy,” even though she’s had ample opportunity to say both. So, let’s hear it for good friends! Smooches and hugs going out to Nancy today.

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