Have Ewe Any Wool?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lancaster Spinners and Weavers Retreat


Wahoo!   Another fabulous retreat at Refreshing Mountain Camp - organized by Beth.   It was sooooo incredibly relaxing!   The weather was perfect - not hot, not humid.....nice and sunny.   Sunday was a bit dreary and drizzly, but hey, it was the last day, and we had mostly indoor activities anyway, so it didn't really matter.  

I arrived in the early afternoon - the weather was perfect!   Beautiful sunshine, a light breeze, and nothing to do but enjoy the weather and wait for all the others to arrive.   Of course, I used the time to get some ice cream - a scoop of Moose Tracks and a scoop of Coffee Ice Cream.   Delicious!!!!   Once I'd finished my ice cream, I sat on the porch overlooking the pool and zip lines and knitted on my latest sock.

We had two rooms this year - one room for all the vendors and one room for spinning, weaving, knitting, crocheting....or whatever needlecraft you choose.    Of course, there were plenty of snacks and LOTS of chocolate!   There were lots of the usual vendors - Jody with her tie-dyed shirts, Kim with her incredible sock yarn and roving, Linda and her daughter with awesome roving, handcrafted sheep, jewelry, yarn....you name it!, another girl (why can't I think of her name!!!) that did glass work -lovely tea bag holders/stitchmarker holders, pill boxes, etc, yarn holders that hold two skeins while you're working with them,  Pam's luscious alpaca - yarn, roving, and felted items.   I purchased some gorgeous green and white alpaca from her. and Audrey with big bags of some gorgeous natural colored roving - finn, finn cross, cormo (if I remember correctly), some other blends and some romney.   Needless to say, no one was "wanting" for any goodies to buy!

We all pitched in getting the room organized and the spinners and weavers set  up to maximize the face-to-face seating so people didn't have their backs to each other.

















 

 
The sock knitters with their antique sock machines took the little nook off to the side.   


On Friday evening, Jane demoed her blending board - it's basically a carding cloth attached to a flat piece of wood.  She brought tons of roving with her to blend into fabulous color combos.   This video shows how she blends the fibers together.   She basically lays them on the board and then brushes them down....adds more and repeats.   Once it's "full", she'll then move on to the removal process.....

video


Once the fibers are blended, she then removes it from the blending board using a dowel.   She'd been removing it rolling it on top, but after trial and error, we all came to the conclusion that it was easier to removed by rolling it towards the bottom....it seemed to stretch roving and came off of the carding cloth a bit easier.   It produces rolags with bands of the multi-colors.  It was quite fascinating to watch.  The rolags looked like giant colorful caterpillars.  (I should have taken a photo of one of them....darn it!!!)

A couple of people brought their looms.   I watched this project grow from an unwarped rigid heddle loom to a finished scarf during the course of the weekend.   LOL....complete with commentary the whole time!   She was busily weaving and would take breaks....and Donna (a fabulous weaver) would catch her away from her loom and chastise her for not working on her project.   She even got "grounded" - LOL - part of the weekend - Donna wouldn't let her shop until she completed x amount of work!    (Donna didn't have her loom with her this time, so I think she enjoyed teasing the weavers a bit since she didn't have to focus on her own weaving.) Check out the unique weight (banana) used to provide tension for a thread that was added due to a break in one of the warp threads. 

Check out the unique weight - a banana - used to provide tension for a thread that was added due to a break in one of the warp threads. LOL!!!

Lots of weaving going on!!!!



 This one came in warped in gorgeous colors.   I watched the patterns grow and develop throughout the weekend.  It's just beautiful.  It will be very stunning once it's finished.  





Fredi was busy weaving with cards.   I'd never seen anyone actively weaving like this, so I found it absolutely fascinating!




A massage therapist came Saturday afternoon, and we all took our turns getting a message.   She was incredible!   We were floating on air after only 15 minutes!   The massages were done outside....it was such a beautiful day!

A bunch of us gathered up our wheels and moved outside to spin as well.   The weather was absolutely perfect.   As we spun, we'd watch the kids on the zip line just to the right of our meeting room.   How they have the guts to zip along and flit from tree-top to tree top is beyond me!   I'll stay on the ground...thank you very much!!!!


 
While we were spinning outside, I finished spinning the teal BFL/Silk blend (85% Blue Faced Leicester / 15% silk) from Misty Mountain Farm.  It spun beautifully and made a gorgeous two-ply skein.


I got some tips on combing wool as well as a nice demo from Beth on how to ply from a center pull ball.   Once I finished spinning this roving (an art batts from Misty Mountain Farm) I tried my hand at plying from a center pull ball - more on that later in this post. (The roving is merino,mohair, silk, alpaca, and nylon.)





Sunday came too quickly, but it also included a special treat.   Tom Knisely from the Mannings gave a 2 hr. presentation with numerous tips on how to finish a weaving project.




I learned so much!   He demoed several techniques - both left and right handed (there were three lefties in the audience of about 15 weavers).   He also had several rugs with him that had been finished via different methods that we got to touch and examine as well.


 
On the left, the start of a weaving project - complete with the stabilizing rows and hem-stitching.   On the right, sample with hemstitching at the other end as well as a couple of examples of twill.

I nearly finished spinning the coral colored roving Saturday evening, so I'd hurried back to our meeting room early Sunday morning to finish the singles so I could start plying.    Oh, my!   Let's just say that it seems like I needed 2 more hands to properly control the ball and my plying!   What a challenge!  The two hardest things for me when plying this way were:
  • Re-attaching when one of the plies broke
  • Smoothing out lumps and bumps as I normally do when plying - it's nearly impossible to do when both hands are fully occupied! 
I finally seemed to get the hang of it though, and managed to finish up after lunch....with about 15 minutes to spare!  The resultant skein was not the most elegant.....and it's not up to the standards of my usual plying, but it will suffice.   I DEFINITELY need to do a bit more practicing!

We needed to be out of the meeting rooms as close to 2 pm as possible.We all pitched in to clean up and pack up so we all could hit the road and head back home.    The weekend went way too fast!!!! It was such a wonderful weekend that we all hated for it to end - it brought out the "kid" in all of us!!!


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