Friday, September 10, 2010

What We Did Over Our Summer Vacation

Summer doesn't mean three months of vacation for many of us anymore but it is still a time when our routine changes a bit. We might travel more or, since we live in a place that is a popular vacation destination for everyone else, we might just have more company. New experiences and new influences tend to feed our creative souls. Here are summer fiber highlights from a few of us:

Kelly and Dale Fort planned their summer vacation around their shared interest in fiber arts. In June, they traveled to New England where they attended weekend classes at the Pleasant Mountain Fiber Workshop in Maine. 

Kelly got to practice several new spinning and drafting techniques in a "Beyond the Basics" spinning class. 

This medallion is the beginning of Dale's project in a class he took on Standing Wool Rugs. This technique is from the early 1800s and is done by manipulating wool strips in various ways to make a super-plush rug. Dale will be at our October workshop with samples of this and other wool rug techniques he has explored.

Garnette had the very satisfying experience of beginning and completing a project over the summer. She not only crocheted this cheerful, contemporary baby blanket as a gift for an expecting co-worker, the design is hers as well. Admirably, it is finished before the baby arrives.

Cindy Cooksey's job as a scientist with NOAA had her on a ship monitoring the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for much of the summer. But during her time at home, she continued to enjoy her rigid-heddle loom. Combining new and old technologies, she made this case for her I-Pad using sock yarn for warp and weft. The lighter edge at the top of the case is a homespun yarn Cindy made earlier with her drop spindle.

The back of the I-Pad's case has different colors in the weft. In this picture, the I-Pad itself is tucked inside, out of sight. Cindy made her case fit snug and she lined it with a synthetic microfiber that cleverly cleans the screen as the I-Pad is taken in and out.

As the summer came to a close, Michaela was happy to go to her mailbox and find two copies of Peggy Osterkamp' s new book Weaving for Beginners  finally hot-off-the-press. One copy is for her to place in our Guild Lending Library, but the other one is Peggy's gift to Michaela with a handwritten thank you note penned onto the title page. Every author needs trusted SMEs (Subject-Matter-Experts) who will read early drafts and gently suggest edits and this is how Michaela contributed to Peggy's latest book. Michaela is mentioned in the book's Acknowledgments along with Madelyn Van der Hoogt and a host of other nationally known weaving teachers and authors.

 I came into my own summer highlight when I came into a huge stash of yarn that once belonged to a  special weaver friend from years ago in North Carolina. Mrs. Ashby, the wife of a much-loved college professor, was the first weaver I knew who was an artist, as opposed to someone who wove useful things. By coincidence, in that way that makes you wonder if anything is just a coincidence, I have gotten to know the Ashby's daughter here in Charleston. She doesn't weave or knit and has had her mother's yarn packed away for years. She offered it all to me and the day I picked it up, I became a wealthy woman. Cones and skeins of beautiful wools, textured cottons, silks, jute. . .  It has taken quite a bit of reorganization and culling of my own stash, but I have found a home in my loom room for nearly all of it. The picture above is tag ends of multicolored mohairs.

We know of other summer highlights but don't have the photos -- While in New Jersey, Lynn Holland bought some lovely wool/tencel for a scarf -- maybe two. Jessica Jones finished knitting a sweater with yarn she bought at The Village Knittery in Summerville after the owner, Emily Spearman, spoke to us at our meeting in April. And Amy Buckley came upon a wonderful yarn shop when she was in Nova Scotia. Of course this is where she bought her best souvenirs from that trip!

Summer was good, but fall is now upon us. Today, I put my check in the mail for our Fiber Workshop on October 9. Why don't you do the same thing, so we can look forward to what is sure to be this season's fiber related highlight for all of us!