I’m back, well at least part of me is back.

A part of me is still wanting to be back in the mountains, but that’s a the geologist in me.  I have returned from SOAR 2009 that was held in Sunriver, Oregon.  I cannot say enough about the staff of Sunriver, especially the shuttle drivers!  Tireless they drove us all over the place, brought our to our rooms and generally were my salvation when I didn’t think I could make it another step with all the stuff I was dragging around.  And another thing,  I really debated with myself during the trip if I should have brought the Victoria or not.  Honestly, I would have been better off in so many ways if I had brought the much lighter Victoria, but I didn’t want to chance bringing a wheel that I would not be comfortable treadling in my cotton workshop and to be honest, the thought of borrowing a wheel never crossed my mind.

Ah my workshop with Stephanie Gaustad.  What can I say?  Early on I had narrowed my workshop choices down to three workshops, two of which I was having a hard time deciding between.  Then back in March I asked Judith MacKenzie McCuin what workshops she would recommend for someone like me.  The intersection of the sessions I wanted to take and what she recommended was cotton with Stephanie.

My goals were simple.  Spinning cotton on my Lendrum and making multiple ply yarns.  In no time at all on the first day she had many of us spinning cotton on our wheels.  We also got to do a lot more in her workshop.  Ginning cotton, willowing cotton, cotton biology, cotton economy and politics all interwoven during our spinning times.  Stephanie brought a lovely great wheel.

As well as charhas built by none other than Alden Amos.  Well, who else would they have been build by?

Our sessions were punctuated by bits of banter and well as some fabulous hot chocolate make by the resort.  Stephanie, bless her, will be getting copies of the video she allowed me to take.  Yarn handling skills I found I was weak in.  With wool it is so forgiving you can get away with a lot of sloppy handling, but cotton is a whole different beast.  Improving my  yarn handling skills will allow me to branch out.  Some of it is a lack of the right equipment.  But other is a problem I have locking myself into a list of items and not allowing myself the time to to learn skills, some of them quite basic.


So what did I learn at SOAR?  That I have a lot more to learn!

The retreat was exhausting.  I found that after three days of staying in one place I resented flitting from room to room with the junk of doom in tow.  This one needed combs, this one needed five bobbins and a lazy kate, this one needed half my bag of stuff.  The sessions themselves was fine, just packing up and moving I found daunting.  Either I pare down my “stuff” or I invest in a cart to move my stuff around with!  Met many many lovely people including a woman from Perth, Australia who seems to have traveled the farthest.

My favorite of the retreat sessions was certainly reeling silk with Michael Cook.  Very cool to do and not as hard as one might imagine!

The marketplace was fun, especially when I walked around with a box of chocolate offering pieces to the vendors on Friday evening.  I had fun buying books, pygora (ah), pacu-vicuna (ah), batts (ah), yeah you get the idea.

I really enjoyed the gallery and attempted to document it as well as I could, until the batteries gave up the ghost in the camera.  I caught the rest of the gallery on video which is now posted on YouTube.  I also showed a couple items in the fashion show and both were well received, but the shetland/shetland shawl was fondled and admired all week long.

And no mention of SOAR is complete without  a mention of Dan and Phredde.  The two of them made my first SOAR memorable and delightful and yes a bit relaxing with a bit of swill.  Thank you for the cotton, the instruction, the rubber bands, and the talk!  Good to know other geologists out there in the fiber world.

Next year?  Certainly, it’s only an hour from home!

2 thoughts on “I SOARed

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