SOAR: The Importance Of Learning

I got home yesterday from SOAR.


Over a week ago I arrived excited with the anticipation of what was to be my second SOAR.  A SOAR without the crazy expectations I put on myself  last year.

Please excuse the lack of photos this year.  I have some, some iPhone, and some from my camera.  I’ll still be working on the videos so I’ll be adding to the set some stills I’ll be pulling off the Flip.

My workshop was Goat Fibers with Robin Russo who with her husband Pat own The Spinning Studio in Vermont.  Rarely do I take the time to spin so many similar types of fiber in various ways.  We spun cashmere, mohair and pygora.  Oh glorious pygora!  I even managed to make some kid mohair embroidery thread while I was at it.  Robins class was full of wonderful people.  Ingrid from Sweden, Carl from Southern Illinois, a lovely lady from Grinnell, Iowa who’s name escapes me right now just to mention a few.  The pygora made me sing as well as some fine cashmere imported by WildFibers magazine.  I don’t know if there is still some available, but its lovely to spin!

Too soon, the workshop was over and I found myself shopPing!  Well, first thing I hit was The Center For Traditional Textiles of Cusco where I found gifts for others and myself.  I’m in love with the bags I bought! Then to Morgaine of Carolina Homespun for several different things including AbbyBatts!  Snagged a few special things elsewhere.  I didn’t stand in the huge line for Rovings, but I did pop in there a couple times and both some gorgeous Polworth locks that had been dyed in intense colors.  The ladies at Abstract Fiber where a delight to meet and discuss our dogs and dog training with (and I still owe one of them a clicker!!!!).  Said hello to Toni Neal of The Fold and a number of other vendors who where also there that I do business with.  Also met up with some friends and overall enjoyed my day.

I never did manage to take pictures of the gallery, oh well.  My humble little pieces were well displayed.

Geocaching Interlude

I also did some geocaching.  Here is a picture taken near one of the caches in Delavan when a young seagull decided to perch on a sign and hang on for dear life in the high winds we had, but what I really captured was the sky in it’s late October glory.

Friday arrived with the Retreat sessions.  Now what was I thinking?  Margaret Stove and fine spinning in the morning then off to Jacey Boggs with Thick and Thin spinning and coils in the afternoon.  Luckily I was able to keep a straight head between the skills!

Margaret Stove is a very gracious and generous lady.
SOAR 2010

Here she is with her test knitter with one of the shawls from her new book Wrapped In Lace.
SOAR 2010

And here is Ingrid looking at one of the lovely shawls shown her second book, Creating Original Hand Knitted Lace.  This shawl has been used as an everyday shawl for two of her grandchildren and the spinning and dye has held up well.
SOAR 2010

Here is a closer look at the edge.

Jacey Boggs is fun, loads and loads of fun!
SOAR 2010

She shared techniques for making those iconic coiled yarn.  While my coils were not great, they were identifiable as coils.

Saturday brought the new Open Studio.  The mentors that joined us included Margaret Stove, Jacey Boggs, Stephanie Gaustad and Judith MacKenzie.  Everyone had something to share.  Margaret and her test knitter (who’s name escapes me!) showed the shawl, Judith brought some “Wolf” yarn, the yarn she makes and sells “to keep the wolf from the door”, Stephanie brought her knitted Nudibranch scarf and shared the pattern with all of us and Jacey brought her thick and thin yarn in both wool and cotton.  The cotton one made Stephanie’s eyes bug out!  Judith wins the “woman with the most stash” award.  She has me beat by, um, several tons!  But then again, fiber is her business.

My final retreat session was with Demetrio Bautista Lazo about dying with cochineal!
SOAR 2010

Sometimes the effects were subtle.

SOAR 2010

Others were screaming red!

I had worked with it before, but I learned some major hints about using it from someone who dyes a LOT with it.  Looks like I’ll be buying some lime juice from the local grocery soon!

We wrapped up SOAR with a silly contest to make a hat in an hour.
SOAR 2010
Hilarity soon took over.
SOAR 2010

SOAR 2010
But team Strip It And Stuff It Up Your Orifice made it before the 1 hour mark and made a great show, despite not winning the people’s choice award.

There are so many people I got to see.  People I know from Ravelry, mentors I know and respect, people like Margaret Stove, Deb Menz and Sara Lamb who I have admired for close to twenty years.  Phredde and Dan who kept the swill flowing.  Denny who seems to make fun wherever she is. People I met for the first time here and people who I’ve corresponded with for years and now finally get to meet, people who I know well and live locally.  SOAR is more than just learning new techniques, its meeting people, learning about who they are, sharing a cordial filled chocolate with them, watching them knit like the wind.  Sharing and caring.

The learning is much much more than what is written down on the page, or a sample in your hand it is the friendships that form, the feel of a shawl, the roving passed around.

Will I be back at SOAR next year?  I sure hope so.  I’m going to try my hardest to get to New Hampshire.


2 thoughts on “SOAR: The Importance Of Learning

  1. I’m a new reader, spinner, blogger, etc…

    I love reading about all these retreats, especially SOAR. Gives me a goal! I’m going to start following your blog and hopefully I’ll pick up some tricks!

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