Saturday morning spinning and reflections on the Men’s Fall Knitting Retreat

Good morning and happy Saturday! It’s good to be waking up in my own house this weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I had a fantastic time last weekend at the Men’s Fall Knitting Retreat in Seattle and I’m so thrilled to have been able to go this year. But no matter how much fun something may be, I always miss my home, my dear spouse, and our darling dogs. They missed me last weekend too. My pharaoh hound would pace at bedtime, coming into the bedroom and sniffing my side of the bed, wondering where I was. During a phone call home one of my Italian greyhounds could hear my voice coming from the phone and gave that typical perked ears and tilted head look that is part curiosity and part confused. Everyone in the house was glad to have me home too, and an exuberant welcome home is always a nice thing.

Yes, the Men’s Fall Knitting Retreat was fantastic, inspiring, and all of the words that I use to describe the Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat here on this side of the country that I’ve been attending for some time now. Several people who had either been to both retreats or were at least familiar with the spring retreat had asked me to compare the two. I don’t know that I’m able to do that. I can point out the differences between the two retreats as there are many, but comparing them implies that one may somehow be better than the other and I don’t believe that to be true at all. The venues are different, the accommodations are different, the food is different, the field trips are different, and that’s exactly what makes each retreat so special. Now I understand why some of the guys who are able to, regularly attend more than one of the Men’s Knitting Retreats that are held in various parts of the country at different times of the year. Despite all the differences between the retreat events themselves, there is always that sense of men coming together in a spirit of brotherhood to share their passion for the craft, and that is what makes each retreat special.

Judith MacKenzie talks about the history of textiles.

Even though I wasn’t able to bring a spinning wheel (or three, as I often do at the spring retreat) I still had the opportunity to teach some new spinners last weekend during a spindle spinning workshop, and some one on one with a spinning wheel throughout the weekend. On Saturday it was my turn to be a student as Judith MacKenzie joined us to give a presentation on the history of textiles to the entire group of guys, and a few spinning demonstrations for us in smaller groups. Judith has an amazing amount of knowledge and experience with all things fiber and I was just thrilled to have this opportunity to meet her. Her demonstrations for the small group of guys that I was part of focused the use of different fibers and preparations for some core spun techniques that she refers to as some of her “bread and butter” yarns. It was fascinating and she made it look so easy. I will definitely be keeping these in mind and practice them for next year’s Iron Spinner competition.

This morning’s spinning – more of the Corriedale cross

Much of my own spinning at the retreat was done on one of my spindles with some of the Corriedale cross that I washed and carded here at home recently. Throughout the weekend, and in between working on my sweater, our field trips, workshops, and everything else, I managed to spin about an ounce of the fiber. That may not seem like much, but all things considered, I think that’s pretty good. I wound that off onto a storage bobbin earlier this week, and I’ve begun spinning another ounce of the fiber which I’ll work on today, and when that’s done, I’ll spin a third ounce. Once I’ve finished I’ll use the singles to create a few two ply and three ply samples which I will then use to determine how I want to spin the remainder of the fiber. Once it’s all washed and carded, of course, and that may be a project for later this afternoon.

That’s it for this morning. I hope you all have a great weekend!

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