Friday, February 25, 2011

So much going on!!!

There are days when I long for a friend next door to go and sip coffee with (or something stronger in the evening) and to bring our wheels and geek out over string and fiber.  My fellow fiber fiends live near and far, but no one is in my immediate area.   Happily there are some guilds and lots of fiber people in my State (and even on the southern end of it... ;)  But it all makes one think... what is going on and where can I go to play???  So it is kind of like giving a Mouse a cookie and he asks you for a glass of milk.... I got to roaming around on the computer and there is quite a LOT going on if you are looking for a place to be.... Not the least of which is your local or semi-local guild...  And there are places to travel to for a weekend... for a week... lots of fiberlicious things going on...

So last weekend I went to the Scottish Fair and spun for two days (with an occasional meat pie thrown in accompanied to the fairly good Scottish pipes).  Free entrance, free parking, spinning with friends all day... what's not to like?  (This is a shameless plug for > Go support your local demos!!! More fiber better!).

I'm going to list some things and you take it from there!  List some things back in the comments...  I'll list some more in the coming months -- we can all get together and have a spin-in this way!

Greater Los Angeles Spinning Guild:  Meets monthly on the 4th Saturday.  There is a pre-meeting mentoring session, meeting, program, and snack.  Tomorrow is a program on Spindling!
Southern Ca Handweavers Guild:  Meets 2nd Saturday of the Month.  They have a yearly SCHG Fiber Festival, Show and Sale that is really a fun low stress time with loads of great vendors.

Maybe I should do an entire post of Southern CA guilds.. but these two should lead you to others in your areas.. there are loads of smaller guilds all over.

Some upcoming events over the next few months:

Stringtopia! April 29 to May 1, 2011 Ohio    This weekend event being planned by Abby Franquemont (author of 'Respect the Spindle' and two videos, is a New venue and sounds fabulous!  It will be in Lebanon Ohio -- South of Columbus - Near Kings Island.  Featured will be a weekend of classes by Abby Franquemont,  Jacey Boggs (Insubordiknit), and Morgaine Wilder (Carolina Homespun)... oh, and did I mention shopping! Yes! Morgaine will be stopping and teaching, but also selling her fabulous fiber wares BEFORE she gets to Maryland Sheep and Wool!  Yes, if you go to Stringtopia even just to shop -- you will get to have first pick from one of the primo vendors at Maryland sheep and Wool.  Carolina Homespun carries wheels, spindles, fibers, knitting needles... yarn, books... almost anything a fiber heart can desire (really -- you can get anything there! Even chocolate sometimes).  So check it out and at least stop by for some fiber hugs and shopping.  It will be a fiberlicious weekend.  If I can swing it ... I will go!

Studio 66 Retreat  May 6,7,8  (Near Redlands, CA) An absolutely lovely destination in the mountains - fairly low cost - demos, some vendors I think, and lots of fiber community.  Fairly low cost.  (Southern CA) They still have some openings even though registration technically closed.  If you can go -- you will have a fantastic time!

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival May 7 & 8; West Friendship, Maryland:  Well, this is a festival you don't want to miss -- and you want to get there EARLY!  Good food, great fiber folk, classes, SHEEP!, and ah yes, the SHOPPING!!!  I could pretend to be virtuous and say -- shopping???  but no, I will admit my weakness for fiber related goods.. ;) and if the fiber has color then I am in deep deep deep trouble! Go check out the website for schedules, classes, and other info.

Griffin Dyeworks Retreat June 24-26, 2011. (held in Castaic, CA) I try to never miss this event (and since I'm teaching three classes this year -- I'd better not!) ;)  This is an event where costs are kept fairly low, there are lots of classes, mentors, and sharing.  We all learn from each other.  It is held at a camp and many classes are outdoors (especially the non-stop dyepots!!!) There will be loads of natural dyeing going on, open studio and class specific; Spinning Classes, Weaving classes, Usually a basket class, crochet, the usual 72 hour Spin-In... Felting, in other words --- FIBER ARTS!!!  This is fiber community ... and yes, there is shopping... we are well fed and there is a pool (and sprinklers if we want).  Pre-Registration is open, Class listings will start to be listed in the next week (and more will be added).   ((Here is the blog entry I did on this retreat in 2009)) 2009 Griffin Dyeworks Blog entry.

There is more out there -- lots more, but this is all I have time for today!  Take care all!!!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Scottish Festival at the Queen Mary

Yes, a dearth of posts and then a plethora... well, life is busy and then you stay up wayyyy tooo late and put up a few posts.  Really, I wish I posted more, because I'm doing more... but I am out doing --- not posting. lol!

So there was a call from the staff of the Scottish Festival at the Queen Mary for spinners to come demo on both Saturday and Sunday of the festival.  We got free parking and free entrance.  So many folk came and helped out.  There were folks from The Greater Los Angeles Spinning Guild, Historical Re-enactors, and Folks associated with Griffin Dyeworks.  We were all fiber folk and it was great fun!  On Sunday a great Pipe Band from West Minster Came and played for us (we were located on the bottom of the Queen Mary -- which was a good thing since there was a flash rain storm on Saturday and our wheels and spindles would have gotten soaked).  Both old and young were fascinated by wheels, spindles, the miracle of WOOL!  The concept of having to spin allllll the yarn to create a woven garment... mind shattering...   I love that kind of time.  It really makes you feel worthwhile in your endeavors to bring about that kind of consciousness raising.

This young man was extrodinarily captivated and so excited!  Here he is spinning while I am treadling from the side.

Bridget's plaid was hand woven for her.   Her great wheel is a true wheel and dates to the Civil War.  It is approximately 150 years old.  It spins true and like a dream.  It was such an asset to have at the demo and Bridget as always was completely generous with it.  I am happy to report that NO ONE pricked their finger on the spindle!

Here are more Saturday Spinners with a multitude of wheels and unseen to the right an entire table of spindles!

I have to thank Bridget since all of these photos came from her camera.  As always she is generous with everyone.  

Lastly, one other piece of magic at this festival were the older people who came to talk and tell us of their mothers or grandmothers whom they remember spinning or carding or knitting... once again fiber is a common bond.

Home School Co-op -- Fiber Artists everyone!

Just by chance I told someone that I loved working with kids and I'd be happy to come work with their kids for a few hours.  This blossomed into an entire semester of teaching 12 children about the Fiber Arts.  They are my fiber artists, every one!  Once a week about 80 home school kids get to take classes organized by a home school co-op.  It is mixed age groups and 12 of those kids come to me.  They are learning to spin.  They started with thigh spinning, moved to hook spinning.  They made their own spindles and next week they will start using them.  We had a camelid day and last week on Valentine's Day we had a fiberlicious Day!   3 stations of activity and they were just enthralled.  We did dry felting (needlefelting), wet felting (felting a bar of soap), and a paper weaving activity.  I will  show some photos here of  young happy fiber geeks.  More Fiber Better!!!!

In this two dimensional needle felting activity the budding fiber artists used the cookie cutter shape of their choice and any of a multitude of colors to fill the cookie cutter prior to felting it.

                                    I was really lucky because I was missing some supplies (imagine my stash being low ... on ), but I called on Mielke Farms in WI and they got wool and needles to me right away.  Mielke Farms is a great and reliable resource for needle felting supplies and lots of other things as well.

Here some sudsy felting is going on !
More felting and some great color choices.  
I didn't get a photo of all the finished felted soaps (I wanted too, but we were stressed for time), however I will note that the kids had great senses of color, proportion, and composition with both the soapy wet felting and with the dry needlefelting.

This next photo is of their first weaving activity.  It was a simple paper woven heart basket (being Valentine's day), but the idea was two fold.  First, provide a weaving activity, and second utilize two colors and see how they interact in a woven item.  Eventually, they will spin yarn, dye it, and weave with it.  But that is a few classes down the road!  

Right now... I'm looking for a field trip to an alpaca farm, (gotta find one) and for someone with an angora bunny to come visit.  Working with these kids, really with any kids and teaching in general is energizing!  It makes me happy.

Teaching Times... Griffin Dyeworks Fiber Frolic!

I've been incredibly lucky and I'm having a blast!  So much fiber!!! so little time! I taught some great classes in January.  This post is about the day I had at the Griffin Dyeworks Fiber Frolic.  In June they will have their annual weekend retreat, which promises to be another fabulous event of fiber community, sharing, teaching, and playing with fiber and string... more fiber better!   I've submitted 3 class proposals to teach in June.  Lots and lots of fun!!! (did I mention the pool???).

Griffin Dyeworks held its Annual January Fiber Frolic in Monrovia, CA.  More people than ever and they changed the site to accomodate the larger numbers.  There were some very good spinning classes, several dye classes, some great multimedia art classes, card weaving, nalbinding, and some others... I was teaching all day except for lunch and clean up so I saw some other classes, but it was a drive by smile and moving on.  Everyone had a fantastic time.  Lunch was provided (which I really appreciated), there was spin-in space for visiting, vendors, a beautiful day outside.  This is just a great day and the cost was low to participants.  These days it can get hard to access these types of events, because the costs are going up.  I have really appreciated how Griffin Dyeworks works to figure out how to keep their events at a fairly low cost.

    My classes at the Griffin Dyeworks Fiber Frolic were fabulous and full!  In fact my dye class was overflowing... I just could not say no to that hungry look ... 'PLllllleaassseee let me come play!'  Everyone was great though.  I had extra sample sets put together in case... in case of ??? disaster or more students!  Fortunately, it was the latter! lol... So much cochineal was used and delighted upon.  I think it must be a human tendency to love color; be seduced by color; be enthralled by color... maybe it is just me... I don't know, but I love it and it calls to me!  My friend Theresa was kind enough to take this photo of one of the dyepots (and let me use this on my blog) ... disadvantage to being happily busy... I can't get the photos I'd like to get of my own classes.

The students were great and really pulled together as we formed an extra group divided tasks and Theresa gave me an extra burner and space for another dyepot... that made the numbers very managable.  After all the class samples were done... the cochineal dyes were descended upon for personal projects ... it was a fun mad frenzy... of Reds, Magentas, pinks, and some oranges too!!!  Everyone had fun and the class was a great success.

My first class of the day (cuz I love to go backwards!) was a class on spinning silk.  It was a great group of students and we really enjoyed sitting with our wheels and luxuriating in this incredible fiber.  It has so many preparations, so many different facets.  It was hard to accomplish all I wanted to in a mere 3 hours.  It is an art to be able to select only a portion of the subject.  I was talking to Stephenie G. about this very subject and she says you can't give everything.  You have to leave more for later.  One has to accomplish your goals in class, because often students don't finish half started projects. Fine tuning and selection.  It is great advice.  I  love teaching these classes because it continues to be a learning experience for me.

Teaching is the greatest way to learn!  A teacher learns more by preparing for a class than the student will from sitting in the class.  I had a friend ask me if I'd taken a workshop on silk so I could teach it and I laughed, because I have been playing with silk (and silkworms) for the past 15 yrs... a long time.  I was just helping out in the Kindergarten science unit on silkworms... I was just doing a 'little' research for the kindergarten teachers.... and now I will do most anything with silk and silkworms... well, I won't eat them!  Did you know that silkworms make great pets??? they don't live a long time and they are easy to take care of.  My kids used to read to the silkworms.  They would take them from the boxes (one or two) and put them on the book or their wrist and read to them.  It was sweet.  Brings back some very old and very fine memories.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Passing.

It has been such a busy time since early December.  So much has gone on that I have a hard time keeping track of it all.  One thing that was significant and very hard was the passing of my dear beloved Aunt for whom I was named.  She died quite suddenly with no warning on Christmas Eve.  Life and the family will not be the same without her.  When my Father died in 2005 the family dynamic radically shifted.  Again the family dynamic shifts and changes and we re-adjust.  She was a graceful amazing resourceful and beautiful woman inside and out.  I think of her every day.  Word just cannot express it, but I miss her.  At some point when I get my other hard drive back I will post her photo.