Monday, October 15, 2007

7th Annual Maritime Spinners Retreat

So this weekend I took the plunge and joined with other fiber fanatics and embraced my inner yarn goddess. For those of you who still think knitting is just for grandmas have I got news for you. I finished my university degree at a mostly women's university ( Mount St. Vincent University), proudly consider myself a feminist, ignore any glass ceiling some people want to build and am packing a bigger pair of cajones (balls) then most men but never, and I mean NEVER, have I spent so much time with an empowering, positive, supportive group of women, of all ages and backgrounds. This my friends is where feminism truly exists, right in the grassroots movement of fiber arts. No catty gossiping, no backbiting, no bitching. It was fantastic! And I even spun a little yarn. Yes there were some more mature, experienced women there, many may even have been grandmas. So throw out your stereotypes and lets get sharing!

First of all we had to drive to PEI in the rain. Okay, only PEI can still be beautiful in the rain. And the leaves did not disappoint. On the way home I was actually sad to leave the island... I think it's love. This was the view from our hotel room window at the Rodd Mill River Resort.

We got a goodie bag when we arrived and it was full of fun stuff for spinning, 2 different types of silk, a soy silk and a Merino and seacell blend. I can't wait to try these out. I didn't get a chance at the retreat (you'll see why in a minute). I think I will probably dye the spun yarn and use them as accent yarns in projects but of course that is subject to change.

Friday evening when we arrived we went to MacAuslands Woolen Mill which was just around the corner from our hotel. Man are sheep stinky creatures. I thought for sure I'd have some sort of allergic reaction right in the mill but I was fine (I remained heavily drugged all weekend but I spend most of my time that way so it was nothing new). When I got home last night I realized my dogs don't smell that much better these days - time for some baths around here! But back to the wool. I bought 2 bags of their 'seconds' yarn for making felted projects. I have to soak it all first in some Dawn dish detergent to try and remove some of the lanolin oils. It will felt better with less lanolin and since I'm allergic, it will save my hands a bit too. The top bag is 3 ply and the bottom bag is 2 ply. What are the odds I'm going to remember that when I'm knitting with it?

We had a great dinner at the resort Friday night. The rest of the meals were part of the retreat but Friday night we were on our own. Line, Tan and I all ordered the same thing... this became a theme all weekend. We did take advantage of being on the island and indulged in seafood!!!! That alone made my weekend!

This was the sunrise that greeted us on morning number 2. I, personally would have missed it but Granny Tan popped out of bed at the crack of dawn both mornings.

There were vendors at the retreat offering their wonderful wares. I was a good doobie and only bought this luxurious yarn to make a pair of socks for myself. It's 50% cashmere and silk and 50% alpaca. Did you know alpaca is considered hypo-allergenic? I will be testing this theory in depth as time goes by as alpaca is amazingly soft. Ya kinda just want to lay naked in a big pile of it.....

The vendors were open at 3 different times during the retreat. So like everyone else, I went back and bought more.... Again though I was good, I only bought this pencil roving, Fleece Artists (my first Fleece Artist purchase ever!) Sea Wool (70% wool, 30% seacell, which is made from the viscose processing of seaweed). It is really easy to drop spindle. I'm also keeping this for myself. I see a wrap of some sort out of it. This picture is only about 1/4 of the roving I bought.

So then we got to the spinning. It was a huge room full of fleece and spinning wheels. (Granny Tan at her wheel)

More spinners.

A couple of women getting a lesson in drop spindling silk hankies. With her back to the camera is Line, our other roommate. She did some serious work on her drop spindle this weekend.

This is my mohair fleece. When I had taken the drop spindle class, I had found working with the mohair more easy than some of the others. And near as I can tell, I'm not allergic to mohair but I'm keeping a watch out on that one.

We had some furry companions at the retreat. Angora bunnies! In this pic it's the face of one with the arse of another beside it. They were sooooo soft. And so calm. Apparently they make excellent house pets and you can litter train them!

I spun up 50 grams of mohair and one 100 grams of the Sea Wool. Then is was time to say goodbye to PEI. One last look out the window and we were off.

On the way home we stopped for lunch. It was our last weekend getaway bit so we all ordered seafood platters. Holy haddock (I kept saying "holy mackerel" but Tan kept reminding me that there was no mackerel on the plate)! Tan and I were going to share one and we should have! We all took home doggie bags and now I have leftover fried seafood for tonight. I think I'll have a pile of green veggies with it...

When I got home I hung up my mohair and sea wool to straighten them out a bit. I want to get the rest of the mohair spun so I can dye it. I have another potato chip scarf I want to do and it would be beautiful along the edging.

I will probably spin all the fleece you've seen here and then not spin again until next years retreat but that's mostly because I have so much stuff to knit. Remember, I haven't even been knitting for a whole year yet. I still have so many things I want to do; a toe up sock, a full sweater, wraps, shawls, gloves, mitts. oh my, I'd better get busy!


Anonymous said...

Hi CJ, it was great meeting you (and the food you brought along). Hope to see you again before next year's retreat!


Line (pronounced Lynn) said...

The trip was a blast. Hope you, Tanya and I can make the trip together again next year!