Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

SOAR detailed report

Our drive to SOAR was beautiful. Good thing too, since it took over 14 hours! I did not realize that Pennsylvania was set up with a big city on its western border, and one on it’s eastren and little in between. We drove a straight as an arrow route 80 right through the middle of the state.

The colors on the trees were not quite peak, but were still quite showy. I noticed the fact that there were trees with leaves a true red. That is very different than my area, where we get russets and maroons, but not true reds.

As usual for me, I arrived at the very last moment. The welcome for the retreat people was just starting. After introductions of the Spin Off staff, they then asked each of the teachers for the classes to be offered to say a few words, starting with what fiber animal they would be. Some of the comments were great. And every teacher gave a glowing report of what their class would be like, that I became undecided about which one to take. I thought I had it all solved before I left home, but after hearing the introductions, I wanted to take them all!

The sign up for classes was a well controlled chaos. Everyone had been given a colored slip of paper. All the blues sat in one section, all the yellows etc. Then a random color was called and that group got to go to sign up sheets set up on big tables in the room. Each class was being offered four times, twice on Friday and twice on Saturday. So your group went up a total of four times, signing up for your first choice then second choice etc. That part was easy, deciding what would be my choices was hard! And just to make everyone’s boredom easier, while waiting their turn, the SOAR staff gave away lovely door prizes.

I will give a description of the classes later. Let’s roll onward with just the extracurricular activities.

Thursday evenings dinner broke us into the routine. The dining room was set up with large tables, and you just chose one to sit. There was a menu printed for that day, and after being helped along but those that had been there for several days, we told the waiter which meal we were choosing from a selection of seven. A lovely appetizer was at each place, and after dinner you could go to a dessert table that was just decedent. Yes I ate dessert every night

After dinner, there was a fashion show. This was a very informal show, although it did have the category requirement of something to wrap around you. So there were scarves, lovely fine spun shawls and more of intricate patterns. There was even a boa, with a felted snake head at the end.

They had packed even more into the evening by offering a talk by Judith MacKenzie with slides, but I was truly weary by then, and went to my room to bed.

The next two days fell into the pattern of breakfast, first class, lunch (with drawings for more doorprizes), second class, meet my hubby at the bar for happy hour, dinner and then settling into a group somewhere to spin. The market was open now and then, and many folks shopped. I waited and went shopping Friday evening. At that time they were drawing names for doorprizes and you had to be present to win. So that’s when almost all of us went shopping. It wasn’t crowded though, as most had already done most of their buying and where just socalizing around the door.

It was fun to shop at vendors new to me. I go to many fiber fairs in my area, but the vendors stay the same. SOAR was giving me the chance to shop from some of the New England vendors. I purchased a pound of colored blue face leicester roving, it is a deep chocolate color and very soft. I bought 6 oz (all that was left of the color I liked) of a merino/silk dyed roving. That roving seemed to be a favorite of many of the spinners, and the teachers often had some for use in their class. I got a silvery/purple color. I also bought two 4 oz hanks of roving of a merino/tencel blend that I think I like even better than the merino/silk. It has a better shine to it. It will be interesting to spin. And last of all I bought a flicker card to use to clean my drum carder, or to flick locks from Strauch. And he had a tiny little hand card, it looks just like it belongs on a christmas tree as an ornament. What it really is for is to clean out your hand cards. I thought it was just great, and it now resides in my little bag that has my bottle of spinning oil too.

And best of all, while shopping, my name was called and I won a lovely door prize, a pound of dyed polworth top, from Rovings. Lovely fall colors of oranges, gold, red and browns.

I managed to get to the gallery three times during the weekend. It wasn’t that it was so big, that it needed that much time. I just went when I had a few minutes to enjoy again all of the beautiful things on display. The variety was amazing, as well as the creativity and technical skill. It was all set in a small library which just added to the cozy feeling of all of those wonderful scarves, shawls, sweaters, hats, wallhangings, rugs, oh my the list is endless. I have set myself the life goal of having something wonderful that I have made in a SOAR gallery sometime.

SOAR ended on Saturday night with the big spin in. The common rooms at Pocono Manor were large and full of windows. It was such a joy to sit in a class and look out over those colorful hills, and it was amazing to walk into a room Saturday night and see circle after circle of spinners with the wheels flying. Laughter abounded, flashbulbs flashed, winners of doorprizes whooped, and in the quieter moments lovely music was provided by harp and flute. I didn’t take my wheel that night, but sat and spun with a spindle.

Sunday was the long drive home, and I spent most of my non driving time knitting on the cotton sweater I am making for my daughter. I am finally seeing some progress on it! It’s not hand spun but yarn purchased from Elann. By Sunday I think my fingers were ready for something other than spinning. It didn’t last long though, because by Monday afternoon, while taking a break from laundry, I went right back to doing some spinning.


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