This is the entry wherein the blogger returns from a week on the road and has only three sad photos to show for it all. You would never know that I had a great time!
Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat
What a great retreat! I had a wonderful time teaching my class--Introduction to Fair Isle Colorwork and Design--and my students were the best: curious, adventurous, and attentive. The class emphasized colorwork--we played with my collection of Shetland yarns:
Here is one particularly lovely batch of colors, inspired by a photograph:
I so appreciate those members of the knitting community who encouraged me to step into teaching. My upbringing did not emphasize the value of self-esteem and I probably would not have designed a class without some serious prodding. Special thanks go to Susanna Hansson and Madrona's Suzanne Petersen.
I'm already planning for a 3-day workshop this spring at Suzanne's--we will focus on the creation of personalized Fair Isle garments and every student will go home with a self-designed pattern and colorway. Sounds like fun to me!
Because I arrived halfway through the events (work commitments, wouldn't you know), I wasn't able to take any classes. In some ways that was a blessing: I had plenty of time to visit with old friends and new. A Fiber Traditions Yahoo list dinner, a bloggers' lunch, a laughter-filled breakfast. Lots of time in the market, which, although smallish, had a fantastic array of materials for knitters, spinners, and dyers. On Friday night we heard Fiona Ellis' excellent presentation about sources of inspiration. She is preparing a book on Fair Isle knitting!
Whoppee--Whoopee! there are way too few books on the subject out there.
Saturday night's banquet (an excellent salmon dinner--I've got to say that the Tacoma Sheraton can put out some really great eats) proved to be a rollicking good time. I was alarmed to note that the number of Canadians at our table outnumbered the Americans, however. They seemed harmless enough, but I've seen the movie Canadian Bacon and I know that flying below the radar is their specialty. In fact, you might be interested in this one-line summary of the plot: "The U.S. President, low in the opinion polls, gets talked into raising his popularity by trying to start a cold war against Canada." Be afraid, o knitting friends of the north.
After dinner we heard from Anita Luvera Mayer, a fiber artist who gives voice to the deeper concerns of the lives of women. You can hear her on this podcast and read her recent Handwoven editorial piece here.
The Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat is held in Tacoma, Washington, just 40 miles south of Seattle. Next year's event is scheduled for February 14-17. Although it is relatively small (some 450 people registered for classes), you will find top-notch teachers and stimulating classes in all types of knitting, spinning, crochet, and surface design--traditional to freeform. Go to the MFA website and sign up for the email notification list--you won't regret it!
Shetland Sample Set Opportunity!
One of the best tools I have for designing stranded colorwork projects is my collection of Jamieson&Smith and Jamieson's Shetland yarn samples. I have a short piece of every color of yarn the two mills produce wrapped around a flat plastic bobbin.
The only way to get such sets is to find a group of people who would like to share the cost of ordering the yarn and the labor of winding it onto bobbins--with the end result that every member of the group has a sample of each yarn. Some of the people who took my class are interested in forming just such a cooperative. If you are interested, please let me know through the comments and I will forward your contact information to the project coordinator.
I was in Washington DC earlier in the week for work meetings, but there was an afternoon free to roam the National Portrait Museum. Portraits draw me in like no other artwork can, so I was pleased to have this opportunity. I was absolutely gob-smacked by the results of the portrait competition--if you don't have a chance to see the exhibit, take a few minutes to wander through the website.