... is the sound of overwhelmed!
I fully intended to tell you about the Visionary Retreat and Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat just as soon as I arrived home.
Landed in Berkeley on Tuesday afternoon and have been running in place ever since! But now I've carved out a bit of time to share some of my adventures.
- First of all, the key to a long car trip is the playlist. For the 30+ hour round-trip I updated my iPod with two Mumford & Sons albums. I have to warn you, though: Mumford & Sons' songs often start out slowly, but they build up to a strong beat--that inevitably results in a freeway speed of 85 miles per hour! LOVE their music. Here's a YouTube sample.
- The Visionary Retreat was five days of support and feedback with a group of people engaged in writing and publishing books, articles, or apps about working with fiber. I'll fill you in on my plans in the near future--this group's experience, advice, and encouragement are helping me move forward at a rapid pace. We met at the Lakedale Resort on San Juan Island--an idyllic spot. I shared a cabin and lots of late-night talks with two marvelous women. I kept good notes during the retreat and I'm filled with energy going forward!
- The gray skies that greeted me in the Pacific NW were hardly surprising in mid-February, but I sorely missed seeing the great volcanic range and glacier-covered mountains. Luckily, for one brilliant day in Tacoma, the skies cleared and I got to feast on Mt Rainier.
- Madrona was, as always, a real treat! People often talk about Madrona being like a family, and it definitely has that feel for me. I've been going for some 10 years now, learning from some of the best teachers available in a wide range of disciplines.
This year I took two spindling classes: supported spindles with Lisa Chan and productive spindling with Turkish spindles with Amelia Garripoli. I'm newly inspired to develop my spindle skills (although I am chagrined to say that I haven't picked up any spindle since the classes....). I find that I need to keep learning new things, especially things that aren't immediately obviously connected to my knitting life.
I also got to teach the Color Outside the Lines Fair Isle Tam class plus a new miniclass on creating well-shaped shoulders when knitting in the round. As usual, my students demonstrated superior skills and intelligence and willingness to try new things. Have I mentioned how much I love teaching?
- I truly enjoyed Clara Parkes' Saturday-night presentation at the Madrona banquet. Clara's books and her Knitter's Review newsletter are excellent tools for any knitter, and I've been curious about her as a person--I've always wanted to sit down at the table with her, knitting and talking and becoming friends. Clara talked about her life in fiber--I was most entranced by her tales of restoring an old house in Maine and the photos of the kind of landscape so different from the ones I've lived in. The romance of New England bloomed in my Western imagination... maybe someday I'll have a chance to visit!
- Charity Night at Madrona has not been the same since the indefatigable Stephanie Pearl-McPhee decided that charity night would feature teachers showing their non-fiber talents. Media ban, for quite obvious reasons (we'd NEVER get on stage if there were the HINT of a camera in the room!)--but the always wonderful Madrona crowd contributed some $14,100 for three charities that evening. Really, you have to be there--that's all I can say. And I can't tell you how much I admire Stephanie.
- Between events I had a chance to go to Earthues in the Ballard district of Seattle. It was lucky timing for me: in addition to a parking spot right in front (rare indeed in this rapidly gentrifying neighborhood), I got to meet Michele Wipplinger--the link will tell you more than I can about why I was so pleased to meet her. While wandering through the captivating store, I was really taken with the glow of a collection of yarn samples hanging on the wall; when I asked if it would be OK to photograph them, Michele told me to take them with me and just mail them back when I was done. So generous! I'm totally taken with these colors--I sense a new design coming on.
- The Pacific NW offers many enticing museums: this year I made time to see the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, just blocks from Madrona, which features a hot shop with auditorium seating to allow you to watch glass artists at work. Another memorable stop was the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, Washington, my mother's home town. The special exhibit featured portraits of Northwest artists accompanied by short interviews--Eduardo Calderon posed them in the middle of their studios or homes, so who they were shined through. In the other half of the museum the work of the artists could be seen. The combination of the portraits and the work increased my appreciation of both exponentially.
But the main reason for my distracted and delayed post? Tomorrow, our kitchen, laundry/mudroom, and second bathroom are being torn out! Plus the third bedroom/my office/studio will be taken over by construction to remove a very strange attic access stairway... Anticipating chaos, and eventually beauty and increased functionality.