Over the Martin Luther King, Junior weekend, five friends and I stayed in a condo right on the beach in Ponce Inlet, Florida. Another friend joined us just for the day on Saturday. It was glorious. We knit, we crocheted, we spun, we wove, we blocked, we discussed dyeing, we watched Marvel movies, we talked, we laughed. It was everything a knitting retreat with friends should be. Rather than give a long-winded description of this perfection, I offer you pictures. With captions, of course.
We had a fantastic time, and none of us were quite ready to leave. But our lives called, so Monday we all packed up and headed home. But we’ve decided that this will be an annual event. MLK weekend = local fiber retreat every year!!
I’m taking a time out from packing to write a quick post. Last November, I registered attend PlyAway, a spinning conference hosted by PLY Magazine. My friend Lorelle was planning to go too, but by the time registration came around, she knew she wouldn’t be able to attend. “I’d love to go to fiber events with you,” she lamented, “but work and other financial obligations keep me from going. Why aren’t there any local retreats?”
“We can make our own retreat,” I responded. And so we have. This weekend, six of us our staying in a condo on the beach. One or two others are driving in for the day on Saturday. I’m the only one who knows everyone going. Everyone else knows no more than two others and some (including Lorelle) don’t know anyone other than me. We have no firm schedule. Everyone’s bringing their projects. Via e-mail, everyone shared what they are bringing and what they’d like to learn. Fredi’s bringing unwashed fleece and will show us how to wash it. She’s bringing her drum carder and hand combs so we can make rolags if we wish. I’m bringing all my acid dyes and equipment for dyeing, including bare yarn. Dawn’s bringing bare fiber. Dawn, Nancy, and I are all bringing our rigid heddle looms. Shellee and Lorelle have never woven before and want to try it out. Everyone except Shellee spins; she’s going to try the spindles Nancy and Dawn are bringing. Everyone else is also bringing their spinning wheels. Shellee will show us her unique method of knitting. She speeds along so fast, her hands are a blur.
So now I’m packing, and I must consider the first question — the one a fiber crafter always asks before she packs anything else — which projects shall I bring? How many is too many.
I’m definitely bringing the current project on my rigid heddle loom.
I’ll bring yarn to warp the loom again, in case I finish this project. I have at least 3 spinning projects in progress, but I’m only going to bring the Three Feet of Sheep with me.
I really run into trouble with the knitting projects. Shall I bring the Bubble Baby Blanket that I haven’t worked on in months, but is part of my Detention OWL for the Harry Potter Knitting / Crochet House Cup (HPKCHC)?
Or the Begonia Swirl Shawl that I started months ago to replace the one that was accidentally felted?
Of course I’m going to bring the Cloisters Shawl I only started working on a week and a half ago!
I need to bring some crochet. Because I must have all the things, right? I’ll probably just toss some cotton and a hook into my bag so I can whip up some quick dishcloths. Maybe 2, no 3, who am I kidding 4, better make it 5, seriously 6 skeins is the limit.
Am I bringing enough? Better toss in just one more thing — I don’t want to run out of projects.
Oh! Shellee is bringing blocking mats and wires. I need to bring the 3 shawls I have laying about that just need blocking!
While I was at The Knit and Crochet Show, more than one person commented to me that they couldn’t take classes the entire time because it was too much for them to absorb. Wasn’t I totally overwhelmed? Nope, not at all. The entire event was an adrenaline rush and I enjoyed every moment. A week after I got back, after reliving the entire event through writing the blog posts about it, I crashed. This wasn’t all because of the show; August is break month for the Harry Potter Knitting / Crochet House Cup. I push myself hard during the term, achieving feats of crafting that I otherwise wouldn’t attempt, and I appreciate break month! Don’t get me wrong — I still crafted and had fun adventures in August and September to date. Here’s the highlights.
S’s 5th Birthday Party
My cousin’s daughter turned 5 and had a birthday party at the zoo. It was the largest kid’s birthday party I’ve ever attended — 28 kids and 30+ adults. I made fondant cupcake toppers (I don’t think I’ve mentioned here that I’ve got mad cake skills? I don’t make cakes as often as in the past). Since I live 2+ hours from my cousin, she bought cupcakes locally and I put the toppers on when I arrived at the party.
Birthday party at the zoo = live animal show and tell!!
And I was the first person in line to get my face painted. I got to the party early so I could get those cupcake toppers on the cupcakes and the few children already there showed no interest in getting their face painted. I figured I’d beat the rush!
I knit the birthday girl a Barbie dress.
A few months ago, my friend Nancy and I went to the home of a member of the weaver’s guild who had passed away (see my blog post). She wanted her yarn to benefit the guild. Nancy and I sorted it to pick out anything that was suitable for demos. We always have a little takeaway for kids and are constantly on the look out for yarn for those. We packed up any project kits or yarns suitable for weaving and brought those to the guild’s annual auction. The money raised from the sale of those yarns is designated for demos and will be used to buy yarn for takeaways once we use up our current stash.
Orlando Shakes Open House
From the Weavers Guild meeting, I went straight to the Orlando Shakespeare theater for their annual open house. I’ve never made it to this event before and had a great time. I went to all three panel discussions — one on lighting and sound production, one on building props, and one with the directors and educators about visioning and producing individual plays and the future of the troop. They also had a small display of props and costumes from previous productions. Here’s a small selection of the spectacular costumes, which are created in house, in conjunction with the theater department of a local university, and with the help of many volunteers.
My order from Akerworks arrived! I got 6 bobbins for my wheel (one in each style) and 3 drop spindles (one in each size). I didn’t take pictures before they got pressed into service, but I’m sure you’ll see pictures in future blog posts. I did take a picture of the lovely hand-written note Adan included in the box.
I accepted a position as blog mistress for The Ravenclaw Aerie, the blog for the Ravenclaw Tower in the Harry Potter Knitting / Crochet House Cup. This is a big part of the reason for the neglect of my own blog; planning and executing for that blog has taken the time I had for blogging. Now that we’re on a schedule over there, I expect to be back to my own blog regularly! Most of what’s on The Ravenclaw Aerie is probably only of interest to those in Ravenclaw Tower or the Cup, but one of the first posts is about something else I did in August. Ravenclaw Porcupine Snuggles works at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. She and two of her colleagues drove from Baltimore to New Smyrna Beach, FL to release Cougar, a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle. I met them in New Smyrna Beach so I could witness the release, and Porcupine Snuggles and I wrote a blog post about it for the Aerie.
Disney with Beth
My friend Beth came on vacation for a week and we spent lots of time at Disney! We ate at the Be Our Guest restaurant in the new part of Fantasy Land in the Magic Kingdom. We did not expect to be able to get a reservation because this restaurant, the interior of which is a replica of the castle in Beauty and the Beast, is sold out 6 months in advance. We checked anyway; someone must have cancelled because we got a 1:15 pm reservation! The restaurant is stunning inside and out.
On the day we went to EPCOT, it poured. My mother, Beth, and I walked from The Land to Journey through the Imagination without seeing any one else walking around (everyone else was smarter than us — when we got to Journey through the Imagination, the ride was down because the building was struck by lightning!). It was eerie, and made us think about what the park is like after it closes. We waited for Journey through the Imagination to be back up, and after we got off the ride, the rain had settled down to a normal rain shower rather than a deluge. We headed towards the World Showcase, wading through a calf-deep puddle on our way there.
All the rain made for a beautiful sunset!
A couple days after Disney, my husband got sick with a very bad cold. I caught it from him and it turned into a sinus infection. Yuck! For the last week of August and the first week of September, we took turns feeling misearable. Not much got accomplished around here. I was coughing so much that fiber crafting wasn’t even viable 🙁
We were trying to decide what to do next when I saw someone walk by with a Mood bag. For those who aren’t familiar with the name, Mood is a fabric store and is the place contestants on Project Runway shop for the fabric used to make their creations. We decided to go to Mood and since it was a lovely day we walked the 10 blocks to the shop. I was totally overwhelmed by Mood. On the ground floor, there’s a two-story section of upholstery and other home decoration fabrics. To get to the main shop, you take this old elevator, operated by an elevator attendant, to the third floor. Once there, you have another 3 stories of every fabric imaginable. I have no idea how the contestants manage to shop for fabric in only 30 minutes!
One day, we went to the Tenement Museum (no pix allowed there). Our grandfather grew up in the Depression-era tenements of the Bronx, so this was a poignant visit for us. Afterwards, we wandered around SoHo and I bought my first ever pair of Fluevogs.
Later that evening, my sister and her friends went to a play. They bought tickets before I committed to the trip, and I wasn’t able to get a ticket to the show. Instead, I took a train out to Long Island to visit law school classmates and meet their 4-month-old baby. It was good to see them!
The next day, my sister, her friends, and I went to the Cloisters Museum, and visited their famous room of unicorn tapestries.
We ate fabulous food every day, including the best doughnuts I’ve ever eaten, from The Doughnut Plant. The interior of the shop was adorable, with doughnut pillows on the wall, a doughnut tile backsplash, and donut chairs!
The last night, my sister and I stayed in her friend’s apartment in Brooklyn. The friend was out of town, but gave us a key. The apartment came with bonus kitty, Billie.
Billie was super sweet and reminded me of my Pepper, whom I still miss very much!
Although I lived in the Northeast for nearly 30 years, I had never spent more than an afternoon in New York City before this trip. I had a wonderful time and hope I get to visit again!
For the fifth year in a row, Chris and I have season tickets for the Orlando Shakespeare theater. The first show of the season was Spamalot! It was absolutely spectacular. If you have the opportunity, you should totally see this show.
Orlando Maker Faire
Last weekend was the Orlando Maker Faire. The Drunken Monkey Spinners and Weavers of Orlando shared a booth for the event. Nancy and I spent the entire weekend in the booth; other members of the two groups spent one day or the other.
This was the fourth year of the Orlando Maker Faire. Last year, they expanded from the Science Center and included some exhibits in the park. This year, they expanded further, with arts and crafts exhibits in the Orlando Museum of Art, which is located on the opposite side of the park from the Science Center. The expected attendance at this event was 15,000; I didn’t hear an actual number after the event, but it is by far the highest attendance at any event where I’ve demoed.
The Science Center was wall-to-wall people; the Art Museum, where we were located, was steady but manageable. This was a fantastic event to demo. The people coming to this events are makers themselves. They like to know how things work and ask lots of questions! I spun the 50/50 Camel Down / Silk that I bought from Red Fish Dyeworksat The Knit and Crochet Show. I only got 1 ounce spun, out of 4, in the 17 hours I spent spinning! This is partially because I talked to lots of people, but also because it is spinning very fine.
Florida Fiber In
This weekend is the Florida Fiber In. I went last night, but won’t make it there the rest of the weekend. I picked up some Black-Faced Valois locks and some Bombyx Silk fiber, and spent a couple hours spinning and chatting!
The new HPKCHC term started on September 1 and I’ve been crafting like a mad woman. I haven’t taken pix of anything yet, but I’m working on that today and tomorrow. I’ll have a Year of Projects update post sometime tomorrow.
I have also been working on improving skills to benefit my blog. I bought my first DSLR camera (a Canon 70D (affiliate link)) and a Pro-Am video camera (Canon XA-10 (affiliate link)). I added Adobe Stock to my Adobe Cloud subscription. I used my Lynda.com subscription to learn how to use Adobe Bridge, then used Bridge to move all my photos out of Apple’s Photos app and into their own folders on my external hard drive. I’m still working on adding metadata and tags to the photos. I had 19,000 photos and videos in Photos and have a very hard time actually finding anything when I’m looking for it! It’s a lot of work to organize, but I believe it will be worth it in the end. I’m just starting the Lynda.com courses on Adobe After Effects and Lightroom, to further improve my photography and videography skills.
So that’s the highlight reel of the last six weeks. What’s your highlights?
Last year, I attended The Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana. I planned to attend this year also, but then Chris and I got to go to India. The trip to India was at the same time as The Fiber Event 2015.
My primary reason for going to Greencastle is to visit my good friend Stacy, who moved there a couple of years ago. We put our heads together to come up with a new date, and discovered the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival (a separate blog post is in progress; I’ve got to take pictures of my purchases), held about an hour from Greencastle on the first Friday and Saturday of June. I changed my tickets from April to this past weekend. I arrived in Indiana on Thursday afternoon and flew home Sunday evening.
Stacy was working on Thursday and Friday. I spent most of my time, hanging out in her office, knitting. She has these adorable sheep sculptures in her office.
I especially love their happy little faces.
Stacy did attend The Fiber Event 2015. Her mother bought her an early birthday present: a 10″ wide rigid heddle loom from Couch’s Little Workshop, an Indiana-based family business of handmade looms. Stacy had not warped the loom yet and wanted to do so before we went to the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival. Couch’s Little Workshop was going to be at that Festival also, and she wanted to ask them questions or resolve any problems she might have with the loom. On Thursday night, I taught her how to warp the loom and how to weave.
Stacy took a three-hour rigid heddle weaving class two years ago, at The Fiber Event, but she hasn’t woven anything since then. Her selvages are spectacular!
During the spring, summer, and fall, Greencastle has a “First Fridays” program. The downtown business group, of which Stacy is President, helps to organize First Fridays. The town closes off a road next to the courthouse. Vendors sell their wares and there’s music on the steps of the Courthouse.
This month, a vintage car club came for the event.
Several local clubs and civic groups attended this month also, including the Putnam County Spinners Guild, of which Stacy is a member. I helped set up and take down the tables and chairs for the Guild. The original plan was that I would finish spinning the Cormo and bring the bobbins with me so I could ply them on one of Stacy’s wheels during the event. I didn’t get the spinning done, so I knit instead.
The weather was perfect for this First Fridays event, though the sun was so bright that we had a hard time looking at people while we talked to them. Stacy’s boyfriend, Lance, came to our rescue with Florida Gators baseball caps! The vendors and tables part of First Fridays was from 5 to 7 pm. We were going to stay for longer, but we had to move out of the way for the Antique Cars to leave, so packed up shortly after 7 pm. The music continued until late, so after packing up we stayed and listened to music, and I got to meet several of Stacy’s friends. It was a wonderful evening!