Wednesday, November 08, 2006

SOAR 2006

I'm back from 11 days at SOAR and it is good to be home again with Hannah and Kelly. I had a really good time at SOAR this year--probably the best I've ever had. It was a blast hanging out with the SOAR staff--Anne, Ann, Vicki, and Nancy. We really had fun working hard together. It went really smoothly with only a couple snafus. Participants and mentors were really happy, the resort was fantastic, and the weather was pretty darn good for the beginning of November in the mountains. I was just so glad that it didn't snow that the rain from Wednesday through Friday was okay--and in the end we got sun again. We did get ice on Saturday morning--and I learned of one participant who really bit it--but she was recovering well later--though her computer is a little worse for the fall. Ice and steep inclines--and folks hauling spinning wheels are not a good mix. Fortunately the sun came out and the ice went away.
The hardest part for me was being away from my family. Last year Kelly and Hannah came and that was good--but then it was hard to do both my mommy job and my job job.
This was my tenth SOAR. I love the chance to connect with people with like passions, even though there is never enough time to really talk and being a bit sleep deprived really doesn't help my conversational skills. I found though, that motherhood was really good training for SOAR. I wasn't nearly as tired as I remember being in years past. It would be a really strange thing to go to SOAR as a participant. I've had some classes at other conferences, where I got to just be a student--and it is almost a surreal experience. This year felt like a family reunion in a lot of ways. And meeting new people was also a treat. I got to meet Stephanie Pearl-McPhee--for me this was akin to meeting J.K. Rowling or Jane Austen. Seriously. Meeting Jane Austen would be slightly more exciting (mostly because, well, you know, she's dead)--but I had to try to supress my star-struckedness and try to be normal. It didn't really work. Stephanie got a kick out of providing me with the word "spindle" when I was trying to describe the bowl with a center dowel that spins beads onto stringShe and I are exactly the same height. She told me that she was disappointed to learn this because she said that she thought I was short. If she looks slightly shorter than me in this photo it is only because we were standing on a slope.
I bought some great fiber at SOAR and have started spinning it up. I spun about a yard on my handspindle at the spin-in--the only chance I had--so I had to make up for all that time of watching people spin and not being able to join in when I got home.
This is 1/2 of the 4 oz of Bluefaced Leicester that I bought from Janel Laidman of Cameleon Colorworks. Boy, was it fun to spin. It is softer than I imagined BFL to be--and the colors are so gorgeous. It bled when I washed my yarn--so I rinsed it until the water ran clear. I started knitting a sweater for Hannah out of domino squares--I learned how at SOAR 2002 when Vivian Hoxbro taught domino knitting. Someone at SOAR had a little swift just like mine--except without the candlewax dripped all over it. I can't remember who it was. But we both found them in fleamarkets--mine was found by a friend. It's a wonderful little swift and works much better than my big one that was damaged in the Fort Collins flood.
The stitch marker I bought from French Hill, Diane Trussell and they were made by Carolyn Baldwin who comes to SOAR every year from the U.K. I have never used stitch markers much--but these are so fun that I want to use them. I think I'm going to have to get more fiber before I can finish the sweater I want to make for Hannah, though.