Goddess Knitters

25 January 2013


Yesterday was another day of aha! moments.  Judith started the day out speaking about diameter control.  She had us work from our default spinning  and with just a little adjustment to our miniSpinners we learned that we could spin just about any weight.

Judith demonstrated the technique, gave us each a hunk of polwarth and turned us loose.  It's amazing how when you understand the workings of a machine you can make that machine do pretty much what you want it to do.  My friend Steph told me that she used to feel this way a bit about her computer.  She said she would get frustrated that her computer couldn't do the same things that her friend Ken's could do.  She realized that it wasn't the computer but how she was using it.  I realized the same thing yesterday.

When I first learned to spin I couldn't wait to spin a beautiful, consistent fingering weight yarn.  I wanted to be able to spin yards and yards of it.  Practice, practice, practice and what do you know?  I can spin a pretty great fingering weight.  It was only after I had mastered this skill that I tried to spin a heavier yarn, only to discover that it just wasn't possible.   I used to dream of spinning a bouncy worsted weight yarn.  I tried changing everything I could about the way I was spinning.  Nothing, nada, no way.  I could NOT get anything that looked good except that darned fingering weight.  Until yesterday...

super bulky to worsted
worsted to lace weight

All of this by simply learning what the wheel can do.  This had nothing to do with me changing anything about how I was spinning but by making the wheel perform the way I wanted it to.  It's true!  And the sampling technique we did was outstanding.  It makes me want to bring out ALL of my spinning stash and sample all of it just to see what I can do with it.  So exciting!

We also got to spin some pretty beautiful luxury fibers; yak, alpaca, silk, cashmere.  That was really great!

Judith also covered plying.  I could have taken an entire class on this subject alone!  That's for another time.

Today I head home.  My head is full with the possibilities ahead of me.  I am happy to have the 4 hours of driving time to mull over everything I have learned.  I can't wait to get started!

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24 January 2013

...spinning and more...

Yesterday was the first day of the retreat.  I had planned to finish my day, come back to my hotel room and write a post about what went on.  Planned.  I was so tired and my head was so packed with information that the best I could do was come back, put on my pajamas and go to bed.  Tired. Learning really takes a lot out of you.

We started the day with a session from Kevin on the care and feeding of our miniSpinner.  What I really appreciate about Kevin is the way he explains things, so clear and easy to understand.  He covered how to clean and maintain it, and by the time he was done I think I could have taken the whole thing apart and put it back together.  He's that good.

After Kevin's presentation came Judith.  Wow.  I took a class from Judith many years ago and loved it. I remember coming out of that class with the feeling that my head was going to explode with all of the information she gave us.  With this class I had the same feeling.  
She started us out working with two colors, blending, etc.  I've worked with two colors before but not like this!  It was so great.  

Judith is so wonderful, working with everyone individually.  When you take a class with Judith it's like having a private class.  She spends one-on-one time with each person and helps you with the things you need help with.  So great~
After lunch we moved on to marled yarn.  She had us work with 5 colors, taught us how to blend the colors, and how to get long repeats of color that you can ply to get a marled effect.  

It was pretty fantastic.

After dinner, Judith gave a presentation on Peruvian textiles.  It was so unbelievable.  The woven cloth and dolls she showed us were amazing.  Some of this stuff is really, really, really old.

bottom whorl spindle

back strap loom with weaving

woven vest

Needless to say I went to bead with my head full of new ideas and I can't wait to see what Judith has in store for us today.  I'm going to need A LOT of coffee...

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23 January 2013


Hello from the road.  I arrived in Port Townsend on Monday afternoon and got settled into my room at the beautiful Bishop Victorian Hotel.  It's a wonderful place to stay and the staff is outstanding.

Port Townsend is really a charming town.  Thanks to Marcy, who has been here before, I had a list of things to see.  Yesterday, I headed out bright and early to take a walk around town.  First stop, coffee...
If I lived in this town I would be here every day.  Delicious coffee and a beautiful view, this place has it all.   You can see that it's right on the water and there is a lot going on out there.
After coffee, I continued on and found this.

The Poetry Post with the Poem of the Month.  The instructions were to take a copy with you, or if you you just needed a quick poetry fix you could read it there and put it back for someone else.  Charming !

And it's good to know that there is plenty of yarn here in case, you know, I run out or something....

Speaking of yarn, I did visit two yarn shops in town,  Diva Yarn and Bazaar Girls.  Both were great and I happened to spy this on the shelf at Bazaar Girls...


After my walk and a quick lunch, a group of us headed to Taylored Fibers.  Barry and Linda Taylor have a great place.  We saw the picking machine, as well as the carder Barry uses to create custom roving and batts. 


Of course there was a large selection of roving for purchase. More on that later.

Barry and Linda have sheep too...
Meet Gracie!
After the field trip we gathered for a happy hour meet and greet with Beth, Kevin and Judith.  It was a nice evening that was capped off with a terrific slide presentation by Kevin.  We were fortunate enough to see photos of the sailing trips that he and Beth took to the South Pacific.  The stories that Kevin told about those trips were amazing.

If the rest of this trip is anything like yesterday, I think my brain will be really full.  Today we start spinning with Judith.  Can't wait...

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18 January 2013


I am packing for something that I hardly ever get to do.  On Monday, I am headed to Pt. Townsend, WA and a miniSpinner retreat with Judith MacKenzie.  I get to attend a lot of fiber retreats/shows as a worker bee, but not many as a student.  The last time I went to something like this was for this.  It was a bunch of fun and I couldn't wait to do it again.  That was back in 2011 and I don't think I have been to anything as a student since.

Don't get me wrong, I get to go to A LOT of fiber events/shows/retreats, but not many as a participant. That is why when I found out that it would be possible, maybe even probable, for me to attend this retreat I was pretty jazzed.

I have had my miniSpinner since forever a few years ago.  I have used it, but not nearly to it's potential. I do love how tiny it is.  Everything goes in a basket and away you go!

In packing up to go I had to empty the bobbins.  They were full of this:


that I plied into this:


It was a luxury batt that I bought at Black Sheep Gathering back in 2011.  It's been on the bobbins since then...  anyway, now it's plied and after a bath will be ready to knit.  It's really beautiful.  I'm puzzling over what I'll knit out of it.  Any ideas?  300 yds, fingering weight.  Let me know!

My plan is to attempt to  blog at least once from the retreat.  I know there will be so much to show you. I can't wait!

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12 January 2013

...new year, new attitude...

I have always been the sort of person that makes resolutions for the new year.  In early December I start thinking about the changes I'd like to make.  The list becomes a reflection of what went wrong and what went right in the past 11 months.  Usually at the top of the list is "take better care of myself", i.e. lose some weight, exercise more, make better choices eating, etc.

When I took a look back at 2012 I realized that I have been taking really good care of myself this year.  This is evidenced by a 60 lb. weight loss.  My eating and exercise habits have been pretty darn good this year.  It's amazing what I can do when I really set my mind to something.


This sure doesn't mean that I have taken this goal off of my list for 2013.  In fact, it's at the top again, especially after just coming through the holidays.  

Along with taking good care of myself is paring down on the "stuff" I have.  I try to do this every January and usually do a pretty good job of getting rid of excess.  But as the year goes by, the excess seems to creep back in.  My goal for the year is to pare it down and keep it that way.  

It's become apparent to me that I can set and meet a big goal (see before and after).    My hope is that my stuff will be as trim as I am come 2014.   First up, my clothes and closet. . .

What are your resolutions?

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07 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!  Hope that your 2012 was great and that your 2013 will be even better!

We ended the year at our Sunriver home celebrating with family and friends.  We started with a family Christmas and it was pretty great!  Here's some fun things we did:

               ~walks through the snow to the local coffee shop~


                        ~more walks in the snow~

                          ~Breakfast with Santa~

                  ~Christmas Eve family dinner ~

                                                ~ a lot of time with these two~

The holidays have always been my favorite time of the year and this year was no exception.  It was really the best to have all of us together.  Now it's back to life, back to reality.....

                                 I wish you a wonderful new year from my family to yours!

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