17 May 2018

A Couple Weeks on the Road

I am home in Georgia and, after a week, still playing catch up.

This year I had the privilege of teaching at Unwind. This was year #8 for this gathering. Nancy and Sue put together a delightful retreat! There is time for learning, time for shopping, time for food, and time for camaraderie. Each evening after the afternoon classes but before dinner, we enjoyed happy hour. One suite had the wine drinkers and the other suite had the tea drinkers. I am a tea drinker, so I had a great time hanging out with the scone-munching crowd. A least a couple of us brought an assortment of teas to share. And some inspired soul brought Girl Scout cookies! I did fail a Will save against just one delicious Samoa.

Some items from this year's Unwind goodie bag.
There was also, of course, yarn! This year's goodie bags were sock project bags made by Marie. The bags include a measuring tape and attached pop-up snips. (Notice the snips retract inside their case when not in use.) There's even a small carabiner and a pocket inside. And the bottom is reinforced to make the bag stand up. The bag is very well-designed. Marie made these in assorted fabrics. Mine is a colorful Laurel Burch cat fabric, which I love! There were magazines, including Vogue. I donated mine to the freebie pile, since I already have a subscription. There was yarn from JaggerSpun, Universal, and Lambs Pride. There were even stitch markers from Bryson, stitch stoppers from CocoKnits, and a Needle Keeper circular needle protector.

Items from silent auction and freebie pile.
This year Unwind held a silent auction to benefit the Crossnore School & Children's Home. The school provides foster care for children in crisis. It also has a weaving program to teach women in need an economic skill. While I wasn't able to go on the tour, others did and commented on what a special and amazing place this is. For the silent auction, many of us attendees donated extra yarn, books, or tools. Our little group raised over $1100! In the silent auction I picked up some crochet books, a knitting magazine with yarn to make a polar bear ornament, a skein of lace yarn, and a sampler package of merino top. (I later discovered the top was missing a color, but I was able to obtain the missing bit at Maryland Sheep and Wool the following weekend.) From the freebie pile I also picked up a couple more back issues of Simply Knitting, which is a British knitting magazine. One of the issues has Alan Dart's Hula Hamsters and the other issue has Mr. Wanderful the Wizard. I'm thinking all these Alan Dart critters would be great scrap projects.

A typical Unwind 2018 door prize.

Everyone leaves Unwind with a door prize. Mine was a skein of Miss Babs in the Unwind 2016 colorway and some goodies from Katrinkles. I am especially looking forward to filling in the sheep ornament with some locks or handspun.

All in all, I had a delightful weekend teaching reversible techniques. I got to spend time with my teacher peers Varian Brandon and Heather Storta. I also met the Yarn Guys, Jeffrey Wall & Dennis Rinkenberger, who own Wall of Yarn in Freeport, Illinois. Jeffrey and Dennis even have their own line of z-twist yarn for two-end knitting (tvåändsstickning). Sweet!

From Blowing Rock I drove north to the Maryland man cave. Cuddly Hubby may be home for a few months, but he is technically "lent out" to another site. That means he still has to maintain his Maryland residence. If we are going to have to pay rent, then I am certainly going to make use of the place. I enjoyed three days of quiet. No television (the cable is turned off while Cuddly Hubby is away). Minimal Internet (um, yeah, the cable is turned off). It gave me time to work a little on a project or two without a lot of distractions. Cuddly Hubby flew up for the weekend. We celebrated Star Wars Day with friends. And I went to Maryland Sheep and Wool.

Chocolate-colored Leciester longwool locks, prepared Corriedale, white Leicester longwool locks.
 I told myself that I was hunting and not gathering. (You do not need to start laughing, yet.) I did find the missing color for my sampler set. My real focus was finding 4 ounces of Corriedale and 4 ounces of Leicester longwool. I've worked with both of these breeds. I love Corriedale for its springiness. I like a nice, bouncy, springy woolen-spun yarn. Corriedale is well-suited to that type of spinning. Leicester longwool is not super-soft. It is, however, very shiny and takes dye well. My plan is to card the two together on my drum carder in the hopes of producing a sort of vegan version of the classic Blue-Faced Leicester and silk blend. In fact, I'm sort of surprised the Leicester longwool growers aren't already marketing their wool as an alternative to silk. I did find the fibers I sought. Of course, the Leicester longwool grower also had a gorgeous chocolate-colored fleece that somehow I needed to buy. I was sorry I failed that Will save until I got it home and looked at it again. I've already washed some of it and it is gorgeous. In fact, I was going to wash the rest this week, but we have a whole week of rainy weather coming up (very uncommon for us). So the fleece scouring will need to wait until the warm, dry weather returns.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable and productive couple of weeks. I had great fun with friends. I came back with way more goodies than I expected. And at Maryland Sheep and Wool, Elizabeth Johnston's lecture about warp-weighted looms has sent me down another rabbit hole.

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