12 September 2016

Georgia FiberFest 2016

Whew! I've just come off the whirlwind that is Dragon*Con followed by Georgia FiberFest!

As usual, a big thank you goes out to Kromski North America for their corporate sponsorship of the event. Kromski showed off their beautiful wheels and looms this year. They now have a wonderful jumbo flyer option for the Fantasia, if you like to spin art yarns. And they had a Fantasia wheel painted to resemble Polish pottery. In the photograph above, the blue fiber at top is the special edition Pavonia Peacock color. When Kromski gave out fiber last year at the vendor and teacher reception, it was fairly easy to get people to part with it. Not this year! Next year I must remember to be sure to sit at a table with non-spinners. The drop spindle was also included in the vendor and teacher gift bags. No excuse not to learn how to spin. And the gift bags also had assorted packets of Eucalan wool wash. I got the jasmine Wrapture "flavor."

Attendees and teachers also receive goodie bags. The goodie bag itself is pictured in the center. The celebratory "Dances with Wools" sheep (by artist Conni Togel of Sheep Incognito) is on the front, and the back has the long list of sponsors. The goodie bags also included:
● fabric squares (upper left) from Sunday Best Quiltworks
● tape measure (upper right) from Han Den Saori
● jar opener (center) from Camelid Cottage

I won the two skeins of "Buddy" yarn from Lunabud Knits (lower right) and the button as a door prize at the Friday banquet. Both this year and last, the Friday banquet was very good. The food was prepared by 5-star chef Jamie Keating, owner of Epic Restaurant. The door prizes were plentiful, too.

The rest of the photograph shows what I acquired in the market. The market gets better and better every year, although I do have to admit I'm not sure anybody showed up with an assortment of Firestar or Angelina. The rolags are by The Sample Family. Her sister, Kimarie of Kimarie's Knit Knacks, had gorgeous brightly-colored yarn for sale, including self-striping sock yarns and mini-skeins in eye-searing neon colors. The white silk — which I have dubbed "blinded by the white" — is from Swan Hollow Studio. I'm glad to see them every year, as they carry a wonderfully wide range of spinning fibers, primarily in undyed natural colors. If you want to craft a yarn to your specifications, Swan Hollow Studio can help provide the ingredients. The sand-colored mini-batts are from The Hippie Homemaker. I'm planning to spin a yarn based on the first 15 minutes of Star Wars; and I was stumped how I was going to spin Tatooine. I'm very glad somebody else has figured out how to dye a complex color like sand. The silk ribbon is from Alpaca Trading Post. If I decide to spin more of Star Wars, I am thinking this ribbon would be perfect for sand people! The Saori book is on clothing design. I bought one last year that includes skirts; this one is tops. I haven't tried Saori weaving, but I am sure the simple and clever ways to make clothes from basic rectangles will be useful for any sort of hand weaving. The jump ring opener and the bead reference card are, I think, from Primitive Originals. They brought kumihimo materials, including looms, threads, and beads, as well as a wonderful variety of jewelry clasps. I always have to look up bead information when I want to use beads with my knitting. I might make some chain maille accessories for a Dragon*Con costume; thus the jump ring opener could be helpful. And the wooden domino racks are from Allen B. Carr Works in Wood. As a gamer with a set of double 18 dominoes, the racks seemed like a good idea. I may want to sew, weave, or knit a carry bag to keep them in good condition.

I taught "One Color, Two Layers," "Daring Double Cables," and "Introduction to Reversible Lace." Thank you to all my students!

Next year's 6th annual Georgia FiberFest will be Thursday through Saturday, 7-9 September 2017. The featured guest speaker and teacher will be Franklin Habit! I already have the dates saved in my day planner.

06 September 2016

What We Do For Others

Last weekend I attended my twenty-second consecutive Dragon*Con. I've written about Dragon*Con before. Cuddly Hubby and I refer to it as the best weekend of the year, even better than Christmas. Over the years we have attended a variety of panels and activities. With 40 programming tracks, this is the sort of show where you could wear out a time turner. It isn't uncommon to decide to do something this year and to skip it next year in favor of something else we had to skip this year. But this year I did something I had never done before — I donated blood.

The Cuddly Hubby donates blood every year, usually on Thursday. Our tradition is to go pick up our badges on Thursday afternoon. Then Cuddly Hubby spends an hour or so donating blood. Then we go eat a good dinner at Max Lager's brew pub. But this year, Cuddly Hubby had doctors' appointments the week before the convention. Some of his test results weren't back. He wasn't able to donate.

It helps to know that every year the blood drive has Dragon*Con-themed t-shirts. Donate blood, get a t-shirt. I do not care about t-shirts. I rarely wear t-shirts. Getting a t-shirt is not motivation for me. But Cuddly Hubby has gotten a t-shirt year after year. At this point, he wears a different blood donor t-shirt every day of the convention, including Thursday. He was bummed when he couldn't get this year's t-shirt.

I never donate blood. In my youth, I had a couple bad experiences with needles. I have a pronounced fight-or-flight response. I almost passed out during the blood test for our marriage license. I also just barely make the weight requirement for blood donation. So I never donate.

By Saturday, it was clear Cuddly Hubby's results wouldn't be back in time for him to donate. So on Sunday morning, I psyched myself up. I walked into the Hilton and down the escalator. And I did it! There was a point when I first got in the chair that the fight-or-flight response really kicked in and I just wanted to jump up and run up the stairs. I kept my eyes closed almost the whole time. About halfway to three-quarters of the way through I got dizzy. All of a sudden, people were tipping my chair back and putting ice underneath my neck. I'm sure I changed colors. But I did not pass out. The person behind me actually threw up while I was donating. (Yes, they wisely put me at the far end with the experienced technicians dealing with the "problem children.") And it took a little bit of work to get my arm to stop bleeding afterwards. But, I faced down my fear and I did it!

And I got a t-shirt in Cuddly Hubby's size.

Later in the day, we met up at a panel. Cuddly Hubby sat down next to me. I had the t-shirt draped over my bandaged arm. I handed him the shirt and said, "I got your t-shirt."
He asked, "How'd you do that."
As I handed him the shirt, I pointed to my bandaged arm. "I donated blood."
It was worth it for the way his face lit up. He knew I had faced down a fear to do this for him.

How do you know you are married to the right person? When that person makes you a better person. I wouldn't donate blood on my own. I wouldn't donate blood for a t-shirt. But I thought of Cuddly Hubby getting out his Dragon*Con blood donor t-shirts every year in the future and seeing that hole in the sequence where 2016 went wrong. I didn't want him to have an unhappy story. So I made it a happy story.