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Carolina Fiber Frolic 2019–Spring

Mid-March in Sapphire Valley, NC is sunny and not too cold.  It is also beautiful.  Thanks to Jan Smiley, there is yarn and fiber, knitting and crochet, classes and great food, and a diverse display of spinning wheels.  It was extra special because there were so many Charlotte friends there.

Kate Larson was one  of the instructors and she is such a good teacher.  I took two classes from her: Spinning Solid Singles and Spinning Cabled Yarn where we spun cashmere, silk, yak.  I learned so much.

CFF 2019–Fall will be in Nov. (8-10).  This is a true retreat.  Hang around the community center and learn from each other is the format, but laughter and joy is what really happens.  For people who work, this is the ultimate in escape and rest.

Here are a few photos:

Copper Corgie

Copper Corgi braids for spinning. Lots of Targhee wool in mostly Autumn colorways. I bought two.


Another view of Sarah’s dyeing and some undyed CVM.


CVM–I had only read about this fiber. It was so soft. This is its natural color.


These are the special colorway for this retreat. Copper Corgi in various weights. Why didn’t I buy some of the blue and lt. yellow?


Another vendor had some awesome sock yarn that she dyed so it would knit up in a stripe pattern. So clever.


Mohair. Enough said.


Nurse Ann was there in several of her handspun, handknit sweaters. She gives lots of hugs.  No wonder her young students love her.  Got to meet her lovely daughter as well.


Renate called me out for not staying in touch since I moved to GA. She made me feel so good.   Behind her is the rug hooking vendor who had beautiful kits.

I had a wonderful time.  I won 8 oz. of teal mohair boucle in the lunch door prize givaway.  Later I won a book, Knitting in Color.  I love color.

Must mention the food.  Jan’s husband Tom cooks it and it was marvelous.  We had corned beef and sauerkraut (Reuben sandwiches) in honor of St. Patrick’s day.  Ann’s daughter Caitlin served.  She’s a cutie.

Well, I hope I’ve tempted you to join us.  Making new fiber friends is always fun and rewarding.  Everything was wonderful, especially seeing my Charlotte friends.

More later–

Hand spinning Fractal Yarn

I wanted to try fractal yarn.  Why? I don’t know; I only like solids so I can color block. I didn’t expect I would like the final product so I used some Mystery Yarn. Heaven only knows when and where I acquired it–clearly a sample pack–but it had 8 colors, so it qualified for my task.

First I separated the hunks into two equal-ish piece. So far so good.  I weighed them to make sure and planned to use 3-5 grams of each color.

Then I laid them out in the order I wanted.  (These are not the colors I would have chosen, but beggars can’t be . . . .

Next I placed the second set of fibers in the reverse order of colors.  This seems simple, but I majored in stupid mistakes.  I’m also ADD.  So–I photographed them for future reference and double checked as I added a new color.

Normally I would have just jumped in and started spinning. However, I went to Jan Smiley’s Carolina Fiber Fling recently and took two classes from Martha Owens, Spinning Icon.  No more willy nilly,  seat of the pants spinning for me. I been educated.

I prepared the first color and spun a sample to decide how I wanted the yarn to look.

Fractal spin info card

I taped the sample to a card. Forgot to list the whorl.  Ratio?  What’s that?  Note I sprayed the yarn with baby oil before prepping it.  It was a bit sticky and wouldn’t draft well.

Some of the pieces were top and some were roving.  I like woolen yarn so I carded some of the tops.  Actually I carded all of them to get more air into the yarn. (More air = more warmth)

I used 29 grams of fiber and after plying I had 73.5 yards of OMG beautiful yarn.


Just out out of the degreasing wash.


Dried on a stair post in the back yarn.

Totally surprised that I love it. Needs to become a cowl.

More later–

Using all those vacation photos

Returned from Arizona-Utah trip with 607 pictures of rocks and about 30 pics of people.  The new iPad camera is fabulous.  It’s hard to take a bad picture, but I managed to do so–deleted about half the rock pictures.  Selecting which of the other to keep had more to do with art-making than with geology.  Here are a few that I really like.


The Three Gossips

This last one is of a formation named “The Three Gossips.”  The photo isn’t great.  Too far away and too much zoom.  But it is enough to help me create my version.

Three Gossips in process

It’s not quite finished and it’s not perfect, but I’ve enjoyed working on it.  I just wish I had used the better paper.  Maybe I’ll do it again on the Arches block.



Off to see the . . . Rocks?

Our latest class at Olli (Athens, UGA) was a study of the geology of the Colorado Plateau taught by Dr. R. David Dallmeyer.  I don’t know a rock from a button, so I was a bit nervous. Add to this I needed to explain to David that it was necessary for me to knit during class in order to stay focused. Well, it all went smoothly and David is one of the best teachers I have ever seen.  I didn’t need help staying focused.

We not only signed up for the class, we also joined the group going to Arizona and Utah to see in person the real strata we had just studied.  ( Actually, pre-class, I was just planning to paint my way from A to U. )

Two problems had to be solved.

1.  How many art toys do I need to take?  How few can I get away with is a better question.  Best I can tell, there are no art supply stores in the National Parks.  To start I filledthe dining   room table.  After a week of slow, steady deletions, I am packing these:

Luggage space is limited in our vans, so I may have to wear all my clothes on the plane and find a paper bag when I get to Phoenix. 

2.  Getting to the airport and finding a parking place.  

We flew to France from Atlanta a few years ago and almost missed the flight because we couldn’t find a place to park–and then there were the fees!  Not doing that again.  Also, I’m not in Charlotte anymore and the airport isn’t 18 minutes from my house.  We are going to Atlanta today and spending the night, leaving our car at the motel (free parking) and taking their shuttle to the airport Sunday am. Yes, the hotel fee and the airport parking for 12 days balance out,and it’s much easier emotionally.

  The trip will be far less boring than this blog. There will be opportunities to fall off a cliff, tear up a knee on a trail, or meet a wild animal. 

Keep me in your prayers.

More later–

Thank you, Cat, for asking

(Reposting to get this to Facebook friends.  I hope.)

Moving, especially when you are a senior, is not easy. No matter the draw to new places or the excitement of an adventure, leaving lifelong friends of all ages leaves a hole in your heart.  I’m going through the normal depression of that now. I was feeling like I was purposeless and worried at how little I left the house. I thought my creative life was stagnant. 

Then Cat wrote and asked “What are you making?”  This young woman is clearly clairvoyant. She made me look around and see that I had indeed done some things. Even some I liked. 

I thought I would share them with you. 

Took a drawing class. a 2 min. sketch.

Still collecting lichen for dyeing.

Slowly planning a village street scene.

Some scarves unblocked of course.

Drawing birds to make note cards.

making small notebooks out of marbled paper.

Marbled more paper in 90 deg heat.

Watercolor of one of the millions in the backyard.

Practicing watercolor sketching on back deck.

Trying to spin like Jan Smiley. Failing.

July visit to Philadelphia.

Practising for Fall trip to Arizona and Utah.

watercolor and ink sketch this morning

Steve made this barrier to keep Lexie out of his Bat Cave.

And——I rowed 6 miles on the Broad River in a solo kayak. 

But I still miss my Charlotte friends. All of you. Have not met anyone here yet that comes near to you. 

Maybe today.

More later . . .

Good news from Athens

Lexie and her cow.

This is Alexandra Elizabeth, a rescue Chihuahua from Colbert, Ga.  She is 3 or 5 years old depending on which expert guess you like best. She has Olympic caliber athletic skills and loves to dance on her hind legs. She is NOT house broken. Thank heaven the fence will be installed Thursday. She has made lots of progress since December 24 when she came to her forever home.

February in my backyard. The yard is also filled with cardinals, goldfinches, bluebirds, finches, and Carolina chickadees. I wish I could get a decent photo of them.

We also have deer.

This is Margaret Agner. She is a neighbor and friend. She is an artist who primarily does silk paintings.

She joined Erica and me at a fashion show for independent designers held at the loading dock of the local paper.  My new hairstylist tells me that this is a typical venue at New York fashion week. She works the shows each year.

 My design hero, Natalie Chanin, came to town as part of the Georgia Sewn Conference and I was able to talk with her and participate in a mini-workshop. This is the newspaper photo from the local paper. I had a very nice seat on the floor of the Atrium in the Lamar Dodd School of Art. UGA.

There have been other activities:  meeting Charlottean Meta Thompson at the Fibercraft Guild,  seeing “The Graduate” at the Town and Gown Theatre, a drawing class at OLLI (Google this if you are 50+), et. al.

There are at least six special activities every day, most of them free.  I just wish I could bring all of my friends and family down here to play with me.

There will definitely be more later–

Bella ?-2007 —12/3/2015


Bella’s favorite place. Mine. , too.

We lost Bella to cancer just a few weeks ago.  I haven’t been able to write about it until now.  We are devastated.  She was my best friend, my confidant, my shopping consultant, my baby.  She was so loved and she gave back even more.

Bella christmas dress

12-23-2010 Bella came to us in a velvet Christmas dress. Turned out that she hated clothes.

12-1-2015 Walking a bit near the end

Near the end she still tried to walk, but needed a coat for warmth Still didn’t like clothes.

I’ll share happier news later.  Have a happy holiday.

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