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Let the Frolic Begin

Again, I didn’t take near enough pictures.  Fortunately Jan and Tom did and I’ll link you to them as soon as they are available.

The vendors–only three, but all came with benefits.

Whorling Tides fiber

Beth Dinoff of Whorling Tides brought her gorgeous dyed roving and braids all the way from Tuscaloosa.  Beth taught a class in making batts so she had lots of things to add to her fiber to create some interesting product.

Beth also dyes a special batch for the Frolic each year.  This year’s colorway is based on a sunset they saw during last year’s Frolic.  Those who are interested buy the braid and make something to bring back next year.  No rules on what or how.  Then the group will vote on which item they like best and Beth awards a prize.

This is Linda Philpott from Rainy Day Creations in Pineville, NC.  Her shop is just down the road from me in a quaint little revamped downtown.  She called me before the event to ask how she could support my classes.  I thought that was so generous.  She brought beads; I bought beads.  She also had some new yarns I hadn’t seen, so I got my hands on some things to swatch for future projects.  She also has some gorgeous fibers for spinning or wet felting.   She and Pat, whose picture I didn’t get, were both teaching.

Sharon practices what Pat taught

Pat taught weaving on the rigid heddle loom that they sell at the shop.  People were weaving scarves and home dec wall pieces and even lace.  Her class is a great way to decide if you would like to work with a loom before you invest in one.

Note:  Sharon in the pic above has the perfect “fiber husband.”  He surprised her at Christmas with this weekend at the Frolic.

Linda taught a class on getting acquainted with your wheel.  She does talk about ratios and other technical jargon, but gives you permission to listen politely and ignore it if you are just a seat of the pants spinner.  I couldn’t take her class because I was teaching, but I do want to set up some private lessons with her.  I know she can make me a better spinner in a very short time.

I saved Ann Potter for last.  This woman and her dear friend Jane rocked my world.  Look what they taught me to make—-

Ann owns a farm, Pilot Mountain Llamas, north of Winston-Salem where she has a few llamas, a few alpacas, a few angora goats and a family–not in that order.  She did a slide show for us about the animals and the fiber that taught us so much as we were rolling on the floor laughing.  Llama sex deserves some research!

Since peopling her farm with animals, Ann has become a real rancher.  She even shears her own animals, including the famously uncooperative alpacas.  Then she sells the fiber to make money to buy llama food.  She is another fiber addict that just tries to support her habit.  But she does it with glitz and style.

I watched her effortlessly making art yarn with bumps and swirls and bits and flecks.   She could see the lust in my heart.  I touched her gorgeous batts with mixed fibers and colors and bits and pieces and knew that I could spin them into mediocrity and it would be a sin.  Ann said, “Oh, Jane will show you how.  It’s simple and easy.” Yeah, I’ve heard that before.  But–

This is Jane.

Saturday morning I had a break and I sat down at a wheel with Jane ( an incredibly funny woman who pretends to be a real grouch, but doesn’t quite pull it off.  It’s the good heart that trips her up.)  Five minutes and I was spinning artyarn.  Here’s the important direction.  “Just let it go.”  This was core spinning and all you do is let it go and the fiber wraps around the core.  If you mess up and let some of the core show, that’s called design.  If you glob up some of the fiber, that’s called design.  If you break the fiber and have a lumpy rejoin, that’s called design.  You cannot make a mistake!!!!

Once you are done, you ply the yarn with a thin thread.  Even, consistent plying is just boring, so you can’t make a mistake here either.  And with Ann’s batts, you can’t make ugly.  I am the queen of ugly multicolored yarns, so I know how to make ugly.I was so happy doing this, I was just stupid.  I was so happy with the final product, I was almost, not quite, speechless.  I wore my skein around my neck and bored everyone to death with the story of it—-as some would say I am still doing.

You just have to do this.

How many other things can you name where you cannot make a mistake?

I bought more batts.

And some threads to ply them with—as well as do a bit of embroidery.

I realized that Ann and Jane had changed the way I looked at spinning.  I don’t spin much and usually just to zone out and get away from the world.  It was when I was teaching high school and needed to get way away from the world that I took it up.  Have not done much since retiring.  Now I know why.  I wasn’t creating or learning or having any “what if” moments as I do when I knit.  That’s changed.  Boy, has that changed.

Don’t ask me what I’m going to do with all this fancy, chunky yarn.  Novelty yarns are coming back.  I just want to make them and maybe hang them on something—my neck maybe.  I want to see what using a purple ply does with a red batt.  I want to but little bits of fabric in the wool and see what happens.  I want to see how many bits of color I can add to white wool without it being gaudy.

I really want to go to Ann’s farm and watch her shear something.

Check out the websites for these folks and support your own local fiber artists and retailers.  They make such joy possible for the rest of us.

Peggy and Debbie waiting for class to start.

Oh, yeah, I taught some knitting classes and everyone seemed to enjoy them.  I can’t wait until next year.


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