Thursday, January 1, 2009

Where everything is new again

or, le plus que ca change, le plus que c'est le meme chose...

Which is to say, the more things change, the more the stay the same.

Here we are at the turn of the year, and I wanted to take the time to write a post about the year behind me and the year I'm looking forward to.

My life has been really busy for the last several months, between increased responsibilities at work and an active teaching schedule. I haven't been able to find much time for blogging, although I know that if I didn't look through my friend's activity on ravelry every day, that would probably add up to a lot of blog posts! But it's such a great treat, every day - all that new knitting to look at!

On the fiber, music & family scene, this is what 2008 held for me:

In January, I taught a weekend Beam Me Up Scotty warping class for the local Blue Ridge Spinners & Weavers Guild and then I was a student in a spinning class with Norman Kennedy & Martha Owen at the John C. Campbell Folk School

In February, I taught a District Checks & Tweeds class for Blue Ridge Guild, and was a student in a 1 day Spinning New Fibers with Patsy Zawistoski.

I returned to the Campbell Folk School in March to teach a Knit to Felt class and then in April Peter & I moved his Mum into the Health Center of her retirement community - and I did a lot of knitting on the 8 hour round trip, three weekends in a row.

This helped me prepare for the May Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.

I spent a very hot but productive weekend of weaving in June at Bill Leinbach's studio in Lebanon, PA.

We were very busy with the Bluemont summer season and then in the fall I had three brand new classes to prepare for - in September I taught Tartan Weaving - Lap Robes at JCCFS

and I also organized & attended a 2 day Spinning for Shetland Lace Knitting class with Elizabeth Johnston & Martha Owen here in VA.

October brought the annual Waterford Fair, in nearby Waterford VA where I have been selling & demonstrating with the Waterford Weavers Guild since 1982 and singing & playing music since 1985. It's the annual entrance into autumn for me and generally a great weekend.

I also taught a new Tartan Weaving class at The Mannings in East Berlin PA that focuses on the evolution of tartan design through a dozen traditional tartan setts.

In November I was the guest instructor at Carodan Farm's KnitXperience in Syria VA - I sang a program of old songs about weaving, spinning & sheep on Friday evening and taught an Aran knitting class and a Shetland Lace class on Saturday. There are some nice photos from the retreat here.

December brought a much anticipated event - our oldest daughter Lily Rose graduated from Virginia Commonweath University! We surprised Lily by flying her two sisters down from their college in Massachusetts for the weekend. We had a great time celebrating together. And then just last night on December 31st, I performed at First Night Leesburg.

Preparing for First Night this year was really challenging. Bluemont actually runs two events on 12/31 - First Night Leesburg & First Night Warrenton. The fundraising was very challenging this year, and we weren't sure the Leesburg event could take place until enough money had been raised. This meant that the contracting was done very late and we put in some very long days, working late on Christmas eve and then right back at it on Boxing Day. I usually have at least some time to relax at home and visit with friends & family over the holidays, but this year we could spare very little time.

We took Christmas day off and spent it with my Mom, my stepMom and her husband, and we made a nice holiday for them, but our immediate family celebration had to wait until Sunday evening when we took a few hours to light the candles on our tree, sing together and open some gifts. It was a very special time as always, but really shoehorned in between work. To top it off, Ruby & Hannah both had their wisdom teeth removed on 12/22 and were pretty much out of it for 3 days. It was crazy.

But our First Nights came together as a result of all our hard work - Peter, Lily & I and our small but dedicated staff and a host of volunteers & performers. It was a very cold night with high winds, so the crowds were light last night, but those who braved the weather got to hear some wonderful performances. And I was very pleased with my own part in the performances. I gotta tell you, it's very challenging to find time to get ready to perform in the context of so much work, but this is my favorite performance venue of the year.

I got to sing in the St. James Episcopal sanctuary again this year, two sets with Sine Nomine - an a capella trio performing early European music from the 11th - 16th century; and one set on my own - singing unaccompanied ballads & songs from Ireland, Scotland & England. Singing in this sanctuary is like playing a fine instrument as so little effort produces such a lovely and full sound. It was a delight, and I was pleased to be in better voice for my 11pm solo set that I have been in year's past. I sang some of my favorite songs, and a group of songs that I have learned most recently. I had a small but attentive audience and those lovely acoustics - it was great.

A wonderful way to close the year.

So - 2009 has these events coming up:


18th c. Household Textiles, co-taught with Norman Kennedy at the JCC Folk School, Brasstown NC


18th c. Household Textiles for the Blue Ridge Guild here in VA- there is still room for 1 or 2 more students in this class! You can find the workshop registration form here.


Modular Knitting at JCC Folk School

Acadian Weaving at WEBS in Northampton, MA - I'm very excited to be teaching a class at WEBS for the first time!

April will be spent preparing for the May Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival - my booth is Peace Weavers, 3rd booth on the right hand wall in the big building, since 1990!

Also in May will be our daughter Hannah's college graduation.

In June I will be teaching 2 workshops for the Albemarle Weavers Guild in Charlottesville VA.

Once the Bluemont summer season is over, I will go to Colorado in September to teach a workshop for the Pikes Peak Weavers Guild in Colorado Springs. This will be my first time teaching west of Ohio, and was set up through one of the students in the last tartan class I taught at the JC Campbell Folk School. They haven't chosen the workshop topic yet.

That's a lot to look forward to, not to mention a new President and hopefully the slow beginning of turning this nation and the economy in a better direction. I enter into this new year with hope, and the anticipation of hard work and good times in a better balance.

I wish you all good health, stable finances and a strong creative flow - and good luck working on maintaining the balance!


Bonnie said...

It sounds like you are feeling better, and life is good. I am glad for you. Onward with love....

Jeanne-Marie said...

Happy new year Mélissa !

The year 2009 will be just as busy as 2008 for you!