Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Redux!

We had a mild winter here in Virginia with almost no snow. This is the oak tree in our back yard on an unusually foggy spring morning.

I have been teaching a lot of classes this winter and spring. I counted eight weekends out of twelve since the end of January when Norman Kennedy came for a visit and we conducted a weekend spinning seminar.

We squeezed 19 students and spinning wheels into the newly opened Barefoot Weavers Studio - thank you, Beth!

A great weekend and if Norman sticks to his guns, one of his last out of town classes. He told me every day of his visit that this was his last winter teaching tour. I may have to visit Vermont next winter.

I drove Norman partway to his next gig at the Campbell Folk School and we spent a day exploring and cataloging part of Roddy Moore's textile collection. Roddy is a prodigious collector of broad tastes, and his primary textile collection is of handwoven blankets.

This is an under appreciated category of weaving and I was amazed to see his armoire filled with blankets on my first visit to his home. I had been thinking about them for a year and was very pleased to spend a day analyzing about two dozen, recording enough information for reproduction and taking a lot of photos. One of the blankets has already turned up in my 18th c. Household Textile classes!

February began with a local warping class to help six weavers prepare for a 3 day Tartan class held President's Day weekend for the Blue Ridge Weavers & Spinners Guild. We had 12 weavers for this tartan round robin - a colorful delight!

I also delivered a program on the History of Tartan for the Potomac Fiber Arts Guild, accompanied by a brand new slide show that was great fun to put together, and finished up the day with a mini class on tartan design.

In March I drove down to Nashville TN to teach Acadian Weaving for the Handweavers Guild of Nashville - we met in the club house of an apartment building, a very nice space for classes.

This very useful caddy is made to fit on a Dorset loom, but one could be made for any loom without a castle. See the bead counter and the cork strip for attaching your draft? Very clever and handy!

From Nashville, I drove over the mountains to Brasstown NC to the Campbell Folk School where I took a weaving class with Laura Fry called The Efficient Weaver. I have wanted to meet Laura since the first time I saw her Magic in the Water book on wet finishing handwoven fabric, and this was a great opportunity to meet her, learn about her production techniques and enjoy her teaching style. Laura has honed her skills to weave very, very quickly and she shares the details of her approach with calm, patience and very precise language.

Pam Howard, Resident Weaver at JCCFS on the left, Laura Fry on the right at the Friday afternoon student exhibition.

A week of work from twelve very efficient weavers!

I missed the blooming of my favorite old weeping cherry tree at home, but the Folk School provided me with a suitable replacement.

To finish out March and start into April I taught a weekend class on 18th c. Linens for the Waterford Weavers Guild (Sorry, no photos!). Then I spent five days in Charlottesville with the Albemarle Handweavers Guild,

offering a two day Acadian Weaving class

and then three days of 18th c. Household Textiles. I have a copy of Norman Kennedy's Acadian textile slides along with a tour of Acadian museums in Canada to go with the Acadian class, but I premiered another new slide show for the HT class, including some of Roddy Moore's blankets and some of Bill Leinbach's antique textiles.

My last teaching day for the spring was spent at scenic Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria VA at the Dog House Yarns Spring Knitting Retreat.

I gave about sixty ladies an hour of traditional songs and stories and then gave a talk on Knitting Traditions in England, Ireland and Scotland: Ganseys, Aran, Fair Isle and Shetland lace knitting.

I am still trying to find a really good title for this group of traditions - I don't think British Isles or UK Knitting Traditions is broad enough but Northern Islands seems too vague, and really should include Faroe and Icelandic traditions. Maybe I should just expand to include those as well? Traditional Island Knitting - sounds tropical. The Armchair Traveler Knits Again? Suggestions are welcome! I will be teaching this class at the Campbell Folk School in March of 2013 again and I'd love to have a better title.

I am now neck deep in preparations for the Peace Weavers booth at Maryland Sheep & Wool, our front hall is full of boxes and I am programming my iPad to be our new cash register. My sister Carolyn is flying in from Kansas on Wednesday - here it comes!

The day job gets very busy in the summer months, but I am hoping to make more time for weaving and spinning this summer. One of the things I took away from my week with Lara Fry was the knowledge that I need to weave more. And I am already looking forward to the Tour de Fleece in July!