The second part of SOAR, after having a day off on Thursday, is the Retreat. This consists of two days of classes, two 3-hour classes a day. It is much more full on than the Workshop, as the Mentors always manage to squeeze a phenomenal amount of learning into the short session.
On Friday morning I took Mohair and More with Robin Russo - a class designed for sampling and exploring different goat fibres. We spun Mohair, Pygora, Cashgora and Cashmere, and Robin gave us masses of information about all the different animals, fibre qualities etc. This picture was taken when we were about half-way through.
One thing you may not know about goats is that, unlike sheep, the fibre does not remain consistent for the life of the animal: it gets progressively coarser over the years. Mohair in particular starts out very fine in the first clip and changes in softness, lustre and crimp style over the next three or four years.
Friday afternoon I was with Judith McKenzine McCuin studying silk blends. This is WAY more my type of fibre than most of the wool we spun in 201 (although I’m a big fan of goat fibres too). You can keep your scratchy wools and man-made fibres - I’ll be the one in the corner with the cashmere and silk blend.
Judith is absolutely amazing. A lot of the things I learnt from her were not necessarily to do with silk, or blending, but were immensely valuable in all areas of my spinning. Incidentally, we also discussed the attributes of poached eggs at breakfast yesterday morning.
Saturday was Knitting Estonian Lace with Nancy Bush, and Spinning Big and Lofty Yarns with Maggie Casey. I was getting pretty tired by this stage but no way was I missing out. Luckily the lace class was mostly sitting back, knitting and listening to Nancy’s fascinating stories and history about Estonian Lace. She had an amazing array of shawls with her too - you can see that the table behind her in this picture is covered with them and there was another whole table as well.
In this picture Nancy is demonstrating how to make a perfect Nupp (rhymes with ’soup’).
By Maggie’s class I was a wreck, but I managed to spin big and lofty, (against my natural instinct) and although I didn’t take any photos in class I have my yarns and will eventually dig them out and show them to you for proof.
I have more to blog about - not least the post on What I Bought At The Market (thought I’d skipped that didn’t you! But I believe in full and truthful disclosure for the good of the community) - but I’m still pretty exhausted. The Last-night-of-SOAR party had me up until one this morning, and did I mention breakfast has been at seven all this week? SEVEN. That’s not even a time. I need to do some catching up.
More tomorrow. Or maybe the next day. I need to go on a NYC yarn crawl and buy cashmere…