The first part of SOAR is a three day workshop class with one of the mentors. I took Spinning 201 - intermediate spinning - with Rudy Amann who you may have seen in Spin-Off a couple of times recently. The class was great - we worked with a bunch of different fibres, practising both worsted and woollen styles of spinning, and touched on techniques such as andean-plying, spinning from the fold and making cabled yarns.

Michele, Triste and Debbie

Rudy has an amazing store of knowledge and a lot of what I learned in the class was actually incidental to the program - someone would ask a question and Rudy would give us a long, detailed answer, often moving off onto tangents to give even more information. We talked about different wheel systems (Scotch, Irish, double drive) and how they all worked and why, and it was really interesting to watch him answer people’s questions about problems they were having with their wheels, and watch how he fixed them.

Cosy and Dana

The class was full of very cool people! I met Amy, Meghan, Dana, Cosy, Michele, Vanda, Triste, Jim, Debbie, and lots more people. It was a really fun group, and I feel like I have made some good friends.

Here’s a picture of most of the class - we’re wearing our homework on our heads…


That’s Rudy on the right. He happens to be an expert on Nalbinding, and since we had a bit of time left over at the end of the class, we were lucky enough to get a quick demonstration:


Nalbinding cretes a kind-of-knitted, kind-of-woven fabric, but really isn’t either at all. It went out of fashion when knitting was discovered, for various reasons, and the skill has almost died out - with just a few people like Rudy keeping it alive.

Last night, when classes were all over, we put on a display in the main conference room. We all had a chance to wander around and see what everyone else had done, I have pictures of some of the opther displays and will tell you more about that later.

In the evenings there has been just as much going on. People sit around in the hotel lobby (which has great couches) and knit or spin, and there has been a couple of demonstrations and talks.

A huge treat this year is to have Nilda Callanaupa Alvarez visiting, from the Centre for Traditional Textiles in Cuzco. She and her friend Aquilaina have been talking about the textile traditions in the Andes and demonstrating traditional spinning and weaving. It has been really fascinating and I’m gutted that I didn’t have the chance to take Nilda’s class this week.



Today we had a day off, with the spinners’ market open (I didn’t spend much I swear!) and we walked up to a local beauty spot. Tomorrow the retreat sessions start, two 3-hour classes per day.

More tomorrow, ciao!

P.S. On Tuesday night I had dinner with Nancy Bush, and this morning I was sat next to Maggie Casey at breakfast.

* swoon *

7 Responses to “Part 2 - Spinning 201”
  1. Jo says:

    One day, when I’ve saved enough money,I WILL make it to SOAR, and for the moment I can just watch from afar and be very jealous!

  2. Joanne says:

    Wow. I wish I could touch your sleeve! You are famous! :) Glad to hear you are having such a blast. I’m a little jealous, but also very very glad to be home. My family trip to upstate NY has left me in need of recovery… but I have been able to recover with a lot of yarn around me, so I probably am not missing the SOAR market much. :) Enjoy the rest of your trip! The Meg mittens are beautiful, btw…

  3. Yogicknitter says:

    Hey you are famous, there is a clip of you in your class at Soar on Youtube and a link on Knitting daily! I spotted you - your glasses and your watch. Tee Heeee

  4. dana says:

    Hey, it’s Dana! And I have a blog at! I think it’s kind of bizarre that I have been reading your blog forever and I have just this instant put two and two together and come up with “oh my god, it’s THAT Diane.”

  5. Mum says:

    What a wonderful experience it all must be. Looking forward to hearing all about the rest of SOAR. xx

  6. Ali says:

    Glad you’re having tons of fun out there! :D

  7. vintage pyrex says:

    vintage pyrex…

    Needles on the Move » Part 2 - Spinning 201…

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