Although formal classes are obviously an integral part of SOAR, I was amazed at how much I learnt incidentally, along the way, out of class. Even more amazing was the amount of shopping that the new learning led to. Hence the title of this post. Okay, you’re not really amazed are you. And you’re totally not falling for the ‘Really, Fibergal made me do it!’ line are you. Dang.

Totally predictable or not, I decided to combine the incidental learning post with the shopping stuff, because really it does all go together as you will see.

First up - in pure enablement - Kai and I had an enthusiastic reunion on Sunday evening (it’s been a year since we last saw each other). We both arrived latish, jet-lagged and exhausted after a full day’s travel. My fibre-hunting skills were still sharp though, and I spotted this in her luggage:

Allspunup merino/silk

Since Kai is awesome and sweet and generous, and possibly a bit fuddled by the journey, it ended up coming home with me. I owe her something fabby sometime.

Meeting up with Lucinda in the 201 class, I got chatting with her about Charkhas and she let me have a go on hers. Luckily, Journey Wheel was only a phone call away and Sheila (who is lovely, btw) happily agreed to ship the Book Charkha to me at Pocono Manor, and it arrived within a couple of days. See the neat little box:

Book Charkha

Spinning on the Charkha is an incredible experience. When I sit down with it, I feel that there is a connection with the thousands of spinners of the past in India and other parts of the world who have sat cross-legged in the sun and spun cotton, perhaps to clothe their family or make household goods.

Book Charkha

I spun cross-legged on the floor of the hotel lobby, with a glass of wine beside me, but the connection was still there - trust me!

Still on the cotton theme, I had lined up before SOAR with Fibergal to talk about spinning cotton. She is an accepted guru on the topic and (over evening swill of course) we sat down one night and she taught me how to spin cotton straight from the seed.

Tabachek spindle

None of my spindles ws small enough (I told you it was her fault) so I wandered through the market to find a little spindle less than 25g. This one is made by Edward Tabacheck and I got it in the Rovings booth where everyone was fighting over the Polwarth fleeces. The whorl is Tulip Rosewood and the shaft is Ummo, it weighs a teeny 22.5g.

This one I had no excuse for except that it was incredibly pretty. And square is cool.

Spindlewood ebony/tulipwood 1 1/4 oz

Tulipwood and Ebony whorl, Ebony shaft, from Spindlewood. 35g.

I also got a chance to hang out for a bit with Wormspit, the resident expert on sericulture and silk reeling. I picked up some cocoons to have a play with in the silk class this weekend, and learned loads about silk prep etc. Go check out his website - it’s fantastic.

While wandering around the hotel I chummed up with Chendra from Red Stone Yarns. Dangerous relationship. She happens to have extremely similar taste to me when it comes to fibres and colours, and it didn’t take me too long to fall for the gorgeous cashmere/silk tops she had, and the merino silk batts.

Redstone silk/cashmere

Redstone silk/merino

In fact, after taking Judith’s class on the Friday, I pretty much didn’t want to spin everything ever again that didn’t have silk in it. I look at some of my stash now and feel uninspired. Spare Cotswold anyone?

Speaking of silk:

Lambspun silk/wool

Well, they were two-for-one, so it would be criminal not to get some right? This is 80% silk and 20% merino from Lambspun.

What else… (sorry, the jetlag has me in its grip.)

Actually, that’s pretty much it for the SOAR market. I was running seriously low on suitcase space by the end of the week and I knew I wanted to do more shopping in New York when we got there. For clothes of course, not yarn or fibre, cause I have enough lots of those.

Here’s some of the clothing I bought:


Well, it will be socks eventually, so it counts right? And Macey’s had their 150 year sale - 40% off cashmere sweaters! * drool * I bought two. And in Washington, I didn’t buy anything! * is virtuous * But I did take lots of pictures of important-looking buildings.

I’m running out of stamina I’m afraid. I may think of things to add later that I’ve forgotten, and I will tell you all about NYC and DC in later posts.


8 Responses to “SOAR part 4 - The Enablers”
  1. susetheslowknitta says:

    can’t wait to see what you make!

  2. Jo says:

    As for colours, I love the colour of that yarn! And cashmere sweaters, New York, so very jealous!

  3. Daisy says:

    Oh my goodness SOAR looks so amazing - I’ve just read all four of your posts in quick succession!

  4. Larissa says:

    Thanks for the gorgeous photos - I love being able to live vicariously through your travels!

  5. Donyale Grant says:

    Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah - wish I was there too - all my favourite colours too.

  6. Mum says:

    Ditto to Larissa!!
    Can’t wait to try the charkha - when did you say you would be home??

  7. Moggle says:

    Cashmere/silk! Sounds divine. The rest of the fibre is gorgeous too and the spindles are beautiful.

  8. Carol says:

    Your shopping haul looks remarkably like mine!
    Glad you and Kai had such a good time - well, anyone who didn’t must be severely lacking! And are we planning for next year, then, eh?

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