Thanks to everyone with ideas on restoring my mother’s embroidery. It took you all to get me thinking that I know people who know people – like a textile curator and also the director of the Minnesota Textile Center. (Smacks self on forehead.) I now even have 35% off offer from the recommended framer/restorer. When I get over there, I’ll give you more detail in case it’s of use.
FIBER COLLEGE! My first trip to Maine, teaching and learning, making new friends, finding inspiration, I could go on and on. If anyone has the chance to go next year, do it! Photographer extraordinare Gale Zucker offered to pick me up at the Portland, Maine airport and we drove the rest of the way to Searsport. It was dark by the time we got to Wonderview Cottages, our home for the next few days. In the morning, I woke up to this view from our screened in porch:
Not enough time to enjoy it fully. We rushed over to the Searsport Shores Campgrounds so I could get to my full day class – Natural Dyeing with Jackie Ottino Graff. I’ve always wanted to try natural dyeing, and what a privilege to take a class from the head dyer for Swans Island Yarns. We even got to use Swans Island’s organic merino base, talk about luxury. Jackie had plants and powders from bugs and resin and trees I’d never heard of, like kutch and ironwood.
If you have never done any natural dyeing, it is like magic. I felt like an alchemist – throw in a handful of iron and suddenly one color swirls into another. Plants simmer and steam and the yarn emerges vibrant and glowing.
I taught Reading Japanese Knitting Patterns and Short Rows Three Ways. My students were really engaged and engaging. I always learn so much from teaching, as knitters are the most generous of people with their time and talents.
I felt obligated to purchase from some of the on-site vendors. Since my day job involves economic development, I understand the importance of supporting the local economy. Like this gorgeous laceweight yarn from Play at Life:
And these not-too-cute sheep buttons from Fields Edge Farm:
I met so many fun people. Getting to spend more time with Gale was great, and our partner in Wonderwiewing was Kirsten Kapur, of Through the Loops. Kirsten, it turns out, is a fellow Jersey Girl. Not to mention insanely talented, professional, down-to-earth and a whole lot of fun. I’ve admired her work for years, so it was pleasure to finally met her. Insanely talented and fun seemed to be the common denominator at Fiber College, like Ellen Mason. Go visit her blog and look at her patterns. Her designs are clever, wearable, and have great names. Her Fiber College blog post really captured the feeling I had flying home from Maine. Full. Full of inspiration, energy, friendship and laughter and blueberry pie. I can’t wait to go back next year.