October 12, 2011


I've wanted to attend the SOAR annual retreat for years and I finally went.  Yay!  I can now cross that off my bucket list.  Woo hoo!

The event was lovely - and huge!  There were so many people there, knitting celebrities that I've admired and whose books I own and whose work I admire.  I met my idol, Maggie Casey and we spoke!  I was in heaven!

Janel Laidman sat at my table for breakfast one day, and I could name drop all day and it wouldn't give you a clue about how awestruck I was!  Linda Ligon of Interweave Knits sat at my table for lunch and we actually had a conversation!  Wow!

I went to a rigid heddle weaving class with Sara Lamb (below wearing her handwoven vest):

There I learned that there is absolutely nothing wrong with making plain weave dishtowels.  I don't need a bigger, better loom because I don't want to do anything but what I'm doing now.  Great class, and I wish I'd taken pictures of her work - stunning!

I took a cotton spinning class with Stephanie Gaustad - what a wonderful teacher and lady!  She did a lot of show and then she explained everything so clearly that I actually believed I could spin this pound of cotton I've had in the fiber cabinet for years.

We could have watched her all day, but she wouldn't let us.  It's amazing how fast she spins the fiber and how well hers holds together.  All through class all you could hear was the tinkle of everyone's spindle flying across the table.

I took a couple of other classes too: Beth Smith owner of the The Spinning Loft showed us how to use combs to comb fiber locks.  If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I wouldn't have believed it.  I never used combs before and they were expensive, but now I know I can spin the two pounds of shetland I bought.  Woo hoo!

My last class was with Michelle Boyd who taught us about spinning an even yarn.  Everything she said made sense, and when she had us do the exercises in the class, we saw what she was talking about.  It worked for me.  I just might be able to change my style up a bit to get what I want.

I wish I could show you everything I bought and tell you everything I did, but I don't want to bore you.  Suffice it to say I had a really good time.

There was a downside, though.  I signed up to participate in the Tour de Sock and, guess what?  No time to knit socks - every minute was taken up at the tour.  This is all I got done on my Calable (available on Ravelry only, I think):

I didn't get far, and I feel like I let my team down and I'm certainly out of the race, but I still get the sock patterns and my donation will still go to Doctors Without Borders.  That makes it not a total loss.

To get to SOAR I had to take an overnight train there and back - and believe me when I tell you, women of a certain age should not sleep on an Amtrak train and expect to feel normal when the ride is over.  Not to mention what didn't hurt when I got there.

Lastly, so you don't think I'm a total slacker, I did finish the Hap Blanket:

I'm not overly impressed with the yarn, but the blanket turned out well and it will serve it's purpose for my great nephew.  I made it with huge needles so it would go quick, and it did.  The pattern is by Ysolde Teague, and I used size 13 needles with Red Heart yarn.

It's going to be hard to get back to my so-called normal life after SOAR, but with everything I learned the event will be a gift that keeps on giving.


  1. That sounds like a wonderful experience! What interests me most is, how do you teach spinning even yarn?

  2. I'm so glad you had a great time! I knew you would! I wouldn't worry about the sock challenge. You did your best and you dontated to a good cause. You're an A in my book! Welcome back. Rhinebeck here you come!!!! I have to stop by tomorrow with my list and money in an envelope :)

  3. I could listen to SOAR stories all day! I went a couple of years ago and I know the feeling. And I hate to name drop also but Stephanie was my roommate so I know how enchanting she is.
    By the way, you are no slacker. Not even a little bit.