Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spinning Camp

No, not the exercise kind of spinning that is so popular these days. Rather, the old-fashioned spinning wheel to make yarn kind of spinning. Besides small suitcases and our spinning wheels, we bring bags and baskets of fiber, roving, yarn, projects-in-progress, assorted needles, niddy-noddies, swifts, ball-winders, and books to share. Oh yeah, and an inflatable Scrabble table.

It's the annual spring retreat for the EWES group (Eugene Wednesday Evening Spinners), held again at Silver Falls State Park Conference Center. We carpool as best as we can and show up on Thursday afternoon. Cell phones and laptops barely work here, so we're can remain submerged in our common world of fiber and creativity.

There is no particular schedule other than to show up in the lodge for breakfast, lunch and dinner at prescribed times. No classes or meetings. Lots of walks in the forest, along the creeks or to the waterfalls. Naps. Lots of lively conversations, raucous laughter, catching up, whirring of wheels and clicking of needles.

Most of these spinning wheels are not so old-fashioned: there are folding portable ones, sleek and modern ones, even electric spinners (4 of them in this group) that run on batteries and require no treadling. Beautiful wooden wheels constructed of cherry, oak, ash, and myrtlewood, some lovingly handmade, some commercial.

A few of the regulars had other things going on this year, and although we miss them, there are some new faces that fit right in. A parade of life is represented by teachers, pharmacist, veterinary technician, nurse, author, computer geek, web designer, retirees, professional gardener, sheep and alpaca owners. This is my fourth year to come. Mike gets to enjoys a few days to himself, and graciously takes on all my farm chores so I can be here. The fall retreats occur during birthing time at our farm, so I can't attend them.

Spinning camp is an opportunity to try out new techniques, to get advice on color combinations, and to show off pretty, practical and wearable hand crafty art pieces.

All of this amidst set in Nature's artwork, so nurturing and inspiring.

Who knows, this lichen may make an interesting dye color? I'll take it home to try out.

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