I flew to Seattle this morning, after a lovely end to the Asilomar CNCH Weavers’ Conference. I have so many weaving friends on the west coast, and Linda and her husband drove me north to Palo Alto, and took me to the San Francisco airport this morning. It is fun to stay in places I’ve stayed before, cementing friendships, and just plain catching up.
The conference was of course terrific fun. Weaving conferences always are. I never got to visit the vendor hall, but I did catch a glimpse of the beach one afternoon. The weather was warm and lovely and I was surrounded by all kinds of wonderful textiles and enthusiastic weavers, and instructors.
This is the first time I’ve taught an advanced Inkle Weaving class, over a 2 1/2 day period. As an instructor, there is always the fear that the timing won’t work, or that the students won’t get it, or that the expectations are too high about what can be accomplished in the allotted time. And of course none of that came to be, they students were wonderful. They were able to keep up, really take charge of this simple inexpensive and very portable loom, and there were some beautiful samples coming out of these humble two shaft pieces of wood.
The classroom was dark, a common complaint at this facility, it is a retreat center after all, but what’s not to like in a room called the Afterglow Living Room. We were snug but very productive.
They learned supplemental weft…
And there were the overachievers who tried to do pick up and keep the supplemental warp going at the same time…
Saturday morning they re-warped and explored name drafts…
and Paired Pebbles…
It was at that point that I realized there were a couple of real mistakes in my handouts, which is always annoying when it happens, I’m so good at proofing and checking, and yes, in spite of all my careful attention to detail, there were a couple of serious boo-boos, but I’m hoping that if those are the only errors I make in the whole west coast trip, I’ll be really really grateful. I figured out and corrected my mistakes after some intense calculations Saturday evening, and had the corrections to the students Sunday morning. Apparently you can swap the paired pebble rows 1 & 2 and you’ll get a different pattern. Who knew?
Sunday morning they re-warped the loom again, and explored 3 shaft turned Krokbragd. Don’t ask me to pronounce it. The set up is tricky, but the weaving goes fast and the bands are so pretty.
By lunch we were mostly packed up, a quick farewell, and we were on our way north. I’m in Olympia, WA now, and will be starting a series of workshops for the Olympia Weavers. Stay tuned for more of Daryl’s Excellent Washington State adventure…
John Mullarkey is an excellent tablet weaver, wonderful teacher and really good friend. We have teased each other for years about which type of band weaving is better, inkle woven or tablet woven. Although we often teach at the same conferences, it is rare that we are both teaching band weaving, usually I’m teaching something that relates to garment construction.
At the Conference of Northern California Handweavers in Asilomar this year, we were both asked to teach, John of course is teaching Egyptian Tablet Weaving, and I am teaching a class in Advanced Inkle Weaving techniques. John and I swore if we were ever teaching band weaving in the same place at the same time, we would have it out once and for all and stage a Battle of the Bands.
I of course love the versatility and quick set up of the inkle loom and John of course swears by his “manly bands”. Well, we opened the conference last night, after the informal fashion show, with a “Battle of the Bands” which turned out to be hilarious fun.
John set up his tablet loom with 10 tablets or four holed cards, which gave him 40 ends. I set up my little Inklette by Ashford with 25 ends. Since he can warp four ends at a time, it seemed like a fair fight. We came in fully warped within seconds of each other.
Then the conference director timed us, we had five minutes to weave. Again, we produced bands within centimeters of each other, so though my band was slightly longer, we called that a draw. John did get points for weaving style when he stood up and wove with the loom on the floor behind him, sort of like playing the piano with your toes. I had to bow out of that part of the competition since I was wearing a skirt!
And then the audience judged our results, I got a point for most dainty, and he got a point for being able to change patterns mid stream. Though I certainly had my cheerleaders (Thank you Central Coast!), John of course got more raucous cheers since he is a cute guy in a largely female audience. That’s my story and I’m sticking too it.
All in all it was really a draw, but there was a lot of smack talk and threats zinging across the stage. At one point apparently I burst into a rousing chorus of “Anything you can do I can do better”. We all had a fun time promoting the portability and simplicity of band weaving. (Really John, I did win, but I graciously allowed us to call it a draw)…
I’ve moved onto my next venue already, the time is flying. The weather is lovely and really I get why the west coast is so appealing. After the winter we had in Jersey…
My first stop was in the Central Coast, Morro Bay specifically, where I have the most wonderful fiber friend Nancy, who hosted a five day garment construction intensive in her studio. The space worked really well for all ten students, and I got my first taste of teaching Plein Air.
Most of the students had taken workshops with me before, so they came armed with their own agenda, and plenty of patterns to fit. We had a pieced vest in progress…
We had a Daryl Jacket made from old denim jeans and denim skirts…
We made test garment after test garment, mostly from old sheets, but occasionally a really wild bold plaid, which incidentally makes the best test garment, you can really check the grainlines! Making test garments really uses up the stash of ugly fabrics.
We dined out at exotic coastal restaurants like Taco Temple, ate fried oysters at Dockside too. (Really that’s the name, Dockside too.)
We never stopped tiring of views of the Rock from Nancy’s house.
We watched the sunset every night.
We drank a lot of wine.
I got to see some of the Daryl Jackets finished from previous classes.
I discovered a great way to keep track of my water bottle. Never lost sight of it! Thank you Kevin for the wine stopper in my Christmas stocking this year. I’ve put it to good use on the road… The wine never lasted long enough to need a stopper.
I didn’t get to see a single garment finished, largely because this group knows how to sew, and gathering up a year’s worth of fitted patterns and test garments was the agenda du jour. So everyone went home happy, hoping to have me return sometime in the next year or so to continue the adventure.
I’m now at the Asilomar State Park and Conference center for the Conference of Northern California Handweavers. Lots and lots of old friends, great food and wicked fun fiber adventures.
And so my months of prep are finished, boxes are shipped, suitcases are packed, and I did a rare thing, treated myself to a day at the spa. (Giggle) It seemed like a fitting end to a frantic few months of preparation, with copious amounts of travel thrown in there, weather woes, and delays.
I made it to Raleigh Durham NC last Friday to finish what I had started last February, a quick weekend workshop for the Triangle Guild of Handweavers, postponed because NC got more snow and ice than they could handle. We rescheduled to this past weekend, and the group was excited and wonderful and all 22 of them hung on every word, except when they were too exhausted to process another thing. No one ever leaves my workshops telling me they didn’t get their money’s worth.
This group is in the fortunate position of having their own space, a large bright classroom, looms moved out into the hall, and a board room, with conference table and chairs, for everyone to gather round for lectures. They listened, and then tried techniques, and carefully examined all the garments I brought, and I heard that they had a great time. I’m glad I was able to squeeze in this group before heading out to California.
And what a treat to have my hostess Sally’s husband cook dinner for us on Saturday night when we got back to the house. It is these little perks that make my traveling fun.
Sunday night was rather painful, there were numerous delays on the incoming plane, followed by mechanical issues, oh United… After a three hour delay, (however I’m intensely grateful the flight wasn’t just cancelled), I made it to Newark, grabbed the shuttle and picked up my car, and arrived home around a quarter to two, in the morning. I’m still trying to catch up on sleep.
And of course Tuesday I woke up to this. Sigh. Fortunately it was just a coating on the ground, the pavement and roads were too warm for anything to actually stick. It is just depressing that my bulbs are only 4″ up and then covered with snow again. Things were beginning to bloom in Chapel Hill NC and I was so hoping to see something of my yard before I left for a month.
Anyway, I’m tired of planning and being a business owner, taxes all had to be filed before I left, sales tax reports, bills paid and paperwork taken care of for the month. I just desperately wanted to make something. Anything. And so, while choosing what yarn I planned to pack for side knitting during my down time over the next month, I decided to quick knit up a new dishcloth. The others were getting pretty ratty, and I felt like I had accomplished something, however small. I’m going to curl up and finish this off tonight, and hope my alarm wakes me in the morning, I have to leave here about 5am.
And so it is onto Daryl’s excellent west coast adventure, starting in Morro Bay, CA for a five day intensive.
I printed the last of the handouts and monographs, bound the last of the handouts and monographs, cut and packaged the last of the interfacings and pattern paper and filled the boxes. The last load is ready for shipping for my month on the road. I did it. I really did it.
There are small personal triumphs we experience in life, as anyone who has ever done anything with their hands can understand. It may seem insignificant to someone else, even a family member, but to us, they are the things that make us smile and say to ourselves, “You did good.” Prepping for ten days in Colorado, preceded by a weekend in NC, which was moved to tomorrow because of weather, followed by a month on the west coast has been the hardest thing I’ve ever prepped for. You can’t know how much ink I went through, how many reams of paper, how many hundreds of yards of interfacing and pattern paper I’ve cut. My daughter helped a bit last week when she was home, but mostly I did this alone.
I have of course that real fear that I’ve printed the wrong handout for the wrong group, or that I didn’t print the right amount or that I sent the wrong box to the wrong person. Or that a box won’t make it. These are the things that keep me awake at night. That and flights that go haywire, missing bags, the usual stuff that makes a frequent traveler nuts. This is where I relax, breathe deep, open the wine and say, “It is what it is, and I’ve done my best.” The rest is out of my hands.
But the gods smiled on me today, I got finished what I needed to complete before getting on a plane tomorrow. This photo represents the second half of the April trip, everything that has to go to Washington State. I shipped the California stuff out yesterday. More than $125 in shipping costs, a couple of monster boxes, and a lot of hours of work. So this all goes to poor Judy in Olympia WA. Each box is for a different guild, I had spread sheets and cross checks and rechecks and if I made a mistake, I’m sorry. You’ll still learn something.
And so, I’m off to pack, and have a glass of wine, and work on my sweater. I did well.