NEWS Final!

I’m home!  It is the Monday morning after, and I’m feeling the workout of the weekend!  Surprisingly I’m in pretty good shape, I’m unpacked, and organized, the cutting table is clear, the bank deposit ready to go.  Mail is sorted, (I still have a couple dozen emails to work through), but I’m doing better than I thought, and my wrenched shoulder is mending.  I just have to be careful and not lift or reach with my left arm.  No weaving on the big loom this week!  (Not that there is anything on the big loom to weave…)

It was a very inspiring weekend, and I was grateful for the opportunity to teach some workshops I haven’t taught in awhile, ones that I think are important, but I don’t usually get asked to teach them because I’m more of the Go-To girl for sewing, and no one thinks to look at proposals from me on Multiple thread warping techniques, like the warping paddle, and Photographing your Textiles.  I’m hoping that the variety of things I taught this weekend (which was everything except sewing, which is what I’m most known for), will help get the word out that I am not a one trick pony!

Somewhere in hauling my support materials from one end of campus to the other, I managed to pull a muscle, or wrench my back left shoulder, so by mid morning, I was in a huge amount of pain, and I was struggling to focus.  During the break in the color class, one of the workshop participants did a bit of Reiki on me, and that really helped get me through until lunch!  Plus the conference sent a couple of strapping guys to haul me back across campus for the afternoon session.  That was a real treat, to be followed along by a couple of guys toting my supplies.  🙂

Speaking of campuses, Smith College, which I’ve never been to, is gorgeous!  Like all New England campuses that have been around for the last 150 years, there is an architecture, a tradition, a landscaping, that creates a gardens1gardens2wonderful environment, and community that envelopes you with a tradition and grandeur that I know I didn’t feel on the campus where I attended college back in the 70’s.    The main road into the campus takes you by the lake and boat house, and the Botanical Gardens.  I did a couple of quick inspirational shots of the perennial wall along the road, and the glass conservatory.

colorclassteaMy morning class was all about color and inspiration.  Like the class I gave last month in Iowa, I love teaching this one, because it is just a jumble of color and texture and yarns, all thrown into the middle of the table wrap2and everyone is given a couple exercises where they get to loosen up and really play, without the constraints of the loom.  These little warp wrap3wraps are like sketching exercises, and weavers don’t usually walk around sketching.  One of the final exercises involved interpreting a magazine photo into yarn, and I snapped a couple shots of my favorites, including one that used a box of tea as the inspiration instead of a magazine photo!

wrap4I had to include one additional shot, from my infamous workshop participant Leslie, who is planning a 90th birthday party during the 2011 NEWS, the same Leslie who seriously sprained her ankle on her way to my Friday class in Inkle wrapleslieLoom Weaving.  Leslie not only made it to the Color and Inspiration class, but she did a couple of beautiful interpretations, the one on the left of a honeybee in a flower, and the one on the right, a room interior, interpreted with Color-Aid strips to represent a color palette.

The afternoon class, was all about using multiple yarn ends together when winding a paddlewarp.  I started the class by giving a demonstration on using the warping paddle on a warping mill (see photo right), followed by one on Sectional Warping, and then one on using the AVL Warping Wheel.  I love my AVL Warping Wheel, though it is one pretty pricey piece of equipment.  Thankfully I bought mine when they were first introduced back in 2000.

The class was finished by 4:30, and I had some really helpful workshop participants stay behind to get me packed up and down to the basement level of the building where I could pull up with my car, waveafter retrieving it from the parking garage down the road.  I was loaded in and ready to hit the road by 5pm.  I listened to the rest of my book on tape, The Other Boleyn Girl, on the 3+ hour ride home, and once home, I got to spend some time with my fuschia haired daughter who had successfully completed her first week of CIT training at Girl Scout Camp.  We took her back to the bus this morning to start week two!

Now I need to start thinking about the next conference in Durango Colorado!  I leave July 30th!

I’ve arrived!

I rarely drive to wherever I’m teaching, so this was sort of a treat, and I just headed up the interstates, guided by Thomas, the British guy who lives in my GPS, listening to a book, The Other Boleyn Girl.  I’ve had it in my Audible file for awhile, and even though I saw the movie, and know how it all turns out, (she gets beheaded, duh…) it is a really good read.

I arrived at the Autumn Inn in Northhampton, MA, just in time for dinner, a lovely old inn, I have a beautiful room, private bath, and it is very quiet.  I met up with the other fashion show judges, there are three of us, and the committee took all of us out to dinner at a wonderful restaurant in the heart of Smith College, called the Eastside Grill.  For my dinner, I had the appetizer of Seared Tuna with Wontons, which was pan-seared spiced tuna on crispy wontons, with sesame carrots and creamy wasabi sauce.  And I had a mesclun salad with Gorgonzola vinaigrette.  What a great way to start the weekend!  And of course there were lively conversations all around, weavers are so well read and informed and opinionated!

drivewayI have to share this photo, as I was packing the car, the red one parked on the lawn, we were having a new driveway put in, something that’s been on the list for years, we have lived in this house for almost 30 years and the driveway is way older than that.  It was time.  So the lovely smell of hot asphalt wafted through the house, I was glad to see it finished, with no cars parked on it, and leave.

I checked the schedule and room assignments for the weekend, and UGH!  All five of my classes are not only in different rooms, they are in different buildings.  So I don’t have a clue how I’m going to change classrooms/buildings every three hours, and my car will be in a parking garage down the street.  Well, as it always does, it will work out…

Ready to Go!

As chaotic as the couple of days before I leave for a trip are, I sort of like the frenzy and the tying up of all the loose ends.  And once I am on the road, I don’t have to think about anything that goes on while I’m away, I have a very competant husband, and the kids do just fine without me.  As a matter of fact they appreciate me more I think.  Course now, with a nineteen year old son living in the basement, he doesn’t have a whole lot of need for me anymore, and my daughter is away at camp.  So my husband will get into all sorts of adventures while I’m gone, like having a new driveway put in…

The weather here has been glorious, and yesterday was no exception.  After I did what I had to do in the studio, I took my lunch outside, and enjoyed the deck, except the neighbor decided to have a monstrous dump truck back into his backyard, and dump a gazillion pounds of stone down the back of the hill.  I sort of needed ear plugs to enjoy my lunch.  Once the truck left, I gathered my yellow legal pad, and a pencil, and the journals for one of the Designers’ Challenge Teams from 2008, and sat in my gazebo, listening to the birds, and the waterfalls, and the Mongolian wind chimes, and wrote my article for Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot, the old fashioned way.  There is something to be said for a yellow legal pad and a pencil albeit a mechanical one.  (I love mechanical pencils, there is something about always having a crisp fresh point!)  It felt good to get that out of the way, and really good to just sit outside and enjoy the gardens.  I really tried hard to avert my eyes to all the myriad weeds that have sprouted with all the rains.  We have about 300 maple trees springing up all over the place.  They are only an inch tall, but they grow fast!

wool1fleeceThe crock pot is getting a much needed rest.  I have quite a collection of beautiful shades of wool, and there is still one batch drying on the rack in my studio.  There is plenty more fleece to dye, so I’ll crank that puppy up when I return.  I did scrub the bathrooms down today, so I’m not leaving a dye ring around the bathroom sink.  Since I’m dyeing the fleece in the grease, there is a bit of a lanolin ring around the bathroom sink, tinted with whatever color I used that day.  Comet is a wonderful thing…

My husband figured the crock was never coming back to the kitchen, so he went out and bought me a new one from Sears.  🙂

So today I worked on updating my files in the laptop, moving over presentations, my keynote address, burning additional CD’s and pen drives, just in case.  And this particular conference has me doing 6 different talks/seminars/workshops, so there is a huge amount of different materials to pack.  Because I’m not getting on an airplane this time, I have more flexibility in the suitcases, and I’m bringing equipment I can’t fly with that I don’t normally bring, packedlike a warping mill, and cone holder, for the class on Paddle Warping, and my larger inkle loom for the inkle loom workshop.  I have a suitcase or totebag for each of the seminar/workshops I’m teaching, that way I can be organized for each changeover, and I never know if my classes will all be in the same place.  I HATE when they aren’t!

I’ve printed out driving directions to the Amherst Inn where I’m staying for the conference.  The conference itself will be at Smith College, in Amherst, MA.  So I found an address for the college to plug into my trusty GPS.  And I loaded up a book on tape, except now it is a book on MP3 player, to listen to during the three hour car trip.

Now that I’m working again, there is a big discussion about updating my electronics, exciting on one hand, but a huge roll your eyes headache on another, while I adjust to new equipment and a huge learning curve.  I would dearly love to reduce my 25 pound computer/projector bag to just a few pounds, this is getting sort of critical with airplane travel.  So I’m looking to get a NetBook, and a much smaller digital projector, and upgrading from my trusty Palm Pilot (Ok so I live in the dark ages, it works for me…) to an iPod touch.  My tech savvy husband and girlfriend convinced me last night at dinner to try Google Calendar which syncs with my Outlook Calendar, and can also sync with my husband’s Google Calendar, and will eventually sync with an iPod Touch, and my head is already reeling…  I want to go back and play with wool…  So I tried to load into my Google Calendar two months worth of data, to see how I like using it, instead of the one I’ve used for years on my Palm, which sync’d up well with my computer.  And of course I desperately need to upgrade my office suite to Microsoft Office 2007, (I’m still using 2003) and I have to install and move all my bookkeeping over to Quicken because Microsoft Money is no longer being supported…  So much technology and so little time to learn it all.  The stupid thing about technology is you work at learning something, finally get a working proficiency at it, and the software and/or hardware changes and you have to start all over again.  Blissfully, handweaving is NOT like that.  You can hand weave the old fashioned way and get great satisfaction from four shafts, throwing the shuttle back and forth, and watching the threads slowly become cloth.  And sewing too, I have a high tech machine, but I sew my garments the same way I did when I learned 40 years ago, with a straight stitch, that goes forward and backward, a good pair of shears (now there is something that hasn’t changed since the beginning of time…) and a needle and thread, and yes, I still use a thimble.  So, sewing and handweaving are my antidotes for the swirl of technology that leaves my head in a frenzy.  And if the power goes out, I can still hand sew and throw a shuttle.  🙂