Monday, August 24, 2009

Whorled News, September 2009

The 10th Annual Spinsters Retreat is right around the corner, September 11-13th, at Davis Creek Park, group camp area, in Washoe Valley. It's the time we put aside our clocks, pull out our wool and spin. Friday and Saturday are camp out nights. We have running water, pit toilets, no electricity and very little cell service.

Driving Directions: Take 395 south from Reno or north from Carson City to the turnoff to Bowers Mansion. Turn west (the only way you can turn) and shortly (quarter mile maybe) down the road you will get to Davis Creek Park. It will be on the right/West. After you pass the bathrooms, proceed through the dip and the road to the group area is on the right. We will also have a sign up. The retreat is in the RV Group Camping area at the north end of the park

Our regular meeting is 11:00 Saturday, followed by a potluck lunch and the Swap 'n Sell, which begins at 1:00. This is a great opportunity to clean out your stash of unwanted things and add new things. Do you have yarn you just don't know what to do with? Or roving for which you have lost enthusiasm? Has someone given you a brand new wheel, and you need a new home for the old one? Clean out your fiber closets and bring fiber or tools to sell or swap.

Remember to bring a comfortable chair for spinning, a rug for your wheel since otherwise it will be in dirt, sunscreen, food, food, food, and something for the White Elephant Sale. Also, this is your chance to clean out your stash and help others clean theirs out as well. Campers, plan on cold nights and hot days and pack accordingly. There’s no agenda really, other than the meeting, the sale, having fun, and catching up with friends you haven’t seen in months,

Some Important Information:

* This is designed to be as low-key and stress-free as possible.
* There will be a Learning Tree workshop on Saturday, plus there should be lots of folks
around to compare notes, etc.
* Each person should bring their own food, equipment, chair, etc.
* If you don't wish to camp, feel free to come for the day.
* Friends, even those who are not fiber-inclined, are welcome too.
* Pets on leash are invited too.
* Should be warm enough during the day, but you may wish to bring your winter 'jammies
for nights.
* Suntan lotion too.
* A fire is allowed in the fire pit.

The Learning Tree theme for the retreat will be All Things Socks. This came out of a discussion about various ways to knit socks and people’s interest in learning new techniques. Barbara will be teaching magic loop and Sharon wanted to learn toe up. Heidi has picked up a new (to her) short row heal without wraps or yarn overs that she's willing to share. Bring your favorite technique or questions about socks and their construction.

GUILD QUESTION: Sometimes we learn more from disasters than we do from successes. Tell us about a fiber project that you learned a lot from, even if it didn't turn out well.

Allison Judge: What a great question! All of my dyeing endeavors have been disasters! Yep - ALL of them! Not because the fiber was ruined or the colors were ugly, but because I've never paid attention long enough, or taken any notes to be able to repeat one that (SURPRISE!) was a lovely colorway - just perfect for what I wanted it to be, but which I could never replicate. What have I learned? Leave the dyeing to others!

Nancy Pryor: I had a near disaster when I first began weaving. I bought two Columbia fleeces from a rancher in Fallon. The wool pool was paying nearly nothing for fleece and I paid him more. He didn't know, and neither did I that both fleeces were broken. I realized this when I began combing the fleece but I still was able to comb nine pounds of top and make a king sized blanket! It is a lovely warm blanket and was worth the year's work I invested in it. I have made more blunders making baskets and this is how I discovered that failed baskets make great kindling in the fireplace.

Connie Vann: Right now, I am working on a knitted project that began as hand-painted, merino/mohair roving. I spun it into 3 skeins of 2-ply sport yarn, (as it seems I am wont to do). Having picked out a stitch pattern, I am now knitting lacey blocks out of it. The yarn looks fine on the skein, but it has many different colors involved. The challenge will be how to unify all the blocks with a background color, and build a modular garment out of it. I will have to dye some fleece eggplant and get it fairly uniform throughout or the piece will come out "too busy." I could get the right color using cochineal, but I should probably use chemical dye so the whole thing will be dye-fast. Decisions, decisions.

Sharon Campbell: I seem to have a propensity for learning things the hard way – make sure the lesson sticks after all that suffering. After fits and starts and lots of wasted handspun yarn, I decided to buy unmercerized cotton and try weaving dishtowels. I ordered cones from Robin & Russ when they used to send samples. I had no idea what colors to buy so ordered randomly, picking absolutely the worst colors, but I soldiered on, deciding to make red, white and green stripes, think Mexican flag.

Laura had showed me how to warp from the front before she moved to Oregon. I wound small bouts, tied on and sleyed until I finally was ready to beam the warp. I don’t know if my warp chains were goofy or if I was. I ended up with the biggest mess of tangles, but oh yes, I soldiered on, you betcha, breaking warp threads left and right. That was the warp that taught me how to take care of a broken warp – no problemo. I hated that project so much that my weaving finally came to a halt. During a phone conversation with Laura, she told me that sometimes you just have to cut dog warps off and move on. So I held the phone to the warp with one hand and with the other, snipped through those warps and freed my loom from that nightmare. Two things learned in one painful project.


I’m a little fascinated by this color. Amy has a deep aversion to it and it’s my granddaughter’s absolute most favorite color of all. I’ve been thinking about it because six months ago I bought yarn to make Alexia a sweater, but the hot Pepto-Bismol color burns my fingers. I have spent six months trying to drum up the discipline to finish it. I feel bad when she asks me what happened to her “jacket,” but apparently not bad enough.

Pink has become the synonym for feminine. When my son was three, he fell in love with the pink jacket that our neighbor girl outgrew. He wore that jacket until the sleeves were too short. The only photo of him wearing it is in black and white. I knew he’d take a life-long teasing from his siblings otherwise. How did pink become so stigmatized?

I decided to take a wander through Wikipedia. The simple answer is that pink is a pale red color, a combination of red and white, with other tints being combinations of rose and white, magenta and white or orange and white. The use of the word for the color was first recorded in the late 17th century to describe the flowers of pink, flowering plants in the carnation family.

The practice of associating color with gender began in the 1920s, with pink considered appropriate for boys because red is more masculine, and blue appropriate for girls because it was from a more delicate and dainty color and related to the Virgin Mary. Reassignment began in the 1940s but they didn’t say why.

Pinko is a derogatory term for a person regarded as sympathetic to communism though not necessarily a communist party member. The idea is that pink isn’t quite red. My father used to say that when you slid through an intersection just as the light was turning red, you were running the light on the pink. And in Japan, cherry blossom pink is associated with a woman’s vagina, so soft-core porn films are called “pink movies.” Mary Kay chose pink to represent her product line, even driving a pink Cadillac, a healthy Brit is considered to be in the “pink of health,” and a termination of employment notice is referred to a pink slip.

As you can see, there’s more to this color than meets the eye. I just need to pick up that hot pink yarn languishing on needles and get focused.


Becky's winning ribbon.

Demonstrating at the Fair

Nancy judging and Marilyn assisting.

Young weavers

: This festival is fast approaching, September 26th and 27th, with classes starting on the 25th. It's in Canby, Oregon on the Clackamas County Fairgrounds, really a lovely facility. Ian and I were able to stop in several years ago on the way to my brother's and I'm trying to see if we can finagle our schedule to slide in a visit this year. The vendor list is long and enticing - for those who were unable to make Black Sheep in June. Here is another chance for a fiber festival. More information is on the website.

MUSINGS FROM SAGECREEK: I have loved county fairs for as long as I can remember. Very early I realized that I didn’t care for the rodeo or circus, but the fair, well that was a different matter. I couldn’t wait for my 10th birthday so I could join 4H and get to be part of the fair instead of just going to it. I love all fairs, even the giant ones like the California State Fair, but the intimacy and personality of the county fairs is just my speed.

The first thing I ever entered was a laundry bag that I had made in my sewing club. I was very proud of it, even though it was only two rectangles sewn together and hanging on a coat hanger. Sewing was my first club, though through the years I joined Electricity where I made a wireless set, and Cooking, where I learned to make skillet supper. I got so good at skillet supper that I didn’t even need to look at the recipe, and I was proud of that too. My mother, a professional cook who had long since burned out, was also proud but more likely relieved. In those days, women cooked a dinner every night of the week. Ultimately I took Sheep and raised them for the last three years I was in 4H. And now here I am again with sheep, but this time for fleece, not meat.

I grew up with the East San Diego County Fair, though as an adolescent my brother began taking me to the Nevada County Fair and then when I actually moved to that area as an adult, I began taking myself. The fairgrounds are absolutely wonderful, red barn-like buildings amongst grassy areas and under large trees. Over the years the attendance has completely mushroomed into a mob. What I enter now is myself, which is how I happened to be there this year with Amy, my spinning wheel and wool. Along with three other spinners, we shared the craft of turning fleece into yarn. Around us was the display of items that we had been crafted from these yarns.

I am doing the same at the Nevada State Fair, which in spite of its name, has all the feel of a county fair. Instead of a lovely wooden structure, we are in a very large tent and out in back with the animals. It is rudimentary and requires that we cobble together the tent canopy with hog panels and tarps, duct-taped together to provide a floor. All the sounds and smells contribute to our authenticity, and we too are surrounded by the things we have made. A man teased Amy at the Nevada County Fair – You know, you can buy perfectly good yarn at the store and it would cost you a lot less. Her answer to that was – Do you like to fish? Did you can buy fish at the grocery store? His wife said touche, and then they all laughed, because of course, hobbies are part of who we are.

CLASSIFIED ADS: (A free service to our guild members. Ads run six months unless otherwise requested)

Instructions: Learn to spin! Private and semi-private lessons available in Reno and can be arranged at a convenient time for you. Lessons are 2 hours long and include fiber. Spinning wheel rental is also offered for those students completing a lesson. Contact Allison Judge,

Shetland Sheep: Small primitive breed. Wool, breeders or meat custom cut and wrapped at Wiggins in Chilcoot or do it yourself. Ever tasted Shetland meat? I have samples if you'd like to give it a try! Mimi Bullard 969-3249

LOOM FOR FREE: I have a 6 heedle (might be 8, but I can't be sure) floor loom free to a good home. It has a heddle that sticks, but otherwise seems to work ok. I bought it from Wes and Brenda Pound and have never used it. It folds on itself and can store in a small space.
If interested, call 775-331-8148. Roxanne Nelson

Loom for Sale: For Sale like new, Kromski Rigid Heddle Loom 24 inches $200.00 firm. Call Vivian Olds, 575-5516 (7/09)

Loom for Sale: 8 Harness Gilmore 42" Loom. Includes Bench, Removable top tray, shuttles, raddle & clamp and 12 yard warping board. I purchased this loom new, a few years ago from Gilmore. It is beautiful and in excellent condition. Original cost was $2187.00 not including the bench and other accessories. Need to sell, will consider all reasonable offers. You can reach me via Email. Nancy Donohue (7/09)

Loom for Sale: I have a well traveled and seldom used 4 harness Leclerc - Nilus loom for sale. I was wondering if the information could be passed on to your Spinners and Weavers group. I would love to find the loom a good home. My name is Paula Pennington phone (530) 694-2380. I live in Woodfords. Paula Pennington (3/09)

Yarn for Sale: I have a large quantity of lamb’s wool and lambs wool/mohair in skeins. The yarn is medium gauge 2-ply and is ready to be dyed. Skeins range in size and cost is $15 - $20 per lb. The wool was raised in an organic environment on my friend’s farm in Southern Alberta Canada. Contact: Tricia Boyko at (3/09)

Spinning Wheel: Ashford Traditional spinning wheel for sale. Spins perfectly. Single treadle, single drive, scotch tension. $250. Contact Allison Judge,