i began this post
in the middle of the night
in a guest bedroom in scappoose, oregon
with the intention of recounting my day’s activities
and proceeding thusly for the rest of my mini-vacay/retreat from life.

however,
it soon became obvious
that scappoose lacked the bandwidth necessary
to blog on a daily basis, at least if i wanted to show you my pictures.

so now i am home
literally weeks after my return.
and must resort to the recap format for today’s blog

this might take a while.

there was fun with chickens,
DPP_1495DPP_1496DPP_1497DPP_1499DPP_1505DPP_1510which is one of my favorite scappoose-ian past times.

coffee at ristretto roasters
DPP_1513
DPP_1514
DPP_1515which was the only coffee i had in portland that lived up to the hype
DPP_1518(this mocha was not fucking around)

there were a couple trips to grand central bakery
DPP_1520where i was more impressed by their breakfast sandwich and shrimp po boy (scroll down) than their sweet stuff.

in portland proper,
there was the ubiquitous
homeless/punk/beggar with cute animal entourage.
DPP_1524this group was outside powell’s where i had a pretty amazing haul
DPP_1528
the next day,
tina and i went to black sheep gathering
where we saw judith mackenzie judge the fleeces,
a thoroughly delightful and educational experience.
DPP_1532
DPP_1536(note: apparently, shetlands are in this year)
DPP_1539(the aforementioned shrimp sandwich)

we ran into beth hansen of hansen crafts
DPP_1543she is . . . a character. if you meet her,
and it feels like she’s making fun of you,
that’s because she is.
it’s totally normal.

i have strong feelings about the miniSpinner,
but this is all i’m going to say about it: i’m a traditionalist.
if you’re not, and aren’t bothered by the electric component
you should definitely buy it;
it’s a pretty fucking awesome product.
i won’t be buying one because
i am a fuddy duddy.

i will also draw your attention to this:
DPP_1545really beth? really?

there was this monstrosity,
DPP_1546which is apparently a spinning wheel.
it needs to be melted down into something less ugly.

i stopped by black trillium fibre studio‘s booth,
one of the only booths i thought worthy of documenting, really.
DPP_1547the problem with all of these shows,
especially the smaller ones,
is that these people aren’t business people.
sure, i bet 90% of them make an amazing product,
but that doesn’t mean they know shit about how to sell it.
you’ve got to make a booth that makes people want to come in,
or you might as well not even bother to show up.

melanie knows how to work with what she has;
simple set up, a few beautiful samples, wide open
so people can get in and out easily.
good job.

similarly, the men at the clemes & clemes booth knew what was up!
these dudes are professional, know their product, work well together,
have their demonstration down, and there’s something to be said for a uniform. this dude had me wanting a fucking drum carder
something for which i have no use or space in my life.
that, my dears, is a salesman!
DPP_1549(sorry for the shitty photo)

there was this cuteness
DPP_1552
and this cuteness
DPP_1557
and this cuteness.
DPP_1571

then i met some west coast knitters
though i can only remember angela davis (the knitting one)
with her amazing mustard eye shadow (right) and parna
(with the broken hand), both of whom i hope to see again.
DPP_1575(sorry angela, not the best photo, i know, but better than the other one)

as we were leaving we saw this dude with his dog and guitar
DPP_1576very huck finnesque.

the next day,
tina took the misses newton, heidi dog, and me to the beach
DPP_1581
before which we hit up this joint,
DPP_1577pacific way bakery & caféwhich, was fucking amazing…last year.
but made us a but queasy this time around.
and our waitress?
lizlemonrudegif

then we returned for more chicken time, but with a twist.
DPP_1583
DPP_1584
DPP_1585
DPP_1586
DPP_1587
DPP_1588
DPP_1591i don’t know what it is, but i fucking love deer.
maybe it’s from watching bambi as a kid, i don’t know.
but i can not get enough deer.
and i got way close to this guy.

i was then treated to a ________ about which i cannot tell you.
what i can tell you is that it was a moment when i felt
humble, special, and kinda fancy.
because it was fancy.
and more than a little pantsy.
though likely wasted on my middle class ______.

mystery!

the next day i began the tipsy sock
DPP_1622while hanging out with the falcore-esque heidi dog.DPP_1638DPP_1634(she has no fucks to give)

*

the whole tripped was capped off
by an amazing meal at cocotte bar & bistro
a meal totally worth live tweeting. which i did.
DPP_1639DPP_1642
bread with @depraveddyer
old fashioned
chicken liver mousse with inglehoffer stone ground mustard
the biter
poulet en cocotte
la nella moda
thyme flower and farigoule ice cream
(click pics to read descriptions)

then i immediately hopped on a plane and headed home.

this trip was my vacation,
a flight, really, from my incredibly stressful summer.
there were whole swathes of time when i was not seized
by crippling work-related anxiety.

that level of ease is only surpassed
when i escape to my parent’s house,
or as i still think of it,
‘home’.

still,
tina’s guest room
is a close second.
she’s the kindest host.
i even get my own bathroom.
DPP_1600

*there was an undocumented fabulous indian dinner with tina, megan, and deb, friends from three very different epochs of my life, followed by a night out with megan at a former bowling alley dive where, once the lyons’ club bingo night rapped up, we watched the mentally challenged and tone deaf sing karaoke.there’s no picture in the world that can capture that.

tomorrow evening, i’m on a plane to portland.
i am going to the summit.

tonight i’m knitting my little wrist off.
like many a student before me
i didn’t do my homework.
i’m cheating a little,
making it work,
using sport weight yarn on 2.75mm needles
rather than fingering weight on 2.25mm needles.
it’s just like that old trick of adjusting your margins
in order to meet the minimum page number.

(like you never changed your margins and watched the sun come up)

i promise, mr. habit,
it’ll be ready in time for class.
i usually take better pictures than this.
it’s just . . .
my iphone was handy
and i need to finish this homework
and my summit sock probably won’t fit
and i have a shawl to finish by august 1st
and i’ve been packing for days
and i leave pittsburgh in a week

WHOAREYOUTOJUDGEME!?!

*pant* *pant* *pant*

alright.
i’m ok now.

in any case,
this is my class schedule:

7/28
9:00am photographing your fiber – franklin habit
7:00pm opening night reception
7/29
9:00am knitted tessellation: playful and powerful patterns in practice – franklin habit
3:00pm hizsocks: making socks manly – stephen houghton
10:30pm sock hop
7/30
9:00am tvaandsstickning/twined knitting – nancy bush
5:15pm this. but only to document, not participate. as if!
7:00pm this is your brain on knitting – stephanie pearl-mcphee
7/31
9:00 am fleece on your feet – judith mackenzie

so if you see me in class,
or wandering around the convention center,
you bitches better say hello!

(do you think the harlot ever cheated on her sock homework?

retreat

July 14, 2010


i’m finding it difficult to understand, much less describe, my experience at the knot hysteria silk retreat.
living up to its name,
i learned loads about silk
and was given the time to withdraw from the everyday.

i can’t remember i time when i focused so intensely on one thing, or when i heard so much laughter in such a small space of time. i met some crazy amazing women who were both everyday people and unbelievable artists. i was stunned at the level of skill, creativity, and expertise that surrounded me, not only from our teachers, but from my fellow students. it was humbling really to recognize that, while i can effectively execute a knitting pattern at a fairly high level, my knowledge of fiber arts is minimal.

i learned that i know nothing.

but i suppose a more detailed approach would make for a better read, so here i go.

i was in group three,
which meant i spent my first day of class with the depraved dyer herself, tina newton.

we learned about the chemical makeup of silk in order to understand why it behaves the way it does in relation to dying.
and then we got to go to town.

we dyed a skein each of silk thread,
silkie socks that rock,
silkmo,
some silk top,
and three silk hankies.

it’s hard to pick just one,
but i think hers was my favorite class.
it gave me the chance to access a creative part of my brain that doesn’t get much action. dying the various forms of silk,
and thinking about color in general,
was like eating a perfectly cooked steak,
or that feeling you have when someone rubs your shoulders,
releasing a tension you never knew you had.

dying filled up a space in me,

and a pretty big space in my stash.
(i also increased my stash at the little store they had. there’s no photo cuz knitters know where i live, and there’d be a yarn related b&e in pittsburgh)

later in the day, the dying continued.
we all got to paint silk scarves with tina and stephanie,

and dye silk noil skeins in indigo with judith.

some people even dyed their hair.

day two was spent with judith mackenzie.

i was one of the people who learned to spin to come to the retreat.
i took lesssons, and practiced every chance i got.
and while i wasn’t in the financial position to purchase a wheel,
judith let me use one of hers.

of course, everything i learned went right out the window.

let me explain.

according to judith, spinners have one of two souls.
either you’re naturally a woolen spinner or worsted
for those of you who don’t spin,
think of it as english vs. continental
or being right or left handed.
you’re brain just likes one or the other.

apparently, i’m a woolen spinner.
with some crossed wires since i use my left hand to control twist
even though i’m right handed.
which meant i was at a disadvantage since silk “should” be spun worsted.

so i was at square one all over again.

*sigh*

but i came to learn and learn i did.
i can’t even begin to collate everything i learned about spinning.

but this i know for sure;
after extensive observation,
i’m convinced judith is some sort of witch.
good or bad, she’s the witch of pacific northwest
i’d bet my life she’s the one who taught rumplstiltskin how to spin straw into gold.

just sayin’

my last day was knitting with stephanie
this was the class i felt most prepared for;
knitting was supposed to be my strong point.
it turned out to be the most frustrating of all my classes.
she kept throwing sample after sample of different yarn blends at us to knit, and my hands couldn’t keep up with the pace at which my mind was moving.

i mean,
have you ever tried to knit a lace swatch with silk thread?
i almost cried!

and knitting with silk hankies??
really pretty effect
but not so easy.

(here’s one hanky layer stretched to the max)

i probably learned more about knitting from stephanie in a few hours than i think i have in the past 6 months.

for instance!
have you ever heard that casting on over a larger needle (or two needles) will help if your cast on is too tight?
that is only true if you’re doing a single strand cast on!
such as knitted, cable, or crochet cast on.

if you do some form of the long tail cast on,
casting on over larger needles will not make your cast on edge looser!

i know what you’re all saying.

lies!

i said the same thing pretties.
i don’t have the ability to draw the picture necessary to prove it to you.
here’s what I’ll say: only one of your strands of a long tail cast on goes over needle itself, making a loop. the other only wraps around that loop underneath the needle and is therefore unaffected by the size of the needle. while the loop itself may be larger because you’re using more yarn, the edge will not be because you use the same amount.

the test?
do it yourself.

seriously, it’s true.
this is the face of experience

that evening after dinner was show and tell.
people brought some stunning things that they had made.
i orginally planned on giving stephaine the juneberry triangle then,
but upon further consideration,
it seemed really gauche.

so i gave it to her earlier, when no one was looking.
it was a moment i’ll remember,
and i’m glad it wasn’t public.

i’m home now,
hungry,
broke,
tired.

and i haven’t been this happy in forever.

i’ll miss you port ludlow.

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