Home at last, reunited with pets and UFO's, me, my hubby (and personal driver), my bounty of
newly aquired stash, one almost finished sweater, and countless projects I never even got to start (this means they're not UFO's, right?). Two months is a long time to be away from home, so I've been unpacking as fast as I can while clearing cobwebs and dust so I can get busy.
On the way to CA, we stopped in Davenport, IA, to visit relatives. My MIL lives on a beautiful
campus, formerly a nurses' college. Her apartment is a classroom in one of the renovated halls
and is adjacent to the most awesome Victorian mansion, totally restored. There are so many
window alcoves, sun rooms and porches with fantastic light , I fantasize about cozying in to knit or stitch. Unfortunately we're never there long enough for me do it. Instead I have to "settle" for dining adventure. To pre-celebrate my mother-in-law's 90th birthday, we enjoyed a champagne brunch at the Juber Lodge, and I made a new and instant friend. We were chatting away about all the things we had in common. Of course we were both mannered in not eating with our mouths full; I think we missed dessert not to mention several pourings of bubbly.
After brunch we went to my SIL's home, so Deborah and I just continued our excited talk in the car and nonstop into the house. Everyone else went to the deck. We talked fiber art and beading, and I learned she was a spinner. Before I could get out my books and samples to show
her what I would be doing my first week in CA, she had been home and back with a spindle she
made for me using CD's, a dowel, and a cuphook. My first spindling lesson ensued. I loved it.
I knew I would. I'm a retired teacher, Deb's a retired librarian, her instruction was excellent!
While I practiced under her watchful eye , she compiled a list of resources for me. We discovered we were both on Spindlers List, a Yahoo group for spinners and fiber artists. We
vowed to be roomies at a future Bead & Button Expo. I left promising to practice spinning with the wool she generously provided. I did. That night. Spindling is not something one can accomplish riding in a car, and, besides, I still had homework for my upcoming classes. Now that I'm home I'm looking for a local spinning and weaving group. I have to. I bought quite a bit of beautiful roving at the Chain Link Fibermarket.
I literally left my Sweetie on top of a mountain overlooking Lake Tahoe and sped ahead to my
dad's house in the Bay Area. Dad was on top of the mountain with my DH. I had looked forward to and got an incredible week to myself. I attended the classes at Laci's in Berkeley. I cannot begin to tell how much I enjoyed the sessions with Prudence Mapstone and Margaret Huber.
I took away a great deal from each and was inspired not just by their own work and expertise but that of my classmates, too. Many of the these are now faces to put with names from the
Freeform list. There were two 11 year old girls in the classes who intimidated me a little with
the speed and enthusiasm with which they grasped new techniques. I practiced bullions during
the entire cross country drive. They had bullions down pat after the first day. How wonderful to be young, fearless and completely open to new ideas. These darlings will be future stars of
My one free day I devoted to shopping and Casper's hotdogs. By now I should have part ownership in my favorite Castro Valley yarn shop. Knowing full well I had the Fibermarket
coming up the next day, I had to buy hank after hank of luscious mixed fibers -- um, just like I had to pick up a few fat quarters at the quilt store next door, and a small trove of beads for my FF brooch. And the hotdogs? Well, unless you've had one, you just wouldn't understand.
Friday is Fibermarket. Karn, my spinning and weaving friend whose mother is on the mountain with my dad and husband, accompanies me. I assure her it will be a grand experience,
more fiber than she's ever seen in one place, and that she'd better pace herself. Disappointingly there were not as many vendors as at Stitches West. We made several circuits of the booths hours earlier than anticipated. Karn breeds and shows Alpine goats. They're lovely, but where's the fiber? I've more than hinted she raise something hairier, alpacas or yaks or Angoras.
That evening I teach her to knit, despite her protests. She can do it!
The next day we meet at her house. I get to play with baby goats before we depart on our next
adventure, a quilt show at a winery. I tell Karn it will be a glorious exhibit of hundreds of beautiful quilts. It isn't. Lots of fabric vendors, but it's high 90's hot, and I know Karn has no need of fabric. She finds a shady spot and listens to the light jazz combo. I sample wine and wonder where the quilts are.
Next morning I follow Karn to Placerville to Lofty Lou's, a great yarn shop with weaving and spinning supplies. It takes me a long time to see and feel all the yarns; Karn has to leave for a
goat show. I purchase a few items I think will complement my FF stash and am told I've spent enough to get a Lofty Lou tote bag. It's a neat knitting tote, well constructed and cleverly
designed. I like it -- and I deserve it.
And it was all uphill from there. I joined my loved ones on top of the mountain and enjoyed day after sunny day knitting and crocheting on the deck. Just the neckline and sleeve caps remain to be done on the Diamond Patch Sweater. I did not work on Plumtastic at all -- but I read 5 or 6 books (what else does one do on a mountaintop with no electricity).
I have to share that the real highlight of my summer was celebrating my father's 90th birthday! What a wonderful party we had at 7500 ft. What a super summer we had.