Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Getting ready. Staring down the runway at a fresh set of teaching trips.

Today is one of those days I'm doing the background work for the workshops I teach. The in-person, I-get-on-a-plane-and-come-to-you workshops. This involves a lot of paper shuffling, but it really makes me feel good when I'm finally ready for another trip. It isn't like I can just hop on the plane and go after all. There are lectures to tweak, handouts to update and print, looms to warp, folders to put together, lots of yarn to choose and pack, and if I've been really crazy motivated in my proposals, sometimes new classes to create. The last trip I took I even bought some new clothes. (And for my online students in the know, they didn't come from Eddie Bauer!!)

And of course there is the luggage. I like to think of myself as a traveling light kind of gal, though my spouse would disagree if you saw our car packed for a camping or road trip. But when teaching, I have to max out the luggage. This was the last trip with the old luggage system.
Last trip with old bags. Michigan, June 2015
I have since taken the great advice of an experienced spinning teacher, Beth Smith, and bought myself two of those swivel wheel roller bags that stand upright. What a difference!

I'm headed to Minneapolis for a Color Gradation Techniques workshop next week (if you still want in, there are a couple spots left--contact me as registration has closed). Also, if anyone has an in with whomever controls the weather (God, a meteorologist, the Air Force, United Arab Emirates...), can you put a good word in for no snow in Denver or Minneapolis late next week? I have a lecture to give on the same day I'm flying. Gulp.

After that trip to the hopefully un-snowy north, I'm headed to YarnFest 2016. This is the second year of Interweave's YarnFest in Loveland, Colorado. Since I live just up the road in Fort Collins, I can vouch for the beauty of this part of the country. True, you'll be out on the plains at the edge of the Rockies, but if you leave yourself an extra day or two, Rocky Mountain National Park is only a half hour drive up Big Thompson Canyon.

YarnFest is a conference with a fantastic vendor hall, an amazing line-up of teachers, and some fun extra activities. Clara Parkes is the keynote speaker, just for example. Some of the classes are full, but many are not yet. You can take classes from spinners, knitters, weavers, and a few other techniques.

All the details are HERE.

I am busy putting together handouts, tracking down and warping looms, and winding balls of yarn for you to use. My old ball winder finally gave out, so there is a Nancy's Knit Knacks electric winder on the way. I'm quite sure those of you who saw the video at the bottom of the page will be pleased by that. I'm sure I'll have a nice plug for my new piece of equipment in my Creating Without Pain lecture. Who winds hundreds of balls of yarn by hand anyway? (besides me)

I am really excited to teach one of my favorite classes at YarnFest. It is called Tapestry Answers: Do I Want to be a Tapestry Weaver? I get piles of email from people asking about looms and yarn and how tapestry really works. These are questions that are difficult to answer for yourself. This class is meant to address them. We look at what you can create with tapestry weaving in slides, diagrams, and some actual weaving (yours and mine). We try out different looms and I show you photos of even more possibilities. I talk about why some looms work well for tapestry and some don't. And we talk about yarn and tools. Some people are surprised that using the old (or new) knitting yarn in your closet isn't the best way to be successful in tapestry. There are good reasons for this! I'll tell you what they are.

I will bring various tapestry yarns with woven samples so you can actually see what the differences are between them. And you can make your own weft yarn card with small samples to bring home for future reference.

This class is for anyone interested in tapestry. I usually get a good number of people who have woven tapestry for awhile but have not gotten these kinds of questions answered. If you'd like more information about this class, take a look at THIS blog post. And here is the secret about this particular class. Because I am driving there from my studio, I am bringing stuff. I can bring all the examples, tools, and looms I can fit in my car. This doesn't happen often! Usually I'm limited by the bags pictured above.

I am teaching two other classes at YarnFest. The other tapestry weaving class is called Simultaneous Contrast: What Color is that Really? This class addresses one of the most amazing properties of color. Colors next to each other interact with each other and the color you perceive changes. Sometimes the effect can be profound. We'll play with this both with paper examples and with weaving. There is more information in THIS blog post.

And for all of you fiber artists, I'm teaching my class, Creating Without Pain: Ergonomics for Fiber Artists. There are more details in THIS blog post. I recently wrote a guest blog post on the Mirrix blog and gave an interview to Wellness for Makers. This class starts with the ideas I present in these two examples and goes into much more depth. We all need to be careful to take care of our bodies so we have a long and healthy making career. This particular class is FAR down the list of classes on the Interweave website, so keep scrolling! I'll send you home with concrete things you can do to improve your studio situation and make sure you are taking care of your body.

We are now past the cancellation date, so all the classes you see listed are going to happen. There are a few spots left in my Tapestry Answers class, so act fast on that one. There are a handful of spots still open in the Simultaneous Contrast class. And in the name of all that is healthy and good, I can take as many people who want to sign up for the Creating Without Pain lecture. Just do it!

Come to a beautiful place with a lovely view of the Rockies. Take classes in tapestry weaving, spinning, or knitting, and make some new friends. I'll see you there.


  1. I don't believe in jinxing so I'll just say it has been a mild winter. We have a few evenings where things got slowed down and some people gave up but travel was not impossible. I'd say it's looking pretty good for next week! I'm looking forward to the lecture. Since I haven't finished the Structure class, I don't think I'm ready for Color Gradations but I was tempted. Hoping to catch that in the future. Good travels!


  2. I 'm glad to hear from all the good things you are doing! I wish you the best for your classes , including the weather.
    PS : I drools by those balls of yarns!!
    Hugs :))


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