Saturday, March 06, 2010

Left Squirrel Spur for another mountain...

New River Gorge
New River Gorge

... and what do you suppose I found? Yes, more snow! Of course, anyone that heads into West Virginia in February is just asking for trouble!

Snow on the mountains
Snow in the West Virginia mountains

The last weekend in February this year was set aside for the Fibernet Spinning Retreat, held twice a year at the lodge at Hawk's Nest State Park. Let me tell you right off that these people in Ansted, West Virginia, learned hospitality from the south, maybe before the Late Unpleasantness that split that chunk of Virginia off. The lodge is lovely, with an interesting design that gives every room a wonderful view and the service was excellent. The food was good in the Canyon View restaurant and the lodge staff couldn't have made it a better weekend.

Greenberry House Fiber
Fiber at the retreat

In addition to the lodge hospitality, the greeting I was given by the retreat attendees could not have been warmer or friendlier. This was my first year at the retreat and my first retreat ever, so I thought I might feel a little awkward. No such thing with these lovely fiber folk. I was immediately enfolded into the group and soon I was spinning away at the everlasting California Variegated Mutant fleece. Chatting and spinning as if I had known everyone for years, it was lovely to watch the snow fall as the wheels turned.

And the snow did fall. Sixteen inches or thereabouts, in all, throughout the weekend. I didn't leave the lodge once, which was fine, as the company and cozy atmosphere suited me and the wheel. In all I think thirteen people made it to the lodge through the snow, although more were expected. It was a lovely sized group and I'm looking forward to next year and meeting more wonderful fiber fanatics. Poor Natalie was one of the expected attendees that didn't make it through the snow on Friday to the lodge.

And of course I wound up with some fiber. David Simpson was there with his beautifully dyed roving and yarn. He's a bit of a local celebrity for his talent with color around the Blacksburg area and his work certainly lives up to his reputation. I came away with six ounces of a merino and silk blend after winning the door prize gift certificate he donated. I also fell in love with some brilliant fuchsia mohair in a batt by Sherry Geisler, some mystery natural black fleece, also donated as a door prize and, along with a nice goodie bag, I won a salad spinner. I've been wanting one to dry my yarn and fleece.

Two-ply yarn
California Variegated Mutant Yarn

Even with lots of extra spinning time at the retreat, I seriously failed my Ravelymics goal of spinning a seven and a half pound fleece. I managed to spin up about two and a half pounds and now I'm plying the singles. It's making a lovely yarn, anyway, with lots of soft variations on a gray theme.

Oatmeal Cardigan by Amy King
Oatmeal Cardigan sleeve

I think I mentioned that this handspun yarn was just not working with the Every Way Wrap that I intended to use it for. I frogged the wrap during our last podcast recording and cast on for the Oatmeal Cardigan by Amy King that appeared in the Winter 2009 Spin-Off magazine. It's a lovely pattern and will be my first knitted cardigan. The cabling still doesn't show up very well, though, in this two-ply yarn. I may try to spin up some more singles in this wool and made a three-ply more regular yarn for the yoke cables. If I get ambitious!

Next week: Big Changes at Greenberry House

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