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I just sent this out to the folks confirmed for my workshop at SOAR. A week from today, there we’ll be… and I figured I’d pass it along because some of the advice in it is probably decent advice for anybody that’s traveling to a class.

Hi folks,

The Spin-Off Autumn Retreat is right around the corner! Are you ready?

I’ve had a great time getting everyone’s materials packs ready and making sure everything is ready to go. I thought I’d take a few minutes to catch up with all of you as we enter the final week before SOAR.

If you’re receiving this, then I have you down as confirmed for my 3-day workshop session, “Spinning For A Purpose.” We’ve got a great group of folks! I know several of you already and am very much looking forward to meeting the rest of you. We’re going to have a great time!

In Spinning For A Purpose, we will be trying a variety of spinning techniques and handling a broad range of fibers. The majority of these fibers will be things you should be able to easily find for yourself as well (and that will be sold at the market), but there are a few specialty items and real treats. Most of the blends and commercial preparations are from Louet North America and can be found at most Louet dealers, but we will also have some fabulous locks from The Spinning Loft and hand-dyed top from Spunky Eclectic. We’re going to go through all of it, learning how to decide what fibers are suited for and how to plan projects of many sizes and scopes.

You don’t need to bring anything but a wheel in good working order and a means to swatch your yarns as desired, but you should feel free to bring any small tools you like: niddy-noddy, small combs, hand cards, flicker, whatever you like to travel with. You are also welcome to bring fibers that have been stumping you, if you like! Those can be a great way to work through expectation mismatches between a spinner and the fiber.

What’s a wheel in good working order? It’s one with no known mechanical problems and with which you are familiar and comfortable. You should also bring some extra bobbins, and make sure that even if you normally prefer to use an aftermarket flyer and bobbin combo such as the WooLee Winder, you have a standard flyer and bobbins available; for some techniques, you will need the widest range of adjustability possible and when working on new things in a large class setting, it is often easier to do so with the simplest setup possible.

With respect to fiber content: I have avoided the most common allergenic fibers (mohair, angora) but we do have a range of fibers! If you know you have specialty needs or any sensitivities, please let me know ASAP so I can try to accommodate those. All fibers will be washed; we will not be handling any raw fibers in this course.

If you have any questions about what you should pack, or aren’t likely to need, or anything last-minute that leaps to mind, please don’t hesitate to email me back and let me know! I’d rather you ask and be sure, than get there and think “Oh man, I could have brought that.”

That’s it! Are you excited yet? This time a week from now, we’ll be getting started — I can’t wait!

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Did You Miss Me?

Whew. Well, for the moment at any rate, I’ve rejoined this newfangled modern world thingy. Here’s a little info about where I’ve been.

Actually, I’ve been right here. You just couldn’t tell, and apparently, it isn’t newsworthy outside of the immediately affected area, either. But this is some of what’s been going down:

Power just finally came back this afternoon, day 5 of our blackout. Lots of folks are still without power all over the Midwest — it’s really something.

We are all fine, everything’s okay, and things are returning to normal. It’s been a wild wild week. Since Abby’s Yarns lives here in our home, it’s been down just like everything else. If you’ve sent me mail recently and haven’t heard back, chances are I don’t have the mail and you’ll need to resend.

That’s about all I have in me for right now, I’m afraid. It’s good to be back, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed and good thoughts going out to everyone still affected all over the country.