Friday, March 29, 2013

Madrona 2013

This post is embarrassingly late, but better than never, right? I was only at Madrona for one day this year. Got up at 5:30 a.m. to head down to Tacoma, which at that time of day is about a 2.25 hour drive, to be on time for my morning class.

Somewhere along the ride, my pocket wheel parted ways with one of its treadles. But luckily for me, Mr. and Mrs. Pocket Wheel were sharing a booth with my LYS, and Jon was able to fix me up with a temporary treadle for class. He provides extraordinary customer service--he's always willing to tune up your wheel, gratis. In my case, he didn't happen to have any wood glue with him, so he took my treadle home with him to fix and then dropped it off at my house the following week. Hard to beat that for service!

While Jon was putting on my temporary treadle, I ducked over to Jennie the Potter's booth. I hadn't managed to get her special edition show mugs at either Sock Summit or Rhinebeck, but third time was the charm. This is her Madrona 2013 mug, with a salmon and yarn lure on one side:

And a madrona tree on the other:

It's the first mug I reach for whenever it's clean. It is my favorite and my best: perfect size, wonderful shape, awesome designs.

I might also have gotten a new fancywood bobbin from Jon. This is bloodwood. It was hard to capture the glow of the wood; Carla told me the term is chatoyancy. It's the effect that makes tiger eye stones seem to glow from within. I love, love wood that does that.

Then I was off to my class on plying luxury blends with Judith MacKenzie. As with the class I took from her last year on spinning silk, I learned so much more than just the nominal topic. We did plenty of spinning with exotic fibers, to be sure, like the mulberry silk and merino/yak/silk on this bobbin:

But the most helpful take-home for me was learning how to spin long draw. I made a horribly lumpy single with the cashmere that she gave us (which I then plied into a sort of core/boucle mashup, using the mulberry silk as the core). When I got home, I practiced with my Jenkins spindle and a CVM/Romeldale/misc batt from a local farm, Spinners' Eden.

Still undeniably lumpy, but I got that pulling-taffy sensation more consistently. And hey! I actually managed to ply something. I have a million toilet paper rolls with singles that will probably never be plied. I rarely have the urge to knit with my handspun; I just like spinning it, so I never get around to plying and finishing the yarn.

After my class, I spent some time in the NW Handspun booth, since they were retailing my fiber and my new base yarn, Singular (the singles fingering yarn that I mentioned a few blog posts ago). I also demo'ed on the pocket wheel, since Carla was taking a class.

I roamed the marketplace, and got to catch up a little bit with some vendor friends. I watched Klaus's booth while he took a break, visited with Kate and Chris of Woolgatherings, Brooke of Sincere Sheep, Connie of Spindlewood (they had one supported spindle left when I saw them Friday morning. ONE), and got some feedback from Jennie the Potter about midwestern shows. Have I said how much I value my friendships with other vendors? Really the only thing I miss about my old job is my co-workers, so it was a relief and a delight when I first started doing the show circuit and realized that most vendors regard you with fellowship rather than competitiveness. While I would love to be a Madrona vendor, I do really appreciate the chance to chat with my friends that I don't always get when I'm vending. Every year, every show, I feel more and more part of the fantastic fiber community.

I did a little bit of shopping, too. I don't buy yarn anymore, as my personal stash is already too big and I have hardly any knitting time these days. I also resisted the call of Chiaogoo interchangeables, but fell prey to two batts of pygora/silk/merino from Terry of Rainbow Farms Pygora:

And this Gilded Lily Batt, a jumbo-sized batt from Judith (apparently the carding machine lives in its very own room):

I spent all too short a time knitting with friends in the rotunda, before I headed up to Seattle for dinner with a non-knitting friend, and a mad dash home to greet my weekend houseguests. Hopefully I'll be able to spend more time at Madrona 2014!