Having hung out with Lexi in workshops all over, it was so fun to finally have her at my Yarn Shop! She was here for the weekend and we really had a blowout- full on fun times! We signed books, spun yarn, drank wine and ate great food.. I think we’ve memorized this pattern… yarn,food, fun, wine, food, yarn, fun, wine…
Friday started early with a great meeting of minds and some yummy yummy wine (Boeger and Silver Oaks). After the meeting we got prettied up and headed over to Downtown Knits for the trunk show. This is one of the best yarn shops in the triangle, with a new back room workshop space! Michele hosted this amazing weekend of fun for all of us!
There was a beautiful front table full of our yarn and Lexi’s new book, Handspun; New Spins on Traditional Techniques. Our yarns were draped throughout the shop, in the front window and in the back workshop room. There was color and texture and sparkle everywhere!
It was SO much fun!! Lexi had shipped some wine from her family’s vineyard and we had some snacks. There was a full house of knitters and spinners hanging out!
Favorite transaction of the night? I traded a couple skeins of my soft white cria NakedSpun with a touch of green sparkle with Lexi, for the awesome mustard, brown and rust wristwarmers that she had knit (and had yarn spun by Jenny) it’s like a bit of my friends with me all the time.
There was, of course, lots of oohing and ahhing over Lexi’s new book! Wonderful new techniques, patterns and inspirations, full of color and life! It’s an amazing showcase of this incredible community that Lexi has created! Of course, the highlight for many people was her signing their copy of her new book. People even brought copies of her past 2 books to get signed as well! There were even a few that asked ME to sign the page where Lexi featured my Extreme Tailspun yarn. Fiber fame, huh?
After the party we, along with some friends, went into Raleigh for a late night dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Buku. We ate, drank and were merry.. some at the next table were a little TOO merry.. but fun was had by all! Got home and had some more merriness until we fell into deep food and wine comas.. mmmm.. Buku and wine.
The workshop started Saturday with a bang! There’s something wonderful that happens when a group of creative like minded spinners get together. There’s an electricity of inspiration in the air. Another thing that is always so fantastic, is the community of sharing that happens. People bring wools and fibers, and other add in’s to combine with what Lexi brings from her stash for an amazing cacophony of color and texture for everyone to use.
I was particularly enamored by some vintage buttons and bobbins of spun newspaper!
After the first technique was mastered, Lexi had the group do a meditative exercise, to get everyone “ready” for the next set of techniques. This exercise, “Spinning blind” took people out of their traditional box- just letting the fiber happen in your fingers without letting your mind take over. It took awhile for people to relax and just listen to the fiber, but everyone was amazed and very happy with the ending results!
As Lexi had planned, this exercise put everyone in the right headspace for the next combo of techniques- the Coil Boil. This creates a yarn full of bubbly texture. As it’s a 3 parter.. the rest of the day was spent on the first 2 parts- coreless corespinning and quick coiling.
Customers that came into the shop were very interested in the action that was happening. We made spinners out of them by just being there with fiber flying!
We ended the day’s workshop and headed back to my house for some good food. I grilled a couple beer can chickens and veggies. Lexi made the potatoes and poured the wine. Hubby had lots of yummy beers out. It was another night of great friends, great food and great wine. The best part about weekends like this is seeing all my friends who don’t live close enough to have regular “play dates” We have to go all out when we DO get together!
The next day went by in a flash. We finished up the third technique of the CoilBoil- chain plying the coils! Bubbles and texture galore! Did I mention the shop full of wheels.. full house? We were packed in- all feeding off eachother’s creative energy.
CoilBoil is such fun! Once those were complete, Lexi demo’d how to add in goodies to yarns.. all sorts of things. After a bit of practice time, she introduced the next project- the “self portrait yarn” each person corespun a yarn on elastic, adding in things or fibers they’d brought that represented them somehow. Each person spun their “brain” or “heart” and then we shared the stories behind the yarns with the group. Some were funny, some profound.. but all were meaningful.
After our class project, Lexi had me demo the tailspinning portion of the techniques. There was enough time for people to practice and ask for some individual technique help. The weekend flew by so quickly, before we knew it, people were packing up and it was time to leave. The warm sun had turned to sleeting rainy slush- paralleling the sadness of friends going home.
Sunday evening was spent with the remaining friends- a quick but yummy shrimp and rice dinner. We drank more wine and vegged out.. just enjoying some relaxing “do nothing” time. Monday went too fast as well.. some hang out time with Lexi to plan future joint workshops. Lexi signed copies of her book for me to have in my shop.
I think I’m the most excited about the piece of art she installed in my studio on Monday afternoon. She “draws” with the yarn.. creating 3d designs on the wall/ceiling.. anywhere she can reach!
We chose a perfect place above the door, in the corner of the studio. She began to “draw” using 2 different yarns- one a super bulky 2 ply she spun a couple summers ago while we were in Asheville, and the second I spun many years ago- in fact it was one of my first textured spins. She really channeled my time of “new beginnings” by creating what became a very funky, “don’t tell me what to do” Honeybadger Butterfly.
It has wonderful outstreched wings, that have loops and dangles.. twists and turns. New beginnings with excitement along the road! It’s a reminder everyday of the sparkle of the journey we take in life- and though it may be textured and sometimes rough, and not always pretty.. it’s always a place to learn and grow- and the bad only makes the good better. And all together, the twists and turns make it beautiful.
We had a ‘traditional’ Southern lunch from our local diner- chicken pot pie, cabbage and green beans with ham hocks, mashed potatoes and gravy and sweet tea (with a splash of whiskey in lexi’s glass.. I was driving!) Then it was off to the airport! The weekend went WAY to fast- as always!
Together we’re working on putting together a really great “joint” workshop!! Dates and locations are coming, but we’re looking at the midwest in the fall for the first one.. and maybe something abroad.. OOOO the planning of it is just fun! There’s LOTS of fun stuff we’ve got up our sleeves! But lots is going on in the next couple months, and it was a bummer leaving her at the airport!
I wish I could join the trip to Kyoto in a couple of weeks, but I”m going to Stitches South, Maryland Sheep and Wool and Carolina Fiber Fest.. then (maybe going to Bonnaroo) and teaching in Holland.. so the next time we get to hang out is July at Yarnival.. Which will come faster than I can imagine.. less than 8 weeks until Stitches South.. LOTS to do!!
So this weekend was fun- and inspirational- but now it’s time to get back to work! Shop updates will happen regularly until Stitches! See everyone soon!!