Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sweet Stories from Michigan Fiber Festival

This year’s Michigan FiberFestival was especially nice, in part due to the fantastic weather.  I did not melt as I usually do.  I even got to wear jeans one day!  I’d like to share three very short stories with you.

Vignette #1:  It was delightful to see many familiar faces in the workshops I taught.  It’s nice to know that folks want to take more than one workshop from me.  I think it’s the best evidence that I’m doing the work I’m supposed to be doing.

And it’s also delightful to see a knitted up version of one of my patterns.  Emily J. had taken workshops from me before.  This year, she was in my Beginning Spinning at the Wheel workshop.  And, this year, she had a finished “Dream Shawl” to show me.  It looked marvelous in a lovely red.  Makes me want to knit another version of the shawl.  Here’s Emily and her red dream:

Vignette #2:  I’d met Cadice W. a number of years ago at the Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana.  It was nice to see her in my Spinning with Locks workshop.  She “blamed” me for encouraging her to get some Finn sheep.  I do love the silky feel of Finn wool!

As a gift, she gave me nearly a pound of raw fleece from her Finn sheep, “Gabe”.  I haven’t spun Finn in quite awhile, and I am so looking forward to the experience again.  Here’s the bag of fleece:

As another gift, Emily gave me a charming bar of goat milk soap in the shape of a sheep.  It’s almost too charming to use.  But I’ll use it anyway!  Here it is:

Vignette #3:  At the end of teaching on Friday, I packed up my stuff and prepared to move some of it to the space where I would be teaching on Saturday morning.  Ann Niemi of Kessenich Loom Company  had been teaching a 2-day weaving class in the space that would be mine on Saturday.  As she was packing up her equipment, I asked if she’d mind if I put my stuff along the wall and out of her way.  “No problem!” she replied.

The next morning, Saturday, my fourth and final day of teaching at MFF, I showed up in my assigned space to start setting up for my Slip Stitch Knitting workshop.  The coffee was only beginning to kick in.  It took me a few minutes to realize that all the stuff I’d left in the space the evening before – workshop notebooks, swatches, samples, tools, and books – were not there!

This had never happened before.  I’ve stored supplies in workshop spaces at many a festival and nothing had ever disappeared.  No panic yet.  I went to the Festival office to see if my things had been moved there for overnight.  No, my things were not there.  Del, the festival coordinator, got rather more anxious than I.  Then it occurred to me that perhaps Ann had packed it away with her weaving things.  Del quickly found a brochure for the Kenssenich Loom Company in their vendor booth.  I called.  It was about 8:30am by this time and my workshop was scheduled to start at 9:00am.  Bruce Niemi answered the phone and said Ann was in the shower.  Could she call me back?  Yes, please!  A few minutes later, Ann called.  She knew exactly what had happened; she’d had some assistance in packing the night before and those who helped her had also helped pack up my stuff!

It is very fortunate that Ann lives rather close to Allegan, so she was able to rush my things back to me.  She, and my stuff, arrived just a very few minutes after 9:00am.  In the meantime, Del had photocopied a couple of sheets from my handouts (I had my own copy), and Nancy Shroyer had lent me some yarn to knit with.  Thanks, Del!  Thanks, Nancy!

The workshop went off without a hitch.  The following day, Ann approached me, thoroughly mortified by the incident, and she offered to let me pick out something from her booth as a gift.  Wow!  I thanked her and said, “Now I’m glad you mistakenly took my stuff!”  It’s important to point out that Bruce makes very lovely weaving tools.  Really lovely.  I selected a small belt shuttle that I know will make me want to get back to my inkle loom very soon.  Here it is:

It’s happenings like these that make teaching at fiber festivals so very rewarding!