Sunday, September 23, 2012

That's My Brother!

Finally.  I think I’m mostly recovered and caught up after my trip to South Dakota.  It was a great trip; I had a great time.

My flight to Sioux Falls went without a hitch.  I flew out on Thursday.  The weather was perfect, flights were on time, no luggage was lost, Marty Davidsohn was there to greet me.  Marty was the coordinator for the workshops at  North Country Fiber Fair and she took really good care of me over the next few days.  Thank You Marty!

We stayed at Marty’s house on Thursday night, after a delightful dinner at a local Chinese restaurant.  On Friday morning, Marty drove us up to Watertown, where the Festival was held at a local state extension service.  The building we were in was quite large.  There was one very large space for vendors.  Another equally large space which contained a kitchen, eating area, registration desk, some more vendors, and what is referred to as “the spinning circle”.  Another section of the building was dedicated to workshops.  I was given an honest-to-god classroom for my workshops:  real walls, a door, lots of space, good lighting, an airconditioner, plenty of nice tables and good chairs.  I was in fiber teaching heaven!

And I thoroughly enjoyed all the workshop participants.  On Friday afternoon and evening, I taught “Blending Colors at the Wheel”.  At the beginning of the workshop, I introduced myself, saying where I lived and so forth, then I asked participants to introduce themselves.  One of the last folks to do so was a woman named Cheryl.  She first mentioned where she now lives in South Dakota.  Then she said she grew up in Midland, Michigan.  That’s my home town!  “Cool!”  Then she said she had gone to school with a boy named Bogey Tyler and she wondered if I was related.  “That’s my brother!!”  Turns out she lived about a block from where I grew up.  We attended the same elementary school, the same junior high, and the same highschool.  We did a quick series of common reminiscences, and we later caught up some more.  How absolutely delightful.

One more thing about that:  After I said, “That’s my brother”, Cheryl replied that she was wondering if he was my father.  I do look young, dontchaknow!

Things at the festival really got hopping on Saturday.  One of the interesting events is a fundraiser called “the fiber sandwich”.  Anyone can donate about 4 ounces of fiber.  Then volunteers layer all the donated fibers, like a sandwich.  Then the sandwich is cut up (so to speak) into 4 ounce chunks.  Volunteer spinners then spin their chunk of fiber.  The resulting yarns are auctioned off to raise funds for the festival.  Here’s a picture of the fiber sandwich being built:

I mentioned earlier a “spinning circle”.  When festival goers are not shopping or in workshops they gather in a large circle to spin or weave or knit or whatever.  The circle is always in flux, changing shape.  And these folks can be found gathered and fibering late into the night.  Here is a partial view of the spinning circle:

I was delighted to see a number of sheep skins and beautifully hand made items covering chairs.  One hand knitted piece really struck me.  It’s constructed of squares that are knitted from the center out, starting as a circle, then ending as a square by means of short rows.  Clever!  Here it is:

Another fundraiser that the festival has is a spinning wheel raffle.  This year, the wheel was a SchachtLadybug.  Nice wheel.  I wanted it.  I bought one raffle ticket ($5).  I did not win.  You can imagine my disappointment.  Here’s the wheel:

My shopping was selective because I was travelling by air and I didn’t want to pack too much.  The spinning fibers I purchased included camel down, dyed bombyx silk top, and some ColumbiaXRambouillet roving.

I made one impulse buy.  One of the workshops was taught by Tracy Kellen on rug hooking.  She had the nicest rug hooking frames available for her students, and available for purchase.  They were so well designed and built that I had to buy one.

Now, I am not currently a rug hooker, but over the past several years, I have purchased a few books on rug hooking as well as a hook.  I have had every intention of hooking with my handspun yarns.  Well.  I guess I’d better get started!  Her business is called “On the Prairie” and she has an etsy presence.  

Sunday was the last day of the festival.  Before driving back to Sioux Falls, a small group met for dinner at a really good Mexican restaurant.  Yum.

Normally, I would have flown home the following day.  But the Sioux Falls airport is under construction and was closed for departures that Monday.  So I stayed with Marty.  We took my packages to the post office to send home.  We ate out for lunch and dinner.  She took me to a swell gallery that specializes in Turkish rugs:  Rug& Relic.  The owner gave us a thorough tour.  A great afternoon.

So, on Tuesday, Marty first took me to the local yarn shop, Athena Fibers, where I was smitten with a number of Habu  yarns.  I bought 3 cones.  I crammed the yarn into my already stuffed suitcase and we headed to the airport.  Marty dropped me off.  Another day of lovely weather.  All seemed so good….

But my flight was cancelled because a bird had collided with the jet and damaged a jet engine.  The soonest available flight back home was the next day.  Marty came to the rescue and graciously let me stay one more night at her house.

Wednesday’s flight home went without a hitch.  I touched down in Traverse City near sunset.  It was raining in the distance, and the sun was shining, and I was greeted with a double rainbow.  The perfect ending to a delightful time at the North Country Fiber Fair.  I want to go back!


  1. And we want you back, Amy! I took your longdraw class on Saturday at NCFF, which I thoroughly enjoyed and learned much from. Just tonight I plied some natural-colored cormo, and was amazed at how much elasticity was in the resulting yarn. The skein stretched and stretched (before washing of course) and then just popped back to it's original diameter when let go. I Googled "elastic cormo" and found your blog. Serendipity. I am subscribing now. I'm glad you enjoyed your time at NCFF.


    1. Thanks, Lisa! I do love the stretchy wools! Enjoy your cormo!