New classes added to the SOAR line-up

Spin-Off Autumn Retreat has heart

Kris Paige, Deb Robson, and Dale Pettigrew (from left to right) meet to honor their friend Jodie Aves at the place SOAR started, Pingree Park, Colorado.

I've been attending Spin-Off Autumn Retreat (SOAR) for over sixteen years—about half of all the events that have occurred when since the first gathering of spinners happened in Pingree Park, Colorado, in 1983. The first few years of SOAR were held at Pingree Park, a mountaintop extension campus for Colorado State University. Perhaps, some of you were there? That's right. This event is over thirty years old. And there is a reason why it has endured for so long. It has heart. It isn't just the heart of one person, rather the hearts of many people that come together to make it what it is and spin a little yarn.

A couple weeks ago, I was privileged to attend a memorial at Pingree Park for longtime SOAR participant Jodie Aves. I gathered with Dale Pettigrew, Deb Robson, and Kris Paige (and many more people who were there in spirit) to honor Jodie's memory in the place where SOAR was born.

Dodie Rush, Jodie Aves, and Rudy Amann enjoy SOAR in the mid-2000s.

When I first met Jodie in 1997, I was a just-hired-the month-before new employee at Interweave. I was just out of grad school with a degree in fiber arts, an enthusiastic, but fairly inexperienced spinner. Jodie, gentle, warm, loving woman that she was, accepted me into the family of SOAR with wide and welcoming arms—and I looked forward to her hugs each subsequent SOAR. She was just as welcoming to all the new SOAR attendees every year. And she attended nearly every one—including 2012 when her declining health prevented her from leaving her lodging room the whole week. She was delighted to be among her people, she thrived on sharing not only the techniques of spinning, but the heart of spinning. You may attend your first SOAR because there are techniques that you'd like to learn, but you'll come back to your next SOAR because of the friends you made. When you find your tribe, you want to gather with them.

SOAR travels around the country—this year we'll be at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Illinois, just an hour from the Chicago-O'Hare International Airport. It is coming up soon and we're excited to say we've added some new classes:

2011 SOAR attendees share what they have learned with each other at the annual Workshop Showcase.
  • Maggie Casey will be teaching Big and Lofty Yarns on Thursday, October 24.
  • Maggie Casey will be teaching two Retreat sessions of Plying on a Spindle on Saturday, October 26.
  • Janel Laidman will be teaching two Retreat sessions of Spinning for Socks—one on Friday morning (October 25) and one on Saturday afternoon (October 26).
  • Andrea Mielke Schroer will be teaching two Retreat sessions of A Close Look at Corriedale on Friday October 25.
  • Amy Tyler will be teaching two Retreat sessions of Spinning with Silk Hankies—one of Friday afternoon (October 25) and one on Saturday afternoon (October 26).
  • Visit to read the class descriptions and to sign-up.

    Happy spinning,

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