What I Would Sign Up For At SOAR If I Had Time

You know, I've never taken a workshop or retreat session at SOAR. That may seem odd, since I launched the event 28 years ago and have attended many, many times. Somehow, though, there's just always too much business to look after. But I do drop in on sessions and sometimes have a hard time tearing myself away.

This year no doubt will be the same. I can't wait to check out what Jeannine Glaves is up to. Jeannine is one of the real old-timers at SOAR. She doesn't have perfect attendance, but darn near. And she always comes with a big bag of surprises. Jeannine will spin anything, and she will make stuff you would never dream of with her handspun yarn. She seems to know a lot about almost everything, and she challenges convention with gusto.  She's like my favorite high school teacher in that regard. You come out of class with your mind reeling with possibilities and a big smile on your face. Most of our SOAR sessions have become pretty structured—bring this, do that, learn exactly what the program says you will learn. There is nothing in the world wrong with that, because it's how we get to be better at our craft. But sometimes it's good to cut loose and go into uncharted territory. That's why I'm looking forward to dropping in on Jeannine's sessions.

Another one that I'm really looking forward to is Deanna Dailey's spinning hikes. Deanna is a new SOAR mentor too, and she brings a naturalist's sensibility to spinning. What's out there in the woods that's useful for making yarn? Well, that's how our distant ancestors approached it. Just go look. There will be something very refreshing about enjoying the Wisconsin woods with a purpose. I hope we get to try some spider webs.

I fell in love with Bobbi Daniels at SOAR last year, when she came on scholarship. This woman has single-handedly created a spinning cottage industry for native women in Sitka, Alaska, which I find incredibly admirable, but I also enjoyed watching her with her bunnies. Her perfectly groomed, perfectly happy , perfectly fluffy bunnies. Bobbi has raised angora spinning to a high art—her yarns are as lovely as her mammalian furballs. Full disclosure: when my daughter was in 4-H eons ago, she attempted raising angora rabbits. It did not end well. And the bits of yarn I spun from their fiber tended to be unfortunate blobby things. I'll be glad to revisit this subject and maybe get it right this time.

There are many other SOAR sessions that I look forward to visiting—Margaret Stove, Judith MacKenzie, giants in the spinning world. But if their sessions are full, I can hang out with them during Open Studio times, which are sure to be serendipitous.




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