Can you imagine a more perfect heaven?
Trees in the misty haze of Lake Cresent on the Olympic loop highway on the way to Forks, Washington.
Debi Dodge, Stephanie Flynn Sokolov, Liz Hammond-Kaarremaa, Nicole Drane, and Karen Poremski amidst the red cedar trees on the Cape Flattery Trail overlooking Neah Bay.
The view of Gig Harbor with my wheel, a bit of pygora fiber combined with good company and a cup of coffee to make a perfect memory.
A couple of weeks ago I packed up my spinning wheel and checked it as luggage on a flight to Seattle, Washington, then borrowed a car and drove along the Olympic Peninsula through mist and rain to Forks, Washington—stopping a couple of times to revel in the majestic views and palpable humidity. (Can you tell I'm from an arid climate?)
Once in Forks, I settled into a comfortable bed and breakfast, unpacked my wheel, and got ready for a weekend of spinning immersion. Judith MacKenzie was teaching Tribal Textile Treasures at the community center in Forks, and I was one of the fortunate nineteen spinners who signed up for the retreat.
We studied the traditional textiles of the Northwest coast people—the Quileute, the Makah, and the Salish—and spun a host of different fibers and learned to work with the inner bark of the red cedar tree (there will be more about this in the summer issue of our eMag, SpinKnit—so stay tuned!). There were layers upon layers of spinning interest in this class because not only was the subject matter endlessly fascinating, but so were the other students in the class. Every interaction was punctuated with a tidbit of information that enhanced the whole weekend, from engaging breakfast conversations about books to read to sharing fiber in class to long conversations about how we got started spinning. As we were packing up to leave, I found that Marcelle Anderson, one of my classmates, had brought fiber from her Pygora goats to sell. It was gorgeous, so I bought some and tucked it in my luggage.
Before returning to Colorado, I stayed a night with my Aunt Susan and Uncle Andy in Gig Harbor and fulfilled a dream I've had ever since I first visited them—that of spinning while looking over the harbor. It was too rainy to spin on the back porch, but I was able to spin and watch the sun come up over the harbor in the dining room of their cozy hillside house. The pygora was just the fiber to spin, too. It was lustrous and smooth and beautifully prepared. It is harder to imagine a more perfect place to sit and spin while enjoying a beautiful morning in good company—wonderful memories are spun into that yarn.
Once home with a bobbin full of lovely pygora yarn, I started searching for a knitting pattern so that I could wear those memories. I had just received a copy of the Spin-Off 2003 CD Collection, so I popped it in the computer to see if there was anything in there that piqued my interest and found a lovely article by Carol Rhoades about spinning colored mohair and the beautiful lace shawl she made, embellished with beads…and that has started another adventure—maybe a few months (or more) down the road I'll have something to report. Spinning is like that.