Several years ago I got it in my mind that I wanted to be a beekeeper. I had no experience and no land, but I did have parents amenable to the idea of keeping bees, and they happened to live on ten acres not too far away. I pored over books and websites about beekeeping and then ordered the necessary materials. Soon, we had two happy hives buzzing away in my parents’ back yard. Since then, I have moved twice to two different states while the bees have stayed put.
How is it that I have only now got around to weaving something using a honeycomb pattern? Perhaps I was waiting for the right yarn to enter my life? Well, it finally did last month.
In July, I attended The New England Weavers Seminar (NEWS) in Northampton, Massachusetts. This was my first experience at a weaving conference as a participant and not a booth girl. What an amazing time!
Blumenthal treated us to wonderful lectures; I cruised through the vending hall and various exhibitions, and met weavers from all over the region.
I also spent three days in an intensive dyeing workshop taught by Vicki Jensen of PRO Chemical & Dye. Over the course of three days, I dyed myself silly. The experience was filled with ‘Ah ha!’ moments. I seem to always seem to be looking for that perfect color, and now the tools to make that color are within my grasp. During class I dyed a 2/8 JaggerSpun Maine Line wool starting with blue and orange and gradually blended them into a very cool muddy green. The fact that I got to use beakers and graduated cylinders was immensely appealing to my inner geek.
The whole experience reminded me of the value of learning new skills and weaving is the perfect craft for the life-long learner. I left the conference, having signed up for a four-year master weaver program at the Hill Institute in Florence, Massachusetts. I start in the fall of 2010. I can’t wait.
If you can attend an event like this, I highly recommend it. Just being around that many weavers is inspirational!
My newly-dyed yarn paired beautifully with a cone of Bartlettyarns peacock blue sport weight wool. I immediately set to planning my honeycomb project—a library bag.
Because we are on the subject of learning, I have to tell you that I am a huge fan of the library. I can even tell you my first library card number that I got when I was four or five years old. It’s 4011, which, incidentally, is also the produce code for bananas. Check it out next time you’re at the grocery store. My old library card number is stamped all over your bananas.
Each week, I walk the half-mile between my house and my local library, where I check out both audio books to enjoy while weaving and print books to fill in my rare bits of free time. Each week I have to fish.