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Laurie Weinsoft Handspinning
Contact me at: 503-803-7143

October vacations/fiber shows 2014

by Laurie Weinsoft on 10/14/14

As I sit here, cannot believe that OFFF is actually over let alone that my vacation time is quickly coming to an end.  By the phone calls I am receiving maybe taking all of October off might have been a bit much but when you read all I have done this month hopefully my students will understand and forgive my time off.  

The last weekend in September I taught three classes at OFFF.  MY CLASSES WERE ALL FULL.  I even had a waiting list.  Ok ego rein yourself in.  It was so much fun to teach such eager and excited students.  We even helped sell three wheels that weekend to new spinners.  What a great chance for new students to get the benefit of buying a used wheel from former students who are moving up to more professional wheels.  Once again this labor of love for spinning really does seem to spread.  You would think I planned it! 

My carding class the first day was just an explosion of activity. The students walked out of class exhausted with stacks of batts to do some serious spinning practice.  I always learn a great deal from these classes as well.  I am thinking of buying a new drum carder with a longer tined cloth.  We will begin saving and evaluating what is available.  I will keep you posted on my findings out there.  This will be hard as I do so love my Duncan's but there are some others out there that might be fun to get to know as well.  For those that think spinning cannot change after being around for so long has not really paid attention.  So many new innovations every day.  

I have already touched on my beginning spinners but they were all spinning by eleven am.  With 17 in the class, I was very impressed at how well they did listen and learn. Once again we learned that Utube while helpful does not replace actual hands on learning.  The class was so excited at the end of class as the packed up their skeins to show to friends.

Finally we concluded the weekend with spinning two.  I had several former students in this class.  As always I am pleased to see those students again and rejoice in their great progress. We had about two days worth of material to learn in six hours.  As you can imagine I really wanted to give them all I could in one day.  The class ended with an overwhelming request to do a Spinning 2.5 so we could continue this class at black sheep and at OFFF.  PREREQUISITE: you must have already taken spinning two from me.  Would people really sign up for this class? I certainly would gladly teach it.  

I will share more a little later.  So much to say and so little space to say it.  Laurie

Spinning and Quilting

by Laurie Weinsoft on 07/24/14

I was up at 4 am yesterday as we headed over the mountains to see the quilts in Sisters, Oregon. Of course they were beautiful and colorful. Kaffe would have loved them as I bet half of the quilts had Kaffe fabric as a major component. Unfortunately by 10:30 am the temp was heading towards 102 degrees.

I did walk pretty much the whole town with my walker pretty effortlessly thanks to my exercise bike I ride everyday. By noon the heat was unbearable. We hopped in the car and drove to Redmond where there was an indoor quilt show at the expo. It is always interesting to me the number of spinners vs quilters at these shows.

I saw several former spinning students, two with a booth selling gorgeous dyed wool for wool work quilting. Cathy and her daughter and actually her husband are all former students. Cathy is an incredible fabric dyer. If you run across her dyed wool you will see what I mean. She now offers shades of colors which could make a rainbow blush. I was very tempted but didn't get dyed wool yardage mainly because they are cut in small amounts for quilters and I need serious yardage for the sewing I do. Maybe I will do a special dye project with Cathy someday. She has extremely cool kits for quilts too. Cathy is at every quilt show she can attend all over the country.

Then I stopped by the booth that sells rug making supplies. I am also a rug puncher (not a hooker) and visited with Ulla. We are both involved with presenting at OFFF in September. She in the gallery, of course me teaching. We have lots of friends in common in the spinning world so it was fun to visit. I did buy a new bag kit from her. Hopefully I will have time to punch it out before OFFF. Yes I know, who am I kidding.

Heading home over beautiful Mt. Hood I arrived in time for dinner. I spent one hour at my wheel. How I don’t really know how as I was exhausted. The sun will rise here soon and I will take some progress pictures. I may just ply what I have today just to see if my ply plan will work. My ply plan is to ply in little buttons on to my yarn. I'll let you know how it comes out.

Well almost 4:00 am again. You might ask why am I up. Because I fell asleep for the night at 9:00 pm last night but I actually slept at my wheel for at least an hour before my hubby sent me off to bed. Now I have had lots of sleep for me. I may just go fix some coffee and spin watching the sun rise in Oregon. I can

always nap later today. With summer in full swing here the sun rise should be worth seeing. Enjoy your summer wherever you are. I'll see you in September at OFFF.

I have two shows coming up if you want to see my work.  I am having a trunk show at Northwest Wools on August 1st from 1-4:30 and then 6-8:30.  I will be there demonstrating spinning and the blending board. I will also have blending boards for sale should you want one.  I will custom blend fibers for you as well that day so come one in and see what I do when I am not teaching.  There will be some handspun yarns for sale as well.  

The second show opens August 7 at the church/art Gallery next to the Portland Art museum.  This is through the Columbia Fiber Arts Guild.  My two favorite works of art will be displayed for all to see.  My leaf coat and my new handspun sparkle jacket.  I would love to have you see them and let me know what you think  See you then.  

Summer Spinning 2014

by Laurie Weinsoft on 05/27/14

Summer Spinning 2014

It is the end of May, 2014.  Tomorrow we celebrate Bruce’s birthday.  It seems as if the last six months have gone by without even a thought as to the time passing so quickly.  A great deal has happened to me personally that has changed how I look at my life ahead.

In a very short time, I had a close friend find out he had cancer and much too quickly pass away.  Without me even taking a moment to morn this loss, my beloved cairn terrier, Amy, suddenly had full renal failure.  She too was gone before I had a chance to digest her illness.  Six months later, her kennel still sits in our bedroom with the door open as if she will be home soon.  Poor Wilson, my first cairn, misses his buddy too.  Finally a second friend died recently after very short illness that has left me analyzing every thing I do.  I have decided life is just too short to waste a single day doing anything I do not want to do or need to do.  

My first step was to end my working as a bookkeeper/manager.  I think I am just done arranging payments and tax returns.  I am ready for a different life that is all about my family and my art.  If that means I stay home more, cook more meals, see more of my family and create more art, then so be it.  

I have made a commitment to continue offering my classes at Northwest Wools.  With Linda Bering now retired a great deal has changed at my LYS.  I have accepted the challenge to build up the spinning classes.  This summer I am offering a Tuesday class form 1-3 pm.  This is a class we are calling Summer Spinning Fun.  The class will be open to spinners at all levels.  I will teach both drop spindle and beginning spinning to those interested in learning.  If you are already spinning but have questions, problems, or just want to learn more, then please sign up for this class.  The class will cost $75.00 for four weeks of class in advance or $25.00 per week.  Yes you do get one week free if you sign up and pay in advance.  I do have wheels to rent at $10.00 per week should you need a wheel.  I will provide all materials.  As so many students have learned the hard way, properly prepared wool is the key to perfecting the spinning skills you need.  I would love for you to join us this summer.

My regular beginning spinning class will be offered on Tuesday nights from 7-9 at Northwest Wools.  I will be there to bring you the best beginning spinning class in town as you learn to spin on a spinning wheel, learn how to purchase, prepare and enjoy the many fibers available to spinners today.  Included in this class are carding techniques and plying techniques.  At the end of four weeks you should have a very good but broad level of spinning knowledge.  

My spinning two class will continue to meet every second and third thursday each month at my house from 7-9 pm.  You must know how to spin to join this class.  I will offer advice and spinning knowledge as we go but this is a more informal class where you bring in your questions and interest and I do everything I can to give you the skills to create your own special yarn.  

I am thinking of offering a day time spinning two class at my house.  I understand there is possible interest in dyeing workshops, carding workshops, combing, exotics, raw wool preparation and felting.  Please let me know if this interests you.  I have the time now to offer these classes.  

Finally, I set up a Ravelry page for me and my students and those just interested in spinning to join and share what you are making, answer any questions you might have, and just chat with other spinners.  Please join Laurie Weinsoft Hanspinning and Felting on Ravelry.  If you have already joined this group, please stop by and comment and join in the sharing.  I really enjoy hearing from my students and friends.  

Additional notes:  PLY Magazine is re-printing the first issue.  You can order it online.  Check out PLY on Ravelry. 

I think I am going to try and attend the Nordic Heritage Knitting conference in my old home town of Seattle in October.  If you are there and you see me, please stop and say hello.  I love seeing old students and friends as well as making new friends along the way.

See you all at Black Sheep.  We are just a few short weeks away.  We have been working hard here dyeing and washing wool for my classes.  You lucky students are going to have so much fun and way too many wonderful choices to card.  

I hope you all can follow your personal dreams.  Have a great fibery summer.  Laurie

Our trip to Taos Wool Festival 2013

by Laurie Weinsoft on 10/20/13

Thursday October17, 2013. I haven't written a blog for a longtime because I was so busy during the summer creating clothes and yarn and teaching. But with fall heavy in the air it is time to blog again. 

I returned last week from a vacation that I looked at as my last really big travel event. Trust me it isn't getting easier to travel when you have a walker, a cane and a c-pap machine along with my knitting, drop spindle, fiber, pills, oh yes, and clothes.  To say the least Parkinson's makes any travel cumbersome before I even deal with where I am going and how will I get there. I cannot thank my husband enough for all his loving help and support on this last trip. I would have had to stay home if not for him.  Oh what I would have missed!  

As most of you reading are spinners I will start with Taos.  The wool festival in Taos, New Mexico has been a long held dream for me to attend. I considered signing up for a class there but realized early on there just was no guarantee when we would arrive in Taos or how exhausted I would be.  It turns out I was hit by some serious low energy issues so my time was limited when we arrived.  I got there just about noon on Saturday. I almost leaped from the car as we drove slowly through Taos. There was plenty of traffic in this two street town all seemed heading to the festival. 

Taos is about two hours from Santa Fe on a rather questionable bumpy highway in places.  It is in one of the most beautiful scenic spots I have ever visited.  Mileage wise Bruce and I figured a quick drive from Santa Fe but it turned out to be more like a winding mountain road in places and lots of small cities in between. The drive isn't fast but if I had lots more money and time, I could have stopped every mile or two for more native jewelry.  Art galleries, casinos, and trading post stores dot the countryside.  If I had know where to stop I would have done so.  The unbelievable desert scenery, the blue mountains and high plateaus are just amazing. Even the casinos were adobe and didn't interfere with my view.  My best description would be colorful.  

Taos on the other hand is exactly what I expected.  Mostly small art galleries line the streets with McDonald's there to let us know we are still in an all American town. This is the home of Kit Carson.  A true pioneer who came to be a hero in this part of the country.  Some descendants of his still live in Taos. As we approached the Kit Carson Park for the festival Bruce and I noticed in great glee that one of our favorite artists, J.D. CHALLENGER has a gallery right there in Taos.  We later discovered it only opened by appointment and Bruce didn't want to call them and bother the gallery owners just so we could look and not really buy anything.  Sorry j.d, but your paintings are not in the budget this year.  

I had finally arrived.  I had a couple of goals: don't buy too much ( how would I get it home) and spin on the Rio Grande wheel (that wasn't going home either). I was very surprised at how small a show Taos proved to be. I would say maybe half the vendors or less than OFFF.  There were plenty of shoppers but not crazy crowded as I expected.  The first booth I hit was filled to the ceiling with kid mohair locks dyed and placed in plastic baskets.  Dozens of colors. It was like walking into a library and not knowing which book to choose.  I asked if I could have a few plastic bags to fill with colors of locks.  To owner handed me one.  She doesn't know me obviously. No I need six bags please. I filled the bags and would have bought more but it was my first stop. I couldn't stop already, I just got there. A couple booths down was an angora breeder but I have way too much angora so I skipped her.  I also skipped all the Navaho churro wool, Romney wool and other long wools as I have tons of that here and I just don't spin much of that type of wool. Next stop was a buffalo booth. They were selling beautiful buffalo yarns and hats but I wanted fiber. Just as I was about to leave I spot a large bag of buffalo/ silk roving. I couldn't resist.  Three ounces please. The next stop was a yak booth.  These people filled a horse watering trough with yak, flash and wool chunks.  Then kind of stirred them up. I filled a bag if this crazy mix.  I haven't really decided how I am going to spin this but it is pretty and soft. Then I see these wrist warmers. Hand felted and pleated.  I bought a pair for me and one pair for Elsa for watching my dogs.  They are very purple and pretty.  I wander into a booth selling Spinolutin wheels. Great wheels by the way but hard for me to pedal thanks to Parkinson's. In the back of her booth she had the prettiest carded batts in jewel tones and flash. I bought three bags of those. Then I see a sign, Elsa Wool. Cool I will bring Elsa wool to spin from Elsa wools.  It turns out they make undyed wool clothes, hats and mittens to take home and dye yourself. I bought some gloves and mittens and figure I will dye them later this fall. My last purchase was a new Maggie spindle.  I like how they spin and I needed something to enable me to sample my mohair.  Mission accomplished in a couple of hours. I was tired and ready to nap. Bruce and I headed back to the car with a quick stop to visit Kit Carson's grave next door to the festival. 

I was dissappointed not to find the Rio Grande wheel at the show.  Bruce and I decided to try and find South West weaving home of the Rio Grande wheel. To my personal joy Bruce was willing to drive a bit more and find it for me.  Ten minutes north of Taos sits a very small doorway.  Inside are walls of beautiful colored yarn and lots of looms.  There is a Rio Grande wheel in the window. It had do not touch vibes so I asked if I could try a wheel if they had one.  The lady was sorry but the only one I could try was being used in a class in the back. I told her I had come from Oregon to see the wheel. I just want a moment with it please. I was invited to the back of the shop and introduced to the teacher.  She gave me a quick lesson and away I spun.  Oh the joy of spinning on such a wheel.  The size of a great wheel it spun like a dream come true. This wheel is so worth trying.  Wishing I could order one but knowing I have no more room for another wheel of this size, I said my thank you and off we went.  With my bucket list fulfilled, I was so completely satisfied I suggested we see the Pueblo reservation tomorrow and head back to Santa Fe for our final day in New Mexico. Bruce agreed. 

Early the next morning we visited the amazing Pueblo Reservation.  It is a most interesting place with three story adobe homes built almost like a primitive apartment complext. The buildings we were told have stood for more than a 1000 years.  We were there so early that few others had come to visit yet.  We were able to chat at length with the native people living and working in this historical landmark. In spite of constant daily tourist visits there is a long tradition of families actually living in these homes today.  The children speak the native language until they start school then they work hard to catch up in English. Many of the locals sell jewelry, drums, and delicious foods to the tourists.  I bought some beautiful things there.  If you go to Taos some day do not miss seeing the Pueblo. I learned so much there just talking to the people. I cannot begin to express to you how much we enjoyed our visit

One last day in Santa Fe then off we flew to Disneyland. I have been to Disneyland four times in my life. I took children once.  I find it to be such a fun and magical place.  A great deal harder to enjoy from my walker and cane so we rented a motorized cart for me to buzz around the two parks in.  That was a good but difficult choice as there are so many people in Disneyland that I felt like I was playing dodgeball with human targets most of the time.  Really, if you see or hear a motorized vehicle heading your way, for heavens sake MOVE.  I fear the day I will be dependent on a similar vehicle on a daily basis.  People want to pretend you are not there so they ignore you and the vehicle.  In my case that lasted until they stepped in front of me and sweet Bruce would not so calmly say "watch out".  We are lucky to have avoided a serious confrontation.  Handicapped access is ok at Disneyland. It is much better in the California Adventure.  Either way I rode the rides, shopped and ate.  It was still magical to me.  I wish I could have brought one of my classic wheels and dressed as a princess and spun yarn all day.  The looks on all those children's faces would have been priceless.  As it was I did drop spindle for a short while in the lobby of our hotel, the Grand California, and met several little girls who were curious.  If you are a California spinner and you are reading this, really we spinners need a spin-in in Disneyland.  After all where did you first see a spinning wheel and wonder what it would feel like to turn straw into gold?

See you around Portland this fall.  Classes are back in full swing.  I also have a shawl on display in November at the MoCC in the Pearl as part of a mentoring program I was part of last summer. I was so pleased to have it chosen to display. So please go and see it. 


Summer 2013

by Laurie Weinsoft on 07/27/13

3:00 AM on Saturday morning.  I woke up in the middle of the night and cannot sleep.  I have so far since crawling into bed decided to sell my hoodie scarf pattern on raverly.  That plan has kept me from great sleep as I have no idea how one sells a pattern on the raverly system. Or do I try selling on etsy. Or on both.  I have yarn to sell and my beautiful batts to sell.  I really have to reduce my stash.  I received three braids of fiber last night that are so beautiful. I was tempted to run them through my carder.  They are going to be amazing batts. But then the plan was to make these the prize in the great spinning challenge.  I can always buy more.  

I volunteered to teach a class for students at PNCA which is an art college here in Portland.  While I was terribly disappointed by having only two students show up out of the five that signed up, it was great fun exposing them to the world of spinning.  This was to be a lecture only but if you have ever taken a class from me you know i am very generous with my fibers and equipment.  With only two students, I was easily talked into letting them try the wheels.  They both got to spin just a little but they both caught on easily enough.  Hopefully they will come back and learn more someday soon.  I would do it again in spite of the small numbers.

OFFF is just a month away.  I had a heck of a time even finding the registration page because the website does not come up as Oregon flock and fiber but as flock and fiber.  You have to really want to find it to get there.  I am teaching all day Friday and all day Sunday.  The Friday class is a great class to advance your spinning and design skills. The Sunday class is all about spinning exotic fibers that halo. These are really wonderful classes.  Fun to teach as i love to see that moment on a students face when the fiber-spinning connection clicks and true creativity begins.  If you are just reading my blog for the first time or never took one of my classes before, OFFF is a nice place to take a class from me.  I live not far from Canby and can bring more fibers and equipment to try and learn from than when I go to Black Sheep Gathering.  I would love to meet you there. 

Back to my wheels. I have been repairing all my wheels as fall is always a busy beginning spinning lesson time.  Will you be inspired to learn this year?  See you in class or at OFFF. 

One last thing, check out the classes listed below.  Those are all happening in the next month or two.  

As the Wheel Spins...