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Have you booked your place at the 2011 Maritime Spinners Retreat?

Mimi and I just did.

This year’s Retreat is being hosted by Gaspereau Valley Fibres & The Potluck Spinners; it promises to be a real treat. The theme this year is ‘Spin Local’. At last year’s closing banquet is was suggested that the theme is really going to be Spin Local, Drink Local but I’m not sure that anyone else will remember that…it was a jolly evening!
2010’s Retreat was themed ‘Spin Wild!” focusing on wild fibre and art yarns so no surprise, I had a great time. Last year’s PEI hostesses Louise and Elaine are packing along their feathers and we three will still be spinning slightly off kilter this year (I know I can’t help it). We hope you’ll join us, especially with the event (at Old Orchard, Greenwich NS) being so close to Halifax.
You can find more information and the nuts and bolts of booking your spot at the official retreat blog by clicking here.
Here are some fun moments from last year:

Games included forcing ‘straight-laced’ spinners to spin a single blindfolded…and it was a race!

I bought a lot from our fellow vendors…The Loop made money that weekend, but I spent a lot of mine.
Mimi and I taught mini sessions playing upon our wild theme; Knitting Without a Map and Freeform Crochet.
On Day 2, fully into the swing of things, we were encouraged to wear wild outfits…luckily I had brought my Noro Tutu. Oops, I guess I never blogged that project.

We had a great time as vendors. Hope to see you in the valley this year!

spider silk shawl

Not long ago, I read about the seemingly lost art of spinning gossamer–yarn plied from spider silk–in Judith MacKenzie McCuin’s wonderful book, “The Intentional Spinner”. Then, the other day, Brady Muller, chef at our neighbour Ciboulette CafĂ©, sent me a link to an article in the New York Times about an astonishing textile currently on display at New York’s Museum of Natural History: an 11-foot cloth woven from the silk of the golden orb spider of Madagascar. This is a contemporary textile, the brainchild of a British textile historian and an American fashion designer. It is breathtakingly beautiful, strong and priceless. What an inspiration to spinners–or should I say, aspiring spiders!

flax fibres

A Harvard-led team of archeologists and paleobiologists examining microscopic soil samples from a cave site in the Republic of Georgia believe they have found the oldest textile fibres recorded. The tiny twisted flax fibres are thought to date back more than 34,000 years. Now that’s old yarn stash! Read more about the find here. Those prehistoric yarnies were onto something–linen (Louet’s Euroflax lace and sport) is a favourite of ours, too.

louet sport champagne


October 24th, Morgan and I pulled up stakes, folded up our wheels, and headed for the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s, Cape Breton, for the 7th annual Maritime Spinners’ Retreat. The scenery was beautiful, the weather was perfect and the bobbins were spinning fast and furiously.


With 100 spinners from throughout Atlantic Canada in attendance, as well as a number from other provinces and the Eastern US , it was a great opportunity to connect and commiserate with other fibre enthusiasts. Every skill level was represented, from absolute beginner to expert, and a mentor system and a series of mini-workshops provided everyone with a chance to pick up new skills ranging from drop spindling to Navajo plying. In fact, the retreat provides those with little or no spinning experience with a rare chance to see and try many styles of wheel and to get many different perspectives on the craft.

A daily vendors’ market presented a dizzying array of fibre and tools, and there were yoga sessions, mini-massages, Celtic harp lessons, a milling frolic, a Ceilidh and scenic walks. There was hardly any time to spin!

Next year’s retreat will take place in New Brunswick and–as always–all spinners and would-be spinners are welcome. Stay tuned for details!

Cathy is merriment
Mimi is starlings
Morgan is pomoboho
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