I’ve got one of her books and a DVD, but there’s nothing like meeting Judith MacKenzie face to face.  I had the wonderful good fortune to be invited to the home of a new friend last weekend, who just happens to be friends with Judith.  While she was visiting this woman, they decided to host a workshop on Wheel Mechanics and Spinning the Diameter of Yarn You Want.  It was that great combination of learning and good fun.

I have found over the years, that the best instructors are those who combine technical knowledge with good storytelling abilities.  Jacey Boggs has that quality and Judith has it in spades.  This woman has had a full and interesting life!  And she shares her tales with gusto.

So you walk away from her workshops needing time to process all her wonderful tips about the science and art of spinning while also smiling about her stories, adventures and passion for history and experience.

It was an amazing day and I will treasure it.

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Jacey Boggs taught a 2-day workshop for my guild last weekend. Now I know why she’s the rock star of fiber!  Both in style and technical know-how, this chick rocks it out of the park.

To make people feel comfortable, she wore a sweater at the beginning of class.  Then she explained to the mostly middle-aged crowd that she had tattoos and “did we mind” if she took off her sweater.  Yep, her arms are pretty covered, but the magic of her spinning instruction quickly overshadowed her body art.

Jacey offers instruction on a multiple of cool art yarns.  These aren’t just thrown together willy-nilly.  She has figured out the technical approach to making art yarns that can be controlled and duplicated with any fiber you choose. She also talked about what you can do with the yarns and feels they are particularly appropriate for accents to knitting and weaving projects.

Coils, fauxcle, corespinning, wrapping, attaching foreign objects, you name it, we tried it.  The group was so enthusiastic which made it particularly fun.

We were enchanted with Jacey’s winning personality and her straightforward approach to teaching us all her secrets.  She was a gem of an instructor.  We learned so much.

I would recommend a workshop by Jacey any day.  But book her now.  She is so popular, she is scheduling up to 2 years in advance.  By the way, I interviewed her for an episode of WeaveCast.  I am still editing the audio but when it’s ready to post, Syne Mitchell will be sure to put the word out.

As summer comes to an end, I find that I am often pulled away from my spinning and weaving to tend to the ebb and flow of the garden.  After all, this is what we’ve been waiting for; the harvest after all this work is upon us. Tomatoes must get picked, eggplant cut from the vine. 

It’s been a very productive year for my tomatoes, eggplant and beans. 

When the harvest comes into full swing from the middle of August until halfway through September, I spend more time with my cookbooks to see all the ways I can use this wonderful bounty.

But all is not lost on the fiber front.  Many of these wonderful vegetables deserve a slow cook.  Once they are in the pot simmering away, I can usually grab a few minutes at the spinning wheel trying to make some headway on a pile of roving.

Life requires balance.  We need time for our food, rest and fiber…oh and work too:)

My husband and son went away this weekend to indulge their auto racing interests.  My other two kids were off doing their own thing at various times.  Which left me on my own for the first time in a long, long while.  What to do?  There was a plethora of choices, but in the end, fiber won out.

I usually have several projects going simultaneously, but they have languished while I launched the Craft a Guild website and book last month.  Now that it is going along nicely, I returned to unfinished projects and started another.

A spinning group has just been started in my guild and it met for the first time at Cornerstone Yarns in Richfield.  Five ladies and I had a lovely time spinning and talking for a couple of hours.  I hope I’ll be able to make it a regular activity.  Especially since I was able to use some fiber I’ve had for several years.

Then, Saturday, my daughter and I attended the Lakewood Arts Festival where many talented vendors had items for sale.  I ran into my friend Deborah Yorde of Craftsman Hill Fibers in Mt. Vernon, OH.  She had lovely silk scarves for sale and they were selling at a good clip.

Last night, after a full day out, I finished the socks I’ve been working on for so long.  They are now in the back yard, blocked on a towel and drying in the breeze.

Finally, I managed to do the first dyeing step on the woven shibori stole.  I let the colors batch for almost 24 hours and they came out much brighter than my sample from earlier this summer. Today I decided to use water from my rain barrel to wash out the dye.  That worked out beautifully!  I used about 10 gallons to rinse.

Let’s just say, I was exhausted.  But in a good kind of way.

I have a special place in my heart for church architecture. Everything has meaning–the stained glass windows, the iconography, the symbols on the altar, even the layout of the sanctuary.  It represents the divine and the incarnation and it’s a comfort to pause each week and consider the larger picture of eternity.

One particular sculpture in my husband’s church has delighted me over the years.  Probably because I’ve never seen the Virgin Mary depicted in such a way. 

Who knew that Mary was a spinner?  If you look closely, she is spinning fiber from a distaff on a spinning wheel while Jesus and Joseph work at their carpentry. I love the implication that she created yarn in the midst of being mother to the Messiah.

I can’t say that my spinning or weaving reaches heavenly heights, but it’s nice to think that fiber was part of the daily rhythm of the Holy Family.

The Olympics are in full swing and so is my fiber spinning project.  After much thought, I decided to spin a mildly bulky singles yarn to use in a knitting to felting  project.  Slippers come to mind.

In an earlier post, I showed the fiber off the drumcarder.  That fiber is coming together as a nicely colored yarn and looks particularly nice in motion on my Louet S-10 DT.

One of the features I like most about my Louet spinning wheel is the large bobbin capacity.  These bobbins hold so much yarn that you rarely have to change them out. 

Before I drumcarded the fiber, I tried spinning the roving straight after dyeing it.  The bobbin on the left shows how defined the colors are, however, the roving was so matted from the dye, it was difficult to draft and strained my wrists.  Drumcarding opened up the fibers for easier drafting, while blending the colors into an attractive mix.  I have much more fiber to spin, but a nightly turn at the wheel should complete the project by the time of the Olympics closing ceremony.