My Dallas buddies, Dia and Vicki and I scurried down to Charlevoix, Michigan last Sat. for the Fiber Festival. Sheep, rabbits, fleeces, yummy rovings, hooked rugs and supplies, yarns, dyed and undyed. It was a glut I hadn't experienced since my last visit to a Taos Wool Festival six years ago. Three high spots for me were first, finding My8Kidsmom from Etsy and Ravelry and her gorgeous rovings. Bought super soft merino and tencel blends. Next was the dynamite booth of Colortura Yarns and their giant skeins. These men have taking color to another level with subtle shades and textures all named after operas.About four big racks of the jumbo skeins had us oogling and touching for a long time. Dia, of Legalpot on Etsy bought the Tosca colorway to make the chevron shawl she is grinning over. Next my fiber maven lady, Martie, has me checking out hooked rugs, as that is her new passion. The fish felt like an oil painting with texture. Sheep Thrills focused more on hooking and less on promotion as they had no business cards or website. Rather refreshingly pure as they focused on their passion for hooked pieces such as the Rooster.
Angora rabbits add another aspect to wool festivals. This grey bunny endured countless kid caresses.
Next late July will find me prowling the 2010 festival for sure.
Yesterday we piled into the minivan and drove up to Cross Village to check out the much-talked-about new Cross Village Rug works, a self-sustaining Artisan community focus on weaving and hooking rugs. Fleece is bought from local farmers, processed at Stonehedege Fiber Mill in East Jordan, Michigan, dyed in the shop with eco-friendly dyes and then woven or hooked by local apprentices. About four huge 60" Cranbrook counter-march looms anchor the weaving room. In the back studio are therug hooking frames. The map shown here is a commission and is about five feet in diameter. Very impressive. The basket of yarn is ready for that canvas. My favorite rug hooking canvas is the little house pen and watercolor commission. It reminds me of Tasha Tudor's style. She, herself, was a spinner and weaver.
Just around the corner from Rug Works is the Three Pines Gallery where Joann Condino has her fiber studio on one side and her husband has his ceramic studio on the other. Joanne is a master dyer and is amazing with indigo. She has a full schedule of art workshops through out the year.
I am near the end of my visit to Northern Michigan this year, but can hardly wait for a longer stay in 2010 so I can spend more time with these talented people
Each summer we retreat to a family cottage in magical Wequetonsing, Michigan. Kids can ride bikes, hit the beach, learn to sail and find out what tennis is all about. It's ok to ride your bike around the block without a parent hovering. Great freedom. Lake Michigan is only about 65 degrees, so adult swimming is scarce, but Zoe and Sophie have been doing cannonballs off the Weque dock and swimming out to the raft with great zest. They are both old enough for the sailing program at day camp. You see them here out with their ten-year-old skipper.
Yesterday was chilly and cloudy until noon. My big kids ventured out on the Third Steet dock to check out the sailing classes. Eliza, my daughter-in-law and in-house professional photographer, was busy shooting away. I hope I get to share some of her shots of the area in my next post.
I never want to go home from this place. Friends come visit, I spend time with friends I've made up here that live all over the country. Lots of books get read, yarn gets spun and the knitting needles click away.
This morning found me watching something called a Treasury Clock. All of a sudden, I had the chance to snag a much prized Etsy Treasury to fill with my own choices. As I was slogging through creating that, the roving of my own I had included sold in my shop along with a tiny little other roving to give me my 100th Etsy sale. Big deal in Etsy circles and HUGE for me. Turns out I really love Etsy and all the ancillary things I have learned along the way as I create a blog, do a Facebook page, and, God forbid, Twitter. It's all part of the glue that holds the shop together. And, of course, Cordova Studios couldn't do it without all the folks like you!
Cleo, my rescued Rottie, went to the "Rainbow Bridge" this morning to romp with her friends, Luna and Cookie. At three, she was turned in with a Schnauzer for chasing the cat. Well, the Schnauzer had to be the culprit as Cleo, never gave my cats a glance. With a few sessions of training, she became an AKC Good Citizen dog, great on leash and off. Ever gentle with puppies, small dogs, and tiny babies to active pre-schoolers, she was the quintessential companion. She gave a scary bark when someone came to the door which gave me a great sense of security. She sensed my moods and was there to comfort. She would have been thirteen this October. Trinket and I miss her greatly already.
I'm a sure enough Dallas native who spent a good part of my life in northern New Mexico, where I learned the arts of spinning, weaving, and dyeing. Combining those skills with my long time love, knitting, is what I do best these days.