After a crazy busy work week, with more crazy business slated for tomorrow, today was a little piece of awesome. My favorite Saturday of the month—fiber guild! I can honestly say that one of the very best parts of trading Chicago for the mountains of NE Tennessee has been finding Limestone Creek Fiber Guild. These women are amazing.
I’m normally reluctant to share pictures and stories from fiber guild because it’s an intimate, private feeling kind of thing, and I think everyone likes it that way. Today, we had all sorts of visitors, though, so I thought this might be a good chance to say a little bit about what goes on one wonderful Saturday a month.
Our host is someone who has maintained a seriously demanding career in business while simultaneously attending culinary school, starting a llama farm, and launching her own fiber business. She grew up in Charleston. She exudes everything beautiful, welcoming, and warm about the South. She has peacocks. She cooks things that stay in your head forever as the absolute best. Pound cake, coconut flan pie, shrimp etoufee, mushroom bisque . . . She makes it look easy. When she greets you at the door, you are the exact person she’s been waiting to see. You want to stay there and knit or spin and cuddle with the cats and pet the dogs and visit . . . forever.
And the regulars at Fiber Guild are equally wonderful. One is in her eighties and was born in Limestone. She’s got more energy than I do. She still bales her own hay. She’s a nurse. She’s a gardener. She’s a cook. And she’s hilariously funny. Others have come to the area from the Northeast, the Pacific coast, Florida. They are scientists, technology geeks, academics, artists, authors. And the super amazing, most wonderful part of it all is that they knit, spin, crochet, or weave with an absolute passion. In some ways it’s like waking up surrounded by people from your home planet after you’ve spent a lifetime hanging out with aliens.
Today, the guild was visited by a woman who has a plan to help people in Zimbabwe make spinning wheels from old bicycles. She’s doing graduate work at a nearby university, and this is a project she’s well on her way to realizing. The people she’s working with have fiber animals but no way to process the fiber. With spinning wheels they could turn the fiber into yarn. We got to see a prototype of her bicycle spinning wheel and actually try it out. She was looking for feedback from the guild’s experienced spinners, and I think she got a lot. At some point in the not-too-distant future, there will be some sort of crowdfunding going on, and I’ll be sure to post a link. Pretty cool, huh?
We also got to meet a couple who raise alpacas and have recently opened their own fiber mill. A number of guild members purchase fiber by the fleece, and several even have fiber animals themselves, so a mill willing to do custom work on a small scale is an exciting prospect.
They brought samples of their alpaca fiber for everyone to try out, and it was luscious. I can definitely see myself spinning more of it in the future.
My contribution to the pot luck this month was paleo brownies. They were just okay. Our host’s gluten free, dairy free chocolate cream pie, on the other hand, was delicious!
When we weren’t talking or eating or learning about cool new things, I spun and knit on this swatch of handspun.
It was a very happy day.