To Hood River and Back

The Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival was held in the town of Hood River which is near the eastern end of the Columbia Rive Gorge. A beautiful drive, especially when it’s not raining. The rain drizzled out of low clouds obscuring the mountains on the Washington side of the river. With the abundance of April rain waterfalls were a multitude of ribbons streaming down the southern cliffs of the Gorge. Most only narrow bands plummeting hundreds of feet. Trying to keep my attention on the freeway traffic, which I was very thankful was relatively light and amazingly very few semis, I resisted the urges to pull over and take pictures. Another day.

The camera sat on the table. Neglected.
I am so dismayed that I completely forgot to take any pictures of the spinning students. Not even one group photo of the fabulous group.

There were 10 in the drop-spinning workshop that I taught. The most I’ve taught at one time was 3, and that was only a brief introduction. The class got off to a smooth start, despite several bumps:

No roster, no name tags, no signs signifying which rooms were which…

I had hoped to receive names of the students and a tour of the my workshop room after arriving Friday afternoon. But Yvonne had her hands full getting the Marketplace properly organized and settled. Yvonne did a tremendous job with this her first fiber festival!  There was a major snafu Friday with the Marketplace which was upstairs and had been incorrectly taped off for the vendor spaces. But with patience and willingness to adjust and adapt it all worked out. It felt like a cozy rabbit warren with dead end trails, lots of fibery goodness and wonderful, friendly vendors on every turn.

I checked in with Cheryl, my roomie for the weekend. (I’m ashamed I have no picture of her or her booth either.) I feebly tried to help her get set up. She probably heaved a sigh of relief when I left and she could work unhindered. I went exploring for the workshop room. A friend, also named Wanda :), came to my rescue. Leading the way past the booths we went to the back of the vendor room, through a door, past a long hall and to a corner door. A large picture of Mt Hood hung on the wall – the only indication that it was the right room. Other than horrible lighting it looked like a comfortable room for a class.

Saturday morning workshop. The students were wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed them. I am extremely grateful for all the cheerful, eager participants, and especially for Monica and Barbara who knew how to spin with wheels but wanted to learn how to use a spindle. Part way through they unobtrusively started helping others who were struggling. What a tremendous blessing they were. Every single person in the class was a jewel! I couldn’t have asked for a better group for my first full-fledged workshop. Sunday morning I asked Yvonne to please give me all their emails so I can thank them personally. (she said she’d email them to me)

Despite not being able to organize the way I had hoped to by arriving in the room early, (so much for good intentions, I allowed myself to be sidetracked by other early people) all seemed to go smoothly for the first part. Then I gave them a short break, a huge mistake. My intention was to give them a breather, and to quenching my thirst with some energizing drink, and I needed to get my brain together for the last half of the class. I wasn’t able to get a drink, I became too distracted, my stuff was not well enough organized on the table which sat in the back corner along the wall. I should have moved it closer to hand.

I lost focus. I can’t put my finger on what precisely lead to that transition. I do know that my brain tends to get muddled and shut down with low blood sugar combined with too much multi-tasking and/or stimulation happening all around me. Towards the end someone asked to buy a spindle and from there it went downhill. I can’t believe I didn’t formally dismiss the class. To say Thank You.

That afternoon I went back to the room and thought through the class and took note of what I need to do better next time. I so want there to be a next time! I’m jazzed at the improvements I’ve made: a narrower focus – don’t try to cover so much territory! Keep the information simple. Have only the very basic supplies. I was going crazy with all the stuff I’d taken. Too much stuff cluttered my brain and stifled thinking ability. The last hour will be devoted to one on one time with each individual.  These are simple things that should be no brainers. In my eagerness to teach others to spin I set out to cover way too much ground thus overwhelming us all.

I was so bummed when I realized I’d forgetton to take any pictures that I didn’t have the heart to take any in the marketplace. I did manage to get one of Yvonne when I hung out for a while at her booth Sunday morning. She’s game to do this again next year! 🙂

After the marketplace closed on Saturday Cheryl and I had dinner with Mr Duncan, of Duncan Carders, a fine gentle man with a keen memory and lots of good stories. (We missed his wife, Joanne – spinner extraordinaire, who was quite sick.) The week long rain had finally cleared so after eating we walked along the Columbia River to get a bit of fresh air and exercise. Looking east.

Climbing the hotel steps after taking my gear to the car the next morning I was delighted to see the peak of Mt Hood, northside view, peeking over the ridge.

Didn’t I buy anything in the marketplace? Why, yes! A couple skeins from Abstract Fiber and a skein from Stitchjones
I’d taken the pattern, and needles, for my next project with me and the 1st skein of yarn I’d bought from AF a month ago before I realized it didn’t want to be what I’d intended it for but a shirt: Buttercup by Heidi Kirrmaier. For a lack of a decent brain casting on became a never ending battle which was finally won only after returning home. The back/raglan shoulders part is almost to the point of joining up for knitting in the round.

Llama update: I spun the last of the singles last evening and plyed another bobbin tonight. Down hill sliding. Here’s the first skein, half which I dyed with Landscape Kangaroo Paw.


Author: Wanda J

I never dreamed my life would be entangled with fiber and the tools used to produce fibery items. When I bought a boat shuttle used in weaving Ed looked at it, decided to make a better one and the rest is history. For a decade he made shuttles, crochet hooks, knitting needles, until his spindles became so popular that he had to devote his time to making them, as well as Walking Wheels. Free time is spent reading, trying to coax food from the ground, and playing in the creek near our place. I love long walks and camping far from crowds. Playing a fiddle beside a stream or with good friends brings sweetness to my soul. Sundays are set aside for worshiping God with our small Quaker meeting.

4 thoughts on “To Hood River and Back”

  1. I’m sure you are your own worst critic, and that you did a wonderful job! While you were gone I visited Woodland Woolworks, and picked up a most wonderful little Canary Delight. (I am so sad Diane has to close, and am trying to spend any discretionary monies I have there to help.)

  2. congrats on teaching your first class! definitely keep it simple, many years of teaching workshops led me to the same conclusion. I just wanted to share every tip and trick I had learned, and its just way too overwhelming for a beginner. I felt that way in the first class I took with Judith McKenzie, when everyone else in the room was a more experienced spinner than I, got me hooked though 🙂

  3. Thank you for all your descriptive words!
    Sounds like it was a good festival.
    Mt. Hood looks “suck in your breath” beautiful!
    Teaching,as with anything; you know most about it when you have done it more…..
    Happy Easter!

  4. That sounds like an amazing weekend, on a lot of levels. I really recognize your list of things to work on – but I especially recognize it as the mark of a good teacher, paying attention to what students need and to how to make it happen. I bet you were as wonderful as the first commenter said, and you’re only going to get better! 🙂

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