Monday, November 09, 2009

SOAR, the first couple of days

I had a fantastic time at SOAR and really didn't want it to end.  You can't even imagine how many interesting people were there and how many interesting ideas and stories everyone had.  My retreat sessions were so educational, filled with tips and tricks from the teachers as well as the other attendees.  In order to keep things in a little bit of order, I'll go day by day. 

Wednesday, Oct 28, task for the day: flying for eternity
Luckily, my flight out to Oregon on Wednesday wasn't at 6:00 am like I thought but was at 10:30 am.  I was able to wake up at a normal hour without having to rush around.  I had already packed everything the night before and only had to put things in the car and make sure the car was cleaned out.  I didn't want to have much in it because it would be parked in long-term parking for a few days.  The thing that took me the most time in the morning was figuring out which project to work on in the airport and which spindle I wanted with me in my purse.

When I got to the airport, I had a short wait at the counter and then breezed through security.  You could tell that they were really puzzled by the spinning wheel in my carry-on but they didn't pull me out of line for extra security.  My first plane of the day was a little puddle jumper plane so I had to do a plane-side check-in with my wheeled carry-on.  Luckily, I had already shoved my down jacket in there and my wheel was so well packed that I didn't worry too much about it.  The plane took off right on time and I was off to Chicago.

In Chicago, I was lucky to have my next flight departing from only a couple of gates down from where we arrived.  In O'Hare it always seems like you have to hike to the ends of the earth for your connection.  I grabbed a quick snack and waited for my plane to Seattle.  That flight also left on time and I had LOTS of knitting time on the way.  Oh, I suppose you would like to hear about my knitting project for the trip?

Months ago, I bought a raw shetland fleece to home process.  I cleaned and combed most of the fiber and spun it into a fine laceweight. 

I hadn't done anything with that yarn because the perfect pattern hadn't come along yet.  Then I came across a pattern for a beaded stole in knotions called Rising Fog.  The pattern has a big geometric diamond pattern and, in the center of the diamonds, it has beads.  A few days before leaving, I went into Columbus to the bead store and found some beads to match my handspun.   So on my first plane of day, I cast on and started knitting.

I hit a snag in the Seattle airport on my project.  I was in line for food, put my wallet back into my messenger bag and heard a snapping sound.  Sometimes you just know what happened without having to look.  One of my needles had snapped (oh, I was working this shawl on a pair of straights because all of my circular tips in that size were in other projects or I couldn't find them) and of course it was the one with all of the live stitches on it.  Luckily, like all other knitters out there, I had more than one project with me.  In this case, I had my drop spindles and plenty of fiber.  For a while I would use one with one type of fiber and spinning technique and then would switch when I got bored with that. 

The flight from Seattle to Redmond, Oregon was super fast because we had a strong tailwind and our plane arrived almost 40 minutes early.  By this point, my body thought it was 10 pm but all of the clocks thought it was 7 pm.  Guess who won.  I was met by my shuttle and, after a 45 minute drive, I was at Sunriver Resort in Bend Oregon.  

The Great Hall where we ate dinner and had some classes

Let's just say that the resort was spectacular.  If you like golf, they have 3 different world-ranked golf courses.  If you like skiing, they are known for it.  The resort is in the middle of this housing development/community but you could hardly tell it.  It has its own grocery, school, police and fire departments, post office, etc.  The resort has a number of different buildings including the main lodge, the Great Hall (where we ate and had classes), the Homestead (where there were more classes and the marketplace), and different clusters of rooms.  Our room has spoiled me for hotel stays anywhere.  We had a 3 person suite that had 2 queen sized beds upstairs, a queen sized pull-out sofa, a kitchenette, a fireplace, and a porch outside. 

Seating area in a typical suite which also has 2 queen sized beds and a bathroom upstairs 

Thursday, Oct 29, tasks for the day: registration, figuring out where things were, and marketplace
On Thursday, I woke up extremely early thanks to my body having the firm conviction we were still in Eastern Standard Time.  I used the time to spin a bit, listen to my audiobook and gradually wake up.  Thursday was kind of an "in-between" day.  The workshop sessions were finished and all of the retreat people were coming in.  The retreat sessions were going to begin the next day.  It gave all of us retreat people a chance to figure out where things were and which buildings were which.  The great thing about Thursday, though, was the marketplace opening! 

Everyone stood in line waiting for the doors to open and there was a cheer when they finally did.  Things were a little cramped in there with people going to the most popular booths first.  I like going around everywhere to see everything before going back to purchase.  Well, after that first perusal, let's just say, lots of things in the marketplace ended up coming home with me.  First things first was finding a pair of needles to replace the one that broke.  After that, I had a couple of things to pick up. 

I wanted to buy a drop spindle for a friend so I payed special attention to the spindle offerings.  There were a lot there but nothing that looked like it would be right.  Finally, at the Verb for Keeping Warm booth, I saw the spindle that would work.  The display they used didn't hurt because it really caught your eye.  They had the spindles hanging from a tree branch like a whole bunch of spinning ornaments.  The spindle is a little bit more substantial than the ones I tend to use but will be perfect for someone just learning to drop spindle.  She already knows how to spin on a wheel but wants to be able to spin as she goes.  That's a little harder with a wheel. 

While I was in that booth, a delicious braid/skein/bump/what do you call a bunch of pre-yarn fuzz? called my name and whispered decadent things to me.  It's a beautiful dark grey alpaca silk blend that is going to be a dream to spin.

While I'm talking about fiber, I have a confession.  Approximately, *cough* 3 pounds of assorted fiber came home with me.  I blame waiting in the line for the Rovings booth (that is the name of the store) to see why everyone else was in line (I'm nothing if not a lemming).  By this time, I had met up with my friend Kim from my town and we both waited in line.  Kim had come for the full week so the long line was a nice chance to catch up.  We were standing near a 1.5 pound bag of brown Polworth that was a really good price and soooooooo soft.  I swear, it was love at first sight.  Sigh

The other large purchase was a pound of white Rambouillet from the booth next to Rovings.  It was really funny to see the multi-tasking from the people in line.  You might be in line but there was another booth right there!  People would look into the other booth and say "ooo! I want that.  Here is my money!"  All while not leaving the line. 

Of course, I didn't exactly plan to buy that much fiber.  The suitcase I brought is the size of a carry on.  Actually, my wheel suitcase is bigger than the one I used for my clothing.  What does that say about my priorities?  Anywho, my clothes suitcase has a neat backpack that you can tuck the straps in and zip on to the front of the bag.  That bag was empty and I thought it would be sufficient.  Ha!  But I'll tell you more about packing later. 

After dumping all of my goodies from the marketplace back in my room, my roommates, Kim and I went to lunch.  After lunch was registration for us and an excursion trip to the nearby volcanoes for Kim.  Once we finished registrations, my roommates and I went back to the room and napped for a while.  Later, I found out that we missed the introduction ceremony where all of the teachers were introduced which was a real disappointment.  Dinner was after than and then we went to an impromptu spin-in in the main lodge.   There wasn't really one good place to have groups meet-up like a lobby so we ended up taking over the spot where registration was. 

For me as a newcomer, one downside to this SOAR was how de-centralized everything was.  While I really liked the rooms (lap of luxury!) and the resort, the suites made it somewhat isolated and there wasn't a main lobby.  True, the lodge had one but it wasn't big enough for lots of spinners to take it over.  Classes happened in 3 different buildings (which I totally understand because it would be hard to have that many rooms available in one building) which were usually a far distance from the various suites.  It was hard to get groups of people together because you weren't really sure in which building the most people would gather.  Well, it will just encourage me to go to another!  SOAR 2010, here I come!

1 comment:

Janelle said...

Ooooooo, I would like to go to SOAR one of these days! I know exactly why you succombed to the display at Verb - they had the same one at Sock Summit and it was enchanting. Looking forward to the next post!