Recap – Ply Away III

I had lofty plans to update the blog everyday this week, but sixteen hour days got the better of me.  Wednesday I learned about teaching and wool structure. 

Abby Franquemont is one of my favorite teachers and that continued to be true in her class on teaching.  She’s full of all the best snark, but has the most gentle way of guiding new spinners into successfully making yarn.  I definitely picked up some tips to practice with.  I guess you could say I’m now a graduate and certified teacher of the Abby Franquemont method of teaching spinning.

Joking aside, I’ll be incorporating some of her methods into my own teaching style and am looking forward to being able to share that with the community.

I had another half day with Deb Robson.  In this class, we focused on the structure of wool.  With only five students, we had a pretty intense conversation about the microscopy of wool and about how little we actually know about why certain structures exist in the wool.  For example, we don’t understand why wool crimps.  Deb has a great article about this in the Spring 2018 issue of Spin Off.

Thursday and Friday brought two days of plying.  


I spent Thursday with Esther Rodgers.  I count myself lucky to have the chance to take class with her in her return to the fiber community after a life-threatening illness and surgery.  Esther is the queen of art yarn and SAORI weaving.  We focused on layering ply in this class.  We learned the difference between crepe and cabled yarns.  A crepe yarn is any plied yarn that is plied with a single.  A cabled yarn is any plied yarn plied with a plied yarn.

Thursday, I had a full day of plying with Judith MacKenzie.  And let me tell you, Judith takes a completely different angle on plying.  She focused on more traditional yarn structure and the value of increased number of plies for the knitter. That said, we finished the class with a little bit of flair.  We trapped mohair cloud between two plies for a gorgeous, fluffy yarn.  Judith likes to say “You can, if you like” which roughly translates into… you can do anything you want, but it doesn’t mean you’ll get the result you want.

Both Wednesday and Thursday, I stayed for the spin-in.  I had to get a selfie with Sasha of DM Fibers and Karen of BobnWeave.  I had a great time hanging with Ruth, Karen, and Sasha.  We even got a little silly and competitive seeing who could spin the finest yarn.

Thursday, several of us went out to dinner at Jack Stack BBQ: Esther Rodgers, Abby Franquemont, Stephanie Gaustad, David & Sasha of DM Fibers, Karen, and Ruth.  We got a private room and it was delightful to have a quiet meal after another long day.






Friday,  I spent half a day with Maggie Casey learning the difference between American and English long draw.  I felt pretty secure in my long draw before entering the class, but I really have a handle of the two techniques now.  If I’m allowed to gloat just a little, Maggie spotted my skein of American long draw on the floor and passed it around as an example of what a good long draw looks like.  If Maggie gives me the pass, I’m going to say I’ve got it down!

Finally, I finished up the day with a spin and nosh with Jillian Moreno.  This is a relaxing class where we sample different wools and learn about (and try) different sheep cheeses.  This year, we sampled down breeds and a variety of high quality sheep cheeses.

It was in Jillian’s class  class that we received an urgent knock on the door.  Someone across the room got up to unlock it.  It was David of DM Fibers.  He pointed at me across the room and said, “You… I need you…”  It turns out that Jacey (the impartial judge) had drawn my name to win a new spinning wheel from DM Fibers.  This was truly a fantastic way to wrap up the weekend.







3 comments on “Recap – Ply Away III”

  1. Karen E MacEwan Reply

    It was awesome hearing of your adventures at PlyAway! I love the video! Thanks for hanging out as much as you did! I know that being a student can be particularly exhausting!! Congratulations on winning the wheel!!

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