Monday, April 21, 2008

Knitting and Dyeing and Felt, Oh Boy!

And beading and teaching and dancing and more!

It's been a busy time at the world headquarters of Smoky Mountain Fibers. Between work deadlines, the regular end of the semester and a seriously kick ass month at the Etsy shop, I have been a busy little worker bee. But I haven't forgotten to have fun.

I led my first English Country Dance on Sunday. After nearly 20 years of calling contras, it was time to start leading English dances. Bob Dalsemer of the John C. Campbell Folk School was our scheduled leader, but allowed me to call one. Our budding English dance is very supportive to one another as we rebuild the dance in the Asheville area. It was so fun! Harder - different terminology, but great fun and good feedback. Yeah!!!

I've been dyeing some of my favorite colorways - red/purple and blue/green. I also sold my first felt flowers! Easy and sweet - with no 2 the same. At least so far... I have also been playing with beads to make stitch markers. Technique is still a bit shaky, but I'm getting better.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Dancing and Dyeing - and the day job!

Well, I've neglected this blog for entirely too long. Between Smoky Mountain Fibers, my day job, and my dance schedule, I'm afraid I have been neglectful and not only to this blog. I am a bit behind on a number of other things as well.

Work is busy and good, but developing and teaching a new undergraduate course is like being in grad school again, but you never get done with your papers. Maybe once the grades are in, I'll feel better. The it will be time to revamp the course for the summer session, but that won't be bad. My plan is to make a topical outline rather that chronological one, so that the syllabus doesn't change as much as the schedule does. A bit of work for tomorrow and some test questions to write for the final - that's about it for today.

Dancing has been lots of fun. I've been contradancing for about 25 years; calling for almost that long. But since I finished grad school, I have been English Country Dancing both in Asheville (in our fledgling group) and farther afield. I find the dancing much more challenging and I flat out love the music. So in addition to our alternate Sunday afternoons, I have been seeking out and attending English dances with well known leaders and musicians. In early March, I attended the Durham (NC) Sun Assembly's Spring DanceFest. Gene Murrow (New York) Taught afternoon workshops and led the evening dances with Mara Shea (of the Elftones) leading the band. It was quite wonderful, particularly because I was probably the least experienced dancer there.

On the weekend of March 28th, I attended the Nashville (TN) Playford Ball weekend with A Joyful Noise (Philly area) and Phillippe Callens over from Belgium. Again, I was inexperienced (though not the worst dancer in the hall!) but the music and dancing was wonderful and if I wasn't hooked before, I am now. And yes, I have started collecting dances to begin leading (calling in contra and square parlance). Pretty magical!

Smoky Mountain Fibers is sailing along. On top of the activity of the Etsy store, my LYS has given my dyed roving about double the shelf space and sales have really increased. They want sock yarn too, but I'm a wee tad behind on that (plus it keeps selling on Etsy before I get it to town - gotta love that!). The Coop at the WNC Farmer's Market wants more yarn and roving, so I think that the summer season will stay busy. I'll be tending both shops soon so I can encourage sales of my work while I earn a bit of extra cash! Not bad for off season.