Colors of fall: writing retreats and fall colors

I spent a week working in a friend’s timeshare last week (thank you Kristy!). I got a lot of writing done and I even participated in Spinzilla. I spent some time hiking including one trek into Rocky Mountain National Park. Here are a few of my explorations.

The colors were changing. By the end of the week, most of this was covered in a light snow.

Lately I’ve been searching out all the corners of Rocky Mountain National Park. The park gets over 4 million visitors a year, many in the non-snowy months. But if you are careful, you can find trails that have far fewer visitors. In September, I went backpacking in the park and only saw two other people inside the boundary the whole time.

Similarly on this trail, I saw no one until I was a mile from the trailhead on the way to the car. Then again, it was pouring rain when I left so that may have had a little to do with it.

Rocky Mountain National Park, near Grand Lake.

I wrote a lot on my next project. Having time away from the studio and all other distractions of daily life is a good way for me to get a lot done. I’m working at creating this focus in my own office, but I’m not quite there yet.

It turns out, spinning is a good way to jog your brain free when it feels a little blocked and I think a good companion to writing. The National NeedleArts Association throws a spinning competition the first week of October where teams compete to see who can spin the most yardage. I’ve been spinning for the Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins team out of Boulder because Maggie Casey is the best and because the team’s motto is to have fun and don’t hurt yourself. We definitely do that. The competition runs from Monday through Sunday the same week I was on my writing retreat.

By Friday, this is what I had spun. Not bad, but not yet to my two-mile goal.

I spent the weekend spinning both at a spin-in at Shuttles and at home watching the first episode of the new season of Doctor Who (Jodie Whittaker was great! 55 years since the BBC started this show and they just get a female doctor? About time.).

This is what I brought to spin for the week. Go ahead and laugh. I always think sure, I can spin a LOT in a week… I even picked up two extra braids and an 8 ounce ball of fiber on the way to my writing retreat.

But I can say that I’m getting closer to reality. This was what I intended to spin in 2017. See? Getting more realistic every year.

Shuttles spin-in. Penny was doing her part to get the next generation interested and Nuala was spreading around the puppy love.

Penny teaching a new friend about spinning, Spinzilla 2018

Nuala is very excellent at encouragement and at getting herself tangled. I wanted to take her home with me, but Maggie would have noticed.

Here is what I actually spun. My goal was two miles, so I was happy to meet it. The yarn to the right was a braid by Hummingbird Moon, superwash targhee. I plied it with some white targhee and was very happy with the result. It will make a nice knitted something or other. My favorite yarn to spin was the brown though. It was a Sheep Feather’s Farm fleece that I washed and ran through the drum carder. It spun so easily. Compared to the braids (and don’t get me wrong, Hummingbird Moon’s braids are joyful to spin!), it just flowed onto the wheel. I have more of it, so I’m going to dye some of the fleece before carding for a color adventure. That fleece could be spun for tapestry.

What is the difference you ask? Why can’t I use this yarn for tapestry?

I probably could. But because this was a competition, speed was part of the equation. I spun this yarn with a short backward draw or a long draw and that means that all of it is quite bouncy. It is lovely and soft and not at all tapestry-like. But if I took that Corriedale mix fleece and spun it worsted, I could get a great tapestry yarn out of it.

Did you participate in Spinzilla? Do you ever spin for tapestry? I got into it because the possibilities for color are incredible.

I couldn’t drive home through Rocky Mountain National Park as I wanted to because they closed Trail Ridge Road due to snow. That isn’t surprising as it goes to over 12,000 feet elevation. It looks like it is still closed today. So the long way home with a stop for some spinning it was.

Rocky Mountain National Park from Berthoud Pass, Colorado