Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Friday, 20 June 2014

Well, My Bags Are Packed: Heading Out to Olds Fibre Week

We are on the road tomorrow, heading to Olds, Alberta, for Fibre Week 2014. I've been packing all week and I should be ready to go, but I'm sure there will be a bit of last minute panic as I check for an essential item I might have forgotten to tuck in a bag.  The amount of equipment and supplies I have right now is impressive.  There's this:

That's vacuum-packed fibre, kilos of it, along with a spinning wheel and my teaching tools. There is more (about 15 kilos of it) waiting for me on the campus.  (At least, I certainly hope there is!) I'm waiting for a supplier to bring me 5 kilos of Romney fleece this afternoon. There's also this:

The plastic tote contains my dyeing equipment, while the knitted bag holds my samples. We stay in student housing, so there's extra bedding required and some dishes.  Although I'm not teaching yoga and meditation at the conference this year, yoga equipment is mandatory.  One of my roomies, Jean, who is coming from Calgary, want to do a practice while we're there and I have heard from several former students who are hoping to join us in informal sessions after teaching is done for the day.  This may be a wee bit optimistic, because in addition to full day classes, there are evening events such as fashion shows, spin-ins and good old wine and cheese mixers, but I'm more likely to do something if I have a yoga mat tucked into my spinning wheel bag.

What you don't see is my personal stuff-my spinning and knitting projects, a good-sized suitcase packed with a range of clothing options to match the fluctuations in weather that occur during Fibre Week.  Last year, we arrived just in time for the floods.  Several of my students couldn't get through mudslides and the campus had to change housing arrangements to accommodate evacuees from Sundre.  Other years, it's been blazing hot, in the +30C range, which is interesting when you're teaching a class on wool in a classroom which isn't air-conditioned.  I'd prefer the rain, but not so much that anyone suffers from it. What we are guaranteed are mosquitoes, huge, voluminous, impressive swarms of them. They come out as soon as the sun hints at dropping.  Some years, they've been so bad that we've had to swaddle ourselves head to toe to cross the campus.

Despite the mosquitoes, the town is lovely and the campus is stunning.  It's an agricultural college, with a horticultural department, which means that staff and students take pride in keeping the grounds groomed and the flowers blooming.  I'll be looking for my favourite poppy beds.  (I almost typed "poopy beds" which is not far off, because there are barns and pastures containing cattle, sheep and horses right on campus.  We fall asleep and wake up to the sound of cattle lowing.)

It's a wonderful week and I'm looking forward to it, despite my nervousness at teaching in the Master Spinner Certificate Programme for the first time.  I know my stuff; I'm among friends and all I can do is my best.  All will be well.


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