Finally, the weekend for our Ladies’ Homestead Gathering Retreat had arrived!!  I was so excited and couldn’t wait to get to the mountains!

Lynn and I pulled up to Foxfire about 1pm – a little later than I was planning but Lynn assured me she’d help me get everything set up for the ladies.

By the time everyone started to pull into the parking lot, we’d finished getting everything set.

Let the fun begin!

Foxfire had asked the weaver if she would stay a little longer on Friday so our group could come to watch her weave.

A couple of us headed down to her building.

Foxfire has such a rich history – too long to go into here, but I absolutely love all the buildings!

Sharon was a wonderful hostess and demonstrated the shuttle on this particular loom.  I was shocked to learn how long it took just to thread the looms BEFORE she even started weaving!

This loom took 5 hours to thread.  She had another loom that took DAYS to thread!  That’s dedication for you…

 

Sharon is also a spinner and dyes her own wool with natural dyes.  These skeins were beautiful – I loved touching the yarn.  Her favorite wool to spin is Romney – me too! Our Romney, Rosie, has an incredible fleece.

I recognized a lot of the plant names that she’d used in her dying.

I asked Sharon if she ever taught classes on natural dying.  She used to but it was too difficult now because of family issues.

Bummer…

But then Sharon came back around to it later on in our conversation and said she’d be open to doing a class with us at some point!

You can be sure I’ll follow up on that lead for next year’s retreat.  I’d love to learn how to dye my wool with natural dying agents.

I kept thinking of the Knit and Spin group when I was with Sharon, surrounded by such beautiful craftmanship.  They would have loved to see the Weaver’s building 🙂

Just a note – see all those hooks she hangs her skeins on??  That’s one of the first items I want to make in my blacksmith area so I can hang my wool like that in the farm store.

Paulette, who works with Foxfire, graciously agreed to come up to the Longhouse to speak to the women about the history of Foxfire.  The drizzle soon turned to rain and we all went inside.

AND, the Chainsaw Class had to be postponed till the next day.

So we consoled our disappointment by eating the most fabulous Italian dinner!!

Kim, Anne-Marie, and Stephanie put out an incredible spread!

A rainy, chilly night in the mountains of the Appalachians and homemade Italian food with close friends and soon-to-be close friends made for the most wonderful evening.

We all sat around, eating more than we should have, sipping homemade wine, sharing stories and laughing till we cried!

Little did we know, this would be the rhythm of our time together – learning, eating, laughing!

Paulette had specifically told me that no food should be left in cars or on the porches outside overnight….

Guess who slept in the tub  of my shared room that night????