Monday, April 25, 2016

Ply Away Retreat - Kansas City, MO

I was pretty psyched to hear about the Ply Away retreat in my hometown of Kansas City (brought to you by the editors of Ply Magazine), and knew that it was quite likely I'd end up going, since I had a free place to stay in town with my family. This year has been off to a busy start, so why not include a short little jaunt to Kansas City this month?

I flew down on Thursday with the intention of spending part of Friday and Saturday at the marketplace, and then taking my first-ever official spinning class on Sunday morning - Fractal Spinning with Jillian Moreno. That's more or less how things played out, though there was the added element of some family stuff mixed in - my grandpa was released from rehab after emergency hip replacement surgery a few months back, only to fall down, sprain his wrist, and - eventually - be readmitted to the care facility he was released from 48 hours prior within the time span of my visit. Thankfully he is doing quite well now, and I was glad I was there to help out at least a tiny bit, since usually I'm in Chicago and just hear about such things after the fact.

The event took place downtown at the Westin, which I haven't been to in years - but I do remember seeing the indoor waterfall there when I was a kid. It was fun to go back, and I spotted a little yarnbomb nearby!
I probably went overboard at the marketplace, but I have no regrets about the fiber and other goodies I stashed. The market was just the right size - not too big and overwhelming, yet not too small, either. If you took a full classload, you could definitely make it through on your lunch breaks each day, which I hope was good news for the vendors. There were tons of spinning wheels and looms for folks to try out on the show floor - and not only did I try out saori weaving, which was super fun, but I also spun on a protoype of a new wheel from Schact called the Flat Iron which will be coming out later this year!
For both days I shopped the marketplace, I took my favorite tote bag from Gleener and would cut myself each day once I had filled it - and though fiber can be squished down quite a bit, there are limits (thankfully!).
On the first day, I purchased 2 braids of Targhee fiber from Yarn Geek Fibers since I didn't get around to it at YarnCon earlier this month.
I also splurged on a beautiful yak/silk bundle from Greenwood Fiberworks in the Carolina Homespun booth. There were so many gorgeous color combinations, but I finally decided on Mallard.
As you may or may not know, I work quite a bit with Louet North America, most notably (I hope) as their Team Captain for Spinzilla 3 years running. Louet sponsored this event and had all of their wheels on site for folks to try out - in fact, I ended up lending them my Victoria for the event, so if you gave it a try at Ply Away, that was my wheel you were spinning on! It just so happened that my wheel was in need of a tuneup, and Dave was able to get it back into tip-top shape in no time flat.
On the second day, I knew exactly which booths I wanted to revisit to make a purchase. I met up with my friend (who happens to read this blog, I think, so just in case....hi, Julie!) and her new baby, and we walked the floor to squish skeins and fiber together. I bought a beautiful braid of Merino/Bamboo from October House Fiber Arts, and it was pretty tough to pick just one, because they were all so beautiful (and the folks who own the company are super duper nice, too).
My next stop was Yarn Hollow to pick out a few Foxy Batts, which are a variety of fibers to spin; these two include a variety of Michigan roving, superwash fibers, merino, silk and tencel - I think they will look great together.
I had lunch with Laura from The Corner of Knit and Tea, who is an excellent blogger and podcaster located in the KC area, and afterwards we wandered the marketplace some more and did very little to discourage further purchases. The Huckleberry Knits booth in particular kept pulling me back, and I ended up having a mini-blowout, purchasing two braids of Polwarth/Silk (aka, Stefanie's Kryptonite, apparently) and a lovely Mixed BFL, as I can't seem to resist roving that includes natural cream and black fibers which are then hand-dyed.
At this point, Laura and I excused ourselves to knit in the lobby of the Westin, which was more of less overrun with knitters and spinners - if only I had thought to snap a photo! We did head back up to the marketplace near the close of the day so that we could meet up with one of our fellow spinners on the 2015 Team Louet Spinzilla Team...and get our photo taken with Dave from Louet and the Golden Niddy Noddy.
Yeah, let's get a closer look at that Spinzilla 2015 trophy, shall we?
Getting back to my marketplace scores....on Friday, I also bought two Needle Keepers for my WIPs on circular needles, and they are my new favorite fact, I went back to buy a third on Saturday (one of these three is already in use, so it is not pictured below). Also, a very thoughtful person in my Sunday morning class gifted everyone commemorative stitch markers and orifice hooks  - I will have to get a better photo of both other than what you see below, and I think she might have an etsy shop I will need to track down and share here at a later date.
On Sunday Morning, the marketplace was closed, and only classes remained. I was signed up for my first-ever class, Fractal Spinning with Jillian Moreno. It was amazing! I came away with so many ideas for spinning up multicolored roving that I can't wait to try - below are the three sample skeins I spun during class:
Jillian had tons more samples to show us as well which demonstrated various approaches we could try:
I'm so glad I made the trip to Ply Away this year. Honestly, I think it's my favorite non-trade show event possibly ever. I'm very much looking forward to Ply Away 2017!


  1. I do faithfully read your blog! It was great meeting up with you and indulging in some fibery goodness!

    1. Yes, I'm glad I could take Dylan to his first fiber show with you!

  2. Your handspun from class is beautiful!

    Yay Captain and Yay Team Louet!

    Thank you for sharing so many photos. You look like you're stocking up for Spinzilla already!

    1. Thanks! Yep, I've got quite the stash for Spinzilla....I think I need to get another storage bin!

  3. I wish I could've been there, looks like an awesome time! I love your samples and that yak/silk gradient looks incredible.