Monday, March 19, 2007

Ferry Tales

I had carefully planned my commute to The Weaver's School. Get up at 6:00 a.m., drive to Port Townsend, catch the 8:00 a.m. ferry boat to Keystone on Whidbey Island, disembark at 8:30 a.m., then drive the 10 miles to Coupeville in plenty of time for the start of the first day of class at 10:00 a.m. It seemed so simple.......that is, until I pulled into the Ferry terminal at 7:15 a.m. on Monday morning.
The cheerful transit worker took my preprinted ferry pass and informed me that the tides and winds were too extreme for the boat to land at Keystone, so therefore, all crossings were cancelled until 11:15 a.m. The next nearest ferry would require me to backtrack 40 miles to Kingston, catch a ferry to Edmonds, drive 20 miles to Mukilteo, catch a ferry to Clinton (on Whidbey Island), then drive 28 miles to Coupeville. All told---about a three hour trip. I decided to wait for the 11:15 boat. I called Madelyn van der Hoogt and let her know my predicament. She reassured me that I would not miss anything critical. I then settled down to wait. Fortunately, I had grabbed the Sublime Vest as I left the house so I had a project to work on while I waited. Stitch by stitch, row by row, the three and one-half hours passed. I made it to the armhole decrease. I was halfway done with the back when a welcome sight came into view. The ferry had arrived!

Thirty minutes later I drove up the ramp onto Whidbey Island. It is a beautiful setting, reminiscent of a New England coastal town. The Weaver’s School is located in Coupeville, a short 15 minute drive from the Keystone landing.

I was greeted by ten women who had come together this week to learn the basic craft of weaving, two assistant teachers, Suzie Liles and Patty Huffer, and Madelyn van der Hoogt. Madelyn is a vivacious, energetic woman, with quick wit and an infectious laugh. Also on hand to keep order in the class was Huck, six pounds of mischievous Maltese. Huck took great delight in the class and supervised each weaver personally throughout the duration of the week.

The actual school takes up ground level floor of Madelyn’s spacious home. It consists of a classroom/library, a large room housing 20+ looms, including at least 16 Schacht Baby Wolfs, a Louet Medado (computerized loom), 3 drawlooms, a variety of table looms, shelves of yarn, and warping devices, an adjacent antechamber which yet more looms, a kitchenette and rest room facilities. It is clean and inviting.

After lunch, Madelyn began an explanation of fibers used in weaving. As she discussed warn colors vs. cool colors, cottons vs. wool, natural fiber’s vs. synthetic, weights and plies, my keen mind immediately grasped the significance her statements. Why, weaving would require more stash! What a perfect explanation (excuse!?) to go shopping for yarn. I needed it for weaving! This was going to be fun.

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