Meeting old friends for the first time

Still (of course) at Yarn Expo III in Anchorage. Today I had the pleasure of meeting two people whom I’ve "known" for many years but never met before. When I was the editor of Spin-Off magazine (1987-2000), I published their work. But I’d never met them in person.

Amy Durgeloh was teaching spindle spinning classes at the Expo and Alice Scherp was a student in the lace-knitting class that Donna Druchunas taught. Amy’s on the left and Alice is on the right, wearing a qiviut lace smoke-ring (or shaped wimple) with beads. She spun the yarn, of course. You can’t see all her wonderful, subtle colors in the photo, unfortunately. Aliceandamy_1

Alice knits absolutely exquisite laces, and has for years. Her work is both inventive and precise. It was in the Spring 1989 and Winter 1990 issues. A piece of hers should have been on Spin-Off’s cover, but covers are unpredictable and that didn’t end up happening during my time at the magazine.

When I walked into Amy’s classroom, I knew that the people who had signed up for her workshop in spindle spinning were in just the right hands. On each chair was a hand-sewn bag with everything they would need: spindle, fiber, and senses of playfulness and delight—also provided in person by their instructor.


Amy made all the spindles for her class. She had extra spindles, too. I bought one—it was too nice and too simple to pass up. She wrote up some of her spindle ideas for the Fall 1998 issue of Spin-Off (1998 was one of my favorite years to edit . . . a lot of fantastic ideas came together all at once). There are more of them in A Handspindle Treasury.

We’ve had rain and chilly weather—perfect knitting and spinning days—but today dawned bright and clear. I decided to spend part of the afternoon outside. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail runs along the body of water known as Knik Arm. Downtown Bicycle Rental is a few blocks from the hotel. The guys there outfitted me with a nice Cannondale hybrid bike, gave me some tips on what gears to use to maybe actually not walk up the killer hill at the end (if I got that far), and I pedaled down near the water to the trailhead. Here’s the bike, on a woodsy part of the trail. The front fork says "Silk Road" on it, which I thought was appropriate. My bike at home says "Spinner," probably even more appropriate. (Donna, whose camera I am borrowing, says there’s a delayed timer and I could have been in the photo with the bike. That would have been fun. Oh, well.)


Here’s some of what I saw while I rode. Somebody correct me if I have the names wrong, please. The Chugach Mountains:


The clouds around Mount Foraker (left) and Denali (right) disappeared for a while (I think they’re 100 miles away, so somewhat ethereal here):


The mud flats along the edge of Knik Arm:


And three moose, whose pictures I didn’t take. It didn’t seem polite to rush through and snatch their photos. On the way out, a cow and a calf ate grass in one of the most city-like stretches of the trail. On the way back, another adult (I think a cow) was ambling toward, and about to cross, the trail when I got there.

The bike shop’s map and short descriptions were terrific. The gearing suggestions worked. My knees can tell I haven’t done that kind of ride in about forty years.

Perfect morning + perfect afternoon.

And a really good dessert at the conference dinner: a cross between chocolate mousse and tiramisu.


1 thought on “Meeting old friends for the first time”

  1. The bike ride looks like it was through amazing country. And you got a really good dessert as a reward afterward! How much better can it get?

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