Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sheep Festivals

O hai, I am sheepy

Last Sunday we drove up to Cummington MA for the MA Sheep & Woolfest. This is a small sheep festival but served as a terrific introduction to all things sheepy and wooly for husband, who was curious about this crazy passion of mine. "Oh, so this is what it's all about...very eeenteresting..."

Being a photographer, he amused himself with likely subjects while I rooted around in vendor stalls and had some great chats with the various sellers.

Pleased to meet you too

Among the wonders I picked up were some fiber (you knew that would happen, right?). These two beauties are from Spunky Eclectic - such vibrant color in her stall!

Spunky Eclectic

It was fun to meet Amy and big bonus, Adrian from Hello Yarn was there, avec husband too! Two of my favorite fiber enablers in one place!!

My friend Cathy turned me on to curly locks, so when I spied a whole heaping pile of them at Buckwheat Bridge Fibers, I had to get some of my own.

Buckwheat Bridge Curly Locks

The dyed batch is all clean and ready to spin while the two natural colored ones will require some preparation on my part. I've never done any cleaning and prepping of fibers so this is a good way for me to dip my toe into that aspect of the spinning world.

I found some Jacob sheep roving and was delighted when the seller explained to me how Jacobs are the most intelligent of all sheep. They are a rare breed, probably ancient in history and are one of the few remaining breeds to still carry two sets of horns. I think they look even more satanic with the extra set of horns, and what with the intelligence factor, how could I resist? Besides, I love the idea of natural striping resulting from their spotted fleece.

Jacob Roving

Other indulgences included a bunch of lovely vintage buttons from a wonderful man named Jan Marek Raczkowski, originally from Poland and now making a home and studio in central CT. There were so many wonderful choices I could have blown my entire budget in one fell swoop but forced myself to stop with four cards.

Vintage buttons

Last but not least, my main goal was to find a wrap gauge and a smaller spindle. The Bosworths were there and Sheila helped me select this lovely little yellow spindle, made from Pau Amarillo -- just perfect for silk, sample skeins and other little projects. This thing spins like nobody's business! You can see how the yellow one is much smaller than my Bubinga Midi.
Spinning Tools

After I made my spindle purchase Sheila directed me to the next barn where I found exactly what I was looking for. Really, the whole reason I wanted to drive 3.5 hours up and back. This little walnut wrap gauge, which will help me categorize my spun yarn by telling me how many wraps per inch I have. I know I know, I could have easily made one for myself with a simple dowel. But I had been fantasizing about something really tactile and wonderful. And this little tool does it all. It has one-inch and half-inch sections. I likey.

wrap gauge in walnut

Temptation abounded throughout the day. There were two fleeces calling my name. But I resisted, knowing that I am still a beginner and I have so many other things to do, it just wasn't practical. But I did learn lots more about fleeces. What to look for, the different breeds, fiber types. I see a fleece in my future, just not now. I also took a quick Navajo Ply workshop for a mere $10 while husband watched the Sheep Dog trials. Amazing dogs.

The weather held out until the drive home, when we drove right into a monster thunderstorm and we hydroplaned down Route 91 for about 90 minutes. Despite the precarious drive the day was superb and it was oh so nice to get out of Dodge for a day.


barefoot rooster said...

oh, yay! what a lovely haul from the festival. vibrant fiber, lovely locks, spindles, sheep, etc. i am going to have to get my butt to rhinebeck this fall!

Anonymous said...

Hi - i found your site while bloghopping - i love the look of the Jacobs roving and cant wait to see it spun up - your handturned wooden WPI tool is gorgeous, much nicer than a boring flat ashford one ;)

Bethany said...

Except for the hydroplaning (ack!!), what an absolutely perfect day! *sigh*

Katie M. said...

What lovely woolly goods! Sounds like a wonderful day ... happy spinning.

Beth said...

What beautiful photos! It looks like a lovely time.

Eliza said...

what fun! i can't wait to see your wrap gauge in person!