Saturday, June 28, 2008

Vendor Fair & Fiber Arts & Firends

Warning to those of you on dial up - this post is really "picture heavy" - lots to show you!

Sit back for a moment - close your eyes - imagine it is 80 degrees - there are sheep baaaaing and people laughing and talking - there you have it - the sights and sounds of BSG.

It was "only" in the 80's Friday and Saturday of last week - today it was 95 degrees - We lucked out!

Here is the "spinner/fiber" contingent from B'ham - It's only the first day and these ladies are having serious fun. The one on the left in the sunglasses is Deb - you'll see some of her fabulous felted items in a few minutes. Our friend Nancy G. is on the far right - She didn't buy any yarn but she bought TWO Bluefaced Leicester Sheep!

When you walk in the front door of the barn where the vendor fair is, be ready for an explosion of color. Every color of the rainbow!

There are more than just fiber vendors - this vendor sold pelts.

Remember my beautiful basket?(you have to scroll down three or four pictures to see it) That vendor also sold African drums and all kinds of beads, hats, musical instruments, she had it all.

Roving in every color you can imagine (and some you can't) -

and if you didn't want to spin, there were lots of vendors with yarn ready for your project.

This roving color pattern is called "Figgy Pudding" I think it will look splendid plyed with Gwennies fleece from last year. I think I got enough for a light sweater - that will be my HUGE project for the year.

A couple of months ago I took an "Art Felt" class at my local yarn store (also known as a LYS) - the reason you haven't seen a report on it yet is because (she says, hanging her head) I haven't finished it yet!

My tea cozy waits, on a piece of plastic, patiently. It used to shout "finish me" from the kitchen table - but now it's hidden away in the spare bedroom...Pandora's Box, if you know what I mean.

Oops, I digress - back to the BSG report - I took that class from Deb and as you can see from these two pictures, Deb is a very talented felter.

Did you go back & look at that pile of baskets? - well, the picture of the felted "boa" right above the picture of the baskets - Deb made that too.

This lovely item is a Dog Coat. Deb entered the Spinner's Lead on Saturday night with her other one. We found a tiny little lamb in the Thistledown Farm pen and that lamb looked cute as a button in it. Don't you think?

Coated sheep - why not?

Normally we go to Eugene on Thursday and leave to some home on Saturday morning. Every once in a while we'll stay thru Saturday night for the potluck & BBQ (if you like lambit is great - I had salads)

The really best part about staying the extra day is more time to visit with your friends, new and old. Here are Joyce from Thistledown Farm near Spokane, and our "neighbor" in Skagit county, Donna , having a good time.

And since most of us were there, we also had a "board meeting" of Washington Wool dot Net.

Well, I couldn't get a very good picture of it, but here it is - Our Blue Ribbon - Well, I guess it is actually The Shepherd's Blue Ribbon (although my sister is quick to point out to me that this is a community property state)

All in all - a very fun weekend - and, of course, plans are already being made to go back next year. Defend our Blue and maybe even come up with another?

Hope you enjoyed your "visit" to the BSG. It is, really, a very fun event.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Wool Show -

Quite frankly, in the number of times that I've been to Black Sheep, I've never really paid any mind to the wool show. I wasn't spinning then, we didn't have any fleeces entered, and it really didn't interest me much.

That all changed this year.

The judge this year was Lettie Kline from Kalamazoo, MI. Lettie has over 25 years experience raising Karakul sheep and has co-authored a book about making braided wool rugs called "The Shepherd's Rug" that is available on her web site. She also writes wonderful stories for the Black Sheep Newsletter. She pretty much knows her stuff when it comes to wool - and she is, admittedly, fond of Shetlands.

The Pavillion where the Wool Show was held is about twice the size of this picture - there were 31 divisions and about 15 fleeces (three of them ours) entered in the "Shetland Yearling and Younger" fleece division.

The judging had started on Friday morning. We had heard that the Shetland fleeces were to be judged Friday afternoon. We stopped in to check on it but the "fleece crew" decided to start again on Saturday morning, with the Shetland young fleeces being first. All the fleeces in our class were out on the front table waiting for the next a.m. event. You can bet that we checked them all out before we went to dinner.

Lettie was wearing a microphone and evaluates each fleece as she goes along, so you know what her thinking is. First off, she went through all the fleeces, looking and touching, moving some around. When she picked up Luna's fleece and took it to the "head" of the table, we (The Shepherd and myself and our friend Donna)
held our collective breaths.

Lettie explained that one thing she looks for in Shetland fleeces is denseness in the locks, and Luna's fleece is indeed dense. It is also very soft and passed the "rub" test when she rubbed the locks on the side of her arm and along her neck. The fleece has good staple length and is very "strong" when you pull on it.

Several times she went back & forth between first and second place fleeces - The Shepherd is chanting (in his mind, of course) "Pick mine, pick mine, pick mine" And she did!

Luna's fleece got The Blue Ribbon for Shetland "Yearling and Younger" fleeces. Moni's fleece was 7th and, for reasons we now understand, because of her descriptions of fleece qualities, Jewell's fleece was at the very bottom of the batch. It's not a bad fleece, it just didn't have the denseness that she was looking for.

Clicking on Lettie's name in the second paragraph will take you to her web site. I highly recommend her articles on fleeces and wool judging - you will learn a lot from them.

The Shepherd's Pride and Joy. Already slated for a couple of additional fairs - hope she does as well there.

Someone asked me if we won any money.

Nope, just braging rights.

And hopefully this will help to sell this handsome little dude - her half "brother" from this year. He's well on his way to having just as nice, if not nicer, fleece! Any takers?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What you Really came to see -

Eugene, Oregon is a lovely town. It's streets are lined with lots of large trees and there are "rivers running through it" (the McKenzie and the Willamettte) creating beautiful green belts. Founden in 1846, Eugene is now the second largest city in Oregon. With neighboring Springfield, the metro area has a population of over 200,000.

Eugene is also home to the University of Oregon. This week, they are holding Olympic trials there - and there supposedly won't be a cubby to be found. Glad BSG was last weekend. It was predicted to be "crazy" this week. The Lane County Fairgrounds, where BSG is held, is right smack dab in the middle of the city.

Sorry these are so dark - guess I was trying to take too big an area with this picture.

The sights and sounds are just incredibly fun - like the Asian mom who was terrified that her children would "walk in it" and kept moving them from one side of the aisle to the other - what she didn't know was the "it" she was trying to keep her children out of was dried paint on the floor - or the gal with bright orange hair and black fishnet stockings...The Shepherd said she had a booth, but I don't know what she was selling...

Many of the lambs at BSG are being weaned at the time of the show - creating quite a ruckus - and you can recognize that plaintive little "bah" anywhere.

Many of the breeders have tables set up with beautiful examples of what can be made from Shetland wool.

I love these skeins of wool that Susie Sizemore has in her exhibit.

Moving the lambs from one end of the barn to the other is not always the easiest thing. Oops here's one pretending it's dead - "Maybe they will all go away and leave me alone"...

Lynne Deschler from Cedar Haven Farms is organizing her show ring pen.

One of the best parts of BSG is catching up with old freinds and making new ones.

NW Breeders Joyce Thomas from Thistledown Shetlandsof Edwall, WA, Michelle McMillan from Boulderneigh in Amity, OR, Franna Pitt from Everranch in Auburn, WA and Terry Niles from Windy Valley Sheep Ranch in Ellensburg, WA take a moment before the judging to chat.

And a few minutes later, Franna is exchanging ideas with Judy Colvin, from Bitterroot Ranch in Montana

All I will say about this judge is that he didn't really like Shetlands and didn't seem to be up on the breed standards. Very frustrating for many in the ring.

And of course, there are many, many breeds of sheep besides Shetland at the Gathering. I believe that this handsome fellow is the Wensleydale Longwool sheep who won best of show.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A little Road Music

The Shepherd surprised me on Wednesday night by asking what CD's I wanted to take along to listen to on the road. Generally we have this pattern - he drives and I sleep. Since he was feeling a little sickly, maybe he thought if we played music, I'd stay awake and that would keep him company.

We started out with Eric Clapton's album Reptile. It always surprises me that I like this album - old "folkie" that I am. The first time I played it was for a dinner party that included our church's 80 year old piano player. Even she liked it. Go figure...

Our plans were to leave at 7:00 a.m. so we could meet our neice Jennifer and son, along with my Sister, for lunch at the Country Cousin's Restaurant in Centralia.

Someone, who shall remain nameless, wasn't quite moving her buns fast enough and we didn't get off until 7:45 - (still leaving us enough time to meet Jen , Parker & Wisten IF traffic was moving along) - fortunately (for me) we breezed right thru Everett, right thru Seattle/Tacoma & right thru Olympia! How lucky was that! We like the Country Cousin's because they make their own mashed potatoes, so their pot roast/hot beef sandwich is one of The Shepherd's favorite "travelin' meals". (I am partial to their Ruben Sandwich - yum.)

Our visit with family was short, but sweet and we were off, this time to the dulcet sounds of Loreena McKennitt and the fun, jazzy tunes of Pearl Django.

The freeways through Portland, Oregon have these beautiful roses blooming right now. It is about an 8 or 9 hour drive from our home to Eugene. There was no time for stopping at plant nurseries, which abound down the Oregon I-5 corridor. This year we needed to get our fleeces to the Wool Show and check in to see who was at the barns so we could meet our friends Kathy & Mike for dinner. All was accomplished - we had a great dinner with our friends and heard all about their upcoming wedding.

Off to bed we went with visions of sheep barns and vendor fairs dancing in our heads. Tomorrow? The Shetland Sheep Show, of course.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Black Sheep Gathering!

"We're going on vacation" - I'd say to my friends.
"Oh, where are you going?" they'd ask.

"To Eugene for the Black Sheep Gathering, of course" I answer.

The third weekend in June has been our traditional vacation for the past 8 or so years. It is the Black Sheep Festival in Eugene Oregon.

Last year, because of John's surgery, we had to miss it, but there was no way we were missing this year. The Shepherd had been working on fleeces all spring to take to the Wool Show.

The Gathering has 4 main parts -

The Sheep Show

The Wool Show

The Fiber Arts Show

(This Felted "Boa" scarf was made by Deb L. of B'ham - she got a blue ribbon!)

And, who doesn't love to shop?

The Vendor Fair has anything and everything to do with fiber arts ! (see that basket in the bottom right hand corner - it had my name written all over it)

I have lots to show and tell - come back tomorrow for a little "Road Music"

Sunday, June 22, 2008

And The Winner Is........

I know, it's a little blurry- but we are pleased to announce that the 2008 WINNER of FIRST PLACE for the yearling and younger SHETLAND FLEECE was John Park (and Luna, of course) of Marietta Shetlands in Bellingham.
Why, that would be US! (we beat out the "big" guys!) More tomorrow about the 2008 BLACK SHEEP FESTIVAL


Our spinner guild meets on the 2nd Saturday of the month.

It's always interesting to see the different kinds of spinning wheels that people have.

Fancy or homemade, they all are treated with love and care.

Every time I go, I watch how each person spins - there is a different method for each person, it seems.

In October we will have our second annual "Spin In"! Our guest speaker will be Celia Quinn from Homer, Alaska. She will give a talk on spinning with spindles and a class the next day on spinning novelty yarns (yum) -

Guess who volunteered to be on the committee?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Some "farmer trueisms"

…Letting the cat out of bag is whole lot easier than getting it back in...

…If you think you’re a person of influence, try bossing someone elses dog around…

...Bloom where you are planted...

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Thank you to everyone who visits my blog - we went over the 10,000 visitor mark on Site Meter this week! (I downloaded Site Meter in late May 2007) I find it very interesting to look at the Site Meter map of the world and see where you all come from.

You never know what you'll find here - maybe the rhubarb - or maybe the rhubarb pie

The cats and the sheep are living in harmony - like ebony and ivory.

And the flowers come and go with the seasons.

Thanks again for visiting. Hope you'll leave a note now and again, so I can stop by and visit you too.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Click to biggify

Looks like snow, doesn't it? It's cottonwood. As I'm not allergic to it, I love this time of year - big fluffy dust bunnies rolling around everywhere. The sun came out yesterday - it got over 60 degrees! I think Mother Nature is teasing us...