Sunday, September 27, 2009

OFFF 2009

As planned, I went to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival today, but I didn't get to help with or watch the Shetlands SHOW as planned! Wally called me Friday night to tell me the show had been moved from 9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. - Saturday. Since I've been going to OFFF, the Shetlands have always shown on Sunday, so I never suspected anything different. (In fact, OFFF's website states that the sheep show is on Sunday in the first place I looked; I had to dig deeper to find where it states that the Classic Sheep Show is Saturday. Sheesh!) Since God, church and family come first, I didn't get to see Rena Douglas judge Shetlands as I so anticipated, or help Wally show his sheep. But today I got several first-hand reports, had a good look at the top-placing animals, and got to meet Ms. Douglas myself briefly. In our conversation, I thought she uttered two quotable quotes. The first was in the context of fleece type and length. I told her I was striving for fine fleeces with length, which seems difficult to do (Jim Chastian butted in then and said, "I haven't had any problem with that at all"), and she said, "I think we are getting TOO short in the UK." Secondly, in response to another breeder's stated preference for longer, wavy fleeces because that's what she likes to spin, Rena said, "I've always said you either breed for show or breed for handspinners."

Anyway, I think I got to connect with all the Shetland exhibitors in attendance but one, including a new one, the owner of the reserve champion ram lamb (who went on to win Grand Champion Classic Sheep). I learned about a local poll-carrier ewe and am interested to see if I can add her to my flock. The couple who bought Beau and Boo came so we got to chat, and Jeannie gave me a beautiful potholder she made just for me, as well as a comb she found helpful in getting VM (vegetable matter - bits of hay and stuff) out of fleeces. And as arranged beforehand, Jacob breeder, felter extraordinaire and all-around nice person Shannon and I met up to swap fibers, equal amounts of Braveheart's roving for dark batts from her ram Wrangler.
Since I came home with the same weight of fiber I left with (well, not quite, but I'll explain below), I don't count that as falling off my fiber diet. In fact, the only thing I bought at OFFF (besides a delicious single-serving chocolate souffle) was a jar of Euro Salt from Bar-Maids, the makers of the Lo Lo Bar I bought at Sock Summit. A spinner and knitter must keep her hands soft and smooth, after all!

One of the exhibitors had her three ram lambs sheared at OFFF because two of the fleeces sold on the hoof. The remaining fleece was a lovely black, and I mentioned several people had expressed interest in the fleeces on my black sheep. She told me to take it and see if I could sell it for her, since she doesn't have a blog or website. So if any of you want a silky, straight, long-stapled jet black lamb fleece, three pounds unskirted, contact me (there's an email link at right).

Besides missing the Shetland show, I also missed getting to meet blogpal Becky. I told her to look for me at the Shetland show Sunday morning, but of course that was bad info. I looked for her and her son everywhere I went today, but when you are going by thumbnail computer photos in a big, crowded place, the chances are slim to none. That was disappointing, because I have so enjoyed meeting blogpals in person.

When I got home I had to try out the comb Jeannie gave me. I've been wanting to get the gully girls cleaned up and coated, and a new tool gave me the perfect excuse to take the time. It worked pretty well on Bronwen:although in this photo I can see I still missed some VM. Then I put a size D Rocky Sheep Suit on her:Yikes!
How about a size E?Ah, much better.

Bramble was a different story, however. The comb didn't do much, so I picked out as much VM as possible and then tried it again. She ended up looking like she got a bad perm (remember those?):
The size D is too small for her, too, but until I put some larger coats on adults and do a load of wash, I won't have an E for her.

That's it for now from . . .


Kara said...

Thanks for including the sizes. One of these years I will order some coats and it is good to see them on your beauties to get an idea of size and fit. Thanks for sharing the judges insights as well. :)

Sharrie said...

Wouldn't it be fun to get on a bus with a group of like-minded people and go to all the sheep and wool festivals around the country? Oh, well, just a "dreamin" on a Monday morn.

Beaver Bloggers said...

What a shame that you missed the show! Good that you got to know Rena though, I'll have to ask her for some feedback next time I see her! I agree about the fleece length and, as you know, selected a suitably long wooled tup last year for my girls. It seems to have worked too! Looking forward to seeing your new flock members :o)

Jenny Holden said...

Ooops, the above is from me! I forgot that I was signed in to my work account!

susan said...

Do you have any photos of the winniners? I wish the shows wern't so far away.

What kind of comb were you using?

I've thought of trying to wash my sheep to clean them up, but have never gotten around to try it yet.

Michelle said...

No Susan, I'm sorry! I totally blanked on the thought of taking photos of the winners! I did get in the pens and feel some of their fleeces, though. :-)

The comb I used is the red one there in the photo.

Gail V said...

Thanks for the sheep cover photos, Michelle. I bought ONE at the WI show 2 weeks ago, the only Rocky they had left, a big size. The supplier said they'd ship me more, no charge. . . so D? E? I think both. I also really liked the judge's comment about breeding for fleece or show-- there's so much pressure, lately, to like ONE kind of fleece.

Anonymous said...

It was great seeing you again and I look forward to spinning Braveheart's fiber! I have a picture of the Champion Shetland ram on my blog for those that want to see him. He is a handsome boy with a very nice fleece.