Thursday, November 19, 2009

A warm Kentucky welcome

We flew into Lexington, Kentucky Thursday night. Friday dawned clear and bright; someone ordered up perfect weather for our visit! Rick headed out to his meeting, and Brian and I headed out to Equinox Farm. After a beautiful drive through bluegrass country with its picturesque fields, fences and fine horseflesh,we arrived at our much-anticipated destination:
We found Sara out near the Wool House,a perfect little "playhouse" for all things fiber! She has a back room for washing, drying and carding fleece, and a front room full of art, fiber, spinning wheels, and a loom.

But discovering all that came later. First, we made the acquaintance of some of Equinox Farm's well-known residents - Iris and Weasley, Sara's border collie and Welsh corgi, then Hank the livestock guardian dog and his buddies, Keebler and Graham Lamb. What a lovable trio! Of course, it didn't hurt that Brian and I brought pocketsful of dog biscuits from the basket the hotel keeps on their front step. (Yes, Graham Lamb ate dog biscuits!) I am embarrassed to admit that my photographic record of these characters is sketchy; I plead being blinded by Keebler's curlsand Graham Lamb's locks!Drool....

The other sheep were hiding in the barn; they remain unconvinced that Hank is there to protect them, not eat them. Silly sheep....

Waiting for us at the far end of Sara's barn was her marathon cart; we were going to have the privilege of driving her combined driving horse Handy! At first Brian took his place on the back platform while I rode up front with Sara. Then Sara convinced Brian to give driving a try - and of course I had to take pictures!
He did surprisingly well, even maneuvering Handy through the cones at a trot! I whooped in excitement a couple times, which caused Handy to try and turn on the speed as he would have in competition. (Mom had to learn to keep her mouth shut. :-) Still, Handy was at all times a gentleman, and more than generous for hauling us around even in his retirement. Isn't the hair whorl on his neck unique?
After cooling out and cleaning up Handy, we headed to the Wool House. Brian knew he was going to learn to spin on a spindle; he didn't know he was going to get to put his spindle together and card his own roving, too! I watched as Sara instructed him; I have never learned to spin with a spindle so it was all new to me. It didn't take long for Brian to catch on; my boy was making YARN!
After a little bit, Sara asked Brian if he'd like to try spinning on a wheel. He jumped at the chance - and took to it like fish to water:Sara treadled for him to make his first attempt a bit easier, but he still did amazingly well - far better than I did at first!

When Sara took Brian to the wash room to steam his first little skein of homespun, I picked up a spindle from a basket of wool (complete with a placard inviting visitors to try spinning). I had never before had any desire to spin with a spindle, but after watching Brian master it, I had to see if I could do it, too. I did discover why they are called "drop" spindles (and also why there are such things as lace-weight spindles) when I tried to spin too fine a single for the weight of the spindle, but did manage to spin enough yarn to be mighty pleased with myself.

After sitting a spell on the back porch, where Comby the cat was combing for attention (Sara scooped him up to show us his tubby tummy; he wasn't the least bit embarrassed by the exposure), it was time for Brian and me to head back to the hotel. Brian did not want to leave (and begged to go back several times before we left Kentucky), but we had taken enough of our gracious hostess' time. It wasn't until we were in the car that Brian surprised me with my very own spindle; he and sneaky Sara had put it together for me when they were in the wash room steaming Brian's yarn! Here it is with some dreamy moorit lambswool from Sara's Petunia, and the sheepmugs I had asked Sara to get for me at the Flat Creek Pottery trunk show held in conjunction with Sara's open house the weekend before:My first morning home saw some yarn accumulating on that spindle. Great; just what I need. :-p A new fiber-arts obsession to compete with wheel-spinning and knitting!

That's it from unusually windy . . .

13 comments:

thecrazysheeplady said...

That was a super fun day!!! Even if we did get outspun by Brian. Sigh.

I love the picture of Brian looking down at the cone as he drove past. And Brushy was not surprised you got his name confused with Comby because if you are talking about a fat cat, it could only be Comby...yeah, um, right Brushy ;-).

Michelle said...

Oops! Sorry, Brushy!

Donna said...

Love the cute sheep mugs!!!!

Egghead said...

What a fun trip and an amazing place to visit. I am loving that pottery as well. Too cute.

An English Shepherd said...

Looks a great place & what a large cat!

Wizz :-)

Kathleen said...

I'm glad you finally picked up a spindle! Yeay! And you thought wheel spinning was addicting...just you wait..

white_lilly said...

What a lovely day you and Bria had. Great pictures, I loved that cats tubby tummy :)
x0x0x0x0

Jenny Holden said...

Good job Brian, looks like you had a good day! I love that little Wool House :o)

Theresa said...

What a perfectly wonderful first day in KY! I'm so envious of that moorit wool. Beautiful!
Handy's whorl is very unique. I think it was Tellington that used forehead whorls to determine temperament.
Someone did.
I've never tried a drop spindle either but have been looking at them recently. Lovely little affordable works of art.

Dianne MacDonald said...

Do Kentuckians know how to do southern hospitality or what? So glad you had a fun day at Sara's.

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

I love visiting places like that, the problem is I just never want to leave! lol

Michelle said...

Becky, I really didn't want to leave, either. ;-)

Theresa, I think you are right that it was Tellington who had a theory about hair whorls. Sara said Handy's neck whorl is supposed to mean he is a good swimmer -- and he is!

kenleighacres said...

What a great visit! I wouldn't have wanted to leave either. I love the curls and locks pictures. So much fun!