Monday, September 28, 2009

The best part of blogging . . .

. . . is the friends you meet! No, I didn't get to meet Becky yesterday, but I did get to meet Sharon today! She and her DH Ian are on a road trip and it didn't look like there would be time to squeeze in a meeting, but she called me this morning to tell me they were on their way to Woodland Woolworks en route to Bend. I was so disappointed, because Brian had a violin lesson in another town that I couldn't reschedule, but just in case, I called her when he was done. She and Ian were still at WW, so off we dashed!

Friends, fiber and fiddle - what more could you ask for? Sharon was surprised to see that I'm tall like her - and I must admit I didn't imagine her as tall as she is, either. Ian was the perfect fiberholic's husband, sweetly taking photos of Sharon and me, and both of us with the WW crew (and packing out Sharon's loot). That's owner Diane, on the left, another blogpal I have the privilege to know in person. I had to snap a photo of some of Sharon's handiwork; she is such a talented lady! That's one of her fulled bags, some of her handspun, and a pair of Falling Leaves socks she made on this trip. Since we had come from Brian's lesson, the ladies asked him about it, which led to him offering to play them a few tunes. (Thanks to everyone for graciously listening to my little ham!)

All in all I thought we packed a lot of warmth and smiles into a very short visit, and I'm SO glad to have gotten to meet someone I have felt a real kinship with (and, after all, we are sisters - in Christ!). And just in case you are wondering, I continued to abide by my fiber diet even in the presence of a whole ROOM of sale yarn and fiber. I did buy the book I've been wanting, though:
That's it for now from . . .

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 . . .

Friday, September 25, 2009

"First time ever I saw your face..."

I can't bear to show you that face, for fear of greater heartbreak should that face never enter our house. But I did take photos - oh yes! - that I will share should my heart's desire be fulfilled. It may be a week or two (or longer) before I know. Stay tuned, but don't ask.

Mum's the word at . . .

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Stick? Dog goes zoom.Happy dog!

Dark grey Jacob fiber? Wheel goes zoom.Happy spinner!

I know it was just an ounce, but I think this fiber was just about the fastest, easiest fiber I've ever spun! I got it started on the wheel yesterday, finished the single and plied it on itself today while Brian was with his dad. As fast as that went, I'm tempted to spin something colorful before starting on the white alpaca. The gorgeous roving I got from Psalm 23 Farm is calling to me....

And just in case you think the two subjects of this post are unrelated, here is proof that they ARE related:Whenever I spin, Jackson lies down right next to me. He's my spinning companion.

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Weekend report, part 2

What else could there be to report on, you say? Travel knitting, of course!

The ruffle on this little cardigan was knit at home, but I finished the rest of the body, up to the point of separating fronts and back for sleeve openings, on our weekend camping trip. Since then, I've since finished one front and am working on the back. For something that looks complicated (to me), it works up pretty fast and easy, and I think the woven ribbons pattern is just stunning! Not something I would have tackled on my own, but my friend bought the yarn and pattern and asked me to knit this up for her daughter Hannah. Now I'm really glad she did. (Put "Hannah" in the search window in the upper left corner and prepare to have your heart melt!)

There is other fiber news as well. I got my spinning tutorial yarn washedso I can make this cool shawl for myself. I think my version will be considerably larger, since I have a LOT of yarn and want to use it all in one project.

I also got a third fiber sample from Sara at Punkin's Patch spun and plied (Woolliam's - the white skein):I'm going to do the last one-ounce sample before tackling another eight ounces of the white alpaca; I want to use the four natural colors to make a Fair Isle hat or bag.

The Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival is this weekend; I'm going over on Sunday for the Shetland show - but NOT for the vendors! I must needs be on a fiber diet. After reading Aunt Purl's account of her recent move (the movers asked if she works for a yarn store; she lied and said "yes"), I had a slight panic attack about the possibility of us moving or me dying and someone discovering just how much yarn and fiber I have - not counting, of course, fiber on the hoof. It's probably not much at all by some stash standards, but it is enough to keep me busy for awhile so busy myself from my stash I must.

So solemnly sworn at . . .

Weekend report, part 1

Last weekend we joined other members of our Christian trailriding club, Son Rise Trailriders, for our last horse-camping trip of the year. We tried out Santiam Horse Camp, a wonderful new facility in the Cascades only an hour and a half from our house. The camping sites had solid pole corrals, fire pits, log benches and picnic tables, and the grounds had a covered picnic area, pit toilets, a labeled nature trail courtesy of a Boy Scout troup, and a water pump. Definitely luxury accommodations for horse-camping!

It was rainy much of Saturday so the first part of the day we hung out under the tarp at a member's camp and had a Bible study. Later in the afternoon the rain quit and we got in a ride.The woods were beautiful even though there wasn't much in the way of flowers or fall color; I did capture a few lovelies around the campgrounds:
Sunday dawned sunny so we got in another ride, although I cut Russell's and my participation short because he was ouchy on the gravel, even with EasyBoots on. He was fine on the woodland trail, though, which let us see some old-growth Douglasfir and other beautiful results of our Pacific Northwest weather:
Russell wasn't happy to be back in camp without his comrades, but it made for a good photo op!
That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sampling the goodies

Yesterday when I was dealing with the gully girls, I took a good look at their fleeces. (Took photos, too, but they didn't turn out.) Bronwen, who has been darker than fawn Bramble from the beginning, is definitely NOT moorit as I first thought (and put on her registration); she has a distinct line where her fleece is coming in lighter. Since neither of her parents carry Ag, she must be fawn as well. Interesting how two sheep with apparently the same color genetics can manifest so differently!

Anyway, it made me curious about Blackberry. Could he be modified as well? So this morning I pulled back his coat and took a look.
Black as can be at shoulder and side,and only a little silver scattered through his frosted area and hip.
And talk about crimpy and soft! I think this boy may be the prize of my 2009 lamb crop; I'm so glad I kept him. Not that I'm going by my own hand; while I had his coat pulled up, I took a mid-side fleece sample to send in to Texas A&M.
Then I grabbed the girls (still hollering in the fold; Bramble has cried herself hoarse) and snipped mid-side samples from them as well. Here is Bramble's sample in the morning sun and on my washing machine under fluorescent light:
Here is Bronwen's sample in the morning light and on my washing machine (see the line?):

I am very interested to see the test results on these three samples. I have a feeling that getting a new poll-carrying girlfriend or two for Blackberry will become imperative!

That's it for now from . . .

Monday, September 21, 2009

I can't wait 'til breeding season is OVER!

It's weaning season all over again. Sigh.

With being gone last weekend (post coming) and wanting to make chores as trouble-free for the person doing them, I decided to do another sheep shuffle. That included putting Braveheart (and Browning) in with Braveheart's two "intendeds" for this year, Inky and Brava. Everyone had to stay in the fold in their respective pens over the weekend since the sheep are not about to follow a stranger in and out morning and evening, and I don't like to leave the sheep out all day when no one is around anyway. So this morning the three groups - Dinah and Blackberry, who have been together for awhile now; Bronwen and Bramble, who are not getting bred this fall; and Braveheart, Browning, Inky and Brava - were put out into their separate lots for the first time. Since Braveheart's group is the biggest, I put them into the biggest lot, and put Bramble and Bronwen into what had been Braveheart's and Browning's smaller lot (Dinah and Blackberry went in the same lot they've been occupying during the day).

After checking out the food and water in their new day pen, Bramble went from hereto here.I did NOT think she could still fit through those bars! Soon Bronwen followed, so I had to lock both of them up in the sheep fold. (If they can get OUT of their lot, they can get IN with Blackberry, their brother!)Yes, Bramble is standing in the feeder.They have been yelling their fool heads off ever since. I can't wait until the end of November.

That's it for now at . . .