Last weekend Christine and I went to a Sheepshearing festival just a few miles from home. In the weeks leading up to the event I had conversations with two separate coworkers that were strikingly similar. They went something like:
Coworker: Oh hey, I saw a sign downtown for a sheepshearing festival in Waltham! I thought of you because you’re always knitting and stuff. Haha. So crazy!
Me: I have my tickets for that already.
Them: Hahah. Wait …oh. You’re serious, aren’t you?
I though the festival would be a handful of fiber enthusiasts, but when we turned into the parking lot I was shocked to see several fields full of cars. There were what felt like a thousand people there. And kids. TONS of kids. I think because it was the first warm weekend, there were animals to pet, and lots of fun fair food.
There were vendors for yarn, jewelry, soap, food, art, etc. But the best part by far was the sheepshearing tent. A tall, thin, white-haired man was taking the sheep out of the pen one by one, holding them steady without any restraints, and ridding them of their fleeces with a big pair of shears. I may have elbowed my way past several small children to secure a good spot at the fence. Especially when he sheared the huge horned ram.
And so now I have my eyes on yet another step in the production process. First it was knitting. Then spinning and dyeing. Now I want to learn how to shear a sheep. Preferably my own sheep that I own someday. Are there any steps in front of owning and shearing sheep? I don’t think so….that’s probably the beginning. The first step. So I don’t need to hurry and get to it just yet.
I love my husband for many reasons, but high on that list is the time he spent teaching Samson how to ride in my bike basket. He did it when Sam could still run alongside us for a couple miles but we wanted a way to take him on longer trips down the Eugene bike path. Now Sam doesn’t ever want to run as fast as a bike. But he’ll sit in the milk crate for a long while. Last weekend he accompanied me on a ride to the library…
Watching my beloved dog grow old is hard. He has a lot of pep in his step still, and sometimes strangers we meet at the park are surprised to hear he’s 13, but he is slowing down nonetheless. He’s lumpier. And his skin hangs looser and he snores louder. And more than ever he’s interested in staying warm, which makes me think of a friend’s ancient cat Foof who lived out the last few years of her life hardly ever straying from an electric heating pad on top of the bed. She was 17, and I remember how cool her fur felt as she slept there on her little heater.
Short of moving to a warmer climate, what we can currently offer Sam is the top of the file cabinet in the back office. There’s a small wall heater back there with two settings: HOT and OFF. When it’s on all the heat rises to the ceiling, creating cold feet and a sweaty forehead. Sam was joining R. for his study sessions this winter and spring, but his bed on the floor was cold even with the wall heater on. The top of the file cabinet, however, is super toasty and sauna-like. Eventually we might need to provide him a Foof-arrangement.
For those of you who have seen a pet through old age, do you have any words of wisdom to share?
…and planned to sew a skirt. Perfect one day project. My pattern-drawing was guided by this vintage-70′s-flowered wrap skirt. Which is kind of ugly but I wear as if it were cute.
My friend Wei-Ping mailed me some fabric from Taiwan last year for my birthday. Bright BRIGHT turquoise with red and pink flowers. Now I’m three quarters of the way through my skirt and… uhh…I think I made an apron. Or rather, the path of least resistance would be to finish the project as if it were an apron. I think if I fight it I’ll end up with a weird skirt.
Do any of you need a bright and cheery pocketed apron? I don’t use them myself, but I’d put it up in a trade.
In my last post I introduced my new spinning wheel and asked you all to name her. The suggestions were great – there were references to shape and color as well as just general awesomeness. I did what we did for Edith – called her a few things for a while to see what stuck – and discovered that the wheel’s name is Siohban.
That means Becca – you’re the winner! You know how to get in touch. Let me know what kind of handknit you want and I’ll mail it to Oregon.
Are your pets big photo-bombers too? It seems I can’t photograph yarn or handknits without someone furry walking through the shot (see above) or just plain sitting on the item (see below).
Sam is sitting on Surella, the first sweater I’ve made from my own handspun. My coworker of the same name had a great cotton sweater in a style I wanted to copy. She let me take it home for a few weeks and after a lot of measuring, knitting, drawing, frogging, and re-knitting, I got it right.
It used less than 600 yards of my alpaca/wool handspun. There was enough left over to make a long cowl. I don’t know much of the particulars of spinning, but Christine tells me that I spin in such a way that my yarn is light and fluffy…so even though this yarn required size 11 needles, the sweater itself doesn’t weigh much. But it’s nice and warm.
This is the time of year that I loathe as far as wardrobe goes. I’m sick of my winter clothes and refuse to wear them no matter how chilly it is, but it’s too cold to start in with the dresses. So my solution has been bright pants, black flats, and a sweater. How do you dress for this early spring stuff?
Here she is – the birthday present – a green Kromski Minstrel. I feel like she needs a name. A nice knit hat in the mail to whomever can think of a good one.
The wheel came in a big box stuffed full of store ads in another language. Google translate said that it was Slovenian.
This wheel comes finished or, for $50 less, unfinished. I decided that if I was going to splurge and spend all this money on a new wheel I didn’t want ash or walnut. I wanted a color. Something that grabbed your attention. Looking over the options at Home Depot I picked something called “Green Tea” (inspired by the shirt I was wearing?). It’s brighter than I expected, but that’s partly because I put it on too thick at first. Or I didn’t wipe it off soon enough with the rag. Maybe both. I started sanding the color down where it was thick but liked the look of it so much that I ended up sanding a lot of the edges and rounded bits. The color has kind of a well-worn look.
Today I put on a few more coats of polyurethane. Tomorrow I may test it out.
A pet-filled bed isn’t always the most comfortable. But it can be pretty cute.
The sun has shifted enough in the sky that it’s pouring in the windows before the alarm goes off. That’s a sign that spring is here even though there’s still snow piles outside. This weekend we’ll move the bed to its “summer spot” on the opposite wall.
This weekend I should also get my birthday present in the mail. A hint…it goes with this big box of roving.
GAhhhh it looks so nice! Two years ago I bought big ropes of Corriedale at Rhinebeck and then last year a friend sent me birthday alpaca. I knew they’d make a great blend, but I didn’t want to hand-card it all together…that’d be a nightmare.
When I posted the math from my last mill processing purchase, Kate commented from California:
Kate was right. I messaged several folks on etsy asking how much they would charge to card and blend the two fibers, and Kate’s prices were the best (even accounting for shipping to California). She was easy to work with and the fiber looks absolutely beautiful. So if you have any fiber processing work to do I highly recommend her and Mill Creek Fiber Works.
So sad. Stupid Google. I am already trying to set up an alternative. But all of those sites are crashing, no doubt because of the huge influx of traffic.