Saturday, June 19, 2010

Baa, Baa Black Sheep Gathering

Ahh, what a day. I'm still floating from all the wool fumes. Wheee! I've been down in Eugene at Black Sheep Gathering all day. Here... can you tell?

For the uninitiated, Black Sheep Gathering is, I think, the biggest fiber show in the state, rivaled only by Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. There are sheep and other fiber animals for sale, fleeces for sale, and tons of yarn, spinning fiber, spinning supplies, bags, and all sorts of fibery goodness, as well as classes in spinning, knitting, felting, sheep care, and other fiber-related arts going on all three days.

I was good, though. I didn't get the credit cards out to play at all. Nope, the textbook buyer came through our building near the end of the term and I had some books that he could use. I set the fistful of cash aside as Black Sheep money.

The majority of my time there, about six hours of it, was spent at an all day beginning spinning class taught by Laurie Weinsoft of The Twisted Sisters fame (and I'm not talking about heavy metal rock bands here):

My Ladybug and I got a good workout:

Before class was over I had a mini-skein of several fibers and techniques:

And another that I finished at home:

But all spinning and no play (in the marketplace) makes Jill a, um, spinner out of fiber, that's what it makes her. We had a two-hour lunch break to grab something to eat (and the one place that could be improved at Black Sheep is the food situation) and cruise the marketplace. With my fistful of cash, I took the plunge.

Fiber, fiber...


EVERYWHERE!

Since this is very much a spinner's festival, there was a whole lot of roving, top, batts, and spinning fiber in various other forms, with all kinds of fiber content: wool from various sheep breeds, silk, llama, alpaca, cashmere:


And the holy of holies, Qiviut, the softest, most luxurious animal fiber there is, amazingly soft and rather expensive:


Dicentra Designs was there, with their trademark jewel-tone rovings:


So were lots of other lovelies, like these offerings from Wolf Creek Wools:


There were also spinners everywhere. After all, why wait to get home to spin up the wonderful stuff?


The barns were full of sheep and goats to be judged for their wool quality. There were, of course, many black sheep, as well as these spotted Jacob sheep:

And this long-coated Wensleydale:


Adorable Pygora goats are not to be passed up. I'm still trying to figure out how I could slip a few into the back yard and convince the neighbors that they're an exotic breed of dog. "I know they go 'Maaa!' That's just their unusual bark, really!"

This mohair goat thinks he's king of the mountain. Or king of the carrier crate, anyway.


So out of all that loveliness, how can one actually pick something out to take home? I knew that I wanted another bobbin for my Ladybug, so I made a stop at the Woodland Woolworks booth first and found what I was looking for. Then I cruised the entire marketplace, looking for things that appealed. Yeah, that wasn't hard. I didn't buy anything on the first pass through, but waited to go to the vendors that really stuck in my mind.

So I came home with 4 ounces of soft, fluffy lavender Cormo wool that feels like it still has some lanolin in it. This is from Dayspring Farm in Corvallis:


I picked this brilliant Blue-Faced Leicester wool from Dicentra Designs, because what Lord of the Rings geek can resist a colorway called Minas Tirith?


I picked out a 1 ounce bag of cashmere roving from Goat Knoll in Dallas. If you're going to go to all that time and effort to spin your own yarn, might as well use the really good stuff, right?


And as long as we're using really good stuff, why not get some REALLY good stuff? Yes, I couldn't get my mind off of that Qiviut. Now I have ::swoon!:: Qiviut to spin!

That, plus the fiber I have at home, should keep me busy all summer and perhaps a while longer. By the time class was over, I just had time to take one last cruise of the marketplace and barns, and then I was tired enough to take a pass on the Ravelry meet-up and just head home. Now off to bed to dream sheep-scented dreams.

7 comments:

Sara said...

I love the rainbow skein!

photoknitdog said...

Sounds like a wonderful time! I love seeing all the goodies you picked up! :D

Sarah {The Student Knitter} said...

wow, I am SO jealous that you get to have two great festivals in your state!

Iron Needles said...

I completely...COMPLETELY... understand! The class I took at the Estes Park Wool Market was given by Maggie Casey of 'Start Spinning' fame.

And I bought an ouncs of buffalo...or bison...or whatever. Not qivuit exactly. But still got a raised eyebrow from the Guy at $20/oz.

Iron Needles said...

Also...I am seriously going to have to get to the NW one of these days, and I think one of your festivals might be just the ticket...

Karen said...

Best reason to plan a trip to Oregon: Sock Summit 2011! It'll be the end of July, in Portland.

Anonymous said...

Laurie is the best teacher ever. She taught me and now I have the habit. You took a photo of the spinning circle while I was on a break. The twins are there and so is my yellow basket on a chair in the foreground! Lisa from Dicentra does have gorgeous saturated colors. Check out Woolgatherings' roving. The colors are more subtle but lush.

Enjoyed your post!
enerrer 4

 

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