Have Ewe Any Wool?

Monday, June 28, 2010


I spent the first half of this VERY hot Sunday at the Frederick Fairgrounds for the Easter Angora Goat and Mohair Association (EAGMA) goat show. The temperatures weren't too bad first thing in the morning and there was a very nice breeze, but the temps heated up quite quickly. The goats in the barn seemed quite comfortable in the shade of their pens with the nice breeze(enhanced by fans) to keep them cool.

I had a primo seat for watching all the judging - front and center! I had missed the first round of the of the colored goat competition, but there were plenty of categories and plenty of goats yet to come. Luckily, I managed to see the judging where Colleen's goat took 4th! It was awesome!!!!

Pilar and her daughter were helping Colleen show goats as well. It was awesome to watch - I love it when us "city girls" flex our wings!

I would hate to be a judge. There were so many fine animals with absolutely lovely fleeces. The judge (in the white hat) checked the wool on the entire animal - the back, sides, and rear. He checked for both the quality of the wool as well as the density of it. On a few occasions, he'd have to check and recheck to determine the final rankings of the top goats. It was fascinating to watch.

One goat was more of a "lap dog" or cat. She was very content to splay out on her owner's lap and watch the remainder of the show once she'd finished competing!

And my favorite photo - the owner that gently talks to his goat while awaiting the judging. It was just the sweetest thing I'd ever seen. The camera just didn't quite capture the moment, but you get the idea anyway.

I took soooo many "goat photos" - it's hard to pare them down to a reasonable number for this post. Here's an assortment of photos of the goats that were being judged as well as photos of some of the winners...including the Grand Champion and Reserve.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to watch much of the doe competition as I had to leave early due to a family emergency. I'm sure they were all as gorgeous as bucks.

Before I left, I checked out the vendors. There were all under a single pavilion. This festival is a much smaller venue than Maryland Sheep and Wool, but definitely worth the trip! I picked up some lovely roving (in teal) from Avalon Springs Farm and a fabulous skein of brushed mohair from Kid Hollow Farm (also in teal).

Even though the vendor area was shaded by the Pavilion, it was still hot as blazes - especially in the middle where the breeze was somewhat blocked. However, this little bunny didn't seem to mind and even posed for a photo op with the spinning wheel! The bunny's owner kept chilled water and ice packs nearby so the bunny could cool off as needed.

In the Pavilion, I also spotted a couple of my friends busily demonstrating spinning and weaving. More power to them! I don't think I could spin or weave in that heat! It was 100+ degrees by the mid afternoon - thankfully I was gone by then!

This little guy was "out for a stroll" - heading over to watch the shearing.

On my way out, I paused to checkout the shearing tent. What a hot day for shearing! I'll bet the goat was THRILLED to have all that excess wool removed!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Casting On and Unexpected Projects

I've finally cast on for my "Skuld". I really like the yarn - especially now that I know the intent was for it to be made from a rather dark yarn. "Indescribable" from Fearless Fibers is perfect! The pattern is quite interesting. I wonder how long it will take me to finish this???

After the Sons of Norway lodge meeting this evening, I headed over to the Norwegian Cultural Center to sort through some partial projects and yarn (unborn projects) that had been donated to the lodge by the estate of a former member.

There were at least 12 different sweaters at various points of completion - a couple need to be sewn together while others need either the body or at least one sleeve knitted up. In all cases, there were no patterns...and sometimes, no yarn for completing the project. I opted to attempt to finish a "harvest gold" sweater. It's fairly complete, but is open at the base of the sleeves - I'm assuming the intent was to put buttons and button loops there. (I stayed away from two sweaters that were knit in the Norwegian technique and were marked for Steeking.....eeekkkk! Steeks!) I'll post "before" and "after" photos once I start working on this.

I'm planning to make some kits for Nordic color knitting out of some of the white wool that was in such abundance. The numerous partial skeins of colorful yarn that were peppered throughout the boxes of yarn will be perfect for adding color. I'm planning a lodge activity or perhaps we'll market the kits at the Christmas Bazaar.

From the plentiful "seventies" colors of yarn, I plan to make some small bags and felt them. Next, I'll needle felt some Nordic designs on them and donate them to our Christmas Bazaar. I intend to have the Norwegian ships and possibly some viking helmets needle felted onto each bag. The possibilities are endless!

Finally, there were some gorgeous hand knit Norwegian sweaters that Debbie found at a yard sale. Two are definitely hand knit, and the third may or may not be...but it's definitely hand finished. Anyhow, I'll be washing them up and restoring them to their original splendor for a silent auction or something similar at an upcoming lodge meeting. It will be a fantastic opportunity for someone to acquire a hand knit vintage Norwegian sweater - something to treasure and pass along.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

All Creatures Great and Small

Yesterday, on the dog walk, we startled a deer that was hanging out by the playground. It was a very young buck - just starting to get the beginnings of horns. He quickly ran off into the woods when we approached, so unfortunately, I didn't get a picture.

Today, I spotted a little chipmunk that darted out from the drainage ditch and scurried across the drainfield to the lower end of a down spout. He "peaked" out at us from the safety of his "new found shelter" and seemed to pose for the picture. (He darted off the moment I put the camera away!)

It's been so hot here that the Black-Eyed Susans appear to be "shriveling" in the intense heat. Only those that spent most of their hours in the shade seem to be surviving well.

Ah....I noticed that the thistles are really starting to sprout up throughout the neighborhood. I can't wait till they get their purple heads and purple tu-tus!

This week, the knitting has slowed down a bit. I did finish the second "Fantasy Naturale Market Bag". However, I did not make much progress on the Shropshire baby blanket. I knit 4 rows on the blanket, tore them out, and re-knit. I also had to drop 2 stitches down about 40 rows to correct an error. I FINALLY managed to complete 2 rows, so at least I did make SOME progress...no matter how small.

My goals for this week are to start "Skuld". I'm making this in a very deep purple colorway from Fearless Fibers - "Indescribable". It's gorgeous! Subtle shading differences. I really need to get going on Skuld as the pattern for th next shawl in the series comes out on July 15th!

And then, there's the "Starsky". Another project I really need to start - and complete! It's going to be a lovely casual cardigan that will go perfectly with jeans. I'm making it in Shepherd's wool in the "Pansy" colorway.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

WLAST - Western Loudoun Artist Studio Tour

The Western Loudoun Artist Studio Tour (WLAST) was this past weekend. The Blue Ridge Spinners and Weaver's Guild (BRSWG) was at the Purcellville Train Station - Stop 19 on the tour. I had a great time demonstrating spinning on Sunday afternoon. Of course, any time I get to sit around spinning and talking about it is a wonderful time. Emily was busy weaving and Karen (right) spent the entire day spinning away while we chatted and demonstrated our crafts.

Of course I didn't just demo...I also shopped. I also had to buy some of the fabulous hand woven towels and placemats crafted by Emily, Beth, and Diane. I also purchased a couple Linda's of needle felting patterns.

These photos should give you an idea of the fabulous crafts represented....felting, weaving, knitting, spinning, rug braiding....and the list goes on!

Gorgeous "rug in progress"! Debbie is busily braiding away in three colors. The close-up really lets you see the beautiful colors.

Linda is putting the finishing touches on one of her felting creations. On the right are more of the fabulous woven items that "tempted me" all afternoon!

Ah....the looms - on the left- busily weaving. On the right, Beth is busy warping the loom for her next project.

Emily finished her table runner (shown on the loom on the left) while we were at the tour. Luckily, I got to watch her finish the edges first hand. I think that's why I love venues like this - I not only have a great time, but I typically learn something in the process! I now know how to finish the edge....if I could only get my first project off the loom!