Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fall Fiber Festival of VA '08 and more!

by Caroline and Kathleen

I've been so eager for this vacation! Both a chance to visit with my sister and her DH and to return to the Fall Fiber Festival. Last year was the first time Kathleen and I went and it was such a good time, so I was really looking forward to this year. (And I was excited to have Caroline visit! I really enjoy sharing the festival with her. We used to go to a music festival in VT every summer back when I lived in the Northeast. Now I'm in VA and we have the fiber festival!) We had another beautiful weekend, although thankfully, a little cooler than last year. (And a lot less dust!) I didn't sign up for any workshops; I had decided to dedicate Saturday to the Sheepdog Trials. What an amazing animal the border collie is; so eager to be out there that they are turning in circles waiting for their people to catch up to them. They look like they are in motion even when they are standing still! I was able to ask questions as I watched and learned a lot about the trials and the dogs. I think you can click to make bigger. (I had a workshop on Saturday morning... Nalbinding. It was very interesting and I thought our instructor did a fine job with us. I guess I'd describe the technique as a mix of sewing and braiding; it produces a very nice textured cord. Doubt that I'll use it again, but since I'm on a mission to learn everything ever... that's one more technique! Only about a millionbillion to go!
Then I joined Caroline at the dogs...)

The festival food offerings were varied and tasty but I went for a hot dog and chips. (I had chicken teriyaki and LoMein... just okay. Better than starving. I don't know why I didn't get the lamb sandwich... I love lamb! And I happen to like the macabre irony of eating the lamb while admiring cute sheep.) Then, it was time for the highlight of the festival food: fresh apple cider donuts, tossed in cinnamon....mmmmmm! (Yummyummyummy!)

(After lunch, while Caroline continued to watch the dogs, I went browsing with Angie, who used to come to our Knit Night sessions when she lived down here but we never see her anymore now that she's left us and moved far away. Almost two whole hours away! She was looking for a drop spindle, but she bought half-price silk yarn instead... close enough!)

Saturday night we went to a concert, a fundraiser for a local musician who is ill. The music was great! I wish I had a music clip to put up for you all. Unfortunately, we had to leave at intermission so we could get up early for the festival. I have no links ready for these groups, they don't all have one so, in brief: 1. Faster Than Walking, 2. Danny Knicely & Burt Carlson, & 3. Neal Knicely, Steve Parks, & Bob Driver. (I met Steve when I first moved to this town. He's a musician and luthier, a fixture in town here, and a hell of a nice guy who has touched so many people's lives. This is a recurrance of his cancer... and there's not much they can do this time, but manage the pain.
So the community that he has touched so deeply, the huge and spread out group of friends and acquaintances, are pulling together to do what they can for him and his family. Dinners and concerts and CD sales all to try to help with the inevitable mountain of medical costs.)

After the concert, I did something that I thought I would never do:

Kathleen has been spinning for a while and as soon as the fiber fumes got me, she offered a lesson. (Bwahaha) The next day I bought some roving and a spindle (Bwahahaha). I'm extremely inconsistent but really enjoying it (Bwahahahaha).

Sunday I went shopping at the vendor's tents. I was glad to see Dianne ("creative" on Ravelry) from Creatively Dyed Yarn had returned and bought several skeins from her (she has added cashmere to the mix, whoo hoo!). I have a lovely fall-colored, wool & nylon skein from Bransonas (can't get their link to work) and a wonderful green Suri Alpaca (going to grow up to be the Lisha Lace Scarf) from My Favorite Yarn Shop.

And then there was the roving (now that I am a spinner LOL [Bwahahahahahahaha])! I bought several different colors but not a lot of any. Some Marshmallow & Fudge, a blend of corriedale and border leicester from Steam Valley Fiber Farm. I got several strips of corriedale from Carodan Farm Wool Shop.

Leaving the festival, we stopped in at the open house at Lagniappe Farm (another link I couldn't get to work [fixed!]) to view the alpacas. Raveler merianb and her husband raise alpacas and Kathleen and I enjoyed a visit, getting just about every alpaca related question we ever thought of, answered. (Did you know that alpacas don't give birth at night or in bad weather? They just hold it! And that they go into heat triggered by the sound a male makes? They had four pregnant females, two of which should be giving birth any day now... so we talked a lot about alpaca's sex lives...)

Finally, a picture of our combined haul, showing that we had more control this year than last. (Most of that is Caroline's.)

Wait! The spinning isn't done yet....it has to be plied:

And now we have yarn:

(Unfortunately the week has slippped by so fast... just like last year we're saying "We need more time!")