Monday, October 24, 2016

Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival 2016

This year was my first year going to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival (OFFF) in Canby, Oregon. I went with the intention of getting a pair of combs and oogling lots of pretty things, but not bringing much home. That, (un)fortunately, is not at all what happened!

I carpooled with a couple friends from home (in Tri Cities) to the festival. My friend, Leslie, drove. She has a popup thingy on top of her truck that she sleeps in when she goes camping. So, with her popup thingy, my tent and weekend stuff, and our friend's tent and weekend stuff, the truck was pretty well packed. Add in the table and chairs, cooler, camping stove, "pantry" plastic tote thing, spinning wheels, and fleeces that Leslie brought for the parking lot fleece sale, and it's safe to say that I had a wonderful pillow on the way down!

We had planned to gather at Leslie's house at 9am. Well, at 8:30am, just as I was getting ready to walk out the door, I got a call from her. Jan (the other friend who was carpooling) lost his keys. He needed a ride to Leslie's place. Could I run by his place and pick him up? Well, sure, I can do that. It's only 6 miles in the opposite direction. So we finally gathered at Leslie's at 10am or so. Add in the pack everything into the truck part and I think we ended up leaving Leslie's place right around 11am.

It was a pretty uneventful drive. I absolutely love watching the scenery change as we drive from the desert into greenery and forests. It is almost always raining at least a little bit during the transition from brown and khaki to green. Traffic through Portland wasn't horrid - I think we missed the post work getting home struggle.

Once we arrived at the fairgrounds that OFFF is held at, we headed straight to the back corner behind the llama barn. That's where we were planning to camp and had planned to meet up with our friend Barb. Everything with that went as planned! We got back there, found Barb's tent and car, set ourselves up, and then Barb got back from walking around and chatting with people!

That Friday evening we hung out. We walked over to the Fred Meyer (I forgot a toothbrush, Leslie forgot cream for coffee, I wanted to try and find a beer or two that I can't get at home... ya know... the important stuff). There were blackberries! On the side of the sidewalk! And they were ripe! I totally ate some. Yes, it was right next to the road and railroad tracks. Yes, they're soaking up all kinds of exhaust fumes. No, I didn't care. It has been ages and ages and ages since I've had blackberries, let alone been able to pick them myself! It was glorious.

At the Fred Meyer, I was stopped by a couple people who were attending OFFF. They were drawn to the shawl that I was wearing and wanted to know the deets. I actually saw a few of them a couple times again over the weekend.

Back at the campground we had soup that Leslie had brought from home, hung out, and finally went to bed to try and get some sleep before the first official day of the festival!

Saturday morning I fell in love with the neighborhood right by the fairgrounds. I woke up early, got dressed, and went for a walk. It was lovely. It was a little damp, a little foggy. There were awesome houses where people had front yarn gardens, huge trees, and adorable little picket fencing. I would move there in a heartbeat.

Throughout the course of the day Leslie, Barb, and I walked around, bought things, hung out, laughed a lot, got hugely inspired by a huge variety of people, products, boots, and the gallery of submitted projects. I found Ed and Wanda Jenkins and we chatted for a few minutes. I brought them some tomato sauce and sweet picked jalapenos that I'd canned.

Barb had entered a felted sleeping mat and we, of course, had to go see it hanging in the gallery!

Highlights of the day were watching the second annual goat (and sheep) agility course. It was hilarious!

And then there was musical paint lids with llamas. Move around while the music is on, then rush for a paint lid and get your llama to step on it when the music stopped. So, musical chairs llama style!

I found a couple of the most amazing fleeces ever. I only bought one of them. I have kind of kicked myself for not buying the other... I found my combs, I got some random 1oz mini braids of color to use for blending with other fibers, and I oogled at all kinds of lovely things that I didn't buy.

Sunday morning Leslie was taking a class, so Barb and I spent the morning at the fleece parking lot sale. We were there to sell Leslie's Shetland fleeces for her! Well, I ended up coming home with one of them, a part of an Icelandic fleece, and another Gotland lamb fleece. So. The car wasn't any less stuffed on the way home than on the way there!

It was an absolutely exhausting weekend, but 100% worth the exhaustion. I'm very glad that I went!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Episode 19: Progress and Promises

Oh my gosh, guys! It's been over a month since I posted anything in this space! I can't believe it's been that long. I mean, I knew it had been a while, but over a month?! Crazy.

I promise not to let it go that long again, unless it's a planned vacation or something.

On to the latest podcast, episode 19:

Latvian Sampler KAL (Ravelry page, my project page)
Spin Me, Drink Me SAL (my project page)

2 skeins of Romney, approximately 900 yards. Not washed with accurate yardage upon recording or writing of podcast notes.

Future Projects:
Wear The Wild Things Are
Self designed circle shawl with Romney & Princess Bride 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

30 Day Challenge day 5-11

After a very full weekend of extra hours at work, we had an electrical fire scare which kept me up way too late on a Sunday night without power. That led into a week of my (almost) normal work load. (This morning I'm going in an hour early so I can get some extra work done).

I think the only thing keeping me sane is spinning at least 5 minutes a day on my Jenkins turkish spindles!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Zoom Loom: A Review

My parents gave me a gift card to Paradise Fibers for my birthday earlier this year. I tend to hoard gift cards until I know exactly what I want the most and what I think I can get the most use out of. Well, with all the fiber sampling I've been doing, I decided that a Schacht Zoom Loom would be a good addition to my tools. I want a way to store my fiber sample library with yarn information, but also have a little sample of knit or woven fabric to see how the yarn behaves in a piece of fabric.

The Zoom Loom is a pin loom that measures just over 4 x 4 inches. It seems very well made, but comes with a couple replacement pins just in case. It's a simple design, but the pin spacing really helps the user remember which pins to loop the yarn around. There are numbers and reminder hints on each corner of the loom too, which is really nice! I've made a few squares with different weight yarns and I can say with certainty that the loom can handle a bit of pulling and man handling on those pins! The last couple rows can be difficult to weave if you're using a heavier weight yarn.

To be 100% honest, this isn't something that I would have spent money on if I hadn't had a gift card. Even now, once I've gotten it and had a chance to use it, I probably wouldn't have gotten it if I hadn't received a gift card for my birthday. It's a very nice tool to have, it'll definitely get some use, and I'll enjoy having it in my tool repertoire, but I just don't think that it's something I would suffer for not having. Not like a niddy noddy or a ball winder.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Breed Study: Romney, A Continuation

I'm still working through the medium grey Romney fleece. I'm totally in love with this fleece! It's soft, it has wonderful luster, and it's so easy to comb and spin!

I've made quite a bit of progress, even though it doesn't really look like it. I've been combing, spinning on my wheel, and combing more to refill the basket.

I have a plan for this fiber that I can't wait to see completed!

I will pair this finished yarn with my Princess Bride yarn, design and knit into a circle shawl. I'm envisioning garter, lace, and a small bit of color blocking. I only need about umpteenmillion yards, right?

Question for you guys: how do you spin for consistency? This will only be my second spin over multiple bobbins worth of singles. The first one was a traditional 3 ply, which definitely helped even things out but this one will only be a 2 ply!