Saturday, June 7, 2014

Adventure to Maryland! part 2

Another terrific thing about Maryland is seafood. I can't express just how great the whole trip was without including crab cakes, mmm. 
Also enjoyed a flounder filet stuffed with crab and wee shrimp on top. shut the front door delicious. 

By FAR one of my favorite things to find at any event is a friend (: Stephanie of Lunabud Knits and A Tangled Yarn 

SWAG! I purchased a festival bag featuring the current logo which calls to mind daffodils in the spring, photo missing, but i will find it or take another. Other purchases include: Rare breed fiber of Hogs Head Island sheep (more on that in an upcoming post) from Fingerlakes Mill. Lilac Heather fiber from Bartlett Yarns in Maine (the oldest operating woolen spun mill in the USA). Print tray, silverware hooks & overdoors plus fat-quarters (for girlie) from Pleasant Memories. Cat & mouse felt ornament and flower pin from Candra Day who sells things made in Kyrgyzstan for an organization there - amazing rugs and large pieces, too - i wish they had a website. And of course, sweet gnomie which was a gift from our neighbor whose card i cannot find! But they are not the mill listed on the map on the website, alas, if i find it i will share. Gnomie was actually a gift, but that is a story for another post. (you may have to remind me).
Two skeins of rug yarn from Blue Acorn Woolens - a lovely spring green and tardisy blue.

Most surprising conversation: While talking with two ladies who live less than 60 minutes away (and have been knitters "for years") I mention helping with a couple much smaller events back home. Nice lady 1 says, "How much smaller?" I chuckle and say, "30 to 50 vendors, tops." Kind lady 2 says, "We thought they were all like this, but this is our first time here."

"this is our first time here"
Now i realize not everyone is an event type person, but when i replied, "Oh, this is the great grandaddy fiber festival - very few, worldwide, are even close to this size." Kind lady 2 says, "I wish we'd known about it years ago." 
I would never, ever, compare our fantastic yet *much smaller* local events to the great and mighty Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, but there is something reassuring albeit unsettling about people living less than an hour from MDSW and involved with "that world" for "years" not knowing of the event. There was more to our conversation, though i admit i was reeling from all that had transpired thus far.

So here is your takeaway: If you know of a place, activity or event that you, your friends &/or your family enjoy/s SHARE information about said item. Not everything has the benefit of 140 years of history in the back pocket (;

Adventure to Maryland! part 1

Rug Yarn table
Once again i was fortunate to join my dear friend Lynne Oakes of Blue Acorn Woolens for the Maryland Sheep and Wool adventure! Fantastic weather surrounded us ALL weekend making the lovely drive even better. 

We sold out of Acorn Looms by 11am Sunday morning and within 30 minutes sold the demo loom. SO, that is to say, along with all the yarn sales, we were busy!

Handspun Tower - still setting up!

I had not planned entering any yarn into the competitions, but Lynne had a tapestry to enter and encouraged me so i chose two skeins as we unpacked, tagged them and sent them off with her to enter. Now, it is unclear what happened, but the skeins ended up with the wrong tags and were entered into the wrong categories (not the same problem as Greencastle, but paperwork still). Regardless the snaffoo, i was awarded a third and fifth place (:  Lynne's tapestry rug (should have won first) received a second place in the rug division.

MdSW is to yarncraft what the runway in Paris is to the fashion world. I could never capture and describe effectively all the amazing skills exhibited through worn garments and accessories. Mostly knitted and woven caught my eye, but also crocheted, sewn and mixed techniques were represented. 
Someplace i have a photo of "Monica's Shawl" with larger beads in place of nupps which really stood out. When i find it i will let you know - but the pattern is now on my short list - fantastic half circle.

Our own local rock star Holly wore her own spun and knitted amazing "Evenstar", swoon!

Our space is right next to the auction tent where hundreds of sales take place - processing and creating equipment and books on Saturday then farm related on Sunday. SO many wheels (some went for reasonable prices, even!). My favorite was this Teaching Wheel which went for $300. Also called a Gossip Wheel since two individuals work so closely together ... "whisper whisper."

Following will be post 2 - i divided it for my friends in dial-up or not-high-speed land since all the photos can be cumbersome.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

ah, technology ...

I have a terrific adventure to tell you about (in two parts - because it was THAT terrific!) and my phone is holding the photos hostage, among other ridiculous issues. SO, while i am working on that, here's a little about something else i did earlier this year (:

I judged the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA) spin-off for the Kentucky Classic Alpaca Show. Essentially, i graded freshly shorn and packaged fiber, hand processed a small part of each entry including spinning then gently washed each small skein to grade the resulting yarn. It was a lot of work, but i completely enjoyed seeing the variety of natural colors pass through my hands. I admit i was apprehensive at first - i've never met a fiber i couldn't work with, so how could i judge? But after i got moving and saw that it wasn't about each fibers usefulness, but more how each satisfies listed criteria and responds to processing, etc. the whole event made more sense to my fiber loving mind. Plus: i got to spin loads of lovely local alpaca and (hopefully) give breeders useful feedback, right?
All in all it was interesting and fun - that's right, fun work (:

Back to fighting the phone and the new lameness. Maryland reports soon!

Friday, April 25, 2014

festival magic

Last week I was fortunate to attend The Fiber Event at Greencastle with my good fiber friend Kathleen. I entered three skeins of yarn into competition and won a blue ribbon for my Romney entry!
Bad photo, sorry! I'll fix it next week (;

Turns out I won another division but there was a paperwork mess up, things happen, oh well. The other two will also get photos posted, promise!

Maybe you are like me in that i have a lot of fibery friends. Some, like Kathleen, i am blessed to see regularly because we live near one another and meet to knit & spin, take fibery trips now and then. Some i see occasionally at events or big Grinny Possum knit nights. But there are those i never see anywhere other than a fiber festival. Graciously, we have quite a few in the region spaced through the calendar so we don't have too terribly much to catch up on. Once in awhile there are dramatic changes to lives and families. More often the topics include grandkids, kids, pets, parents, flock, herd, menagerie - you get the idea. (;

The first festival i attended (Greencastle Fiber Fair, as i believe it was called - with Mr. Bill and the talented Nancy, my wee girlie in tow) i was overwhelmed with color and texture!  i still get a little race in my pulse at all the fibery goodness at festivals, but i can honestly say i am more excited about the people i will be seeing than the fiber & yarn available to purchase. Colorful yarn appeals to my senses, but colorful friends appeal to my soul. 

Looking forward to the next two days at Indiana Fiber and Music in Clarksville and seeing some of my fibery-est friends for a hug or two, a bit of catching up and definitely oooing and aahing at those colorful fibers and yarns ... don't even get me started on the tools!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Foodie Friday!

Since our arrival in the bluegrass state the sparkle girlie and i have found a lovely coffee nook. In fact, our first idea for a semi-regular Friday feature was "friday at a coffeehouse" and profile coffee shops around Louisville. We enjoyed Sister Bean's so much on our first and second visits we changed the whole scheme! So our new idea is to visit various places for lunch or share recipes we try at home and when we can we will end up at Sister Bean's. 
Due to their excellent location across from Iroquois Park Amphitheater along busy New Cut Road I was honestly afraid it would be too busy a spot for us to enjoy an afternoon of reading and hanging out. Happily, I was wrong. They do a good bit of drive-thru and walk in/out business so it usually isn't too full for a couple of gals to sit awhile. 
Even in the summer on a cool morning Girlie's favorite is hot chocolate ... 
with syrup and sprinkles on top of whipped cream, who can blame her? But, oddly on one of the coldest days of January (which is saying something, right?) she tried a strawberry-banana smoothie and loved it! (She asked i point out in the autumn she likes the hot cider, too.)
I admit i stick to my tried and true dark roast with cinnamon syrup, but the coffee is so good i am certain any specialty drink made with it is yummy! Comfy Cow ice cream and baked goods from Adrienne & Co. (which is funny as some of you may realize because our other home away from home, Grinny Possum, is down the street from Adrienne & Co. in Jeffersonville, IN) plus sandwiches at lunch time - great place for a meeting!
Today girlie created some art for their walls - it was a spur of the moment idea and as luck would have it, my colored pencils were in the other knitting bag! But we think the minimalist artistic look is cool (: 

Oh, and i was knitting a guinea pig while all this was going on. so, yeah ... 
I promise there is more knitting, spinning and other craftiness ahead as well as more foodie adventures (: 

Friday, January 10, 2014

First Foodie Friday!

follow the star & Sparkle Girl are not in the food business, but we enjoy food and sometimes inspired by it. Foodie Friday is going to become a semi-regular post that we'll share. We will visit coffee shops, diners and who knows what else! We are eager to find new places and share some of our favorites.
Today we ate lunch at El Tarasco on Fairfax Avenue in St. Matthews. 
SG: I like the outdoor awnings which are green, white and red. Inside the music was fantastico! I had a taco and enchilada with delicioso rice. Mom had a tamale and shared my rice. We both ate chips and salsa. If you like Mexican food, you should go here! :)
fts: Food was good plus friendly & speedy service, as always. I definitely agree - the music was particularly fun today (: We both ate lunch for less than $10 total.
finally our photo showed up! added 1/11/14

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy Distaff Day!

noun   1a stick or spindle onto which wool or flax is wound for spinning.
YOUNG GIRL WITH A DISTAFF - JOSEPH BOUVIER (distaff is the cottony candy like item she's holding high - wool waiting to be spun)

Greetings fiber fiends and friends!
Today marks the end of Christmas festivities (for those of you unawares, Twelfth Night was yesterday which is the last of all merrymaking). Today spinner maids return to their work, idle hands being a danger to us all, of course. Also sometimes called "Rock Day" from rocken - German for distaff. But watch yeselves, ladies, the ploughmen have until Monday before the must resume work and will be attempting pranks to taunt and tease.

Incidentally, spindle spinning was so intensely a woman's job that in many places (at least in the 14/15/1600s) the word distaff could also mean woman/women. I have read, but can find no notation, that in some places the term "distaff line" is still a legal title for a female or matriarchal line in a family.

My information has been gathered over time from books and such, but here is an informative essay from the UK you may enjoy.

Now to celebrate by getting back to my spindle!