Wednesday, August 31, 2011

BSHG at the NYS Fair

For the second year my guild, Black Sheep Handspinners Guild has been invited to demonstrate spinning at the Wool Barn at the New York State Fair.  Last year the temps were in the 90's so we were oh so grateful they were only in the mid 80's yesterday.

Jim, Cathy and I were on the first shift, 10-2, so got there as the parking lots were just filling up.  You can see the remains of the mud from Sunday's deluge.  We bring a cart or two as the hike from the car to the booth is considerable and the wheels only seem to get heavier as they are carried by hand.
Along the way is this Sea Lion booth. I am glad to see the folks working with these animals openly love them and that the posters tell about the lives of sea creatures and explain what pollution is doing to their natural habitat.

The demo area is rather small but compact and shows many many aspects of using fibers.
This chain driven antique was one of 3 working looms.  Another is a large LeClerc floor loom and the third was a simpler rigid heddle Kromski table model.

Cathy using the hand carder to make a batt.

Second shift consisted of l->r: Ellie spinning on a Schacht Matchless, Sharon with a Baynes, Audrey and Sue Q both using Louet's.  Other guilds were also representing.  The wide range of wheels to choose from is a fantastic show in itself.
In the background are different wools donated by fleece breeders for the demonstrators to use if they so choose.

On our lunch break we stopped to watch this one-man-band who engaged the children in sounds and singing.  Notice the links on the heels of his shoes that bong on the inside of the drum.  He bounces and the cymbols clang.  What a way to earn a living!
Cotswold Cross Lamb

On our way in and out we pass the barns that house the horses and their people.  
This horse was brought out to get a wee bit of grass to munch.

It's a fun day with the opportunity to meet lots of new people who are curious about spinning and/or want to learn more about it or just connect with other spinners.  As usual the women want to know how it is done and what we are spinning while the guys want to know about the mechanics of the wheels.  I love the expressions when I tell a guy that I am spinning wool and tencel and he asks what is tencel and I get to say wood.  Of course we go on to explain it further but the incredulous looks are great.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


My sister gave me this beautiful soap a few years ago.

  I love it and therefore put it away so it wouldn't get spoiled. Two weeks ago it dawned on me that I was getting very little to no enjoyment from some hand made soap that I couldn't see or touch. Now anyone who uses the bathroom comes out raving about that soap and I get to use it every day.   Thank you Ellen.   Your gifts are always so well thought out.

 A few months ago I committed to making at least one present a month in order to avoid DeNile in November.   I managed to keep to that promise through June, as presents for 3 folks were completed.

Then in July I got distracted by the Knitting for Obama Operation Shower Kit for Joining Forces which is hosting baby showers for military wives all around the country.

  I managed to complete a baby blanket (top right), a pink/purple kick bag and a hat (middle right). The rest were done by 3 other wonderful knitters and shipped to MO on the 20th of July.   Technically I guess those are presents, just not on my Holiday list of to-do's.

So to make up for that a bit I have completed my sister's holiday gift out of hand dyed grey silk and polwarth

and am about halfway (or more) done with her birthday present.  Her day is the 16th so I know I am working against a deadline.  I remember last December when she was opening her gifts and kept asking where the socks were.  Well this time a pair will be in the box, myveryownsister.  The hope is the box will be on time.  I am not promising that yet but it will be close.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

FIRST First Saturday

I was very nervous, what if I threw a party and no one came?  Then it started raining.  Yup, real rain, steady, soft with temps in the 70's.  So I worried if we had too many people for the shop they couldn't sit out on the deck or on the wet chairs out front either.  You know, worrying is so unproductive you'd think I would know that by now.

Well several someones did come and we had a blast.  I haven't gotten so much easy spinning done in one afternoon in a long time. Only a few folks knew each other, but we had wool in common and that does bond us easily.  I had a Stephanie Pearl-McPhee book downloaded and ready for the speakers but we spoke to each other so well folks did not want to get quiet to listen.

Rochester, Endicott, Newfield and Trumansburg were well represented.  We ate sugar free key lime pie, cherries and veggie chips along with iced tea, water and soda.  Folks tried out some hand dyed CVM rovings, shared stories, helped each other with questions and the time flew by.

Ruth kept amazing herself with how thin she was spinning a Pixie Batt.  Jan spun some angora/merino on her spindle while Char combed and spun mohair locks she just acquired. Gayle learned how to oil her wheel and Ellen, a fantastic lace knitter was fascinated by all the spinning, sheep and animal talk.  I spun some silk singles, plied some silk with polwarth plus spun up about 2 oz of Panda singles.   All in all a fantastic relaxing destressing day.   I'm looking forward to the next First Saturday in September.