Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Michigan Fiber Festival

Taking the bus chartered by The Windy City Knitting Guild was BRILLIANT! Thank you so very much to Worna who seemed to be the woman who put it all together. Well Done!

Linda and I got up at 5 (no real problem there since I do that all the time anyway) and headed out around 6 to get to the library to get on the bus. After a quick stop at Dunkin' Donuts (OK - I was just going to link to their site, but geez, Rachael Ray, she of the really irritating voice started talking out of the screen and I'm just not going to subject you guys to that, OK? I know you're thanking me :-) ).

Sorry - I digressed. After our stop so Linda could get some caffeine and we could pick up some donuts to share, (OMG you flipped the donuts over, Linda! :-D) we arrived at the library to find . . . no one. In our anxiousness to not be late, we got there about 6:30, pretty much before anyone else :-D The bus arrived and it was gigantic - and very comfy and just perfect for our jaunt to the Michigan Fiber Festival, and it did leave promptly at 7 a.m. :-)

It was so great to not be driving! The bus was not full, but that just made it easier to relax and for me to meet some of the Guild members. Linda and I both had a great time (Jamie and Rachael, you were missed :-) ).

In fact, I'm going out on a limb here, but this event is WAY better than Stitches. At least it was for me. Most of the vendors at this event will be at Stitches this coming weekend, but they were also here in this slightly smaller venue. In addition there were a lot of small, independent farms and dyers, etc., stuff you won't find at Stitches. The fairgrounds were not majorly crowded - some vendors were outside, some inside - and there were animals of the fiber sort as well as Border Collies and tractors and music and lunch from the Guild (yummy and again thank you so very much!). OK - it was hot in the buildings where the vendors were, but I had what my cousin calls my "party fan" with me which made things much more bearable (and more than one person was eye-ing me for it. One even came up and asked had I gotten it at the fair!). We really had a great time!!

So - where shall I start? How about here, with Linda scritching a little Shetland ewe! There were a LOT of Shetlands, plenty of Romneys - and even some huge Lincolns! Wow I mean they were gigantic! Llamas and bunnies and sheep! Oh My! ;-)

We saw a lot of sheep and goats and alpacas, too. I'm not sure what kind of sheep this one is, but isn't it gorgeous? :-) There were shearing demonstrations and herding demonstrations and food and music, and the time to enjoy it all. There was time for shopping, and time for kicking back in the shade and chatting and knitting - really relaxing and this event is definitely on my list for next year!

This is truly a fiber festival, not just a shopping trip, and we had the perfect day for it. The sky was blue, the breeze was perfect (and welcome after being in the vendor buildings), and there are a lot of trees on the fairgrounds, which make for excellent shade - as usual, I was covered in sunscreen, but I didn't have to take my big floppy hat - just a baseball hat this time, which was a lot easier to deal with.

The herding demonstration was very educational. Here are the sheep taking off as Jake, the dog, did his thing. As soon as the "shepherd" said, "that'll do, Jake" I had a Babe the Pig flashback (It's one of my favorite movies, OK? And come on, you can't tell me you didn't just hear Babe singing Jinglebells in your head whether or not you just watched the trailer - and what about that little mouse trio? How cute were they?! Yes, clearly I'm going to be watching it again soon, and - sorry, I keep digressing).

Anywho - Jake was a great dog - he reminded me so much of my old dog, Teddy . . . I really miss having a dog around the house. Oh well - it's not in the cards at the moment. But check that boy out - he's a handsome one, that's for sure. Here are some of the Guild girls enjoying the show.

This event was also exciting for me because this is where the Iona Sweater story picks back up - with a 6 lb. fleece from a sheep named Javanne . . . she lives on Moonshadow Farm in Minnesota. Her fleece is really beautiful - take a look. Javanne is a Corriedale (who knew they put fleeces in lawn and leaf bags, but what a great idea!). I met PatsyZ after her class was finished and she went with me to Ohio Valley Natural Fibers and helped me get everything set up to have this fleece cleaned and blended with some other Corriedale I had, and of course with the Iona Wool. The whiter fleece on top is the Iona wool. It will all look quite similar in color once everything is cleaned and blended, and I will have a LOT of spinning to do this winter :-)

The wool is on its way to the mill - see that lawn and leaf bag in trailer, over on the right next to the blue-ish bucket? That's my fiber! Linda laughed at me, but it's possible to GO to the mill and watch them run my actual fiber. They will call me once it's been washed and give me the option of driving over. I might really do this because (1) it sounds fascinating to me, and (2) I have never been in a mill before, and (3) I would get my fiber sooner than three months if I go and get it :-D Sardinia is about 5 hours away from where I live . . . I'm thinking there might a little road trip in my future around the end of October :-)

I also got a chance to catch up with Toni from The Fold, and I'm hoping to get out there right after Labor Day to spend the day relaxing and spinning in the shop, which is always a pleasure!

You're wondering if I came home with yarn, aren't you? Well, I did - since my stash busting challenge is back in place as of today, I figured I might should get a couple of things I've been wanting. Some Socks that Rock from Toni, and some Oak Grove sock yarn - really gorgeous color saturation! But that's it. I'm going to make my best effort (with possibly one dispensation - OK, maybe two, depending on what 2009 holds) to spin and knit from my stash until the Michigan Fiber Festival next year. Wish me luck :-)

We all piled back onto the bus at 6 o'clock Michigan time, and got home in pretty short order. I dropped Linda at home and picked up my overnight bag, and hopped into the car and was on the way home by 8:30. The price of gas must really be keeping a lot of people off the road - I hit the Edens to the Kennedy to the Dan Ryan to I-57, and I was home in 45 minutes. Let me tell you that this is not normal on a Saturday night in Chicagoland. Oh - and as I was driving down the Kennedy, I swear I saw our bus!


The Knitted Squirrel said...

Sounds like you had a great trip! I'm jealous. LOL I have never been to anything like that before, maybe someday I can get there.

Kris said...

WOW! gosh...will most likely have to join the guild and get my ticket for next year! Sounds fabulous and looks fabulous.

rohanknitter said...

That sounds like a wonderful day - I would love to see a herding demonstrating like that ! (I love the movie Babe too!!) : )