Thanks to the two of you who said you missed my regular posts - at least there are two of you left reading what goes on here ;-D Well, you're in luck - here's another post with both photos and words :-)
I think I say this every year: If you are anywhere close to Allegan, Michigan, in August, and you have any interest in any of the fiber arts, you owe it to yourself to take in the Michigan Fiber Festival. I think 2012 will be the year I finally get to Maryland Sheep and Wool, and Rhinebeck, but although those festivals are bigger, I don't know if they can beat Michigan for charm and just all-around wonderfulness. :-) If I had to choose between Michigan and Stitches, Michigan would win, hands down.
It really is my favorite. It's the perfect size, and this year there were more vendors than ever before - a welcome change from smaller shows and local yarn stores closing down. And before you ask - yes, I did my part in stimulating the economy of Western Michigan :-D
The only thing you don't see in the photo is the large easel I bought from Hill Creek Fibers - it's for their large continuous strand looms, but I got it to hold my warping board - I haven't been able to figure out any other way to get the board in a position where I can actually warp on it easily, and warping with it flat down on a table was bothersome in many way.
Please cut me some slack - the entire left side of the photo is weaving yarns. I got a funny t-shirt, some more Addi Turbo needles for putting my teaching samples on, and plenty of Socks That Rock, which I'm finding I like more and more. Picked up a few books and one pattern, and an assortment of sock yarns with a couple of worsted and sport weight thrown in for good measure. And . . . um . . . that bag? It's another fleece.
I think I might have lost my marbles, but I want to try spinning in the grease - and so I got another wonderful fleece from Liz Voelker of Moons Shadow Farm. I have gotten a number of fleeces from her - they are all awesome. That's a big bag of buttery, beautiful Corriedale fleece.
I drove up to Holland, Michigan on Wednesday afternoon and stayed in a hotel there. I did the majority of my undergrad at Hope College, there in Holland. Let me just say that there were no large hotels when I went there - and the main street used to be about two blocks long. Now it's about 4 or 5 blocks long, and reminds me of Boulder, Colorado . . . I don't know how to tell you what a huge change that is from what it used to be. And, when I went there, it cost less than $3,000 a year . . . (it's now more than $35 grand a year). However, some things never change - the local tavern, Skiles, is still there, open, on the same corner. :-D
My Beginning Weaving class, taught by Ann Niemi, was really good. I was by turns elated, frustrated, ready to curse, exhausted and happy - and I feel like I can now successfully warp a loom front-to-back. There is a mountain of info for me to learn, but at least I have a start and some good reference books. And a lot of practice yarns (did you biggify that photo above?!) :-)
That's the beginnings of my first warp. It looks like a hot mess, but I actually managed it with only a few crossed threads that I was able to correct before starting to weave.
I love my Baby Wolf loom, but I can already tell that weaving is going to be as individual as knitting or spinning. The Writing Weaver is my loom's previous owner. Texsolv heddles did it for her, but they are not doing it for me, so they are likely going to go, and I'll purchase some additional inserted eye heddles to match the metal ones already on the loom. I'm left-handed, and will have to change up the direction on all the heddles. That should be interesting - I'm ambidextrous, but not that ambidextrous - they must be shifted - I might be able to just flip the shafts over - we will see. Again, so much for me to learn - it's an entirely new language.
I got to hang with Toni and Nan from The Fold (Toni helped me decide on that fleece). You would never know by looking at them that it was sweaty humid up there today :-S I, of course, looked like a tomato-face, and my hair was pretty much plastered down with sweat. The party fan got a LOT of use today.
One of the great things about Michigan, is that there are actually sheep there. I always attempt to take some sheep photos for my friend, Michelle from Boulderneigh. So, Michelle, here is the obligatory sheep collage - only the first one is a Shetland, and the bottom left is Icelandic - I don't know about any of the rest but I did the best I could :-)
It was interesting staying in the hotel for a few nights (and spendy :-S). Whoever invented infomercials is probably raking it in. They are truly enticing . . . I nearly rang to get Metamorphosis by Tracey Anderson, a Geniebra, and I think a PX90, which isn't PX90 at all, it's P90X :-D Seriously, I was alone in my hotel room, curled up in bed (this is why televisions do NOT belong in the bedroom . . . ), watching telly and thinking, "hmmmm, maybe this stuff really works!" Unreal.
I headed back to the fair this morning to catch the rest of the vendors who are only there on Saturday/Sunday, and then headed home around noon. I did have to stop to buy a Michigan map (only to have my sense of direction completely validated - Yay! (Michigan roads need better signage!)) because I didn't mapquest myself home from Allegan. I managed to get on to 94 before the rain really started pounding down . . . it doesn't look so bad in this photo, but it was seriously blinding off and on for at least an hour on the road. I was very, very tired by the time I got home, but I got the car unloaded and am thinking about a lie-down on the sofa in the sunroom . . . :-)
Next weekend the hoards descend on me and we're headed up to Stitches . . . ===:-O