Monday, April 24, 2006

It's like magic!

I had a great time at Shepherd's Extravaganza this year. The vendor selection was rather smaller than last year, and oddly there weren't any spindles for sale except one stall that had a learn-to-spin pack.

But there was still some lovelies to be had, like this blueish-purple CVM roving. Alas, I can't remember who the vendor is - it came with a card, but of course I didn't include it in the picture. Oops! I took my friend A with me to the event, and she's a non-fibery person. After looking at the fleeces (she gave me such strange looks when I was testing individual locks until I explained what I was doing. Heh.), we did a quick stroll up and down the vendor tables. She really, really liked this roving, so I think it's destined to become some fingerless gloves for her.

I hadn't planned on spinning this for a little while, but it was hard to resist last night. I really need to remember to move down the hooks on the flyer more often - the singles are sort of toppling over and everything could be a lot neater. I am almost done buying fiber tools for the next six or eight months, but the exception to that may be a Woolee Winder.

I'm all shy about posting pics of singles on the bobbin, but I guess you have to take the plunge sometime. I'm mostly just working on consistency right now. This roving is absolutely fantastic - drafting is a breeze, and I had a great time with it last night. I didn't spin for very long, but what I did spin was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

I'm hoping it'll be the same with this Daffodil colored roving. This is only four ounces, but it was so fabulously spring-like and cheerful I couldn't resist. Please forgive the dark picture - I meant to take pics while it was light outside, but of course time got away from me yesterday. Mostly because I spent a goodly amount of time washing fleece!

I know. So surprising, eh?

My other purchases at the Extravaganza were two fleeces, both breeds I haven't had the chance to work with before. I got a white Cotswold, and a natural dark grey Lincoln. I amso glad they have the sheet with the judges assessment and comments attached to each, as I'm still a rank novice at choosing a fleece. I'm thankful I've had the chance to work with a lot of the raw stuff in recent months, and could tell Friend A that yes, this bag of kinda smelly, frankly dirty (hey, the sheep live outside in a'd be a little dirty too!) and scary looking stuff would turn out to be lovely and gorgeous once it was washed. And that no, I'm not insane to want to play with it. *G*

This is the fleece right out of the bag. The tips are a bit dirty, but the creamy white goodness you can see on the inside gives me hope. I've not really dealt with such a curly, spiral locked fiber before, but I think this'll be a great experience for me.

In this next picture, it's a closer look at the tips on the fleece. I don't think it's quite the same as the "bark" that forms on a Merino or other fine-wooled fleece, which keeps other stuff out and preserves the fiber underneath. I think this is likely a result of outdoor living + a rainy Pacific Northwest winter. But that's fairly good news to me, as that means it's just mud and will likely wash out.

The last picture is of the newly washed fleece, hanging out on the drying rack, happy and damp. You can see a huge improvement in overall color and cleanliness, and the tips are much more manageable now. I didn't do anything special to them while washing - I didn't flick before tucking them into the lingere bags, and I didn't rub the tips underwater to help loosen everything. If I can read up on how to use my mini-combs most effectively, I'll do those with this fiber. I'd also like to get a pair of the big ass, horror film prop, four or five row English combs to have in my spinning tool kit, but I think I'd rather have the Woolee Winder for the Ashford Traveller first. And I do, after all, have the double row mini-combs to work with.

Anyway, the point to the combs is that they're likely to help loosen the tips. If the tips break while combing, I'm hoping I do it in a way that they're left behind on the comb. Otherwise, if I really feel the need, I can always snip off anything that looks particularly stubborn and call it good.

So there you have it. I feel fairly good about the entire experience - I got to hang out with a friend, and through that my firm belief that I suck at navigation (It's a fairground! It's enormous! Why can't we FIND the damn thing?!) was re-affirmed. I got to illustrate the magic of some soap and water, I got me some really groovy colored pretties to play with, and I'm learning something new every time I wander into the living room to hang out with the fiber.

Overall? A most excellent weekend! [/Keanu voice]