Black Sheep Gathering ’11

Can’t let June fade without a post. Maybe July will pass at a more leisurely pace with the supposedly languid days of summer here.

We survived Black Sheep Gathering. What a whirlwind of ever-changing faces and activity. Sharing the double-booth space with Patti of Sweet Grass Wool worked out great. She was very laid-back and great to work with.  Have I mentioned how much I love her Targhee wool? And her dye work? (I’m in the process of spinning 4 ounces of some of her stuff.) Targhee is a sheep breed that was developed in the Wyoming/Montana area. She’s an amazing person! Her property, home and part of the shop have been flooded three times in the past few weeks. The unceasing rains and late Spring snow melt in the Rockies keep turning a small meandering creek 3 miles from her Montana home into a broad river inundating everything for miles. Relentless rains have worked their way through the roofs creating leaks in what was previously a solid barrier. None-the-less she’s taking it all in stride. She’s thankful the fiber studio / dye house /yarn storage building is on higher ground and so far hasn’t suffered any damage or loss. She was glad that earlier in the year she’d decided not to have a booth at any fiber festivals between Black Sheep and the late September Oregon Flock & Fiber.

The first two days of BSG progressed smoothly. Last year my voice was gone by the end of the first day from the non-stop interaction and helping people to learn how to spin.  This year we were  more diligent about drinking plenty of water, taking advantage of small breaks to eat a handful of nuts and energy food, being aware of my body enough to refuel with electrolytes or protein when needed. Keeping a clear brain was hopeless, a combination of background noise, people all around and lots of talking, tends to cause my brain to shut down.

The majority of people buying our spindles Friday and Saturday were, in general, much more knowledgeable about spinning then at previous shows. Sunday was totally different, it was almost as though it were an entirely different show. People had no idea what the spindles were or what they were for. One person looking at our logo asked, “What’s a fiber artist?” It’s good for us to stop and take stock  of that which is so familiar to us is still very unknown or strange to most people. Yes, they’re aware of  knitting but haven’t been exposed to the vast world beyond the yarn at the store. The day was thoroughly exhausting, made bright here and there by people who’d only learned to spin that weekend eagerly coming to show us their amazing progress. Alas, I forgot to get any pictures. One woman who’d bought her first spindle, a Lark, on Saturday stopped by on Sunday to show us her fabulous yarn. She had well over an ounce of surprisingly consistent yarn wrapped onto her spindle.  I turned to get the camera when another person asked me a question and the thought disappeared not to be glimpsed until we’d started home. That’s the muddled thinking that bothers me at these events. Deer in headlights.  Can’t see the trees for the forest. Swing the bat but lose sight of the ball. The bulb’s burning but not casting light…

Two new shirts were worn during the weekend! On Friday I wore the shirt I started weaving last August, took off the loom in October and threw it in the washing machine then laid out to dry. I finally got around to seaming only two days before BSG. (who says I procrastinate?) I loved wearing this shirt which was woven using commercial tencel and 4oz of my handspun Limegreen Jelly “Precious”. It’s soft and lightweight. (need to persuade Ed or someone to take a picture sometime). The other shirt is Buttercup, the one I started knitting in April, finished June 9th. If knitting shirts didn’t take so long and no other items needed attention I would have cast one another one by now, it’s almost seems like wearing airy fluff.

Pattern: Buttercup by Heidi Kirrmaier
Yarn: Abstract Fiber Mighty Sock, Koi Pond
Needles: Jenkins #7 / 4.5mm Circs Knit top down in the round.
A great pattern!


Author: Wanda J

I never dreamed my life would be entangled with fiber and the tools used to produce fibery items. When I bought a boat shuttle used in weaving Ed looked at it, decided to make a better one and the rest is history. For a decade he made shuttles, crochet hooks, knitting needles, until his spindles became so popular that he had to devote his time to making them, as well as Walking Wheels. Free time is spent reading, trying to coax food from the ground, and playing in the creek near our place. I love long walks and camping far from crowds. Playing a fiddle beside a stream or with good friends brings sweetness to my soul. Sundays are set aside for worshiping God with our small Quaker meeting.

6 thoughts on “Black Sheep Gathering ’11”

  1. I should have taken a photo of you and Ed at your very-busy booth on Friday! Alas, my virus-riddled brain was not firing on all cylinders, either. Looking forward to using my new tulip standard during Tour de Fleece.

    BTW, that Buttercup top is SO pretty on you! I had looked at the pattern before and wasn’t all that impressed, but after seeing it on you, it is now in my pattern library. 🙂

  2. Nice top! Beautiful colors!
    Didn’t make it to Black Sheep this year as I am still on a
    “fiber restricted” diet, but making great progress using my emmense
    stash of fiber and handspun yarn!
    Hope your summer slows down (ours, too)!

  3. That top is a beautiful color for you. And you look so happy 🙂 [OK, I know, you’re spinning, and the sun is shining, and you’re wearing something new that fits and is a good color; what’s not to be happy about?]

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