I just returned from my yearly pilgrimage to Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, Oregon. I drove up with Eileen on Thursday and returned on Sunday, so it was a quick trip. Pulling the little trailer with my little Nissan truck made uphill driving slow (dropping to 35mph), plus there was quite a bit of highway construction delay, so both Thursday and Sunday were pretty much limited to driving. And more driving. There are quite a few uphills between Reno and Eugene.
We camped at Laura's Finney Creek Farm 29 miles west of Eugene. She has sheep, llamas, turkeys, chickens, a dog, a cat, and a full-time job. Busy woman! Four of us Nevadans camped in the front yard and her visiting cousin camped in the livingroom. Friday morning was coastal-Oregon-misty and I was able to get some great shots of the farm. My favorite is of an overly vocal rooster.
Black Sheep Gathering is held yearly at the Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene. It has become a premier western sheep and wool festival. There are sheep, goat and bunny competitions, fiber arts competitions, fleece judging and sale, workshops, demos, and lots and lots of vender booths. And, of course, impromptu spinning circles to join between shopping forays.
I am pleased to report that my painted Kiwi and matching chair generated many oohs and ahhs. The Market consisted of three large rooms full of venders selling everything from fibers, books and patterns to wheels, spindles, dyes, and tools. The most common item this year was probably handpaint blueface roving. Handspindles were also plentiful, with a wide choice from plain to fancy with exotic woods and inlaid stones. Another trend is the explosion of newfangled fibers such as ingeo, soysilk, bamboo, etc. I'm not a fan of silk (except how it takes color) and most of these new fibers are advertised to mimic the spinning properties of silk. Instead I found myself gravitating to exotics such as cashmere, bison, yak and camel down. Friday was mostly about shopping and I came home with quite a nice little collection of treasures to keep me happy for the next year.
I took only one half-day workshop - Orenburg Handspinning with Galina Khmeleva. It was a lot of fun and I bought a set of the hand-carved Russian support spindles to try this at home. She gets 500 yards on a single small handspindle! It will definitely take practice. Imagine a whisper-fine lace shawl spun from champagne colored camel down. Definitely worth the effort!
Saturday evening was the BSG lamb barbeque and potluck, then back to camp to chat, laugh, and compare our purchases. And make a few purchases from each other. I bought some of Becky's Tunis roving. Although tunis are meat sheep, the fiber is strong, smooth and springy (a bit like Dorset?), so I want to try making socks with it.
Now I am home. The trailer is unpacked and safely stowed in the driveway. This weekend I will get out my newly acquired booty and happily plot its eventual metamorphosis into hats, shawls, socks and other fuzzy garments.