Monday, October 30, 2006

SAFF Recap (Photo Heavy and Long)

In the interest of time-saving measures, I'm typing my blog post on the drive back to Florida. (I'm hoping to someday parlay all of my expertise into a $450/hour efficiency consultant position. I'll let you know how that works out.)

OH MY GOD I think I love fiber festivals! Do some of you really only go for one day?! I spent very nearly every waking hour wandering the halls and arena floors, until I was ejected because everyone wanted to go home. It helped me tremendously that one of the main organizers of the event is a good friend of my parents - my folks live on a former llama farm and the previous owners became close with them. And thankfully so, because they're absolutely wonderful people - and the wife is on the SAFF Board and coordinates the workshops, which means I managed to squeeze into all the workshops that had filled up before I sent in my registration. (More on those later.) She's also a knitter/spinner with too much fiber and she sent me home with a complimentary three pound garbage bag crammed with Border Leicester that she declared she was merely, "happy to have out of the house." When you have nine llamas to shear, and a flock of goats, I guess there's probably no shortage of fiber.


We drove north. We got hungry and reluctantly stopped for donuts and crappy gas station coffee. This made Travis cranky.

Road trip food sucks!

We then discovered we were three miles from Forsyth, Georgia, the home of Uncle Frank's. Uncle Frank (so named because his sister has ELEVEN children...and another on the way, we learned) runs one of those great old home restaurants with collard greens and rutabaga and fried chicken and homemade meatloaf and a hundred other buffet items, all homemade, all you can eat, for six bucks. And homemade apple cobbler. And sweet tea.

Road trip food is awesome!

We left fat and happy - which is the only way Frank lets anyone leave.

I finished plenty of projects on the drive. I'll show those off in the next post...there's plenty of eye candy to go around in this one.

Immediately upon arriving, I thrust Mom's birthday gift into her hand, demanded that she open it, and threatened to club her over the head when she objected that it wasn't her birthday yet. (I remembered to snap a few hasty photos the morning we left.)

Swallowtail Shawl

Swallowtail Shawl

I'm relatively happy with how it worked out, and she thought it was lovely (and threatened to frame it rather than wear it.) We entered it into the Skein and Garment competition at SAFF, but it didn't win anything. I hadn't much expected it to - some of the stuff that was entered was pretty baffling.

I scored swag, bigtime. There was a lot of stuff there - more fiber than I could imagine in one place, man. Mom was volunteering on Friday and Saturday, and I was in classes most of those days too - we went back on Sunday to shop a bit and visit the critters.

I learned spinning first thing:

My Learnin' Wheel

(The first, and not the last, kinda crappy blurry photo. The arena was not really photo-friendly. It cared for neither flash nor no-flash. Jerk.)

The class was great fun, and the instructor was just darling. She had a helper who cracked me up too - and thank God for the one went unattended.

My beginning spinning class (2)

The red arrow shows Julie, the instructor. The green is her helper. I have to toot a horn here...the helper (I can't remember her name, lousy me) declared almost immediately upon seeing me, "You're gonna be good at this. I can just tell." It must have been that slightly wild-eyed glint of impending hysteria, that sort of rabid hunger that we all get when someone presents us with yet another fiber-related option.

My first handspun on a wheel!

My first single! Okay, I wasn't fantastic right off the bat, but I dug it hard, and I wasn't terrible either. And I had a hard time concentrating in my next class because I wanted to go back to the wheel.

Dyeing Class Instructor

My next class had to do with dyeing a variegated yarn or fleece in one pot (note the instructor). That was actually a really cool trick, and we ended up with some really interesting results. (They had to dry, I didn't get photos yet - that'll be next post too.)

Dyeing Class

It was freakin' COLD out there, too....but we endured. Because there was fiber involved. The arrow you see points at Rahaa (who is just as tall as she seems to be.) She was a cool cat. And I felt that worth pointing out.

At one point in this class, some guy and his wife wandered up and asked a bunch of questions about what we were doing and got all up in our business - to the point that in order to get dye into the pot, I had to ask him to move. He was obnoxious as hell, but curious, and the instructor finally gently pointed out that we had actually PAID for the class, and he'd need to move along.

Speaking of men:

Spinners!  Boy ones!

Look at all the spinning boys!!!! (I've kind of gotten arrow-happy with my Photoshop program...sorry - every once in a while I start playing with a new gadget. You'd never believe I have the thousand-dollar ultra-mega Photoshop version.....I have no idea how to use it. The ex was a software engineer....there's a lot of great stuff on here I can't use.)

This has nothing to do with anything, but it amused me:


I believe he was the husband of the shop owner, and he was modeling a shawl for some purpose. All I know is that this is what he looked like when I turned around, and I asked him if I could get a picture. Very patient soul - wish I'd bought something from them. (It was the Interlacements shortage of stuff I could have picked out.)

Here's where I blow your mind - I didn't buy a single commercially-spun skein of yarn. NOT ONE. As a matter of fact, I only purchased four skeins of yarn, and three were for an SP. All four handspun....everything else I bought was fiber. And I bought fiber from very nearly every animal there is. (We had to fold down the backseat, okay? It's crazy in here right now.)

Partial fiber haul

This isn't all of it. This is just what I had on Saturday. There's more. I got a little bit of everything. Merino, Merino/Tencel, Corriedale, Brown Welsh, Border Leicester, Cotton, Angora, Cashmere/Silk, Merino/Angora/Silk, Yak, Camel, Llama, Mohair (prizewinner, that one), Alpaca, Cashmere (mmmmm).

But what to do with all that?


Meet SanDeE*. Julie the Spinning Instructor also happens to be Julie the Lendrum Dealer. So behold my Lendrum double-treadle. It's what I learned on....I've never sat at any other wheel, but I LOVE this one. (And there was a discount.)

(By the way, I'll give a skein of probably small and rather inconsistent handspun to the first person who can - WITHOUT the aid of Google, thank you - tell me why I named my wheel SanDeE*. No cheating - you just gotta know. Knitters aren't cheaters.)

When I wasn't at SAFF:

My spare time in photo

Welcome to my weekend. Each skein got a little better. I got a lot better quickly....I picked up drafting and spinning at the same time right away (because all that predrafting was a pain in the arse.)

First handspun
Second handspun
Third Handspun

The first skein (Border Leicester spun during class), the second skein (about 7 ozs of merino, 140 yards...heh), the third skein (the last ounce of merino, much less bulky).

I have more of that too. Later.

Travis wasn't bored out of his skull, though.

Travis carving

I signed him up for the Wood Spirit Carving class, and he loved it! He brought home a few more sticks with us. He also met another Travis in his class - what is it with knitters gathering up Travises? I don't know many men named Travis, but I do know of four Fiber Women with a Travis. Weird. But yeah, he had fun with his little carved guy:

The mountain man

And he spent plenty of QT with my dad, too. We also went out for a few dinners and saw Flags of Our Fathers, in case you think I just totally ignored my parents all weekend.

Okay, there are critters too, and my Natural Dyeing class (I learned that I definitely prefer natural dyes over acid dyes), but I've been going on longer than I'd I'll post those later also. We'll push back those FO knits and FO skeins until another day.