Monday, September 1, 2008

World Sheep & Fiber Arts Festival

Scott and I headed down to Bethel, MO Saturday to go to our first fiber fair, the World Sheep & Fiber Arts Festival. It is a small fair, but worth the 3 hour drive. We met Ann, Katie, Bridgett, her two young ones, Sandy, Ed and Cameron down there.

Scott and I promised each other to look only. No touchy, no buying. Promise. So it was a serious surprise to us when we accidentally came home with 1.5 blankets of alpaca fleece from Whirlwind Ranch. We had started by walking through the vendor area right as we got there. We had almost escaped when a sudden whirlwind rose up around us so strong it ripped money right out of my bank account in St. Louis. When the dust settled Scott was holding a .06-lb skirted fleece from the blanket of a baby alpaca named Tui (23.4 microns!) and I was holding a 1.03-lb bag of skirted fleece from the blanket of a chocolate brown adult named Kajam.
Scott's First Fleece Alpaca FleeceAlpaca Fleece
I found a tiny bit of pooh in my alpaca when I spread it out and now I can barely keep myself from refering to our haul as fleces. There ya go. That's how my mind works.

Ann and Bridgett entered their knitting to be judged. Both walked away with 2nd and 3rd place ribbons. I think they were robbed, but I'm biased.
Ann's 2nd place Hemlock and 3rd place Irish Hiking ScarfBrigette's Second Place Sweater

When Sandy arrived, Scott and I walked through the vendor tents. Sandy picked out her first spindle and some inexpensive roving. Less than an hour later she had 2 more rovings and 3 boxes of angora fiber tucked under her arm. Less than 24 hours later she announced that she needs a wheel. Thatta girl!
Sandy, about to fall hard for spinning

We watched several sheep get shorn. We learned that sheep are dumb as rocks. They struggle and struggle to get free, but turn them on their backs and they are as content as can be.
Dude? DUDE! Your crotch is ON MY HEAD!

Scott and I wandered up to Main Street in Bethel. Bethel started out as a utopian society based and led by the Golden Rule. Something about such an idyllic philosophy and history doesn't quite jive with the number of confederate flags hanging from many porches. One of the historic plaquards we read said that in 1870-something the majority of the population left the utopian colony and re-settled in Aurora. I wonder if the community split apart over differing Union and Confederate loaylties?

We visited both a rug show and a quilt show on Main Street, as well as stopped in several little shops.
Moar Ships! Er, More SheepSheeps!

The rug show was nice, but behind the rugs was a treasure, a loom from the original Bethel colony.
Loom from the original Bethel ColoneyLatimer House LoomLatimer House Loom

Scott and I drove home along the scenic path through Hannibal, MO. We saw a lot of interesting bugs (pictures in my Flickr set) and enjoyed a crystal blue cloudless sky. On the drive I finished weaving in the ends of my Cast-Off Sweater in LanaKnits All Hemp 3. I really like the way this pattern looks with one exception. The center decreases hang straight only if you are absolutely still. Hopefully washing will relax the fiber and this problem will be eliminated. Hopefully I won't discover that my decreases are biasing because I did them in the wrong place. There were a few times I dropped the ring marking my decrease stitches and had to guess where it went.

Mississippi River Mississippi IMG_5637

More pictures are in the slide show below or you can visit my Bethel set on Flickr by clicking here.