Another Hobby Blog

Friday, July 01, 2005

BSG 2005

Black Sheep Gathering was a den of iniquitous temptation: Gluttony, Greed, and Envy were all definitely seen in attendance. At every corner, riotously bright sock yarns clamored for attention, and drop spindles lurked stealthily, determined to unobtrusively coax cash out of pocket.

The budget-hemorrhage began with an innocent and demure toy-wheel spindle. It wasn’t fair! I was embodying all that was pure and virtuous! Selflessness, Charity, Generosity! The spindle wasn’t even for me! It was a gift! How could one act of selflessness and sacrifice lead to such a torrent of egregious consumption?

This is how the weekend went: I valiantly stood my ground against the most obvious of temptations. I resisted the siren-calls of (nearly all of) the yarn, roving, and fleece. And I must say, in my own defense, that I did manage to resist buying anything “just because it’s pretty” (except the Nepal silk thrums. I don’t know quite what I was thinking…). The sock yarn I have a plan for! (and a back-up plan in case the first plan goes wrong.) The 8oz bag of Targhee roving will yield two projects: the brighter end of the skein will be a pair of socks. The more muted end will be a shawl. The Blackberry Patch yarn was purchased altruistically: it’s a gift.

Carolina Homespun got most of my money. The wool combs whispered convincingly that I couldn’t live happily without them. (Of course, it was the devious little dizes that got the foot in the door.) And the bobbin-winding adaptor for my spinning wheel may have been an impulse buy, but I doubt that I’ll regret it. All that would have been budgetary trauma enough! (Wool combs are pricey little buggers!) But on the way to the register, I saw the Grail--Woodchuck Products weaving shuttles. I fell in love with them last summer in the fabulous Lakeside Fibers yarn shop in Madison, Wisconsin while travelling for a friend’s wedding. I brought home several from that trip, and my adoration for them has only deepened through my current inkle loom project. In the past few weeks I have been trying to find more of them to order, and have received the unfortunate news that Rod Stevens of Woodchuck Products is no longer offering the shuttles wholesale to the vendors! Spurred by this realization, I bought what might in some circles be considered Too Many, but was still somewhat fewer than All That They Had.

The second place recognition for dollars spent goes to Skaska. Galina Khmeleva is a very sweet and knowledgeable woman, and spent the time to show Gipsieee and I how laceweight yarn is spun, Orenburg style, on the Russian supported spindles. I fell in love and bought the kit, a book, and some assorted extras. That evening, Gipsieee and I spent a couple of hours getting the feel for the spindles, and eventually ended up with something that looked not too completely unlike laceweight yarn. On Sunday, Galina showed us some extra tips that will surely help our lace-spinning improve!

The only other place that even approached a swallow-the-lump-in-your-throat total was Blue Moon Fiber Arts. They offer absolutely scrumptious space-dyed sock yarns! To die for! But by the time I caved in on Sunday afternoon, the colors I remembered from Saturday morning had all but vanished. I was spared the full impact of my frivolity by the simple factor of scarcity.

Blackberry Patch was worth noting -- They’re wonderful people, and the color sense for their fiber was delightful. Gipsieee bought dyed wool locks from them. I got a skein of handspun yarn.

The rest was all nickel-and-dimeing, and I am ashamed at how it adds up.

I stopped acquiring when it became evident that the only way to bring anything more home was to leave either the dog or the husband behind.

Other high points:

We watched a free demo on spinning silk hankies by presenter Janis Thompson of Dyelots! Fiber shop in Eugene, OR. She has a brilliant color sense, and I would have been sorely tempted had anything remained on Sunday afternoon to be tempted by.
We also listened to a presentation by Diane Bentley Baker on Preparing Skeins for Judging. Both lectures were informative, and Thompson’s was particularly enjoyable.

We enjoyed seeing the results of the Sheep-to-Shawl competition that had taken place Friday, and the entries in the Gallery, many of which were quite beautiful. We also enjoyed watching the Spinner’s Lead.

We stopped in at the fleece show, but left quickly before they started taking money, as we had very little left to spend, and no space in the car to stuff it. Instead, we arranged a trade agreement with Shonnon’s friend Fran for sample bundles off the fleeces that she purchased so that we could try spinning with a variety of fibers without the expense, storage space, and processing time of whole fleeces. She sent us home with 8oz each of 2 Romedale-CVM, 1 Border Leichester-Corriedale, and 1 Mohair kid fleeces. In addition, she’s got some previous fleeces from last year’s BSG that she’ll send samples from next time we get together. Thank you, Fran!!

The dog, Zhenya, traveled well. He curled up in the footwell at Gipsieee’s feet for the entire drive (more than six hours each direction with short walks every time we had to stop), thrilled to be along for the ride.

…and low points:

The dog (Z) slept badly. He didn’t like his folding travel kennel. He wanted his REAL kennel with the hard sides and the comfort of knowing that nothing can look in and watch him sleep. He whined for two hours the first night, alternately pacing and clawing at the despised and obviously imitation kennel before Gipsieee, in desperation, made the sacrifice of sleeping in his pen with him, feet sticking into the folding kennel, so that he’d know he was loved and that his pen and kennel were good and comfortable places to sleep. It worked. His fussing quieted, and the second night he slept alone without whining.

The drive down was awful. We’d hoped to leave at 3pm and get an early start ahead of rush-hour traffic, enabling us to stop and rest for the worst of traffic and the low sun on the horizon, and maybe get in to the hotel around 9 or 10 pm. Instead Shonnon got caught at work and we didn’t get on the road until 6:30pm. The advantage of that is that most of the rush-hour traffic was already past, but we still had to drive into the light of the setting sun, and that was painful. The weather had nasty spots, and we ended up arriving at midnight. (After unloading and setting things up, it was 1am. That was when the dog started whining, for those of you doing the math…)

The drive back was even worse. We left Eugene at 3pm, but due to torrential rain and the ensuing major accidents, didn’t make it to Portland for dinner until 7pm. We spent most of the drive in brake-and-creep traffic or clipping along at a heart-stopping 45mph (because the kick-up from the semis killed what little visibility the torrential rain didn’t), thanking the fates that we weren’t at the start-point of any of the accidents, and praying that those who had been recovered.

Now we’re home. The house is still here, and I’ve nearly got us unpacked. Life is good.


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