Saturday, June 23, 2007

Black Sheep Gathering: 3 new fleeces!

Oh dear God -- what a day. Where do I begin? I really should be napping before I return to the festival for the 8 pm spinners fashion show but I have too much news to share. The day started with Adrienne and I having a screaming match. You know how that goes -- travelling, not sleeping well, blogger not working right on the hotel server tantrum. But the sheep cured all of our blues.

The judging of the fleeces continued from yesterday -- and I luckily walked in the door right as they begun judging the shetland fleeces. Class #28 for Shetland Yearlings and class #29 for mature Shetlands. Beautiful range of colors.

We then went over to the Angora goat competition. Absolutely wonderful. Probably my favorite part was seeing the older Angora rams. One noticeable difference bewteen the goat and sheep shows -- is that many of the goat handlers were pre-teen girls. There was even one little girl who was maybe 10 or 11. The goats seemed easier to handle than the sheep. It was so sweet to see the girls. Each won a prize, and turned away in shyness.

I left Adrienne and my mom with the goats and headed back over to the fleece competition to hear the closing remarks. They were giving out the "best of show" awards -- one to a white fleece and one to a dark fleece. And the Black Sheep Cup which is awarded to the best flock of 5 fleeces -- this was awarded to a flock of Merinos and these fleeces were gorgeous.

The judge of the fleece competition was Judith MacKenzie McCuin. I finally put 2 and 2 together and figured out that she wrote Teaching Yourself Visually Handspinning. Duh! She was absolutely great! She was very through of her explanations and was very open with the audience -- answering any of their questions. And, she has a great sense of humor! After the competition, she signed copies of her book. Of course, I had to get one. Best of all, she gave me alot of great advice about starting a handspinner's flock.

The most anticipated event of the day was the point in which they open up the judged fleeces for purchase. They allow a half hour viewing period for you to set your eyes on what you want. Then they have you stand outside in a long line, re-open the doors, ask you not to push and shove, and its basically an open playing field for fleece grabbing. Adrienne, my mom, and I had our strategy down. It helped that we were also 4th in line.
Each one of us was assigned a fleece and we headed to our respective tables, grabbed our fleeces and reconvened. I am sooooo happy with what we got!

1. 2nd place. Mature shetland. Carmel color.

2. 1st place. Ramboulliet. Charcoal/blue color.

3. 1st place. Targhee. Ivory color.

I want to bring the fleeces in the hotel room so I can run over and just admire there beauty whenever the feeling strikes -- but then this place would smell like a barn. How do you think the hotel would feel about that?

Anyways, point being, we had a fabulous day. I will post photos soon.


Stefaneener said...

You are so lucky! I cannot believe what a great score. And to have an entire team on your side! Wonderful!! I can't wait to see what you do with them.

Do something nice for Adrienne.

cpurl17 said...

Sounds like you had a great time and that you have a great support team there with the fleeces (shouting match aside).

Have a safe trip home! (hope the car doesn't smell like a barn)

Kyle Hammon said...

My wife and I also got a little goofy about the shetlands. On Saturday we found a felted batt about 4X5 feet, a beautiful charcoal salt and pepper color. Yumm! Last night she carefully arranged a lighter colored, very curly wool on top, then felted the two together. Today we had to go back and check out the animals that produce such a luscious fiber. They are very placid and friendly, although I have the feeling it has as much or more to do with the exemplary care they've received.
I can feel that barn smell growing on me...