You might notice that the time on this post is 6:30 AM. Yes, I have been up since 4 am because the person staying next to me in this hotel has had their TV blaring all night! For those of you that know me well, as you know, I have some sort of blaring TV karma. In some ways it pisses me off because I have sooooo many animals and fleeces to see today but in other ways I have a tiny bit of tolerance because I am sooo happy to see so many animals and fleeces. If anything, I figure I might have to drag myself away mid-afternoon for a little siesta.
Anyways.... The Black Sheep Gathering is so much fun. I can not stand it. I think we spent 8 1/2 hours yesterday. I was literally dizzy from all of the activity. At 8:20, we drove to the fairgrounds, parked, exited the car, and heard our first baaaaaaa. How exciting. First, we watched the sheep competition -- starting with Navajo-Churro.
It was a sight just to see the sheep get literally dragged into the ring. Oh they hated it. However, I did come to learn that there are certain breeds more skittish than others. The judging is quite extensive -- rams, ram lambs, ewes, pairs, flock. So extensive that we decided to pull ourselves away to walk around and see some of the other breeds of sheep waiting in their paddocks. Corriedales, Blue-faced Leicesters, Wensleydales, Romneys, Ramboulliet crosses, Jacobs, a few Merinos, and my newly beloved Shetland. These little guys have tails that wag when they see you. They are small and soft. I might have found my sheep. I think my second favorite are the Corriedales. They seemed very gentle. Their fleece covers them like a tightly piled carpet.
I realized that it was 11 AM and that the sheep to shawl event had started so we ran over to that. There were four teams, one novice and three expert. Each team had four to five spinners and 1 weaver. It was interesting to see the range in projects. Team Sparkle had add a little synthetic to their yarn so tehy had a little sparkle. My favorite team used only the natural colors of the sheep. Their end result was a geometric, open weave shawl. It was stunning. The open weave really allowed the yarns to come through. You could easily see the spinners talent and expertise. The geometric pattern allowed us to see the weaver's talent. The shawl was a perfect balance. I still do not know who won the competition...I found myself swept into yet another world of fiber. The trade show.
Of course, there are the fiber vendors. Kind of like a mini-Stitches. Probably, my highlight was the Twisted Sisters booth. I liked how the fiber was arranged and their wise array of product. They offered alot however the booth did not seem overwhelming. Of course, I had to add a little to my stash. I picked up two hand painted skeins of roving -- 80 merino/20 bamboo.
I started to wonder where all of the fleeces were. We learned that across the parking lot were the fleeces - and best of all the judging of the fleeces. I happily sat and drop spindled, listening to the judge explain the pros and cons to each type of fleece and judge them accordingly. It was great.
Today, we go back. I plan on wandering further into the sheep barn, listening to more of the fleece judging, and buying a Shetland fleece. I can't wait.