Monday, October 08, 2007

Wat a weekend. (Nope. I mean Wat.)

This (on the ground, under the towel - click on it, you'll see) is Wat - named for the NH Wool Arts Tour. Here I think she's about two minutes old. We were casually wandering Mirage Alpacas, our favorite stop and heard someone yell that there was "...a delivery". After a moment of confusion (UPS??) the situation was clarified - an alpaca was giving birth to a cria right that minute. Girl and Jules found their way to a fence rail just in time for Jules to see Wat plop unceremoniously to the ground. We trotted outside and watched her first moments. I tried to get better pictures, but my batteries died on me (camera, not personal). We all stood around and watched, probably more than was good for mom or baby, until Wat and Tika were taken off to a barn to bond. I must say this was the highlight of the day. We visited four out of the five stops on the tour - The Wool Room, Chauncey Farm, Western View Farm and Mirage Alpacas. Unfortunately we did not make it to The Fiber Studio. At The Wool Room I bought a Latvian mitten book and two sets of antler buttons which I just love. I am now going to relentlessly scour the woods for discarded antlers come spring. They had some lovely handmade soap, but I resisted, saving my money for later in the day. At Chauncey Farm I bought the Maine Kids book - I have the adult one and just wanted this book in the worst way, and some really wonderful Cucumber Dill salad dressing from Thyme & Ewe farm. They're very cool; they provide a permanant home for farm animals in need of assistance and shelter - for $50 a year you can sponsor a rescued animal. We headed for Western View next, but somehow got turned about and ended up at Mirage, which was ok since we were all starved. Mr. Wonderful and Girl had hot dogs. How you can go to a sheep and wool event and not have something other than a hot dog...the Washington (NH) Historical Society hosts a canteen with hot dogs and chili and locally grown lamb. Lamb sausage, kabobs, burgers. Yum. I had a kabob, and Jules had a lamb burger (strong, brave Jules). After lunch we watched Wat for a while, and never managed to make it back inside. Girl and Jules had a blast petting donkeys, and Mr. Wonderful ambled contentedly about contemplating a life as a gentleman farmer (if anyone's got the cash, and wants to invest in a llama and alpaca establishment, I have a great farm manager for you, and a farm right across the street from me about to go on the market!). Then we went to Western View which is always a blast to get to and an even bigger blast to park at, but I love it there. They have my soap, which is made by Country Spun Treasures in a fragrance called Sweet Earth and I adore it but she did not have any soap at all. This meant that I was forced (yea, forced is the word I used) to spend the cash I'd been saving all day long on something, so I chose this - ya gotta have Heart (being a Jacob ewe in her second fleece which I now own). I've been promised soap in May. I can be patient. I may get very, very dirty and somewhat smelly, but I can wait. I cannot, however, wait for new wheel. Nothing but me and a flicker and the wheel. Ahhhh... No blending either, I am going to spin it as it comes out of the bag. Hey. It looks like a reverse Boo-Boo - white with black and tan. Kinda funny that I choose fleece the same color as my dog...
Sunday was an even cooler day. I had been waiting for this for a very very very long time. I had a Kanga-Extravaganza with Kirsten and Gail Callahan, the Kangaroo Dyer. Awesome is the only word that comes to my lips. See:

Stockbridge; formerly yellow on the left, formerly pink on the right, dyed as a color wheel. 12 skeins, $3.99 each, making the whole color wheel project $47.88 in yarn (although it's currently on sale, so if you did this today it'd be $35.88.) and you end up with 1308 yards of hand-dyed yarn which would be perfect for weaving a color gamp (a great exercise) or knitting Into Something (I am working on it in my head...the yarn is still drying). Awesome. After we'd done the color wheel we got reckless with some other yarns Kirsten had brought. She did an unbelievable job on some pretty dull-lookingSoft Sea Wool, and single-handedly saved two ugly rovings from clown-barf hell, turing them into works of art. She very generously let me share some of her booty. It is possible that I occasionally get a little TOO into things...gloves?? Who needs gloves? I don't need no stinkin' GLOVES!! I had to cut my nails last night. They were positively black.

I was able to overdye some Trilly in a pale peach into a lovely sunrise fiasco (in a good way), and some E.L. Silky Wool that used to be mustard yellow, and a skein of something I don't remember what, two-ply tan and cream, but not-no-more! I did a couple of others, but cannot remember what any more (although if I turn around and look at the drying rack I might be reminded), I only know that they are improved from yaaawran to YARN!

Our last yarn dying project was a skein each of Alpaca Silk. This is where things became so delineated in terms of personality that it was really kind of comical. We tested colors on scraps of paper towel and both of us really started out planning to use about the same colors, with a little darker purple on my side maybe. Somewhere things went wildly hinckey, because we ended up with these skeins - me with my typical orange, tonal not variegated on the left, and Kirsten's more variegated lavenders and yellows and steely gray and green on the right. I think I was subconsciously planning ahead a little on this, more than I'd intended. I think I want to knit up a shawl for myself in a color I love, dyed in a way that would not detract from the pattern. I find it endlessly amusing that two people can start sort of on the same page and end up on opposite sides of the spectrum - literally! I just cannot follow directions - even my OWN!

There is something you should know about Kangaroos, I was not aware of this until yesterday. They're camera shy!! Elusive even, turning their backs against the glare of the paparazzi's (that'd be me) flash. At the end of the day, here's Kirsten and Gail...or Gail's back a shirt that I think needs to be printed and sold right next to the yarn!


Sara said...

Man! She's been asking me to come up and play with dyes for months and I just haven't found a spot in my schedule. That looks like a helluva lot of fun!
orange huh. :)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful weekend! The tour sounds like such fun. Seeing the baby alpaca had to have been a thrill. Then to end with all that dyeing fun. What a treat!


Yarnhog said...

Oh. My. God. You got to see and alpaca being born?! That would probably be a highlight of my life! (I have maybe too much fondness for alpaca. Or at least for their perfect, beautiful fiber.) That dyeing looks like so much fun! I wonder if I could overdye the orange and pink Kimono Angora I working with now? (I'm sure someone thought it was pretty, but...)

Søren said...

I sell stuff at the Greenfield Farmers Market and sometimes Gail flies by, drops a bunch of her "unsuccessful" yarns into my arms, and runs away. I call her the Yarn Fairy. Right now I have a purple/blue lace yarn waiting to be made into something worthy of its beauty.

Persnickety said...

It looks like your dying day was very successful. Oh, and I'd like to check out your Latvian mitten book sometime.