sheep + wool.

yes, that’s me pretty much nose to nose with a sheep

I’ll try to contain myself and give you the short version because I can literally go on and on about sheep + wool — collectively, sheep + wool, or individually, sheep, or wool — if that made any sense to you at all.  Because it makes perfect sense to me.  : )

So with my husband on a men’s retreat, and my daughter whisked off to a baby shower with my mom and sister, I headed to the Sheep + Wool Festival on the most beautiful warm/breezy day we’ve had this year, with all the windows down, The Band Perry playing loudly in the background, open country roads before me, and my camera in tow.  I only had to drive about 7 minutes because the festival was practically in my backwoods.  Ohh the joys of short drives!  [It usually takes me 40 minutes to get anywhere!]

beautiful hand loomed textiles

Upon reaching the fairgrounds that morning, the place was almost packed!  I didn’t realize how big of a crowd this festival would gather.  I later learned that it’s the biggest in the nation with people coming near and far to see 40 different breeds of sheep, sheared wool, yarns, spinning wheels, looms, garments, and books on various fibers and spinning techniques.  I’d never before seen so many people walking around with bags and bags of roving.  Oh goodness, I was in heaven.

bags and bags of freshly sheared wool

my heart tends to migrate to the browns, greys, creams + whites

beautiful spinning wheels + looms

It felt so good to take my time and slowly walk through each stall — taking everything in and seeing what beautiful things each vendor offered.  There were 250 vendors, mostly farms, selling all things sheep + wool — really amazing stuff.

The food vendors sold pretty much everything lamb — lamb kabobs, lamb gyros, lamb burgers, lamb wraps.  The lamb wrap was super delicious!!!

big juicy pieces of grilled lamb — sooo good  

blade shearing competitions with shepherds from all over the nation to clip, fleece, energy-free, with hand powered blades

With so many vendors selling luxurious roving and yarns, it was so hard to choose anything, but I did end up with a few treasured items.

two skeins of this beautiful variegated yarn in rustic colors.  with it, I plan on knitting up Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket for Dhara this fall.

two huge cones of super fine organic yarn.  I’ve been hunting for this stuff, so I was overjoyed when I came across it at the festival.  with it, I plan on using it to weave wispy cotton baby towels on my lap loom.

a ball of silvery grey roving from a purebred Jacob sheep.  with it, I hope to spin some yarn with the turkish drop-spindle Gregory got me for Christmas.  hopefully this leads to a full-fledged spinning wheel down the road…

All in all, the festival was pure joy for me.  I was so inspired — I just want to start spinning wool and weaving now!  It was really nice adventuring on my own — I rarely get that anymore.  But I must say, I still missed the hubby and baby girl and wished they were with me to enjoy what I so enjoyed.

“Baa Baa Black Sheep,” here’s to starting tikes early!

yarn harvest + featured III.

I personally thought it very neat to see a photo from Dhara’s party featured on the Juniper Moon Farm blog (their July 19th post)!  Love this farm for it’s Yarn CSA.  I haven’t signed up yet, but can’t wait to begin investing in their yarn harvest sometime in the future!

Such a great idea for people interested in owning their own sheep, but can’t, and also awesome for people who want a Spinner’s Share in the form of roving — for folks who want to spin their own yarn.  Owning a share of wool crop also allows you to get to know the animals being sheared, which from the looks of it, seems like a great experience.

photos from Juniper Moon Farm

imagine childhood.

Amanda Blake Soule, or Soule Mama, is doing a little giveaway for Imagine Childhood.  Which reminds me that I have some weaving to catch up on!  Back in December when I was thoroughly and completely pregnant, my family decided we wouldn’t do a grand Christmas (lots of presents and all), because the little one would be our grand Christmas.  We basically made known the 1-2 things we wanted for Christmas, put each of our names in a knitted hat, and picked a name at random.  My mom picked me.  And what were the two things I wanted?

The Beka Weaving Frame AND The Potholder Loom from Imagine Childhood.

the beka weaving frame

Since I was a child, something I’ve always wanted to do was shear sheep, card the wool, and finally handspin my own yarn.  Back in college I almost purchased an antique spinning wheel!  Crazy, but true.

I live vicariously through Farm Mama — she continually inspires me to try my hand in the whole making-my-own-yarn process.  One of these days I’m going to march myself over to Sharp’s Farm and just ask them if I can help shear sheep.  Kathy, the owner, is a real nice lady, so I think she just might let me.  [She might look at me funny first, but then I think she’ll let me.]  : )  Twas a complete bummer I missed the Sheep + Wool Festival that my county hosts every year, but there’s always next year.

I’m using the Beka Weaving Frame to build my way up to the Beginner’s Weaving Loom for dish towels, rags, and things of that nature.  When we lived in Southern Illinois, Greg and I would frequent the home of an older couple, who were previously hippies, who lived out in the country in a sustainable home made of cedar built by the wife’s parents.  It had a very natural, earthy, crunchy, lived-in feel to it.  I love that feel.  We always loved going there for their peaceful company and simple suppers.  The wife, such an interesting lady, had a great, large, stand alone wooden loom in her airy bedroom that took up a large portion of her room.  I just loved looking at her projects and crafted items.  Inspiring.  Inspiring.  Inspiring, to say the very least.

Greg says if ever a sheep shearing conference occurs in Ireland, he’d let me go — what are the chances of a sheep shearing conference in Ireland?  Lord, please bring it to pass.

the potholder loom

If I win the giveaway, I want to get the following for Dhara.

hardwood construction blocks