Ian and I drove over to the Nevada County Fair in Grass Valley today. Let me make it clear. This is a county in California. It's a three-hour trip one way but I have roots over there that date back to high school, and it's a joy to me that I can connect to them through my membership and participation with the Foothill Fiber Guild.
That building is Ponderosa Hall and it's where the fiber arts are displayed. Just recently we've been able to exhibit in this air-conditioned building instead of the hot and open-air fair buildings. This was my first year to demonstrate spinning in this space. I was signed up for the 10:00-2:00 slot and I was the first thing people came across when they entered the room. I talked non-stop for four hours and pretty much got the thing from shearing, processing, spinning and wool breeds into a six-minute spiel, and new people would come through the door and I'd start over. I'm not sure I've ever talked for four hours and for those of you who know me, you must be shocked.
I thought the fiber arts exhibits this year were over the top - the knitting, hats, sewing quilting, felting and sewing - I'm not sure it's ever been this keen. I couldn't help wonder if the sewing weren't up a notch as an influence of Project Runway. It certainly influences me!
I wanted to see the other spinners at Ag-
sperience but I absolutely wanted to see the belt-driven engine display. It's one of my favorite parts of the fair. This is where the 49 gold rush happened and these machines are local history.
These are the machines that made industry happen. They pumped water out of the mines, they drove the shop tools. The tractors gave us modern agriculture.
Ian and I drove down to Stockton to pick up my eight-harness loom that I had ordered from Gilmore. Bob Allen now makes the looms and gave us a tour of the plant. He was then still using the built-driven equipment that Mr. Gilmore had used. The equipment was very much like this.
The owner started up his 1948 John Deere tractor and he had me at hello. I love these silly machines and that tired Massey-Ferguson next to him. I know my father would have been equally enthralled.
Ian held me to an hour for exhibits since we had another three-hour drive home: the machines and Ag-sperience were my two choices. I demonstrated here last year. Today was relatively cool - under 90 - but last year Birdsong and I were cooking at Ag-sperience. Demonstrating in an arts community isn't a cakewalk. You are teaching every second. Cooking? Cakewalk??
All those old bars have themes this year, a repur-
posing since animal entries are down. The cooperative extension, FFA, 4H, Forest Service - like entities are here so it's good that we have another opportunity to share the fiber-arts application. I see Rowen and Lucy.
I have some bragging rights. This skein is from Sven, Kathy Lefrevre's wether from Flagstaff, Arizona. I've already reserved his fleece for next year. He'd been injured in an attack by neighbor dogs so she didn't have an intact fleece for sale. She knew I wanted a black fleece so said Sven told her to do it - she boxed up the fleece and sent it to me. Kathy, Sven did good!!
This what I'm especially calling bragging rights on. It came to pass when I had won some felted silk as a door prize and thought I might be able to make something with it if plied it with another color. And this is where Benita spoke up and I have an idea. You should ply it with brown, and BTW, I just happen to have the fiber you need. She sent me brown Merino roving which I plied with the silk, and when I ran out of silk, I plied it with itself. The pattern is from Catwalk 2. That's what I love about the fiber community. We are a community. Thanks Benita. Thanks Kathy. I hoist these blue ribbons to you.
Ian surprised himself by having a wonderful time for the four hours I was demonstrating. He chatted with DD Little Sharon and I do believe we'll be making a family event of this next year. We have a favorite place to stay - hmmm. It's halfway to them in San Francisco. Grandson Noah would love it - hope we can make it happen.
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