Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I drove over to Mim's today to pick up my stuff from the fair and to take her the dowels from her loom that got left in our garage. I was surprised that my skeins got ribbons at all since I forgot to make swatches. Amy just rolls her eyes at me. It's not the first time I've forgotten - it's embarrassing. My Navajo-plied silk got a blue ribbon and I didn't even have the required fiber sample to go with it. I couldn't attend the judging so don't know if that was the only skein in the category or what. She said nice things about it in the notes.

This was the most compe-
tition in the knitting category in years. I was a little anxious for my sweater. Best in division went to a lace scarf, knit by our shearer, a 23-year-old young man who has fallen in love with all things fiber. Cool! I've been cleaning house, but I love the fit of the sweater so this is the look for today - guess I could have cropped the photo.
This is all the yarn that I had left over. The closer I got to the end of the sweater, the more nervous I got. I cut the sleeves short by a couple of rows, and I would have safe knitting the pattern as written. I had something like nine yards of the brown merino leftover - thanks Benita!
I'm especially thrilled with the button. Since there's only one, I was anxious to find a perfect button. After KIP coffee Saturday, Amy met me at Junkees to sift through their mammoth vintage button collection. There were two of this button and she encouraged me to buy them both for insurance. It's perfect, stripes and all.
We had an unex-
pected surprise - I suppose that's redundant. We ordered our wood months ago but poor Alan was having mechanical problems on all his equipment. He sells hay and wood and couldn't deliver either. Finally Sunday morning he called to say he was coming. I passed him on my way to church. He brought it on pallets in his dump truck, and when he dumped it, the wood stayed on the pallets. We don't have to stack!! Isn't that the greatest of surprises??!
I've been knitting a cucumber this evening from the Amigu-
rumi Knits book. The patterns were intimi-
dating to me at first, but the instructions in the front of the book are completely clear and now I've started to have fun. I've started with the most simple project. I just learned that amigurumi is the Japanese art of knitting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. Now we both know.

Monday, August 30, 2010


I began this day as I begin all days, with my spinning wheel and two cups of coffee. I decided it was time to finally change out my old fast flier for the new one I bought at Black Sheep in June. The groove in mine just keeps getting deeper. I also thought it was time to trade out the wire guide that was wearing and catching fiber for one of the three new ones I bought at the same time. Mind you, these are all Lendrum parts. My current guide is on the left. Do you notice anything? Like none of them are the same size, which means they all too big to clear the mother-of-all. They don't even make one rotation. I am so disgusted. I'm sending this picture to the vendor I bought these guides from. I realize they don't make them - they just sell them, but these are unworkable.
Not much fibering going on here, though I finally have my reassigned sweater ready for it's new life. I think this looks more like it might have been a sweater than my photo of balls. It was a day of cleaning - half of the floors are washed and waxed. I'm not trying to show off a clean house for the gathering this weekend, I'm trying to protect what's left my wood floors.
I'll finish the floors tomorrow, but tonight I was pooped so got back to work on knitting vegetables for my grand-niece's upcoming birthday. They're easy enough to knit, I just need the time. Our first guest rolls in on Wednesday. We're fixin' to get ready and howdy!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rug Wrestling

I reached the point yesterday where I could finally call an end to this project. I had sliced up 15 pairs of jeans to get to this point. I struggled to get enough tension on this rug, something I hadn't experienced with the rag rugs. Denim is another medium.
I unrolled this unwieldy monster. It was so difficult to manage from here on out and hemming it was a an ordeal. Weaving with denim is not the same as weaving with cotton - I know they're both cotton. You know what I mean.
Buster and Charlie had to give their stamp of approval. I washed it first and the lint was so serious that I know I can't wash it again. Part of the problem is that I couldn't get the tension this rug needed with my jack loom. It's the first time I realized the limitations of a rising shed loom. Yes. You do need a sinking shed loom to weave rugs. I want one but don't have room or money for one. That's that. I didn't like working with denim anyway, so there.

We celebrated Alexia's 6th birthday today.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Nevada Territory Fair

One of the exhibits in the Hay Palace was this display on growing corn. Nevada has a dual economy - agriculture and mining - besides gaming. The Ag Council sponsored all of the displays in this tent, and corn was completely new to me - I think hay and cows.
The young 4Her is actually from a neighboring California county but volunteered to staff this booth because she thought it was so interesting. She's showing her own pigs and a neighbors meat lambs, which she says are stupid. She thinks pigs are awesome and when I told her about the girl losing control of her pig the day before, she said that would never happen to her.
She was demon-
strating how to make corn meal when I walked up and then volunteered to also show me the machine that strips dried corn from the ears. I love 4H but I'm sure I've said that before. BTW, 4H is a club like Boy Scouts, but for agriculturally interested children. I was in 4H.

They had been announc-
ing all day the Wild West Show in the horse arena at 7:00. I left the Hay Palace after the cast-iron cookoff to see one of these teams ride into the tunnel to the horse arena. I could hear the volume from inside so ran up the steps to see what the deal was. Oh man. This is after the event, since my old camera can't catch action. These two teams raced each other at unbelievable speeds - my heart was pounding. Someone told me - oh, this is just regular rodeo stuff. But I've never been to a rodeo. Holy cow!
Just across from the buggy teams in the channel into the arena was this stage-
coach. They'd been there for a while, waiting for something. Oh, and after the buggy races, they had teenage trick riders ala Annie Oakley, followed by Indian hoop dancers. Awesome and breathtaking is all I can say.
Back to the driver who had been waiting and was still waiting, so when I walked by, I asked if I could take his picture. He nodded. I said I'm going to put this on my blog. Is that okay? He said, let me get my hat, thus I have this cute picture of the driver.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Nevada Territory Fair

About five years ago, we elected to leave the air-
tioned exhibit hall where we were crammed into a booth and move out back to be with the livestock. Every year we seem to get a nicer tent and we're really pleased with this one.
This is the interior and it is exhausting to set up. There are only 44 members in the guild and we share a commitment to the guild's mission: to promote the fiber arts. It requires large chunks of time to make sure someone is here for the public. I spent the past two days, since the people with jobs like to come on the weekend. It's hard work and it's also a wonderful time and opportunity.
This is the entrance to a newly created exhibition under the new Nevada Territory identity. Last night when I left, I was so discouraged. Failure of this fair is would be the end - period. But today, it was apparent that the new image is working and it's drawing a different crowd than the past. I realized that it's a hybrid of a regional fair with the 4H and FFA kids and a rodeo, which has always been popular here.
We walked over this afternoon to see how the prepara-
tions for the Dutch oven cook-off were going. Last night we were too late to buy tickets. We weren't about to make that mistake again. We pay $5 for a ticket but we are also the judges, 40 of us. There are four teams and each are challenged to make three dishes - a main course, a side dish and a dessert. This is team #3 from Elko.

They are making a pretty traditional Basque menu. One of the team members speaks Basque. Last nights meat was pork, tonight is leg of lamb. They're using apricots in three of the dishes which he tells us is a Basque tradition.
This is the youngest member of team #4. He's baking bread balls on a bed of corn meal so they don't stick or burn. It's going to for their dessert of Monkey Balls.
And it's 6:30, time to rock and roll. They did leg of lamb in a rosemary rub with a special sauce added at the plate. Last night they were in fourth place, tonight they won overall. Their leg-of-lamb couldn't have been done better, just a little pink and well seasoned. We talked to the teams casually afterward. The leader said - an hour and a half - don't lift the lid. You can't go wrong. These are kids!!
Team #1 is a family who competes in these events. They won the best main dish. It was called stroganoff but since it didn't taste of sour cream, I scored it low. I was only 1 of 40 votes but I did tell them why I voted low, and then admitted that I've probably watched too many Top Chef shows. They said their kids watch those shows and now call out the remaining times and ask when to start to start plating. The mother was so funny. When did plate become a verb?
Team #2 gave us a lamb stew which I really liked, but their side dish was biscuits - not so imaginative. Their dessert was a berry chocolate cake, and even I who don't like desserts, liked this one. They won in that category.

Tomorrow night is beef. I'll be sad to miss the event. This and everything in the Hay Palace is sponsored by the Ag Council of Nevada and paid for by FFA license plate sales - a huge gamble as they try to keep this fair afloat. It was a bloated mess before this fair director and board were hired. I drove out of a full parking lot tonight. I hope that means something.
Oh, and by the way, I did wind my bobbin off onto a ball winder today. I thought the colors were meshing quite well.

Colors on the ball winder and in a skein are much different things. I've haven't fulled it yet and it will appear more relaxed when I do. It's a luster longwool, a likely candidate for a felted bag.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nevada Territory Fair

Our fair started yesterday. It's been renamed from the Nevada State Fair to the Wild West Nevada Territory Fair, since it never had State funding to start with. It's on pretty rocky footing and undercapitalized. Our guild is little concerned because if it fails, there are no other fair options. Anyway, I took this basket full of locks I had dyed and these are the last, flicked and ready to spin.
I dyed the Border Leicester locks a number years ago and slightly felted them, enough that I couldn't make me work on them. I just found a piece of leather which makes the flick carding much easier. I thought they would be a good demonstration of how fleece becomes yarn. Tomorrow I'll ply this from both ends of the ball.

Ian and I are gearing up for the Gathering next weekend, so I really can't go to the fair this weekend. We start Friday and go through Sunday and include family, friends and neighbors. It takes a week to get ready.
The thing I like most about the change in the fair is the emphasis on agriculture and especially 4Hers - they are front and center. Seven 4H rabbit clubs had booths and I couldn't resist this one with the fiddly sign. It showed me that these kids are passionate about their bunnies.
I laughed at this central display of another club's booth. They have velco strips on the rabbits and names of the parts, also with velcro - an educational puzzle. I suspect a leader put this together. There were rabbit kids all through the cages, cleaning, feeding, answering questions. That tells me there are pretty awesome leaders and very devoted kids. Rabbits and horses were to the two largest 4H club groups, though there were plenty of pigs, sheep and goats. One girl was practicing leading her Nubian by us, and you would have thought it was being tortured, loudly protesting as only a Nubian goat can do. And then there was the girl who lost control of her pig, who actually seemed to know where the exit gate was. It was a 20 minutes chase that ultimately involved a dozen people before she got him under control. At one point, it was barrelling right into our disiplay, and I didn't have the presence of mind to pull out my camera.
The 4H chicken competi-
tion was even larger than the rabbits, but I didn't see the fawning and doting on the chickens, like I did in the rabbit section. Those kids love the rabbits like cats. I wouldn't want to hug this hen. I wouldn't want to hug anything with a beak.
I think this Barred Rock rooster is drop dead gorgeous, which why I collect roosters as pieces of art. They are scary, like something left over from the dinosaurs. I'm thrilled that I have neighbors who do have them, like Mim. I gave her my empty egg cartons this morning and said - fill 'em up! She said she'll talk to the girls. I'm out of eggs and too spoiled to buy them from the store.

Tomorrow I'll spin alpaca. I took my drum carder today and have washed locks to card. I think that will be a good demonstration of the process as well.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Knock Knock

You know you live in the country when Audrey comes to visit and knocks on your door. She's too young to drive.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Disposible Society

This is the face of an abandoned house. It it just across the valley from us, and we realized about a month ago that something wasn't right when two diesel trucks pulled into the property and dismanteled the metal barn and hauled it away. Ian saw the two notices taped to the front door when he was driving by with the dog - it's their ritual.
Ian and Harry went yesterday. The guy thumped on his wife who finally left and still lives in the valley with a friend of ours. They came home with a snow blower for Ian and a barn fan for Harry. No one knows where the guy is. The barn fan works great.
Tom, Carol, Ian and I went this morning. The stench in the garage from rodent messings was potent, plus there was a dead rodent on the step between the house and the garage. Tom and Ian were all about tools. This guy abandoned more than we have ever owned. I can only think that purchase by plastic doesn't hurt. Gwen insists she wants nothing - that she went in one day and took what she wanted, but I found a special order Lenox baby shoe with her daughter's name painted on the toe. I think he never threw a thing away. I also found a box he had saved of school memories. Do I need to tell you about the empty alcohol containers?
Ian is over the moon with this abandoned utility trailer. Please excuse me if I sound voyeuristic, but man oh man, there are things that the bank is going to dumpster and we wouldn't have purchased in the first place. Tom and Ian are going back in the morning for rolls of chain link and field fence.
I was thrilled to find seven pair of blue jeans, clean and still smelling of drier sheets - long tall legs. I found them stuffed in a garbage bag. In the bed corner is a storage thingie for nuts and bolts, all miscellaneous. The box there is taped closed, labeled Match Box car. Grandson Evan scores.
I found these figurines wrapped in mouse-
poopy dishtowels on the garage floor. The doves are Lladro and there are three Hummels. I'm not a collector but I knew what I was seeing. I'm trying to form a story in my head. Gwen doesn't want this stuff and neither did the guy. His mother's stuff?
This nearly new barbeque came home with Ian yesterday. It's much nicer than the one we bought and paid cash for. All the toy trucks Ian dragged home too. He thinks the grandsons will enjoy them next week. I'm trying to get my head around all this stuff that's apparently disposable.
We've wanted and certainly could use a snow blower. Guess what got left behind. Tom is a retired diesel mechanic from the California Highway Patrol and has assured Ian they'll get this running. The two are working out some sort of trade. Boys and trade - Tom's grandson is trading Ian for driving on a stick shift. These boys learn early.
And at the end of the day, there they are - seven pair of jeans. Such a disposable society we live in. Ian and Tom have already set up a time for tomorrow - they want to get the rolls of fencing and who knows what else. I will be attending a watercolor class at Lake Tahoe. I know you're speechless at the waste. I am.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Taking Care of Business

If you happened to catch my blog earlier this spring, Kathy LeFevre from Sheep Thrills Farm sent me a black fleece out of the blue. Well, it wasn't exactly out of the blue, since she and Ian are friends on Facebook and she got our mailing address from him. Anyway, this fleece belongs to her Sven, whom she said insisted that she send it to me. I bow to her shearer. Is this not the perfect blanket?

And then when I flipped it, will you look at this coat! No wonder Kathy says she sells her fleeces as fast as the shearer drops them to the ground. I'm not sure how Sven escaped sales or how come he kept insisting she send him to me but I know a gift when I see one. Just wow.
There are four fleeces in this box. I had to kneel on the bags and ooch the top down. It's taped and bulging. I see the mailing label is still on it from the fleeces I received. Convenient - since I'm going to take this to the UPS store on my way to the fair on Thursday. All the shipping information is already on the box, and just needs to be reversed.
I was a busy girl today. I came home from book club on Saturday with this box heaped and overflowing with hens and chicks. I wasn't sure if the rabbits would leave them alone, but neighbor Carol was here this morning and said they haven't bothered hers.
I dragged rocks and moved soil to get a beginner rock garden going for them. I tried to edge it in with existing growth so it doesn't look too raw. I had planned to show you my entries that I've finished for the fair, when I realized that both judges read my blog. So much for that!