Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Time to Frolic

drill teamThis year’s Fiber Frolic was just so awesome that I cannot seem to put it into words. So, here, let me try another way. I’ll write you a picture of it and include some photos for visual reference should your imagination fail you and have a blip while you’re seeing it, which, and I know this is shocking, happens to me quite a lot.

MarchingAs you can see from the glaring background in this pic, the sunny early summer Maine days couldn’t have been better than this weekend. I mean, atmosphere wise (weather, surroundings which included fiber happy peoples and fiber happy animals all talking about their fiber passions together, and the cool breezes and warm sun bliss mingling with one another) I had to pinch myself a couple of times just to believe it was real. It was a beautiful day, indeed, for the llamas to strut their proud selves around and do a little drill team action. The llama drill team is a fun end to the fair going day – the last hour of the show when the llama mamas and papas (be they children or adults) lead their long lashed babes out onto the grounds and perform many amazing feats. It usually begins with some enthusiastic marching.

dancing to sappy love songsIt quickly turns to some slow dancing to sappy love songs that you wouldn’t think you’d get all sentimental about but, ya’ll, that is the llama’s magic power – they just make you feel all dreamy and wispy like. spin your llama's partner By the time that spell has played out, those songs have changed again to some serious partner dancing and then a few line dancing tricks at the end. I’ve been going to the Frolic for many years and vending for quite a few of those and the llama drill team has always been a part of that. Even the skeptics who walk into the arena like they will remain un-phased by the llama’s sweet powers stumble out of there with the silliest smiles on their faces…..that, too, is fun to watch!

But, really, who am I to talk? I had plenty of silly smiles on my face this weekend, too. Muchly (grammar kill alert – I’ve had only 10 hours total sleep this weekend so there is no brain space for grammar) due to those of you who came by the booth to say hi, to shop, or to hug and share the conversation that is the love of fiber. It is intoxicating to be surrounded by great people and be able to unabashedly throw down our love of wool and its hosts. At least, that is the excuse I am using for having a little falling down in the fleece tent that resulted in landing on some fleeces that smiled the happy smile of wool at me and called me ‘mama’ and, henceforth, are sitting on the couch and recliner right now like they have become family members or something. It was the ‘sharing the love of wool with friends old and new’ fumes that just got to me. There was a bit of coopworth that winked at me and said, “you know, you’d like to blend me with some of your Cotswold fleeces, wouldn’t you?” and I just trembled under its touch and said, ‘uuuuuhmm, yeah.’ Then, there’s a coopworth/corriedaleX steel gray fleece that said it wants to be blended with Storm’s dark Cotswold fleece because they are slightly different tones of grey but both highly lusterous and crimpy – it was a practical approach to seduction that this one took. The others – well, they just batted their eyes and flashed their farm tags and happened to belong to some fellow local treasured wool growers so it was just a given that they were coming home to be with me in wool heaven – LOL.

frolic 029There was some shopping of non-fleecy orientation but I still managed to come around to the same theme when I stopped over in the Sunshine Pottery (which I cannot find a link for, sorry) booth just down the row from us in the barns and found these beautiful frog beads (any hooves people out there know exactly how much I adore frogs as this month’s hooves were in praise of a special little frog we love in Maine – enough to drive out in the middle of nowhere at night and roll down the windows – if you don’t happen to be lucky enough to live very rurally and get to hear them all the time – just to hear their song) and, of course, a huge sheep button….couldn’t.pass.it.up! I headed over to Raku Beads – another great bead/button vendor at Fiber Frolic and some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. We visit their booth every year and they are always a joyful encounter. I got these gorgeous green Raku buttons for a sweater and bought Thing 1 a bead I know she’d been adoring. It is made with a Maine clay that apparently takes the glaze completely spontaneously – making every single bead totally unique = Awesome! Here’s a little bit about Raku Beads taken from the tag:
” RAKU is a way of firing pottery first used in 16th century Japan. The hand formed beads are painted with two or three coats of blaze, fired on rods in a small kiln and removed while red hot. They are plunged into a tub filled with crushed leaved or sawdust which bursts into flame – a lid is then fitted into place. The fires consumes all the oxygen in the container causing the glaze to reduce and change colors. The beads are cooled in water after which the soot much be scrubbed off by hand. The rapid firing and cooling gives each piece its wonderful crackle and luster. So much work for each little bead – Enjoy!”

My lootOf course, one of my favorite parts of the frolic was getting to hug, visit and laugh with Boogie from Spunky Eclectic. I hardly ever get to see her but always when I do it is an absolute fun time! I had to sneak over to her booth and snag some Spunky loot . On my way over I did counsel myself to remember to not just grab what I like but to also play outside my color range a bit. And, duh, because grabbing everything I like might have left Boogie with an empty booth - LOL! I totally failed at the ‘not staying in your color happy range’ thing as I’m sure you can see by all the earthy tones and greens I bought but you do have to give me some credit in that I tried new fibers (as you shall see when I stop floundering and drooling over my fiber loot pics and get back to describing) and that my buttons, new Spunky loot and the handspun sock I was knitting on over the weekend in my ‘Nature Walk’ colorway – do all coordinate. So, while I may be firmly rolling only in the love, love, love green colors at the moment, I am, at least, matching and all – snork. Okay, the Spunky loot , let's see - there was a bit of ‘Aspen’ in her merino/bamboo base. I love ‘Aspen’ and the idea of trying in it something different that my usual Spunky addiction which is her BFL top sort of thrilled me in a way I cannot explain. Naturally, that meant I needed 2 of them. There was a want of mine for some sock spinning and then I spotted some shiny stuff in the corner. I swear, it is hard to keep your head in Boogie’s booth – it’s so inviting and so colorful and well, you just feel totally relaxed and happy. I must have stood before the merino/tencel roving for at least ten minutes trying to decide which braid I wanted. I settled on ‘Midnight Run’ (bottom right corner of the pic) – all green and happy and shiny – can’t wait to spin that one up! There was some bending of the ‘no BFL this time, try something else, too’ rule but, ya’ll, you knew there would be. I snagged a bit of ‘Riverwalk’ BFL (top middle of loot heap) but, in my defense, it was a giftie for the huscreature – just his kind of colors and he’s been spinning more lately so I wanted to let him know it’s okay if he spins some other woman’s fibers, too – I think (casts a raised eyebrow in his direction just to keep him in line) LOL. He loved it!

The frolic was a hopping good time but today is Monday so, naturally, there is not enough coffee in the world, me thinks (yawn and repeats resolution to self to be in bed by 10 tonight to catch up on sleep). And, as the wheel rolls, so do we need to – what with the garden still naked and the seeds starting to hurl insults reminiscent of the MP/Holy Grail taunting at us as we walk by – that is where we’ll be for the rest of the day. The next few days of rain will settle in nicely today’s seed scatterings and we’ll be so sore from planting tomorrow that we’ll be practically FORCED to sit down and spin for a bit in the evening……provided the sheep are not plotting revenge for being left alone all weekend and planning to destroy our garden fences just to show us they remember how quickly that big brown square turns into a sheep’s hungry bliss also known as peas, carrots, corn and tomatoes. We were planning to plant Memorial Day weekend but the weather was just not cooperative – wet, cold and we’ve have a few frosts since then so, instead, we just busied ourselves with compost spreading and fleece stealing instead. But, we’re really excited, even with the super late start, about the garden this year. This is the first year since we’ve been growing in these two gardens (herbs/salad greens outstide the kitchen and the ‘other’ veggies farther off the road) that we are feeling really good about the soil. Good soil takes time to build and as it was formerly just brush fields, that ‘time’ was about 5 years. But, applying liberally composted sheep manure every year plus some calcium/seaweed/fish amendments has finally resulted in some seriously rich, lovely black soil…I’m off to gear up my defenses against the vampires with wings (mosquitoes) and head out to fling seed!