Sunday, October 31, 2010

Catch up time

I apologize for my long absence. As you know, I went to SAFF (Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair) last weekend.

Much earlier this year, way back in the spring, I decided that if I went to SAFF this year that I would take a class. I've been to SAFF two times previously, but as I only knitted at the time, I actually found it kind of boring. Yes, I said it. Boring. As in I finished seeing what I wanted to see in about 3 hours, and I was done. When Keith and I went back in 2007, we had just put Pixel to sleep several days earlier, and Brownie had died the previous month, so we checked out a day early and headed back home.

Fast forward back to the present. During the past 3 years I've increased my fibery knowledge, and much of that is due to hanging around with Gale. She does things like buy a fleece and process it herself. This means she takes the wool fresh from shearing, cleans it, dyes it, cards or combs it and then spins it. A gal's bound to learn a thing or two hanging around someone who does all that.

I've also started dyeing yarns. This has changed the way I look at other people's yarns and rovings. Part of this is also due to Gale. While she can sometimes exasperate me with all the follow up questions as to why I like a certain handpainted roving (sorry, Gale), her relentless questioning and search has caused me to look at yarns and ask myself the same question. Do I like the color, and is that all I like about it? Is the technique different? Is it something that I might want to try myself? Or is it so labor intensive that I will buy from the master? (There is a woman on etsy who does the most incredible handpainted self-striping yarns. My mind staggers at the work that goes into them. As I've taken classes and dyed yarns myself, I know that if she's asking $47 for her yarn, that she's put way more work than that into it. I want to give the Chicken Goddess a shout out for pointing her out to me.)

Sorry for the long digression. Back to the point is that I looked for a class and found one that I wanted to take. It was with Lynne Vogel, one of the Twisted Sisters. Hmm, famous author and teacher meant the class would fill quite quickly. I decided to become a member of SAFF and get the early sign-up.

SAFF is run by volunteers, so I soon thought that since I'd paid for both Keith and I to be members that we should work a volunteer shift. We'd done it once before, years ago, when I joined the Georgia Mineral Society. We'd had fun working the desk, and I knew we could have some fun at SAFF.

I'm going to admit that SAFF was a blast. I had a great time. Lynne is a fantastic teacher, and I encourage you to take a class from her if you have the opportunity. I consider myself at best an intermediate beginner spinner, and this class taught me some very interesting techniques to try.

As for manning the workshops desk, I have to say that Crystal and Nancie were a delight. They stayed cheerful, which is mostly easy to do as many fiber people are good natured, and when faced with a challenge, did so with ease. I would certainly volunteer again. However, I paid for a booth for SAFF 2011, so I won't be able to volunteer. Crystal has asked if she can still have Keith for a few hours, and I said that we'd give him a say. :)

Near the end of our time working, Nancie said the volunteer for the "How to pick a fleece class" was unable to work. Needless to say, I jumped on that. Robin, the teacher, ended up not using me much at all. I had to bounce a few people who wanted to sit in and hadn't paid, and I got to put my hands on some lovely fleeces. Yes, there was one that I didn't buy, and now I wish I had.

Some friends fared better than I did and purchased blue ribbon winning fleeces before the judging had occurred. I was with Steve when he saw his fleece had won. I can only imagine the rush you would feel when your choice is justified so fully by the judges. Gale had also purchased a fleece, and it too had won a blue ribbon.

That's probably enough about SAFF for one day. I do have some pictures, but my hands are slightly frozen. It got down to 60F in the house last night. I was just running the a/c two or three days ago, and I'm not ready to turn on the heat. Let's not forget that I live in The South, and by this afternoon temps will be back in the upper 70's. In the meantime, I suffer from cold fingers, so I'll end here and go sit in the sun for a few minutes.

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