This past weekend I had the treat of going to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in Canby, about an hour and a half north of Corvallis. After last year's hurricane, the weather was perfect this year, mostly sunny with highs in the 70s. My friend Amy picked me up early Saturday morning. We were at the festival with our tents set up not much after 9am.
There were alpacas
and sheep (I think these are Shetland)
lots of sheep
The Clackamas county fairgrounds used to have a really old, falling apart barn where the sheep would be during OFFF. Last winter we had some really bad snowstorms in Oregon that were the final straw for that old barn. It partially collapsed and had to be torn down, so this year the sheep were in a great big tent. It seemed a lot nicer, airier and no smell of decades of animal inhabitation.
Saturday afternoon we went to an interesting talk by Jeanne Carver of Imperial Stock Ranch. I love their yarns and enjoyed hearing the story of the ranch and its history, tho I wish the acoustics in the upstairs of the main pavilion building had been a bit better. Jeanne didn't have any of their yarn with her but had a lot of samples of clothing (including the Ralph Lauren USA Olympic sweater) and some beautiful blankets produced from their wool.
OFFF has started a Focus on Fiber series. I think they plan to focus on a different breed each year. This year was Shetland. I hope they do offer this on other breeds in future years - a short workshop and 4 sample balls of Shetland yarn for $3 was a really good deal. Amy went to the first hour on spinning with Shetland. Since I don't spin, I spent that hour checking out the vendors, then joined in for the second hour on knitting with Shetland wool.
I'm afraid I didn't get the name of the woman presenting, but she did a great job sharing info about differently spun Shetland yarn including how to match yarn and project. Best of all there were lots of samples to pet and admire. The only Shetland I've ever knit with is the now-discontinued Alice Starmore Scottish Campion, which was produced by Jamieson & Smith and I think is very comparable to their 2-ply Jumper Weight Shetland yarn. I've therefore always considered Shetland a fairly scratchy, stiff yarn. The presenter pointed out how much sproingier handspun Shetland can be, and wow, was she right. Some of the samples of handspun Shetland and shawls knit with handspun were so much softer and squishier than I would have ever expected. The comparison in feel with a sample she had knit from commercial Shetland was really eye-opening. I may need to keep my out for some handspun to buy. Or I joked about buying a fleece and making Amy spin it for me :^)
Sunday there are spinning competitions which Amy participated in, including spinning blind-folded
and spinning with rubber gloves
While Amy spun, I helped out Scarlet of Huckleberry Knits in her booth and then participated in the last competition, team spinning. One person treadles and the other spins the yarn while walking backwards. First team to the finish line, about 50 feet back, wins. I treadled while Amy spun and we came in 4th out of 6 teams. Well, at least we weren't last, and everyone gets prizes, so I even won some yarn. Then I helped Scarlet tear down her booth and another OFFF was over.
I was pretty restrained in my spending at OFFF - here's the haul I came home with
From left to right, that's the four balls of grey and brown Shetland samples, a 1000yd skein of Dicentra Alpaca lace weight yarn in lovely shades of blue, a skein of natural cream sport weight Corriedale from Sincere Sheep (a team spinning prize), a brownish skein of Navajo Churro yarn from Shaggy Bear Farms (another team spinning prize), and a lovely purple skein of Cascara Lace from Huckleberry Knits. That photo really doesn't do justice to the amazing shades of purple in that Huckleberry yarn. I really need to work on my photography skills, or maybe just break down and buy a better camera.