Sunday, September 17, 2006

Garden State Sheep and Fiber Festival

My road trip yesterday turned out wonderfully. For a while I thought I must have missed a turn, then there it was. The festival was in an muddy (understandably with all the rain we've had) field with 3 pre-fab barn structures. Though the setting was beautiful, it didn't look like much. Wrong! The first barn was vendors, mostly local breeders, selling fleeces, roving, yarn and finished work. Lots of beautiful stuff. Oh, no ! Could this be the start of a new addiction? My friend at work, Lynne has promised to teach me to spin. So it might be a good idea to pick up some wool. right? Left to right: 4 oz. of basically unprocessed Jacob wool, 4 oz. cleaned carded light silver Romney and 8oz. of beautiful dyed Romney. I love the colors in the Jacob. They can be spun together or pulled out separately.
I also learned about how the fleeces are judged from a very friendly judge who explained the categories and ratings (including PP: piss-poor, which may or may not be an official rating). There was an inpromptu auction in the corner. There were all types and sizes of fleece, and the woman who was auctioning them would talk about the weight and type and show it and say "anyone interested?" and people standing aroung would casually raise a hand. Nothing went for over $3.50 a pound and 5 lbs. of fleece looks like an awful lot. I was tempted to by something, but figured I should learn to spin first.

The second barn had a judging pen and lots of sheep waiting to be judged. I think many were 4H projects. I never knew there were so many types of sheep! THere were very informative signs describing the history and characteristics of each breed. ALso rabbits and angora goat and pygora goats(Pygmy angoras). Also a sheep shearing demo.
The third barn had llamas. and llama products. Also a band. Llamas are so cute and soft. Since I don't know how their fleece is to spin, I held off buying it.
Here I am an hour and a half away from home (to Stephanie B. - it was in Ringoes, NJ which is Hunterdon County) and first I met a vendor selling wheels who is from a town away and then another who also lives close by. Claudia and her (husband? boyfriend? partner?) sell a line of natural hand creams and lip balms. She is a fiber artist and is looking for a knitting/fiber art group in our area. I may have mentioned here that I wanted to start a group. So meeting someone who is interested is terrific. She also turned me on to Prudence Mapstone who stuff just blew me away.
On the way home I stopped at Wegman's in Bridgewater. This was my first visit to the Disneyland of Supermarkets. Wow! All in all an awesome day.
And I have been knitting. The remake of first-ever toe-up sock has reached the ribbing! I still feel excited enough to do the next - no Second Sock Syndrome for me!


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September 17, 2006 at 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Kirsty said...


I saw your comment on Mason Dixon, and I was at the Garden State Festival too--it was fun. I brought my preteen along and generated a new spinner I think . . .

September 18, 2006 at 3:00 PM  
Blogger Bonne Marie said...

OHO! Those cutie pie alpacas - I swear - everytime I see one I think it's going to start talking - they look right atcha! :)

September 18, 2006 at 10:26 PM  
Blogger bethc said...

Sounds like a fun time! You won over on my blog so come on over!!

September 28, 2006 at 6:56 PM  

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