Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Tim has been having some talks with the chickens as they haven't started laying yet. He's told them that if they didn't start laying soon that he was going to eat them one at a time.

I didn't realize how persuasive his talks were to the chickens. Tonight, when closing them up for the night, Tim spyed an egg! The Partridge Chanteclers have done a good job! This is our first egg from our own chickens.

It's kind of small, but I'm really happy. He found it on the floor of the coop, even though there are nest boxes in there for them to use. We'll need to do some things to make the chickens feel confident to use the boxes.

Now we need to start cajoling/threatening the Barred Hollands!
I'm so happy!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Civil War Expo

This is the third year I've been involved with the Civil War Expo in Vermont. This year, the expo was in Chester, VT (which is a bit closer than Tunbridge - where it used to be held). My friend, Ruth Ticknor, spun with me the second year as well as this year. This time around I was pleasantly surprised to see a weaver (young girl not in period costume) as well as a bobbin lace maker and tatter there (who was in period costume). Duh! I probably should have taken pictures of them too, but didn't think of it. Can you tell I'm not used to thinking of taking pictures for the blog. We were all in a room in the Historical Society building.

At the Expo, there is always a scavenger hunt where a number of questions are created and kids and adults need to go scavenging around the Expo looking for the appropriate people to ask their question and get the answer. At the end, when they've gathered all the initials on their pieces of paper, they return to the educational booth and get a prize. If remembering correctly, some metal object. They like us to come up with different questions so that they don't say, "I remember the answer" and don't bother to interact. Luckily, dealing with spinning and fiber, there are lots of questions that can be asked and it should be a number of years before we run out of questions and have to start repeating the questions. This year the question was What is the oldest form of creating fabric that is still used today? Any guesses? Does this picture help you with the answer? Yes, I understand there's a bit of clutter behind the table, but just focus on the table.

Of course, it's felting. We didn't actually deal with water and show how to felt, as that would have been messy in the room. Also, luckily for us, most of the kids had done some sort of felting in school or other groups, so when we mentioned felting and showed them the objects, they all went "oh, yeah!".
Here's a picture of my friend, Ruth, spinning at her great wheel. She's a real good spinner and it's nice that she's willing to tote it to the Expo so that people can see her wheel and how it worked. Every now and again her spindle would fill up and she'd break out a "new fangled ball winding gadget" to unwind the fiber spun. :-) Not everything can be done authentically (at least you won't see us doing it that way!)

Here's Ruth, sans bonnet.

In the past, all we would do is demo and have business cards ready in case anyone was interested. This year we also opted to ask if we could bring some items to sell. Ruth created drop spindle kit baskets, just in case anyone was interested in trying their hand at spinning. We both also brought some hand spun yarn, too. We had only one sale, but that wasn't too bad. One sale is better than no sale. I was a bit unprepared and didn't bring any business cards, so when I had a sheep inquiry, I put all the information to contact me on the back of Ruth's business card.

Here's my little niche that I was working at. I was spinning Arcturus that I had washed by hand, picked by hand, and then was hand carding for the folks to see and then spinning on my Majacraft Rose. No, it's not period with the plastic bobbin, but castle style wheels were around during the Civil War as Irish immigrants were bringing them over during that time period. Got lots of questions about the style as many hadn't seen that type, although they've seen the traditional style and the great wheel. We also had a drop spindle to demo on, too.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

How did VT Sheep & Wool Fest go??

Well, I'm about a week or two tardy from responding, but Garrett was kind enough to ask how did it go? Well, it was fine. Normally I share a booth with Ruth Ticknor of Sunrise Hill Angoras/Farm and her DH, Ed, puts up a few pics and note cards that are "farm related" as he's a professional photographer. This year, Ruth was in Michigan for schooling (doing it online, but every so often she needs to actually attend the campus). So that left Ed and me to man the booth. Tim was over in the animal section as we brought three rams (2 yearlings and a lamb) to sell.

We hitched the sheep trailer to the truck and put the fibery goodness in the front of the sheep trailer, so that left the sheep in the back of the trailer. Fibery goodness loaded on Friday night, sheep first thing in the a.m. and Ed came over so we'd be giving him a lift there. It worked out well. Got there in once piece and offloaded the boys (the rams, not Tim and Ed). This was the first time we brought livestock to the festival. After sheep offloaded, we took the truck over to where the booth would be set up and offloaded all that. Would you believe, I didn't bring the camera, so no pictures of either set-up. I know I need to bring one and you would think the professional would remember, but didn't. He had even made a remark about that on Saturday.

Sales were good. First thing, even before the festival opened, I sold Wilkins fleece that didn't sell at NH Sheep & Wool Fest. That left me with 4 more to sell, or haul back home, package up and send off to rovings. My cedar stashets were evidently priced too low as the first two to show any interest bought them all! All the rovings but the one I've finally titled as Spring in Vermont sold at the show.

There was quite a bit of interest in the sheep with lots of questions and that was good to see/hear. I did stop by at one point and reached in to give Bergelmir a scritch and he took a swing at me. Evidently there was a "little child" (being kind here) that was banging on the fencing and really making him annoyed. Tim had warned the little child and he kept doing it. Oh well! None sold at the sale, but we did have a number of people who were curious and thinking about next year. All in all, I think a good experience.

We stayed at the Day's Inn with points Tim had accrued from all his traveling. Thankfully his traveling gives us some benefit every so often. So we didn't have to drive back up to Essex Junction the next morning.

Next thing to do is the Civil War Expo next Saturday. Will bring my camera and take pics of the set up and our get ups - have to dress somewhat authentically!

Maybe tomorrow I'll show you the dye that was soaking in a jar over the Festival weekend.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Getting ready for VT Sheep & Wool Festival

Today I'm getting ready for the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival that is this weekend, September 6 & 7 at the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex Junction.

I'm dyeing up a storm. I told Tim that I was going to be dyeing and his remark was how, by drowning, electrocution, etc. and I told him via chemicals (I know we have a weird sense of humor).

This is some of the roving I've dyed already. Have one left that's working, so will see how that one does.
Here are some shots of them close up so you can really see the colors. This first one is almost a celadon green. Not what I think of when I think of kelly green. This next one is a combo of bright red (that looks more pinkish), burgundy (that looks kind of purplish) and yellow. Makes me think of Easter.
This next one is blue and some hint of a bluish green. Want to hit the beach anyone? Or maybe think of an iceberg?

This next one was a feeble attempt to get something orangy that would make people think of fall. It's sort of that, but I'm not too sure!

I've also been dyeing and stitching up some cedar "stash"ets. Here are a few that I need to piece together. Now how did I get that middle one so orangy?? And no, I don't take notes when dyeing, just like to shoot from the hip and hope I don't get anything that looks like puke!
I was kind of bummed that the S&W festival is the same time as the AGM in Wisconsin, so I'll be missing all the Shetland people going to that. If you're in my neck of the woods, stop by the festival and say howdy. I'll be in a booth with Sunrise Hill Angoras and Studio One Photography (Ruth's DH).