"The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give it away." David Viscott

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival

The dark clouds and rain could not keep me away from the 24th annual Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival! The weather may have been dreary, but I had a wonderful time.  There were the usual vendors there, but a few new ones as well.

As usual, I started at the tent that sold festival t-shirts, sweatshirts, and totes.  I always leave my purse in the vehicle (money and checkbook in my pocket!) and get a new tote bag for the goodies I know that await inside.  I was surprised that this year's logo was a sheepdog!

The first animal barn had alpaca, primarily Angora goats, and a few sheep.  My favorite local Alpaca producer, Snowshoe Farm, was in there with exactly the yarn I was looking for:  Alpaca Sock.  It's 50% Alpaca, 30% Merino, 20% Nylon 3-ply yarn that comes in 500 yard skeins for only $26.  They had a stack of cards on the table that held washing and care instructions (which they said I could take as many as I wanted) that are perfect for slipping in the package with the finished product.

At this point, my youngest found me to let me know that the Sister's of St. Mary were selling cashmere goat kids.  As I had adopted 2 Angora goats in July, I thought that it might be fun to try for Cashgora.  I know I will use the resulting yarn!  To my surprise, they had a silver Cashmere named Sugah.  The price was right, so I bought her.  My husband just rolled his eyes.

Back to the yarn vendors.  I had brought a list with me of weight and yardage needed for projects I have lined up.  I found everything I was looking for.  The best deal of the day was a luxurious lace weight:  70% baby alpaca, 20% silk, 10% cashmere, 1300 yards for $32 from Nightingale Fibers.  I can't wait to work with it!!

We stopped to talk with both the sheep dog demonstrator and the fencing people.  Then it was back through one more vendor area, where I purchased several skeins of hand-dyed superwash Merino from Dyenamics Yarn (430 yds each).  I also bought 100% blue faced Leicester wool, dk weight, 700 yard hand-panted skeins from Jan Marek Raczkowski.

My tote-bag full, it was time to go back to the truck.  We stopped again at the tote-bag tent to speak with the event coordinator to get directions to pick up the goat.  Sugah laid down on my daughter's lap in the back seat, and off we went.

I had apprehensions about an unsecured goat in the back seat, but she was incredibly well behaved.  For most of the trip home, she just sat and chewed her cud.  We made a stop for a leg stretch, where Sugah wanted out too.  She relieved herself, then got back in with the rest of us.  She did not make any mess in the truck at all, but rather waited until she was out (she went again as soon as we got home.)

At 4 months, Sugah is bigger than my 5 month old Angora goats. There was a little bit of adjustment as she figured out where the water and hay were, and while the Angora's figured out who this newcomer was, but all quieted down within an hour.

My only disappointment with this year's show was there were no Angora rabbits there.  I was hoping to find a female to place in a hutch between the two males I currently have.  But I suppose if there HAD been a rabbit there, I would not have had the space to get Sugah.  Sometimes things just work out that way!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Yates Farm Yarn Sale 2012

I just got my postcard from Hilda Yates.  This year's yarn sale is Saturday 10/27 and Sunday 10/28!

For those of you who don't know, Yates is a commercial sheep farm in Ascutney, Vermont.  Every year, Hilda Yates has a huge yarn sale of 100% wool in a large variety of colors for very reasonable prices.  If you get there on Saturday morning, she has a brunch buffet set out as well - everything from quiche to fruit salad!

Expect to grab a bag and go from room to room in their old farm house.  There are bags of various colors and sizes lining each room and even the hall!  There is bulky weight, worsted weight, sport and fingering weight.  Most of it is in hanks, but sometimes you can find cones.  There is roving in all sorts of colors.  If you are looking for something in particular, just ask!  Chances are Hilda has it.

While you are there, be sure to get on the mailing list so you can plan for next year's sale.  Hilda mails out postcards about a month before the sale is held.

Hope to see you there!

Time Management - Again

I know I've written quite a bit about time management.  Perhaps this is due to the fact that I am still trying to figure it out.  It's one of those things, I've determined, that the experts in such things can provide guidelines for, but one size does not fit all.  Everyone has their own set of distractions that need to be kept in check in order to get your work done, especially if you work at home.

One of the best guidelines for me was so simple, my jaw dropped when I read it.  Shut the door.  Three simple words.  Whereas I was working in the living room at the time, this proved to be impossible. I began to notice how many times a member of my family would enter the room to ask a question, turn on the television, argue over what channel to watch, etc.

This led to this summer's main project - build a studio.  I have been wanting to join in the Vermont Crafts Council's Open Studio Weekend, but needed a studio.  Now was the time.  Unfortunately for me, the studio was completed too late to join in the fall Open Studio Weekend, but it will be open for the spring.  The studio itself is heated, so I can work in there all winter long.

Hopefully, this will bring an end to the little distractions that make it difficult to work.  I had a sketch/swatch accepted by a major magazine this summer that included a zipper.  I had a good idea of how I was going to work up the sample, but it still had to be reworked a few times to get it right.  I did not get to the zipper until the day before I had to mail it back to them to be received by the deadline.  Wouldn't you know, I could not get that zipper in the way it was supposed to be?  Once I had the whole thing together, I discovered other issues that should be reworked as well.  I mailed it in, as I was out of time, only to receive a letter from the editor a week later that it could not be used due to various design issues (including the zipper).  The editor was kind enough to send it back to me.

I am still reworking that design.  I figured it I had that much trouble putting in that zipper, other people would as well, so I am trying to make it easier to do.  The next time I submit it, it will be right!