Fiber Arts Friday – My New Old Girl

What I’ve done today is exclusive to Fiber Arts Friday. Many of you who read my Blog have already met my “New Old Girl” but for those who have not, here she is:


IMG_1277

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I got her last weekend at the Fall Fiber Festival. She is a “Mystery Wheel” with no markings of any kind. We thought it was an Ashford but it doesn’t appear to be. Best guess, it’s around 50 or more years old, in very good condition..of course it needs work, which I have already started. On Sunday it was an effort to make it spin, now I’ve spun a half a bobbin and it’s moving like a dream. It would be nice to get an idea of its maker because it only had one bobbin with it and it could use a couple of smaller parts.

Now for those who do not already know, I paid $60.00 for her! I’m thinking that this will make a nice demonstration wheel in the future. I just love it.

For anyone who is interested in participating click here Fiber Arts Friday to join in.

Fall Fiber Festival & Sheepdog Trials

Yesterday we decided a day off from everything was necessary for mental and physical health. We got up early, took care of the livestock and headed for Montpelier in Orange county, VA, to the Fall Fiber Festival & Sheepdog Trials.

What a beautiful day! We still can’t believe how clear the air was . It was a little cool when we left home but by the time we arrived, it was in the mid 70’s. An added benefit to the trip was the leaves are starting to turn. We took in everything – all 5 large tents with rows of vendors selling everything fiber – beautiful hand dyed silk and wool blend yarns and rovings – there was a lot of yarn. It seemed that the vendors choose to cater more to the hand worker than the spinner.

We passed by the outside tents and went over to the Livestock Exhibit tent. They had a good example of various different fiber producing animals – the Angora Rabbits, Llama and Alpaca were not represented very well in this exhibit but I later found more of them in the outside tents. After looking around we found our friends Magi & Jay from Magi’s Wood Farm, you know, where we just got our Icelandic’s from.

Magi & Me

Magi & Me

She was happy to see me because she had let a child play with her wheel and it wasn’t working. She’s been having a problem with it every since she got it but it was worse. Later in the day, hubby found the same wheel and discovered her problem is incorrect set up. Hopefully the pictures he took of the correct set up will fix her problem.

Hubby wanted to take in the sheep shearing demos and I really did want to check out those outside tens, so I left him. My first stop was the Fleece Sale tent. Lot’s of beauties in there.  I found a CVM Sheep fleece that was really beautiful – when I looked at the price, I came very close to passing out – 2.2 lbs./$102.00. Needless to say that didn’t come home with me.

As I walked by the outside tents – something caught my eye – A spinning wheel! It looked to be very much like an Ashford Traditional but then again..it didn’t. I’m not going to tell you the price yet. This wheel had suffered a child assult on Saturday and it was broken. I got a handful of roving and a chair and set out to fix this cool little wheel. Whatever this child had done to it, I don’t know but it would not spin at all. Hubby came to find me and got involved in the fixing process. An hour later, I walked away with a fixed $60.00 spinning wheel! It is a mystery wheel though. I’ve added a photo, maybe one of you may have an idea about who made it. It does need work but it will spin yarn.

The New Old Wheel

The New Old Wheel

Armed with mystery wheel, we set out for food and Sheepdog Trials. I was a bit disappointed in the food options. In years past there has been lamb chili and fruit plates. Not so this year, so we got a heavy BBQ, set up our chairs and became spectators. The dog trials were great! We stayed to the end and we got lots of photos.

At The Pen - Look real hard..see the green on her shoulder? It's a Parrot!

At The Pen - Look real hard..see the green on her shoulder? It's a Parrot!

Trial Shot

Trial Shot

Trial Shot

Trial Shot

"Nice Job"

"Nice Job"

This lady works without a crook or a whistle..she's amazing!

This lady works without a crook or a whistle..she's amazing!

"The Shed"

"The Shed"

"The Pen"

"The Pen"

It’s so enjoyable watching a dog work..they take their job seriously. I am so happy we have 7 Border Collies of our own to work with.

We left the event feeling invigorated and hungry. In the town of Orange we went to a restaurant called the Silk Mill Grille. As you may have guessed from the name, it is an old Silk Mill and the place is decorated much of the old salvaged accessories and processing equipment. Had a great meal and we were home by 7:00.

I have a lot of readers that know very little about this side of my life – they know me for the goats and goats milk products. You see fiber and fiber arts is my true passion. Any opportunity I get to do a day like this, I will put all else aside to do it. My only regret – Didn’t go both days!

I’m going to add an events page to my Blog so everyone might have an opportunity to see and possibly attend what’s going on the rest of 2009. Some I will be a vendor..some I will just visit.

Parting comments and a little rant! Please, if you bring your children to events like the Fall Fiber Festival, try to pay attention to what they are doing. One of the wheels that was messed up yesterday is a several thousand dollar wheel. We want everyone to come to these events..especially children, they are the ones who will keep this going in the future but vendors and demonstrators put their life into this and it shouldn’t be destroyed by an adults carelessness of not watching their child. At this event, I saw big pulls of rovings run off with, a driveband ripped right off a spinning wheel, Angora bunnies being plucked through the sides of their cage by uncontrolled little fingers, hand crafted wooden knitting needles being used as swords and a grape snow cone dropped on a beautiful silk scarf. Please bring your children and please be good, aware parents! Rant is done.

Have a wonderful day!

How It All Began: Part 1

This weekend is the Montpelier Fall Fiber Festival and Sheepdog Trials in Orange, Virginia. Every year, at this time, I am reminded of how we got into farming and I remember fondly our first year with sheep.

Hubby and I were both professionals in the Corporate world, living in the country on a few acres. Each weekend we would look for things to do, farm related, to learn about what was out there because I especially knew being an accountant was not my life long dream. When we met a farm owner/fiber artist from West Virginia at an Alpaca Festival in Charlottesville, VA, I knew we would follow much the same path that she and her husband were following. The next weekend was the Fall Fiber Festival, we attended and made the commitment. We purchased our starter flock of Romney x Border Leicester sheep. We were on our way to raising sheep for fiber.

I remember our trip to West Virginia to pick up the sheep. Autumn in the WV mountains was like nothing I had ever experienced in my life. Driving through the valleys, in a light snow fall, on our way to Romney and looking up the mountains, seeing all the the glorious colors of Autumns’ majesty, embracing us, let me know this was the right decision.

When we reached Tranquility Farm it felt like Christmas Morning! Sheep, sheep, everywhere..I couldn’t get out of the truck fast enough. Our new flock had been put up the night before, so we made the trek to the barn to see them. We had decided on a ram, Anthony, who was the “apple” of the farmers eye. A big dark grey boy with a black face and black stockings. The farmer had worked with him since birth, had shown him and they were obviously best buds. Katlyn, a dark blue grey ewe, was a wild child free spirit whos fleece had won several ribbons in competition and then there was Betsy. The most beautiful champagne grey sheep I had ever laid eyes on in my life. She was a beauty queen and she knew it. While we were in the barn talking and interacting with our new flock, one other white sheep kept coming up to us for scratches. She was so friendly, we figured she might be their pet. Well she wasn’t, she didn’t even have a name only a number 122. So, 122, a.k.a. Natalina came home with us that day too.

So began the most wonderful time of our lives and though were are now seasoned, that newness has never worn off. Each addition, each birth, every fleece, every year brings me back to the first day we had sheep on our farm. Though time has passed and flock grew with every passing Spring, our first four sheep will be forever in our lives. Those first four are gone now but as I look out into the pasture, I see all that have come since and with a tear for those lost, I have a smile for those gained.

If you get the chance to attend the festival this weekend, it’s worth the trip to see all the goings on. Be sure to take in some of the Border Collie trials, they are always exciting and fun to watch. If the “bug” bites you to become a farmer after your trip, be prepared for the ride of your life. There are so many words to describe this life, the one that comes to mind most with me is “joy”!

This is the first part in a series of first year stories that I will share with you – not daily, but over the course of several months.

Tomorrow will be back to the same old, same old.

“Love what you do..do what you love.”