Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fred and the FO's

Fred wore his Aran sweater – finished for Christmas 2010 - spun from the wool of our Finnsheep to Endless Mountains and also to Rhinebeck and got lots of compliments on it - - and of course there are admirers here at home too.

When we got home, it was back to washing and dyeing fleece.

I got off to a bad start with my first overshot weaving, but with thicker yarn - - probably too thick - - for the pattern, things are moving along again. Still having trouble with selvedges, but that is hopefully something one gets with enough practice.

The first (of two) After Hours Shawl is finished. After making multiple mistakes because the cables I had weren’t long enough for me to “read” the pattern, I got the link-thingies from Knitpicks to join two long cables. It did seem awkward to knit lace on such large needles, but eventually I got in the swing of it.

Monday, October 18, 2010


The weather at Rhinebeck was perfect and fall colors were grand. We got there about ten minutes before the gates opened and they sold us tickets in line so we sailed thru the already ticketed group.

I met Anne Barkley Priest of Blue Island Farms, author of Trafficking in Sheep (available on Amazon.com) which I had read and enjoyed several years ago. She lives just across the river in Port Jervis. I bought one of her Blue Faced Leicester/Border Leicester cross fleeces. She said the fleeces she had there were more typical of BFL than BL.
The vendors we spoke to said they were doing very well, much better than the previous year. Several booths were completely out of biz cards. Merlin Tree had his new tiny wheels there. We saw Stephanie, just as we were leaving Bldg A. She had come up on Jill Deal's bus.

After cappucinos we went to buy some sheep milk cheese and admire the skeins and handmade items in Bldg E. One of the gentlemen from Holy Trinity Weavers was weaving a scarf in a handsome overshot pattern from a blend of handspun silk and angora.

We were very surprised to see the Ouessant sheep, weighing less than 50 lbs at maturity. They are the smallest in the world, prompting all sorts of notions on my part of keeping some in the living room. I fear in our fields they would be seen as hors d’oeuvres by the local predators. There were Gotland sheep, also. Both breeds have come to the USA via artificial insemination into similar breeds. Ouessants were crossed on Shetlands and the Gotland on several breeds including Finnsheep.

Then we found Tsocks at Holiday Yarns and got to touch her entry in the Tour de Fleece - - the incredible 18 ply skein! Her blog entry for July 21, 2010 includes a great video of her plying it.

Fred picked up her Ouelette and Scandinavian wheels for restoration and we headed for the Beekman Arms for lunch, passing one of my all time favorite Victorian gothics, the DelaMater Inn.