Thursday, September 28, 2006

I went to OFFF and all I got was this lousy... oh, wait.

We're the unfortunately owners of a leak in the water main coming into the house. The plumber's outside right now digging a big hole in the grass (I wonder what's more expensive: the increased cost in the water bills or how much it'll actually take to fix the leak. My short term vote is with the water bills) so it seems like a great time for a...

Post About Llamas!

I went to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival last Saturday. My very first fiber show. I'm not a spinner and the show was definitely geared to the raw fiber crowd, but there was still lots of animals and yarn to appreciate.

(First as a preliminary: am I the only person bothered by the juxtaposition of "oh, cute lamb fleeces" and "mmm, tasty lamb kebabs"? I swear, the line for the lamb-sausage/kebab/rib booth was 3 dozen long.)

Back to the llamas: the Llama Barn was an enormous roofed enclosure with a big fenced area and some bleachers so you could watch. All the llamas were at the back. In the middle: the Llama Obstacle course. I wish I could have gotten a picture of the llamas to show you: they were all dolled with beauty queen hairdos. Some of them had ruffs like poodles, some had hair long on the back and shaved on the belly and flanks, with cute little puff rings around the bottom of their legs. That must a fun task, figuring out a 'do for your llama for the big competition.

Bad picture of a llama, but you can see his (her?) careful coif.

Anyway, the Llama Obstacle Course: A bunch of teenagers, one by one, would lead their llamas through various Llama Activities: walk over a bridge; step all the way into a circle and stay there; carry a pack of lead weights on their back; jump over 12-inch-high fences. My favorite: Climb through the side door of a mini-van, then out the back door. Yes, there was a mini van parked in the middle. With llamas ducking and walking through it.

Other obstacles for llamas:
  • walk by a blowing fan

  • stand by a person who then Opened An Umbrella (do llamas not like umbrellas?)

  • lead the llama over a plastic tarp (the llama I saw really DID NOT like doing this)

  • stand by a person who ran her hand slowly over the llamas back

Contrary to popular report, I did not see any llama spit at all.

The alpacas: unbelievably cute. Surpassing bunny-cuteness, even. There were LOTS of alpacas: huacayas mostly, as those are the bulk of the herd that were allowed into the US. Some alpaca facts at this site. They sit like my cat does, with their legs folded demurely underneath.

Rabbits, alpacas, llamas, goats, and a bazillion different types of sheep. I had no idea sheep could get so big. The goats made all these worried-sounding naaaaaas most of the time.


More sheep! Nice horns, buddy.

I wandered up to the fiber judging area and felt different kinds of fleeces. I really didn't realize there were so many different breeds of sheep.

a Navajo Churro fleece. Look at those locks! (scratchy though)

Found the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth. Oooh, the love. The color. The sock yarn! I bought a skein in the lightweight and a skein in the medium weight. I should have gotten 2 in the lightweight. I have ENORMOUS feet. No, truly. Size 11s, darling. I need a minimum of 400 yards of fingering weight for socks, but I was dazzled by the display and only bought 1 skein: 360 yards. Grrrr. Now I either need to get creative with the toes and heel or call them up and see if they have any more of that color and dyelot.

Blue Moon Socks that Rock in Puck's Mischief (lightweight) and Rooster Rock (medium weight)

Interlacements was also there! Fabulous! Really, I love their colors. I probably shouldn't of, but I fell in love with a skein of toasty toes. It was all that scarlet and eggplant and vermillion and deep sapphire blues and emerald greens. So much for self-control, bah. I would have tried tiny toes but did I mention the ginormous feet? There's only 340 (350?) yards in a skein I was a bit annoyed at having to buy 2 skeins and use only 50 yards of the second.

Interlacements Toasty Toes in colorway 213

I stayed away from the Mountain Colors but I probably would have been sucked into some Bearfoot if they'd actually had a booth and not just re-sellers.

I wasn't able to get close enough to the llamas to really take a good look; they were all at the back of the barn. But the alpacas.... Well, let me introduce you to Raspberry Truffles.

Or more correctly, her last year's fleece, transformed into laceweight yarn.

Raspberry Truffles is a "red" huacaya and I got to see a picture of her as a 2-hour-old cria. This laceweight I could not put down. I tried. I put it down, walked all the rest of the festival and still couldn't get it out of my head.

Yes, I like brown. This is an unbelievably rich chocolate brown. And soft, soft like air and goose down and the little fluff hair under my cat's chin.

I bought enough for a shawl (hopefully. 1000 yards should be enough, right?). Now my perfectionist side is Completely Obsessed with finding/creating the PERFECT shawl pattern for this yarn. I think we're leaning toward creating, as I want more of a geometric and less of a lacey effect, while still being Lace. Hard to describe - I guess I'm looking for something with a definitely structure - not so airy. Yet still lace. Hmmm. I've got the Barbara Walkers 1 & 2 cracked and I'll probably not be able to stop myself swatching soon, despite the unfinished state of Lily. (Actually, Lily of the Valley is on the final border! I added 4 more repeats to give it some more length. Wooo, home stretch!)

I'm glad I went (regardless of the schwag), I've always been concentrated on the end product - the yarn and fabric - and it was interesting to plunge my hands into the raw fleece it starts out as. Woulda been more fun with someone along, but on the other hand, I got to wander and gawk at whatever I liked, for as long as I liked. Now of course, I want a pet goat. Look at it this way, I'd never have to mow the stupid lawn again.


Carole said...

Fiber festivals are always great, aren't they? You got some great photos. And yes, 1000 yards should be enough for a nice sized shawl.

Rachel Life said...

I love the story of the llama showing- brings back my 4-H childhood. one of the reasons for those 'tasks' for the llamas is to show to the audience (i.e. potential buyers/breeders) that the animals have been well trained so as to lose their fear at many of those things. (the llama that didn't like walking over the tarp failed the test) breeders want proof that the animal can be domesticated well and handled frequently. since llama meat isn't much of a commodity (i think, anyway!) the llamas that 'failed' probaby don't face as horrible a fate as the animals i used to show!
and i sincerely wish my best friend and i had been able to go to OFFF and meet you!

BigAlice said...

Thanks, wish you all could have been there with me.